Arrow Season 2 Premiere Review “City of Heroes”

Arrow City of Heroes

I’ve been (im)patiently waiting all summer for Arrow‘s sophomore season to begin. With few exceptions, it usually takes a series about four or five episodes to really find its groove. Arrow was no exception. While it certainly had its birthing pains, by the time the season one finale rolled around, the show had thankfully found its stride. The finale left most of our characters in varying states of disarray and Starling City (the Glades in particular) in a state of complete chaos.

The season premiere picks up several weeks after the events in the first season finale. Oliver returned to the Island in a self-imposed exile because he felt like all the destruction and death in the Glades was entirely on him. Thankfully, Dig and Felicity are outstanding friends. No really. Outstanding. They hopped a rickety-looking flying deathtrap so they could get to the Island and retrieve Oliver. They told him that Queen Consolidated was about to fall prey to a hostile takeover, so he needed to come back and save the company. They neglected to tell him that 4 people calling themselves The Hoods were terrorizing the rich people in Starling City. They claimed to be continuing what the original Hood started, but really, they were just people in pain. They had all lost someone in the destruction of the Glades, and they wanted the people they saw as responsible to pay. It was just the kick in the pants Oliver needed to get back into the swing of things.

I’m particularly interested in exploring the lasting effects Tommy’s death will have on Oliver. Let me just go ahead and say that I wasn’t a Tommy fan. He was selfish and spoiled and pretty much acted like a brat. He abandoned Oliver and just generally was a bad friend. That being said, I do respect that Tommy died saving Laurel and the others trapped in the building. Tommy’s death hit Oliver very hard. Even though it’s not really his fault, he blames himself for being unable to save Tommy and for how things were between them before he died. Oliver is responsible for some of the latter, but not entirely. However, losing someone you care so deeply for before you have the opportunity to patch things up is a difficult thing. I’m really hoping that Oliver will eventually be able to forgive himself and realize that Tommy made the decision to run into that building. Tommy made the decision to be a hero. Tommy made the decision to sacrifice himself for someone he loved. The unexpected effect of Tommy’s death was that it forced Oliver to look at his mission in a whole new way. Better than that. It forced Oliver to look at himself in a whole new way and it looks like that’s going to be a good thing.

I like that Oliver has finally realized what Dig spent almost the entirety of last season trying to tell him. There is another way. There is a larger picture here. It’s kinda sad that it took Tommy’s death and some homicidal copycats for Oliver to get there, but I’m glad he’s finally beginning to see. This is a necessary turn for the character. Oliver has changed since he got back to Starling City. He’s had to make some hard choices and some even harder sacrifices, but all of that led him to where he is now. It led him to this choice: be the hero that Starling City needs or give up. If not for Dig and Felicity, Oliver probably would’ve chosen the latter. That’s why it’s so important to choose your friends wisely. Dig and Felicity helped Oliver realize that the city needs him now more than ever. He’s the only one who can truly save Starling City. But he won’t be able to do it alone. Oliver has realized that he’s no longer alone in the world. He’s got friends and family willing to go to bat for him. It looks like he’s going to need them because there’s a lot of work to be done.

Laurel also has to deal with losing Tommy. She feels a lot of guilt about sleeping with Oliver, but even moreso about being unable to work things out with Tommy before he died. That’s tough. But it just seemed to me that Laurel was kind of going through the motions. It’s not that she didn’t love Tommmy. A part of her probably loved him a lot. But it seems she’s trying to stay away from Oliver not so much because she’s mourning Tommy’s death, but because she’s lamenting how things were between them when he died. I can’t say I’m all that upset about Oliver and Laurel deciding to cool it with the romantic aspect of their relationship. They always seemed to be trying to recapture the past more than they were actually in love with the people they are today.

I’m trying with Thea. I really am, but she is working my nerves. My primary issue with her is the same I had with Tommy. She is a self-centered, spoiled brat. She cannot seem to think beyond her own feelings and she can’t see beyond her own narrow view of the world. She pretends to be an adult, but she’s still very much a teenager. Part of being an adult is realizing that the world is generally not black and white. Very rarely are people’s choices uncomplicated. Thea kept calling her mother a murderer and refused to go see her in prison because she wanted to punish Moira. It wasn’t until she almost died that Thea was able to step outside herself for a moment and see just how difficult a position Moira was in. It was also when she finally admitted that she didn’t actually hate her mother. Thea’s storyline was one of the weaker elements of last season, so I’m really hoping they’re going to do better this season. And I really hope Thea will grow up.

Thea may not be one of my favorite people, but I am really loving Roy. He seems like a decent guy who wants to try and help make Starling City a better place. Roy tried to convince Thea to go see her mother by telling her about his own issues with his parents, but that just highlighted how little we really know about Roy. I’m hoping that we’ll get to spend some more time with him and find out more about him as the season progresses. It would also be interesting to see him and Oliver work together and have Oliver in kind of a teacher/mentor role.

All in all, pretty solid season opener. I would’ve liked for the story to pick up a bit closer to the destruction of the Glades, but I suppose we’ll see more of that fallout as the season progresses. It just would’ve been nice to see it instead of having to hear about it second hand. I’m also glad to see that Walter is still around because I really do love Walter. There are a lot of ways the story could go this season, and I’m looking forward to the ride. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?

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