Welcome to the first of what will (fingers crossed) be a regular thing here at NerdLush as I recap the second season of Arrow! Before we start this up, some quick housekeeping and a brief explanation why this is coming in so late: due to circumstances beyond my control (or “moving and having my internet offline” as they call it), I had no time to review the season premiere (and the following episode) until now. If you read my previous posts on the show, you know the first season ended on a pretty dramatic note for everyone involved. So with that, let’s check in on Starling City and see how things have gone during this hiatus…
Back To The Island…For The First Time. We start things off with Oliver running shirtless in what looks like a forest, and he stops to see a plane flying over the place. That place happens to be the same island Ollie spent all those years on (and more on those times later), and the plane is carrying two passengers who parachute down to see him: Diggle and Felicity. After a nice little saving of Felicity from a land mine thanks to Ollie, we get to why the two of them are there to see their friend: with no one in charge of Queen Enterprises thanks to Moira being incarcerated, there’s the threat of a hostile takeover from corporate vultures, and that threat could put thousands of employees out of work. As Ollie points out, he doesn’t want to put on the hood again after what happened to the Glades and Tommy’s death. Of course, this show hasn’t been renamed Oliver Queen, so really, let’s see how long that lasts.
The Prodigal Son Returns…Returns. So how have things been in Starling City since Malcolm Merlyn trashed the Glades? Well, the Glades looks even worse than ever and more desolate, so Malcolm failed there. Thea is running Ollie’s club now and dealing with the usual relationship issues with Roy (you know, like Roy going off to fight criminals and Thea being all bothered by it). Laurel has become an assistant DA, and as we discover later, has a lot of issues about what happened with Tommy and Merlyn. Quentin is no longer a detective, and is busted down to a beat cop. And in a reversal of both father and daughter from season one, Quentin is on the vigilante’s side, while Laurel isn’t. On the other hand, no one’s giving Ollie grief for being absent from town again like last season, so that’s a win.
Hood-groupies. Ollie learns of another reason why he’s been brought home: a group of extreme vigilantes known as the Hoods is taking payback of the rich of Starling, and we discover that just as they assassinate the mayor! When they hear Ollie’s back in town, they decide to make the Queen family (your kids want to thank you again for helping that whole “destroy the Glades” thing, Moira) their next target. First, they go after Ollie during his meeting with the VP of the company looking to take over Queen Enterprises, Isabel Rochev, which has another Ollie sweeping Felicity off her feet Tarzan style (although its not from a land mine but down several floors of his own building). Afterwards, Diggle asks Ollie why he didn’t just take out the Hoods when he had the chance, and here’s where the guilt over Tommy comes in. He feels by killing people now, he’ll turn into the cold-blooded killer Tommy always feared he would be. Obviously the answer to this to not kill anyone, but we’ll get there in a minute…
Getting His Hood On. Well, if the Hoods can’t get Ollie at his own building, they improvise another way to him: by kidnapping Thea at the Verdant. Thanks to Roy trying to be a hero, a big clue is dropped in Ollie’s way with one of the Hoods having an appliance to make up for most of his hand. Ollie wants to find Thea, and that’s when Diggle and Felicity show Ollie the new, improved, and still workout rack inclusive HQ. Oh, and Felicity had a custom made bow waiting for him too. Someone’s definitely winning an employee of the year award, aren’t they? So, Ollie tracks down the quartet of baddies and decides to not kill them while saving Thea, making him re-assess how he wants to approach this whole vigilante business from here on in (step one: get rid of that silly “Hood” and “vigilante” moniker).
Mom’s Got A New Wardrobe. Speaking of Thea, she really doesn’t want to see her mom in prison, but thanks to that whole “I got kidnapped by a bunch of guys who lost someone when the Glades was trashed” ordeal, she finally opens up to Moira. Mommy Queen also helps Ollie with his big problem of stopping the buyout of the company by Rochev by suggesting he go to “family” for help. That help is Walter, who’s now running the city bank, and who buys the remaining company stocks out. So Ollie and Isabel are partners in the same company, which I’m sure will go off well. That noise you weren’t able to hear was me mouthing “no”.
Hey, About The Island… In our flashback, we see Slade, Ollie, and Shado bonding (in the case of the latter two, more so), and dealing with trouble when Shado is taken captive and beaten by someone looking for “the graves”. Ollie hears enough of this before caving this guy’s head in with a rock, and the voices on the other end of the dead man’s walkie-talkie suggest he wasn’t alone. So cut to a cargo freighter patrolling the island, which looks kind of like that sunken ship we see in the beginning of the episode. So we have some kind of mystery for the flashbacks this season.
Another Hero Pops Up. We get one more mystery before the episode ends as Roy tries to fight some muggers, but gets saved by a woman in a skintight jumpsuit. What does all of this mean? Why hasn’t anyone really brought up what happened to Malcolm, besides of course, him being dead right? RIGHT? Will Felicity stop looking up Ollie’s high school test scores (D- in Algebra, BTW) because that is kind of stalker-y? Will we get to see Ollie exercising on that rack thing again? Well the answer to that last question is obviously “yes”, but the rest, we’ll see next time…
–Comic book connections: besides Isabel being one of the less obvious adversaries for Oliver, there’s the Black Canary who in the comic, happens to be Laurel Lance. But since it seems Laurel is not all into getting into tights and fighting crime right now, how this mystery Canary fits into things this season will be interesting to unravel.
–So why did Quentin get knocked down to a uniform cop? Apparently helping a vigilante stop one earthquake machine from killing more people does that.
–Alderman Blood? We’re a step away from Judge Dredd-esque name territory here, people.
–All I can say is don’t be a mayor in Starling City. Your brutal murder on live TV will just be washed over by Oliver Queen’s chiseled looks. And seriously, mayor gets shot dead, and your main story is on Ollie? That’s what you go with as your top story if your mayor hasn’t been killed by four hooded men with machine guns.
–Felicity about all those Isabel headshot photos: “She looks angry in every photo.” Well, to combat the angry Summer Glau photos and appearance this episode, here’s a kind of happy, yet slightly disturbing photo:
–Also, Felicity failed with the bagels at that meeting.
So what did you think? Enjoy the setup for the season? Having issues with someone under the age of 21 running a club? Any suggestions on subjects you want me to bring up for future episodes? Comment below, and we’ll see you here for “Identity”…