‘Arrow’ Season 2 Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 10th, 2013 at 8:18 am,

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Arrow City of Heroes Arrow Season 2 Premiere Review

Last season, Arrow took Oliver Queen to the verge of becoming something more than a mere vigilante on a deadly mission to save his city. But before he could take the next step into becoming a full-fledged hero, the Hood, Arrow or the Vigilante – whatever you like to call him – found his resolve tested in a way he never thought possible, and the first season of The CW’s biggest hit in years wound up ending on a surprisingly dour note that also made a sometimes goofy superhero procedural feel more legitimate and grounded.

As season 2 opens up with ‘City of Heroes,’ Arrow is first tasked with getting the audience caught up on where everyone stands, how much time has passed, how Starling City plans to deal with the aftermath of the Undertaking, and the revelation that Malcolm Merlyn had planned to kill thousands in the first step of creating his new vision for the city. That’s a lot of exposition to handle, and to the credit of Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim, they manage to work through it quickly and in an entertaining fashion that includes Oliver swinging from a tree to pluck Felicity Smoak from being reduced to a smoldering pair of eyeglasses after she inadvertently steps on a land mine.

Beginning season 2 back on the island Oliver left in the series premiere is a nice touch (Deathstroke mask and all), and a way to ease into the sometimes-choppy transition that comes from switching the main narrative to the flashback sequences. But it’s a skill the series is going to have to learn after promoting Manu Bennett from guest star to series regular.

As with the present day story, the flashbacks have made a small jump in time, long enough that Stephen Amell has been fitted with a new, less awkward-looking wig for when he gets to play a semi-green (pun!) Oliver Queen, who is straddling the fence between defenseless billionaire playboy and newly-trained killing machine. This maturation of the character in these flashback sequences leads to a demonstration of Oliver’s ferocity and his growing competence with regard to his hand-to-hand combat skills; but, more importantly, it is tied closely into the present day issue of Oliver’s reluctance to don the green hood out of respect for Tommy’s memory – or at least because he no longer wishes to take lives for the sake of his mission.

Summer Glau in Arrow City of Heroes Arrow Season 2 Premiere Review

To their credit, Berlanti & Co. avoid using Tommy’s death too overtly, but they also know that in order for it to mean something beyond last season’s finale there needs to be some sort of carry over. Here, Arrow manages to weave nearly all of the threads running through ‘City of Heroes’ through the ramifications of the destruction of the Glades and, by extension (for Oliver and Laurel, anyway), the death of Tommy Merlyn.

While Oliver struggles with the social fallout of Moira being publicly connected to the Undertaking – which partially comes in the form of a potential hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated by ruthless businesswoman Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) – he is also struggling with the emotional and ethical fallout of his inability to stop Malclom and prevent his friend’s death. Although this could have been a simple and familiar comic book trope of the hero turning from his destiny because of the weight of all the lives he couldn’t save, the episode does a decent job in presenting the idea that shunning his alter ego completely would have more disastrous long-term results for his city and the people he loves than the simple dearth of a single hooded vigilante.

Oliver finds the Vigilante’s absence has created a vacuum of sorts, one that a gang of copycats has eagerly decided to fill. While the Hoods are a temporary, yet dangerous threat that must be reckoned with – they manage to assassinate the mayor, infiltrate Queen Consolidated’s boardroom and kidnap Thea – the more dangerous aspect caused by the Vigilante’s disappearance actually refers to the idea that was created by Oliver when he first donned the green hood and started shooting one percenters who had failed Starling City. By making Oliver’s first adversaries this season victims of Malcolm’s earthquake machine, the premiere suggests that in post-Undertaking Starling City, the idea of someone battling social injustice by operating outside of societal and legal norms is somehow not only a good thing, but it’s also something that just about anyone can become.

Stephen Amell and Willa Holland in Arrow City of Heroes Arrow Season 2 Premiere Review

This is reflected not only in the violent gang cavorting around in the name of the Hood, but also in the continuing adventures of Roy Harper: Boy Vigilante and, probably to a greater degree, the mysterious blonde haired woman who jumped to Roy’s defense after a trio of street toughs looked to be gaining the upper hand in a fight against him. Whatever Oliver thought he stood for at the end of season 1 and again at the beginning of ‘City of Heroes,’ it’s clear his actions have captured the imagination (and fists) of people all over Starling City – and perhaps beyond.

Season 2 starts off by illustrating the physical and emotional wounds that were inflicted on account of Malcolm Merlyn’s Undertaking and, to a lesser extent, Oliver Queen’s failure in completely stopping it. But ‘City of Heroes’ isn’t only interested in examining the lingering effects of the last season’s events; it’s also interested in what will be the next stage of a hero’s evolution. The episode spends a great deal of time and expends some clunky dialogue in getting the point of Oliver’s new no-kill (or at least try-not-to-kill) policy across. By the end, it’s pretty clear the message has been received.

It’s an unsurprising, but logical step in the maturation of not only Oliver Queen, but of the show itself. It will be interesting to see where this leads the series in the coming weeks.


Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Identity’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below:

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. The premiere was awesome! I loved it!

