Starling City has changed and it also has some intriguing new inhabitants.
What They Say:
City Of Heroes – Felicty and Diggle head to Lian Yu to look for Oliver; Isabel Rochev prepares a hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated; Roy tries to fill the Arrow’s absence.
The first season of Arrow pretty much gave me a whole lot of what I wanted out of a superhero reality based show. After ten seasons of Smallville where so many of the first five or six seasons were so frustrating in how they dealt with it, Arrow went right in and played in the fertile ground that it has and reveled in it while making mostly the right adaptations to the small screen. It also gave me something I didn’t realize I wanted with the extended flashback sequence on the island that had us meet Slade Wilson and what he represents as a potential future player. That arc simply dominated a lot of the series for me and gave it a larger and more thorough feeling, filling in the back story where it was useful and expanding who Oliver is with some truly defining context. And, frankly, the season killed it with most of the actors that were picked and exceeded expectations with Stephen Amell for me as Oliver. So the second season, which has a lot riding on it with what they want to do, is set to try and expand things even more and that’s been something that has had me excited for several months now.
Changes are afoot in Starling City as time has passed since the end of the first season and the tragedy in the Glades. While Oliver’s mother is being prepared for her trial, Oliver has been hiding out back on the island where Diggle and Felicity have come to draw him back to do what’s right. Starling City has certainly changed, as he learns, as Laurel is now working in the DA’s office since there’s no place for her old place to open up any more. Thea has taken over the bar and is excelling at it while Roy has taken to doing what he can to try and carry on the Hood’s mission. There’s also a great little nod and foundation laying going on here as we’re told how Central City is helping out with things and that Star Labs is working on completing their particle accelerator. Can you say Flash? I knew you could.
While Oliver has no intention of wearing the Hood again, he’s got to deal with a different issue as a woman named Isabel Rochev that’s the VP for Stellmoor Industries is set on a hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated. Considering what the company has been through, it’s little surprise that it’s lost a bit of value along the way and is ripe for such an event. Of course, events there aren’t going to go smoothly as Rochev is intent on winning and it comes at the same time that the group of four copycat vigilantes have decided to go after Oliver due to what his mother did to their families in the Glades as well as the fact that Queen Consolidated build the machine that destroyed it all. It really does fit together nicely and while you don’t exactly want to see violence out there like this, it’s also completely understandable.
Not surpisingly, it doesn’t take long for Oliver to be drawn back into being the Hood as Thea gets kidnapped in his place. That does the fun reveal of the changes made to the “Arrowcave” that Felicity and Diggle did in order to make it a lot better and more functional for what she does for him. Felicity has definitely made herself a part of the team based on what happened at the end of the first season and she’s just as committed as the rest of them and wants to see it through to do the right, even if there is a body count at times. This ties in to Oliver’s past well on the island as we see how he gets about those that he cares about when they’re in danger. He’s long had focus and a certain kind of restraint to him, but when it comes to those he loves, some of those restraints disappear.
And that is part of what the change of this season will be, to shift from vigilante to hero and to “find another way” to deal with those that cause problems. Some of it will work out well for others in a way as we see how Officer Lance can benefit from it, but mostly it’s about the evolution of Oliver and how it will truly help to inspire others. With the copycats learning the wrong things about what he did, it’s a good bit of inspiration and clarity for him that he has to change things. That may be a bit of an adjustment for the others that know him, but it’s also going to be something that can really challenge him in the future with the opponents he’s going to face. It’s all standard setup but it’s nicely executed and gives the show just the right nudge to move on without being trapped in a a particular mode.
Arrow pretty much does everything that I want with its season opener. While Oliver comes back quicker than one might think, the show is now shifting gears in trying to do the right thing and to be a hero, not a vigilante. There will be those that will always view him that way, but as he does things in the new way that he’s trying to find, he’ll inspire others. We see that in Roy, we’ll likely see that in the arrival of our (not so) mysterious Black Canary at the end and we’ll see it on others as well. THe show sets several things into motion in this episode and fans can obviously see where it’s going and enjoy the banter and the way it progresses as well as the twists that will certainly come with it. Arrow has been my most anticipated returning series of the season and while it’s not a huge opener in a way, it gives me exactly what I wanted and leaves me craving more.