It’s no secret that Arrow’s third season was a mess. Sure it had its bright spots, but the emphasis on Olicity and the poorly-plotted League of Assassins arc ended up producing a subpar season. All summer long, I’ve wondered if the show would be able to bounce back and regain what once made it so special. It’s too soon to tell, but this premiere was definitely a step in the right direction.
Most importantly, Oliver Queen isn’t a depressing lead anymore. I get that the writers wanted to focus on his identity crisis and PTSD, but three seasons of that became immensely draining and repetitive. Thankfully, he’s now adopted a new persona, “The Green Arrow”, while embracing the lighter side of life. I myself am not an Olicity fan, but I found myself surprisingly amused by their suburbia scenes. Maybe now that the writers have gotten this forced coupling out of their system, they can focus on crafting a proper season instead of all the irritating angst we had to endure last year. They even managed some effective damage control with regards to Felicity; instead of crying the entire episode, she actually showed initiative and made it clear to Ollie that they had to be there for their friends and their city. Well done.
Green Arrow also saw the introduction of the show’s newest big bad: Damien Darhk. Neal McDonough made an immediate impression as the ruthless villain, and his introductory episode also served to acquaint us with his mysterious otherworldly powers. It’s a bit insane to think that Arrow (which prided itself on being so “grounded” in its debut year) now has characters who are telekinetic and who can kill people with a single touch, but maybe this kind of threat is exactly the kind of urgency the show needs. McDonough can make any line sound ominous, so it’s definitely a pleasure to have him on board.
There’s no denying the fact that the flashbacks were downright pointless last season, but this year’s sequences already feel like they have a lot more potential thanks to Amanda dropping Ollie back in Lian Yu. I’m curious to see what “threat”‘ he has to assess, and how it ties into the whole mystical angle the show is going for this year. Please don’t drop the ball here writers.
And what about that flash-forward at the end? Apparently, the show’s writing team hasn’t even decided whose grave Oliver is mourning, which certainly doesn’t have me optimistic that they have the season properly mapped out. Ideally, I’d like it to be Felicity, but it will probably end up being Detective Lance (partnering up with Damien will surely have horrifying consequences). Hopefully we’ll have our answer by the midseason finale.
Bits & Arrows
– Just like the comic books, Starling City is now Star City (in memory of Ray Palmer who no one even mentioned this week).
– Excellent action scene with Black Canary on the motorcycle, Speedy kicking ass, and Diggle dropping in for the save! I just love it when the team works together.
– You know Diggle’s new costume isn’t so bad in live action. The promo shot made it look much MUCH worse.
– Did you catch the reference to “Flash Day”? Chris wrote a great review for that show’s second season premiere.
– Although I loved Laurel saving her father with a kickass fight scene (as the city leaders started getting offed), I didn’t like that HE was the one to save her after she was held at gunpoint. Way to undermine your superhero writers! Also, why didn’t she just use the Canary Cry? Ugh.
– I can see the writers haven’t gotten over reusing the same lines in both the past and present. Both Laurel and Amanda Waller said the “who you are in your bones” line to Oliver and made me cringe both times.
– I hope Diggle’s drama with Oliver won’t last too long, as it just feels like we’ve there before. Even Lyla has forgiven him and she was the one who was kidnapped.
– Very amusing moment with Ollie ordering the team around and their shocked reactions.
– How badass is Ollie’s new suit?
– Although she still feels a bit too childish, I enjoyed Thea’s enthusiasm while kicking ass, and I’m intrigued to see more of the after-effects of her Lazarus Pit resurrection.
– Laurel winking at a little boy was pretty cute.
– Diggle telling Ollie that he can’t “love” or “trust” was pretty harsh wasn’t it? But I kind of loved it.
– If only the promos hadn’t spoiled that fantastic moment with Darhk freezing Ollie’s arrows in midair. The fight scene was wicked cool though, as was Ollie blowing up the train.
– Hopefully Oliver will never propose to Felicity. I’m sorry but I will never buy this coupling no matter how much chemistry Emily and Stephen might have.
– Any thoughts on what kind of ritual Damien was doing there at the end?
– I am beyond pleased that Laurel doesn’t wear a wig anymore as the Black Canary. That thing was atrocious, and Katie Cassidy doesn’t need it.
– So Thea’s fancy apartment is now Olicity’s, and she’s living at Laurel’s now. I hope we see more of Thea and Laurel’s dynamic going forward.
– Barry’s appearance at the end there was very random.
Thea: This is so cool!
Laurel: We’re really gonna have to work on your definition of cool.
Diggle: Among other things, Kord Industries is one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world.
Thea: They also make a really awesome cell phone.
Damien: None of you seem particularly likable, but if you do have any friends or anyone who does love you, I suggest you say goodbye.
Oliver: You’re uncharacteristically quiet.
Felicity: What should I say? Our friends need our help. We should already be in the car.
Lyla: I’m not saying he made the right choice. But if Oliver Queen always made the right choice, he wouldn’t need you.
Oliver: Felicity, you said there wasn’t even email in Bali.
Felicity: I know! But we both know I’m just that good.
Thea: Well, you’ve managed to be back, what, 24 hours before giving me a lecture. Think I owe Laurel 50 bucks.
Lance: This town started going to crap the moment you put on that hood. You brought madness into all of our lives, and the monster you were, inspired monsters.
Felicity: So my guilt for displacing Thea is only slightly outweighed by how amazing this place is.
Oliver: Ra’s stabbed her right over there.
Oliver: We can get a rug.
While it wasn’t mind-blowing by any means, some thrilling set-pieces and interesting new dynamics gave this premiere a ton of potential. I’m optimistic.