Two episodes into the second season of the CW's Arrow and things are already off to a good start, which leaves us feeling pretty confident that Arrow is going to be the show to break to so called 'curse of Glau.' After appearing in a string of cancelled TV shows, Firefly and Serenity actress Summer Glau is now playing ruthless businesswoman Isabel Rochev, who is reluctantly forced into a working relationship with Oliver thanks to them both owning equal shares in Queen Consolidated.
With Arrow's ever-growing roster of villains now set to reach back into the Firefly bag and pluck out another actor, it seems that we'll have a family reunion on our hands. Sean Maher, who played River Tam's concerned older brother and fellow fugitive Simon Tam in both Firefly and Serenity, is set to make a guest appearance as another villain from DC's roster this season.
According to THR, Maher will be playing Mark Scheffer AKA Shrapnel, who has appeared in a range of different DC comics and whose job as a hit man is made much more efficient by the fact that his body is constructed entirely from razor sharp pieces of metal, which he can fire from off at will - and continue to control even once they're detached from him.
Shrapnel is superpowered in a pretty hardcore way, and he's not the only character being introduced this season who strays outside of the realms of normality that Arrow has so far more or less stuck. Probably the biggest game-changer will be The Flash, played by Grant Gustin in three episodes of the second season and potentially in a spin-off series as well. It's been confirmed by the show's producers that Barry Allen will definitely have extra-normal speed and that this will open the door for other fantastical characters, though executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has also said that he wants to keep the show "as grounded and realistic as possible."
The writers could, of course, choose to put a more realistic spin on Shrapnel by having his weaponized metal in the form of some kind of gadget, or by giving him clothes that are covered in blades - that make it impossible to fight him without getting shredded. Very little is known about this villain's backstory in the comics, so the writers could get creative with it in the show, but it's a shame that Maher will apparently only be around for one episode this season. Let's hope he gets a little more screen time than Constantine Drakon got in the pilot episode.
To recap, the other new characters coming into play this season are Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White), Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), Black Canary (Caity Lotz), Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro), Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and Professor Ivo (Dylan Neal). It's got to be gratifying for fans of the comic books to see the show's writers so keen to draw on the source material for characters, and it keeps us constantly guessing as to who might make an appearance next.
Arrow continues tonight with ‘Broken Dolls’ @8pm on The CW.