Turns out all that needed to happen for me to become far more interested in Arrow once more was to throw Oliver Queen behind bars and for vigilantes to become outlawed in Star City. There is something far more engaging about the characters when they are facing actual consequences from things and are having to find lives outside the mask while finding ways to keep helping the city and protecting one another. Even Ricardo Diaz feels far more threatening this season compared to how lame he felt last season (I so did not buy the just introduced drug kingpin as the behind the scenes mastermind playing everyone).
Oliver Queen is a compelling character for many reasons, Stephen Amell’s acting as him being a big high point of that, but when he has nothing to lose and doesn’t have to brood and live a secret life he’s even more engaging. Seeing him learn the ropes of prison and employing some tricks he learned from Felicity to try and play the prison game shows that he’s still the guy who will do anything to protect those he cares about. He might not be the hooded hero anymore on the streets, but he’s still the Arrow in his heart and soul. Even his solution to get information was so Arrow like, stab himself to get rid of a guard to keep a deal with Brick.
Flashforwards are a tricky thing in most fiction, especially the ongoing kind. The longer that a fiction goes on the more that flashforwards become something that the viewer/reader knows will never come true. Like with comics, the birthplace of most of the show’s characters, the ongoing story means that things will keep changing with new creative teams and mandates and generations so that the future that was shown before can’t happen because characters change, die, get older, etc. So the flashforwards that are now part of this season are things that we know can’t come true unless the show lasts for way longer than it probably should, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their uses. Not only do we get to see an older William, who is revealed to be part of the LGBTQ community as he speaks about an ex-boyfriend, and Roy Harper and get to learn some about potential story points from this season’s possible outcome. They could be erased by the ongoing story and any future seasons, but for the time being its a fun way to explore the what ifs and the what might be points of the season.
As mentioned at the start, seeing the gang having to try and do things without being their usual vigilante selves is very interesting. Their instincts are to go out and do these things, try and bring down Diaz and the Longbow Hunters themselves. Honestly, can’t blame Felicity for not trusting ARGUS to do the job because they’ve not been the most effective organization over the series history. Last season they couldn’t even get agents into Star City when Cayden James took over because he alone was smarter and better than they were. Their old director was murdered within their walls, so Felicity and Rene wanting to do things on their own makes a lot of sense, also because of the whole vengeance and Diaz coming after Felicity and William.
I’m really sort of tired of Laurel being around. The series had at last been making the original Laurel more interesting then they offed her for stupid reasons, only to bring in the back and forth between good and bad and insane version of Laurel from Earth 2. Her slipping back into Laurel’s life to be DA and claim to care about the deceased Quentin just churns the stomach. After all she’s done watching her parade around as the real Laurel just makes it so I can’t really deal with her. I get that the writers/producers/etc wanted to keep working with Katie Cassidy but I wish they had let her move on to other things or at least offered her something better than this part. Hopefully, the character goes away at some point.
A lot of last season focused around Diggle trying to take over as Green Arrow, even taking drugs to do it, but the honest and frank conversation he had with Felicity this week was a big logical change. He’s right, being under the hood ruined the lives of Oliver, Felicity and William as they face prison and being hunted and shipped away. After all that he has heaped on Lilah and John Jr, it makes sense that Diggle chose not to honor Oliver’s wishes to don the hood again. Being Green Arrow is a blessing and a curse, just like all other superhero identities. You’re there to help others and save the day, but your regular life takes the brunt of it time and time again.
Per usual, the fighting choreography on this show is amazing, especially that fight between Silencer and Laurel & Dinah where not a single sound could be heard and both the Canary’s sonic powers were effectively useless. These Longbow Hunters are no pushovers, proving to be quite a match for the various characters. Red Dart and Kodiak made quick work of John’s ARGUS agents once again proving how sort of useless that organization is compared to the characters we know (the ones that got plot armor and all).
With just two episodes so far, Arrow has successfully roped me back in, at least for the time being. There is still a chance that things could be dragged out way too long and lose me but right now the whole narrative is very intriguing. Seeing Team Arrow breaking and cracking is nothing new, last season had that whole old crew vs new crew lame civil war, but there is far more behind it this time and it feels more real. They are all moving in different directions, some of them truly moving on from the vigilante life trying to regain their normal lives in the process. Others are bent on vengeance and/or trying to get back things they lost. At the same time, the future stories of William and Roy heading to future Star City have me very much intrigued. Who we’ll run into during those stories will surely add some more drama.
Score: 8 out of 10