The CW’s Arrow returns for a second season in just a few days — Wednesday, October 9 on The CW. The opener is called “City Of Heroes,” and it’s my pleasure to report that the show matches the level of quality they left Season 1 on… and in several ways, it even exceeds it.
Warning: Some spoilers for the season premiere are discussed within.
Season 2 begins with Oliver back to where the series began — the island, Lian Yu, complete with callbacks to the opening moments of the show’s pilot. Diggle and Felicity need to go there to bring Oliver back to civilization and Starling City. Back in the city, things are not going so well for the Queens. Thea has her act together at least, and is now running Verdant, but Moira is one of the city’s most hated due to her confessed involvement in the leveling of the Glades that killed so many people. Queen Consolidated is also in trouble, as a businesswoman named Isabel Rochev (played by genre fan favorite Summer Glau) is positioning herself to take over the company… and she’s not the type of person who is okay with not getting what she wants. Oh, and going back to Thea? She’s doing well, but her boyfriend Roy Harper is causing her stress, as he is going out at night trying to help the city now that the vigilante isn’t around to do his thing anymore.
I feel that as Arrow Season 1 went on, the show seemed to improve every week, learning from some early missteps. The show needed more humor and interactions for Oliver, and BOOM here came Diggle and Felicity as part of the Arrow team. Thea’s drug habit is repetitive and annoying? BOOM, she’s getting it together. Even the island material seemed to get better once Manu Bennett and Celina Jade came on as Slade and Shado. This season premiere continues with that growth. Susanna Thompson’s Moira is given deep material that of course Thompson knocks out of the park. Thea gets concerns that aren’t about drugs, but instead has a fantastic storyline where she is not only worried about Roy, but expresses anger toward her mother over what happened in the Glades…. I can also say that this premiere is a showcase for Willa Holland, who has really made Thea her own and away from the situation where fans would grouse “why does Green Arrow need a sister?” And once Oliver puts the hood back on, he has a new approach that seems to be pushing him more toward a hero rather than just a vigilante.
I also like that Emily Bett Rickards, Manu Bennett, and Colton Haynes have all been added as series regulars to the show, as each offers something great. In the case of Haynes, especially… here is a guy who was well liked for his role on Teen Wolf, and now he’s playing another sure-to-be-popular character (Roy) who thinks he can help the city like the Hood did, but can he, really? I really like the differences between Colton’s character and Stephen’s Oliver Queen. It’s almost like Colton is a not-annoying Scrappy to Stephen’s Scooby, which totally makes Felicity Velma, but I digress.
The other great parts of Arrow — Stephen Amell, as a perfect example — continue to be great so if I didn’t mention someone by name, assume that I liked them. I also liked it when [SPOILER REDACTED FROM FEAR OF LANDING ON OLIVER QUEEN’S “LIST” BUT TRUST ME, IT’S COOL.] Listen closely and you might hear a hint about The Flash and his world as early as the season opener.
The only part of the Arrow Season 1 premiere that I might have not been rah-rah for happened to be a scene between Oliver and Laurel. I still maintain that that relationship feels a little bit manufactured, BUT I can say with at least 95% certainty that it’s about to get a heck of a lot more interesting. But, for now, despite the character histories, the way their chemistry seems on screen I don’t even see what they like in each other, or what they ever liked in each other. For fans of Katie Cassidy and Laurel herself, she does get some good stuff in the premiere (and even more in the second episode). She gets to kick a little bit of @$$ which always makes me happy, and she gets a new job where she’s able to hang out with Hot Paul from Orphan Black, so we’ll see where that goes.
Ultimately, after the Season 1 finale death of Tommy Merlyn, every character is broken or missing something… whether it is the life they once lived, a boyfriend, a best friend, a job… it’s all there. I’d like to think Season 2 of Arrow is about that rebuilding. And that already spoiled vigilante who we first see in the premiere’s final minutes? She is freaking AWESOME. Now, if only someone can tell me how Felicity’s glasses happen to always stay on when she [SPOILERS] or swings between levels of buildings… I’m convinced the glasses staying on thing just might be her super-ability. Still, those of you who thought Season 1 ended with a powerful episode? This one is more of the same, if not better. And those of you who aren’t watching to begin with? You can hop on right here, and not feel like you missed a lot. It’s a new story, that has a great backstory in Season 1, but you can tune in as a new viewer and still enjoy it.