    Can’t wait for Brother Blood, and whoever else they’re gonna throw at us.

    • I wasn’t sure if it was Brother Blood, but as soon as I read “Vote for Blood,” he’s the first person I thought of.

      • It is it was confirmed at the SDCC panel this year.

  2. miss pretty face …. wuts her purpose in the show ?

  3. their finally gonna call him green arrow!! yay!! man season 2 premiere was awesome

  4. The premiere definitely exceeded my expectations. I thought most of the first season was too Smallville-ish in that the dialogue was pretty cheesy at times and the characters were kinda cartoonish but trying to be serious. I think the camera angles kinda bug me too. Too much panning around in a big circle. But I digress. This episode definitely raised the bar. I enjoyed the more honest tone of the show. The characters seemed more real and believable. I wish we had seen a little more of Black Canary than just that quick ending scene but I liked what I saw, especially the costume. Also, as a fan of the canon and keeping things close to the comics, I’m happy she’s going to be Sara Lance. Granted, she’s not actually from the comics, but I’m glad Black Canary will still be a Lance. I’m optimistic about this season. I hope they don’t end up making it cheesy like Smallville.

    • i wonder how they will bring her back to life. did she end up on a different mysterious island and get some training? is she going to spin-off into her own series?

      • I’m reeeeeeeeeeally hoping she ended up getting trained by Wildcat like in the comics. He’s also perfect for the tone Arrow is going with. He’s a normal human (no powers), tough guy attitude, world class boxer, underground crime connections, and there’s a lot that can be done with him as a possible father figure for her or potential love interest. That would be great drama between her and her dad and/or Oliver. He was also a great mentor for up and coming heroes back in the 40′s which means he could very easily be turned into the type of hero that teaches the younger ones what it really means to be a hero. It’d also be cool to see him and Deathstroke fight some time later.

        • Yes, Wildcat please!

  5. I like this show but for the love of god please get rid of the eyeliner. Give the guy a mask already.

    • That’s coming up next I’d presume because now he’s got a new name along with a little better of a look so could premume he’d get the traditional Green Arrow eye mask.

      • I wanted Huntress to have her traditional mask as well. They just need to find a good enough excuse for them to wear their classic masks that is buy-able.

  6. disappointing

  7. Finally arrow(soon to be green arrow..heck yeah!) is back. MAoS this is how it is done.

  8. Did anyone else notice the S.T.A.R Labs reference?

    • yeah, i’m ready for the Flash.

  9. Flash origins setup I guess. Also News 52 anchor Bethany Snow reference.

  10. great premiere! looking forward to the rest of the season.

    ALso caught the tomorrow people and thought that was pretty good too. looks like i have my wednesdays full now.

  11. ‘Gang of copycats’, hmmm, where have I seen that before? Quite recently in fact.

    And is that black wolverine?

    Finally, give us flash already! (Even though I can’t really see them pulling off a decent flash that could somehow transition into the JL movie)

    • That’s Bronze Tiger. He’s an assassin and a member of the League of Assassins (Which they’ll appear in episode 5). Also they’re bringing in the Suicide Squad as well

  12. I thought the premiere was great and smoothly transitioned from the end of last season. The movement toward the “no-kill…if at all possible” policy was believable, and I loved how Diggle and Felicity helped Oliver begin to resolve his demons. The Black Canary intro at the end was cool, and I enjoyed hearing the Star Labs reference (which might not only be a hint at the coming of Flash but could ALSO be used for a possible set up for the Arrowverse’s version of Cyborg).

    Only one episode into Season 2 (not enough to REALLY judge, of course…but continuing a successfully developing formula), but…so far, so good. :)

    • Oh, and I like how Roy is continuing his march toward “super” heroism as Speedy, Red Arrow, and/or Arsenal…and in Red, no less.

  13. I enjoyed the season premiere they should keep the momentum going with China White and Bronze Tiger showing up in next weeks episode.The Easter eggs: S.T.A.R. Labs, The Flash origins revelation, Brother Blood, Bethany Snow, Channel 52, The Deathstroke Mask and something tells me that was Team 7′s ship on the Island. They were mentioned last season or it can be Malcolm Merlyn the producers said they were going to bring him back to some capacity.

  14. The producers mentioned The Suicide Squad are we going to see Rick Flag Jr, The Clock King, Captain Boomerang, Plastique, Thorne, Nightshade and The Orchid. It be awesome to see Checkmate since vigilantes are on the rise. As for non- super powered heroes The Question, Wildcat, Blue Beetle, The Huntress ( returning), Arsenal/ Red Arrow, The Sandman, Doctor Midnight, The Hourman just to name a few.

  15. A well done episode. And I can’t wait till they call him green arrow. I hope next season or at the end of this season Oliver grows the van dyke.

  16. If Oliver is swinging down from a tree to save Felicity and ends up on top of her, it must have been a “seater” tree (cedar)!!

  17. i actually like the fact he doesnt have a name….cause green arrow now a days sounds like he is gonna recycle you

  18. Great start to the season! The one thing that stands out to me the most in Green Arrow is the choreography, it’s so well done and so much better compared to Shields… I like the maturation in the character too, Oliver is transforming from vigilante to hero!

