Arrow is back! And I couldn’t be happier. Although not the finest written or acted show by any stretch, it brings a levity (both intended and unintended) to the small screen, having me constantly wondering – how good and bad will each episode turn out to be?
The opening scene of “City of Heroes” is Arrow at its finest. It is full of the ridiculous fromage that made it increasingly adorable during the first season. Felicity, equally adorable in her quirky behavior, clear lust for Oliver, and constant overindulgence of lipstick, is standing on a landmine. She and Diggle have tracked Oliver to the island he was shipwrecked years before – the same island where he learned all of his tricks to become The Hood. There, high above on a tree branch is Oliver, standing topless, his heaving chest in full view. Fulfilling his Tarzan moment, Oliver swings down and rescues Jane, I mean Felicity, from certain death in one swoop.
Starling City has become a city of heroes, but not as Oliver had intended. After Tommy’s death and the destruction of the Glades, Oliver retreats to his own fortress of solitude on the mysterious island. Copycat Hoods have erected themselves to wreak havoc on those who they see as being responsible for the Glades’ destruction – namely Queen Consolidated. With Oliver’s mother in jail for her involvement with the Glades, he must become the leader of not only the family but the family business. Being away, Queen Consolidated has come into financial peril and as a result Oliver will have a new business partner, but not one he wants. Best known for her stint in Joss Whedon’s Firefly, Summer Glau plays Isabel Rochev, a cut throat business woman who will be a potential foe, or love interest for Oliver, whichever way the wind blows.
The second season appears to be leaving the first behind, which is good. Most notably, Oliver doesn’t want to be called The Hood anymore. As he stares at the pointed tip of a green arrow I think we can all infer what his new name will be. He also wants to change the way he does business. Last season, there was a distinct edge to The Hood as he murdered his way through Starling City. Now he wants to take a different approach echoing that other costumed billionaire hero in the far away city of Gotham. Oliver wants no more killings.
Stephen Amell continues his attempt at a brooding reluctant hero. And as much as I’ve taken some playful shots at him, I missed Oliver Queen over the summer. I don’t know what this is a testament to, but Amell has made a lasting impression on me, albeit from me poking fun at his craft. But, he’s indelibly apart of my TV watching enjoyment. And as a TV star, isn’t that what is most important – keeping your audience happy. Amell’s casting makes this viewer happy unlike my feelings for Emma in Once Upon a Time whose miscasting has constantly repelled me from the show (although I have to admit I still watch it for mere habitual reasons).
What can Arrow’s audience expect from its second season? I’m really not sure, but I am excited. “City of Heroes” touched on last season’s end which likely won’t stop there. Oliver’s mother will be going to trial soon and Tommy’s death is echoing its way into Oliver’s life. Laurel sees her hook up with Oliver at last season’s end as a mistake and even the impetus for him changing his ways of The Hood comes from Tommy’s legacy –he saw Oliver as a murderer. But this is fine by me. Last season was packed with major characters and story-lines being killed off. A little bleed over will be helpful as new and old villains and conflicts will have to emerge if season 2 is to build off of the success of the first.