My Catch-Up on ARROW, Part 2: Thoughts on the first season

7 Oct


Earlier this year, I talked about my thoughts on Arrow during its mid-season hiatus, and with the second season about to premiere this month, I thought it would be fitting to reflect back on some of the pluses and minuses of season one.  There are some spoilers, so catch up before you read this:

–To Kill or Not to Kill, Oliver Queen?  One of the big conflicts of the show has been Oliver’s quest to bring justice to the corrupt, and how sometimes, his black and white solutions to dealing with that (and by dealing with it, I mean shooting it in the heart with an arrow) get turned gray.  Sometimes killing the problem is easy, but dealing with the ramifications of that is worse.  His partner, bodyguard Diggle, is trying to steer Oliver towards being so absolute in his solutions, and sometimes he succeeds.  But with his measured failure and loss at the end of the season finale, what will happen to Oliver’s quest now?  Speaking about that “failure”…    

–The Bad Guy Wins!  All throughout the first season, Oliver Queen had been trying to figure out what the mysterious “Undertaking” was, and found out it was a big scheme created by Malcolm Merlyn (dad of his best friend Tommy) and his dad to clean out the vagrants of Starling City…by destroying the dilapidated area of the city with them in it!  As insane as that sounds, and as much as Oliver thinks he succeeded in stopping the plan at the last minute, Malcolm hedged his bets and most of that area got reduced to rubble.  Malcolm’s dead (right?), but his mad plan got executed, even though it only did half of the damage it was supposed to do.  And then there’s the collateral damage, namely Tommy getting killed, which is crucial going into season two for Oliver and where he is when we find him after all this.

I'm kind of hoping Malcolm doesn't pull a Jack Harkness on us for season two.

I’m kind of hoping Malcolm doesn’t pull a Jack Harkness on us for season two.

–Shout-Outs!  Being this is based on a comic book, there are some nice shout-outs to the DC Universe of books.  Already we’ve had some nice twists on characters like the Royal Flush Gang (in an appearance more in tune to the Nolan Batman films than something like the Justice League cartoon), and even bringing in characters not always in the Green Arrow orbit like the Huntress and Deathstroke.  Even tech girl Felicity Smoak comes from the Firestorm book, and seems to fit in nicely enough to be a regular player in the show next season.  And then there’s that upcoming appearance by a not quite realistic speedster later on that will have to be paid attention to.

–Guest Stars Galore!  The show is a fanboy’s wet dream at times when it comes to casting its guest stars.  You had John Barrowman from Torchwood as season one villain Malcolm, and recently upgraded from guest star for season two, Manu Bennett (Spartacus) as Deathstroke, among others.  Then there’s the occasional guest villain of the week, filled with geek-radar detectable actors like James Callis (Battlestar Galactica), Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King), J. August Richards (Angel), and Ben Browder (Farscape).  And season two already has some great guest stars lined up from Summer Glau (Firefly) and Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite).

–The Past and The Present!  One of the fun elements of Arrow has been seeing the flashback to Oliver’s time stuck on the island, and seeing how it applies to the present day.  We all know Oliver will survive this mess and end up back in Starling City to fight crime, but it’s the little mysteries that keep this interesting.  Like, when and, more to the point, where did he get that tattoo for the Russian Mafia done?  There will be still some flashbacks in season two apparently, but how they’ll play into that will be interesting to watch.

And now, some of the minuses:

–What Should We Call Him?  Clearly this show is not called Green Arrow, but that may be a less odd moniker for Oliver Queen than being called things like “the vigilante” or “the hood” by almost everyone who runs into him.  I get that there is some degree of realism that the producers want with the show, but that seems to be the clumsiest example of it going wrong.  Hopefully Oliver will get a better name for his alter ego going into season two.

–Something More for the Ladies!  Ok, I got no problems with the characters of Laurel and Thea on the show, but I got the feeling midway through season one they got lost in the shuffle of the whole Undertaking storyline.  You had Laurel drifting away from Tommy to hook up with Oliver, only to lose Tommy, and Thea was pretty much Roy’s girl Friday in finding “the vigilante”.  When a supporting character like Felicity has more development than the main female leads, that’s a problem that has to be remedied.  From reading up on what’s coming from season two, a lot of those concerns are going to be addressed, and hopefully successfully.

He's better looking than me or you.  Deal with it.

He’s better looking than me or you. Deal with it.

–How Many Shirtless Montages Do We Really Need?  Alright, this is more personal than anything else, but I understand why Oliver has to do all his extreme exercising shirtless: you got a cut from granite actor with scar tissue applied to him, and that just gets the female audience (which explains the success of the Beauty and the Beast remake way too on the nose).  But what about all us slightly unchiseled guys who’ve got no chance of looking like that and feeling inferior for it?  While this seems petty to you, reader, please keep in mind, if this is one of the rare few minuses I can dig out of the first season of Arrow, that’s a good reflection of how enjoyable the show is right now.

But hey, this is all one writer’s opinion.  What do you think about the show as season two is about tot start up?  Thoughts?  Theories?  Possible slashfan scenarios?  Leave your comments below…

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