“Living is not for the weak” a well bearded Russian advises the young Oliver Queen. After the bombardment, Ollie finds himself held prisoner on the Amazo. Subjected this week to a test of strength and survival, by repairing his own bullet wound. It’s a gnarly scene and the fact he didn’t lift up his shirt (revealing his abs he shouldn’t have) made it a little bit more extreme. Suddenly his outburst earlier in the episode about how the island was 5 years where nothing good ever happened rings very true.
This return to a harder edged Oliver is a nice reminder of “dark and gritty” season 1. Season 2 hasn’t really delved into the emotional and psychological trauma he suffered was constantly referenced. The flashbacks this week had a thematic and emotional tie to the present day plot. Which is why they are actually being discussed.
Ollie is haunted in both senses. Emotional ghosts have nothing on real ones and the Canary is both. Sara Lance suddenly back from the dead. Much to his surprise since Oliver saw her die...twice. Having them reveal their secret identities. Well, Sara basically outing Ollie in the first 5 minutes and the scene itself not being played up as a big deal was not how you’d expect a show like this to go.
Sara being back in town makes things very difficult for him. He wants to save her, “What is your plan?” he asks her in the hospital. She doesn't have one. Once again Oliver finds a dark reflection of himself in another broken person. He wants to fix her and if experience is worth anything, Oliver isn’t very good at helping broken people like himself. Just look at the Huntress. It could go either way at this point on if she has daddy issues like the Huntress. So far Caity Lotz is much better than Jessica De Gouw, she has a nice feminist streak to her.
The first couple of episodes of Arrow season 1 featured villains that were created for the show. Mostly rich white businessmen and the odd crazy guy. They served their purpose and kind of all bled together. The Mayor Xavier Woods is the only type of villain that has made an impact. A nobody before the ground shook and turned the whole world sideways. Coming out of his crucible with one simple rule to live by: the one with the biggest gun wins. It is with that simple rule that he is using to take over the Glades by arming his men with stolen M4A1 assault rifles. Clé Bennett acts large, like a man with charisma but not a total grasp of his operations. Which went a long way considering what he had to work with. His lair, City Hall, and general gang appearance was very New Jack City meets Schumacher Batman.
Maybe it’s because the Huntress arc was so horrid, thanks in large part to Jessica De Gouw having to act American. It was real nice to see some good o'l superhero team up action. Total fan moments with them trading weapons and fighting with eachother. Whenever Diggle and Ollie go out together Diggle seems to get hurt and is more of a from the shadows type. Here you had two people fighting in the open. How Ollie can shoot a speeding grenade is beyond me but I’ll take it.
The earthquake has had an enormous effect on season 2 nd show no signs of letting up. It’s brought out the best and worst in Starling City inhabitants. One of it’s inhabitants is masquerading as its white knight, Sebastian Blood.With a name like Blood could he have ever not been an antagonist? His scarecrow mask was a bit much - keeping in tradition that everyone but Arrow must look kinda cheap - and made me think Jonathan Crane was suddenly going to be a long term player. Nope it’s just Brother Blood. His super soldier serum is an interesting twist and one of two references to powers coming to Arrow sooner rather than later. Part of me does wish they’d kept the occult mystical side of Brother Blood intact since what’s some magic in a world of super powers anyway? What is more interesting about that scene is the patrolman who helped formerly detective Lance out is part of Bloods crew. Pulling back to reveal another secrete group pulling Starling Cities strings is a good call long term.
Laurel Lance and Katie Cassidy haven’t been exactly the best thing going. That said, pushing her to self medicate is a logical and well worn trope of drama. It really fits, someone in this city is going to have to hit the bottle over all the crazy ish that’s happened. Paul Blackthorne wasn’t really a favored part of this show either but he’s really fit into the fabric of the series nicely and the cross cutting between his AA meeting and Laurel’s current activities was effective.
Oliver and Sara’s meeting in Verdant was also elevated for technical reasons. Some nice low angle shots that cut against each actors eyes. Neither is the most expressive but the editing helped hide that fact and alleviate that initial sequence. It became a moment of silent communication between two ghosts.