What an ending!
Last season, Arrow became one of my favorite shows on television. It had an exceptional sophomore season packed with momentum and thrills, and I’m optimistic that season three will take the show to even greater heights. While The Calm wasn’t a mindblowing season premiere, its shocking ending most certainly elevated the stakes in a brilliant manner.
I always liked Sara, but I recognize how important it is to the narrative to have her killed off. If Laurel is to become the Black Canary this season, the previous heroine needs to bite the dust, and I’m fine with that. Sara’s death opens up some fantastic story possibilities, not the least of which include tracking down her killer (Thea perhaps?). Whatever the resolution, I have to commend the show for crafting one heck of a harrowing death sequence. I’ve already watched it several times, and its impact is still astounding. There’s a beautiful contrast between the lightness of Sara and Laurel’s final encounter, before transitioning to Sara getting riddled with arrows and dropping off the roof before her sister’s feet. Katie Cassidy was phenomenal in those final moments, and her gut-wrenching cries gave me chills and made for a powerful ending that I won’t soon forget.
Sadly, the rest of the premiere wasn’t nearly as riveting. For most of the hour, The Calm was busy staging a brand new status quo, which naturally now includes Olicity. I know I’m in the minority here but I would much prefer to see Oliver with Laurel pair up in the end. Nevertheless, the fandom’s deafening cries have finally been answered, and I’ll admit that Olicity’s first date (and all the banter that preceded it) was spot-on. While that RPG might have spoiled the mood, I’m curious to see how the pair’s dynamic will be handled going forward, particularly with the addition of the surprisingly charismatic Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer. I was pleasantly taken aback by Routh’s likeability, and I think I’m going to start rooting for Palmer and Felicity to hook up very soon.
It’s also worth mentioning that Arrow’s newest Vertigo is played by none other than Peter Stormare of Prison Break fame. Stormare has always possessed a sinister presence, and his charisma serves the role well. Unfortunately, much like the show has done in the past, the villain-of-the-week didn’t really amount to much with the actor barely getting more than ten minutes of screentime. Here’s hoping he makes a return appearance soon because it would be a pity to waste the actor’s menacing talent.
The one good thing Vertigo did manage to do was enlighten us on Oliver’s personal journey this year. As the premiere so explicitly states, “a man can not live by two names”, and Oliver will struggle to balance both sides of his persona this year. Thankfully, the new Hong Kong flashbacks will give us a much-needed break from the island shenanigans, and the twist with the Japanese couple’s safety being threatened (to ensure Ollie’s cooperation) is a genius one.
As for the rest of the cast, Roy’s superhero alter-ego finally appeared and it’s worth noting that Arsenal looks like a real badass in that red suit. It was pretty great to see Team Arrow kick ass together throughout the hour (that flip above the truck was especially thrilling). In the vein of season two, Diggle didn’t get much to do but I have a feeling that fatherhood is going to open up some intriguing possibilities for the character, particularly after he shockingly agreed with Ollie about stepping aside at the end. I seriously doubt he’ll stay out of the action after Sara’s brutal murder.
Bits & Arrows
– Great moment with our new Captain Lance recognizing the Arrow on national television. Plus Lance’s “If I’m not a cop then who am I?” scene with Laurel in the hospital was a perfect parallel to Ollie’s dilemma.
– Stephen Amell’s performance was superb this week. It was refreshing to see him smile and have fun again.
– Awesome touch with Ollie arriving at the Italian restaurant in Arrow garb and swiftly changing.
– Felicity sure looked gorgeous during that date.
– Lovely moment with Ollie telling Felicity she was the first person he truly “saw”.
– Visual highlight of the week: Arrow fighting Oliver (thanks to Vertigo). It’s an impeccably edited and choreographed fight scene.
– Every time I feel like Lance is going to die, he somehow survives. The guy might outlive us all.
– Palmer’s pitch is “Star City.” For those who don’t know, that’s the name of Starling City in the comics.
– How heartbreaking was it to see Felicity crying in the foreground as Diggle and Ollie argued?
– I got goosebumps when Oliver closed his eyes and overcame the Vertigo effect.
– Felicity saying the word “Scrumptious” (my favorite term in the dictionary) makes me feel like my life is complete.
– Will the Olicity kiss become the most popular GIF of all time?
– If you don’t remember, Sara’s final line to Laurel about always saving the world is the exact same thing Tommy told Laurel in the pilot, complete with a shot of Laurel proudly walking away. Love the symmetry with both characters who said the line eventually dying.
– So who do you think killed Sara? A lot of people online seem to think it’s Thea and not the obvious answer (Ra’s Al Ghul who’s our Big Bad this year).
– Sara’s mask on the floor at the end… Pick it up Laurel! Pick it up and put it on NOW!
Felicity: Copy that or is it roger? I never know the difference.
Oliver: Last girlfriend, she’s in the League of Assassins. My girlfriend before that, she shot my girlfriend before that. I’m not… mot exactly a catch at the moment.
Oliver: You like Italian, right? Everyone likes Italian.
Felicity: Oliver, you’re in the middle of a high speed chase.
Oliver: I’m multitasking.
Layla: You look a little scared.
Diggle: Honey, please, I’ve thrown down with the Taliban, Malcolm Merlyn, and a host of mirakuru-powered human weapons. I’m terrified.
Felicity: Well, we’ve already exhausted every topic that one would normally talk about on a first date, and a second date, and a third date, and every date actually. And I’ve already seen you shirtless…multiple times… all the time.
Oliver: I’m just a little out of my element. The entire time that I was gone, I could never… completely trust someone. And when that goes on for so long, You stop… Seeing people for people. You see… threats.
Ray: So sorry I am late. Traffic was terrible, which is why I took my helicopter. I parked on your roof, I hope that’s okay. You guys validate, right?
Felicity: (to Ray) My friends just had a baby, So if you don’t mind, there’s another slimy little human that needs my attention.
Laurel: And here I thought that you used up all of your League of Assassin vacation days.
Sara: Laurel Lance. Always trying to save the world.
Laurel: Runs in the family.
A haunting ending helps make The Calm a highly memorable season premiere.