    • I assume you’re talking about the fight choreography and you’re absolutely right. It’s light years ahead of AoS and the little I’ve seen in the Tomorrow People. I’d say those two are closer in comparison to the old star trek and Adam West Batman.

  19. This show is just…not good

    • You’re right…it is not just good…it’s great.

      • Indeed. I mean, it started off terrible, but tolerable. Now it’s equally as entertaining to me as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Falling Skies.

        • Breaking bad? Not even close in terms of quality

          • Breaking Bad is so f***ing overrated.

            • Agreed.

              • I think the reason people are more inclined to watch things like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones is the stories aren’t episodic; they’re long movies broken up into episodes. Each one is done as a sort of installment but not really an episode that can stand on it’s own as a story. I think it’s evident in the popularity of the Netflix original series. Theirs more character development, more nuance, and more depth to these stories when done in that way as opposed to short little vignettes. I think it adds to the quality. I don’t think Breaking Bad is overrated. Admittedly I haven’t gotten past season 2. I just think it’s a story that hasn’t been told before and audiences and hungry for that.

                • oh…There’s…wow. my apologies.

  20. I loved the premiere! They did a great job bringing all of the story lines together. I wanted him to say Green Arrow so bad! Just once, out loud, from his own lips, and I will be a happy little fangirl. Also, I know it probably won’t last, but yay for the end of Oliver and Laurel! My one thing with this show. Those two have absolutely no chemistry and I pretty much cringe every time they are on screen together. They can be friends, but can we please move on from the forced romance?

  21. I hope that he doesn’t go by “Arrow.” It needs to be Green Arrow! My dad is not a superhero fan, but he’s been watching the show with me and he was confused why I would act certain ways while watching. Like when Black Canary (hopefully) showed up, I had a big smile across my face and he was just staring at me in confusion. The reason I think it was BC was because of earlier in the show when Laurel punched out that copycat out of nowhere. It was so random that it had to be intentional for it to stand out like that.

  22. i was able to re-watch season one on blue ray just in time for the season two premiere and I have to say this is a darn good show, and last nights episode only solidified it for me. it was able to get its exposition out of the way and still set up the theme for this season which looks to be very interesting, for the character for Oliver and for the show itself. Is Brother Blood going to be the main bad guy this season, if so that would be sweet, even though he is technically a Teen Titans villain it would be cool to see Arrow’s spin on him. by the way props to the casting director for casting Menu Bennett as Slade Wilson he’s freaking awesome. great episode can’t wait for next week.

  23. Score: ARROW (1) / AGENTS OF S.H.E.I.L.D (0)

    • Lando’s son: still a loser keeping imaginary score…

  24. I always thought a particle accelerator would be a good way of giving Flash his speed. Good to see the Arrow people are thinking the same.

  25. My DVR recorder will be so busy this season

  26. Is it me or are there TOO many people fighting crime??

    • A madman destroyed a significant portion of their city and killed god knows how many people. The city hasn’t even begun to recover, someone has to step up.

    • There aren’t too many. In fact, 4 of the people we saw “fighting crime” were actually just killing people they didn’t like. At least in season 1 Oliver gave many of the people on the list a chance to rectify whatever it was they had done. They really played up the killing thing in this episode. Unnecessarily in my opinion. It’s not like he was just droppin bodies nightly. He was just willing to kill if he had to.

      • Yeah, I really don’t remember him killing that many people except maybe one in the first episode. They made it sound like he killed everyone.

  27. I really hope they start calling him GREEN ARROW, but it will probably be simply ARROW.

    Now… all he needs is a goatee! That would be hard to disguise though, Oliver and the vigilante both have goatees? Maybe he’d spirit gum a goatee on!

    • I actually think they will call him green arrow as they have sort of confirmed it in various comic con panels and interviews.

  28. Well, this was actually disappointing! The one reason that made this show awesome was that the “hero” actually killed people. While we don’t want to glorify violence, it gave the series something special. If they decide to have the bad guys handed over to the cops at the end of an episode from now on it becomes “just another superhero show”.

    The fact that we find our hero so emotionally unstable that he isolated himself to the island that he was trying to escape for the past 5 years is totally unbelievable. After a short speech – with previously well known facts to him – from F. and D. he appears back in the city. In contrast to the first season we find ourselves with a predictable story line, plot holes and poor writing in general.

    The company Qconsolidated faces a takeover by someone who -of course- wants to destroy the company. You know, in reality investors put money into companies and destroy them in order to loose money… OMG, whoever came up with this needs to do some reading on this kind of stuff. Finally to round things up and make the episode totally ridiculous the two investors end up with exactly 50% of the shares as they end up buying up the rest of the stocks equally (you know, as it always happens in real life).

    I can only imagine that some of the good writers of the first season have been replaced with mediocre ones to come up with this kind of BS. One more episode like this and I’m out.

    • …so you DON’T like logical character progression? As for bad writing, I’m no actually sure you watched the premiere if you really believe that.

  29. *noT*