TV Review: Arrow Season 2 Premiere “City of Heroes”

Arrow 2x01 Promo 4 1024x681 TV Review: Arrow Season 2 Premiere City of Heroes

After spending so much time lately dedicated to watching shows like The Legend of Korra and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I forgot what it felt like to watch a TV show that didn’t piss me off every week with its piss poor writing, characters and production values, following the return of Arrow we can safely start enjoying TV again and if this episode is any indication, Arrow Season 2 should be something quite special moving forward.

Following the events of the Season 1 finale “Sacrifice” things have changed, mostly for the worse, for most of the characters following the destruction of the Glades, Moira and Malcolm were being revealed publicly as its culprits and Tommy dying during the whole ordeal.

Oliver has left Starling City and has returned to the island in self imposed exile with Diggle and Felicity spending months trying to track him down and bring him back, Moira is still in prison with her trial coming up, Detective Lance has been demoted to a beat cop following his speech where he openly supported “The Hood”, Thea and Roy are running Oliver’s former club and a group of copy cat vigilantes calling themselves “The Hoods” are attacking members of the 1% and are taking Oliver’s old crusade to an extreme level.

With the episode starting out with Diggle and Felicity finding Oliver back on Lian Yu, the same island he spent 5 years trapped on, I originally thought it would be one of those generic episodes where the supporting characters need to spend the entire episode trying to convince the hero he needs to come back because of this and that reason.

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But the pace of the episode was easily one of its many strengths with Oliver returning to Starling City within a few minutes into the episode and with this transition we get too see how the events of “Sacrifice” have taken a toll on everyone and it simultaneously setups the story for the remainder of not just the episode but the entire season.

It seems as if the creators are taking a Game of Thrones approach with many different storylines going on at once and us seeing them all unfold and connect at different points. In the premiere alone we see Oliver’s new “partnership” with Isabel Rochev, a business who wants Queen Consolidated something fierce and is forced to share the company with Oliver, this sub plot alone was really entertaining and it should make things quite interesting if it can stay this well written down the line.

Its Oliver’s character arc that should please many long time Green Arrow fans, many of who found Oliver’s pretty sizable body count a big turn off when Season 1 premiered a year ago. Because of Tommy dying thinking his best friend was murdering psychopath, Oliver feels like he can’t operate as a vigilante like before without dishonoring his best friends memory and he feels like if he can’t go all out, he’s sure to get himself killed down the road.

His arc this episode is about him becoming the Green Arrow we know from the comics where he tries his best to not kill his enemies, but rather tries to disable or knock them out. This character arc works because of the episodes main antagonists, the copycat vigilantes who use Oliver’s old style of doing things but they have none of his inhibitions. It’s a parallel that works perfectly and it really helps Oliver’s character development.

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The budget has also gotten a noticeable upgrade for this new season, because of this the episode has this movie feel to it where we can see these sweeping shoots of both the island and the city, it makes you feel like this isn’t just a TV studio, its a living breathing world which the first season didn’t really accomplish until the finale.

The action, which was pretty good in the first season, is better here as it feels more brutal and fast paced but not so fast that you can’t enjoy all the awesome take downs Oliver, Slade and Roy do to the bad guys. Hell the action here was a lot more still and edited better than in most movies these days since the new shaky cam trend took over.

So you might think that this episode was perfect given how much I’ve been praising it thus far but like all things in life, there were some problems. While the copy cat vigilantes work great as a parallel and as a device to help further Oliver’s character development, they felt very one dimensional and I wish they were kept around longer so their back stories could be expanded upon.

Laurel continues to be the shows weakest character and her choice near the end makes no goddamn sense on any level. She blames both the Hood and Malcolm for everything that happened and she feels as if the Hood never showed up, everything would be rainbows and sunshine and everyone would be crapping chocolate out of their asses, but her choice to go after the Hood came off as forced.

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If anything the Hood was the only guy actively fighting the earthquake from even happening and Moira must have told the police at this point that Malcolm had been planning this for years before the Hood even showed up. Thea herself reveals this when she says Malcolm killed her father, almost killed her brother and pretty much forced her mom to go along with it. Yet Laurel is still convinced it was all the Hoods and Malcolm’s fault.

“City of Heroes” is the episode I wanted it to be, it did a great job introducing all of these different sub plots that are going to be running throughout the season, it had great character development for Oliver and it’s the perfect follow up to the amazing “Sacrifice” finale which left me wanting more. If you are in desperate need of a good comic book based show, then Arrow is what you should be watching right now because I sure as hell will.




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