The show is just as good as it ever was, but almost everything else has changed.
The vigilante becomes a hero
If you look back at Season 1 of “Arrow,” Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) wasn’t exactly the heroic type. Yes, he was on the side of good (for the most part), and he didn’t kill people unnecessarily. But he did do a lot of killing. Along with that, most of Oliver’s vigilantism was targeted against the people on his father’s list.
Oliver may have been against those who had “failed” Starling City, but the Hood wasn’t exactly the best solution.
That’s changed when Season 2 begins. Oliver has changed, after all, ever since he didn’t stop the Undertaking. With that failure, 500 people — including Tommy (Colin Donnell) — died. Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) ended up in jail, and Oliver learned that being a vigilante was not enough.
Thus, Season 2 begins back on that awful island, Lian Yu. Oliver’s personal Purgatory is the obvious place for a semi-hero to hide when everything falls apart. Unfortunately for Oliver and his self-pity, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) are around now.
Flying halfway around the world and then parachuting onto a deserted island? All in a day’s work for these guys!
It works though. Oliver agrees to come home and then is forced to take up the bow one more time when copycat vigilantes (who don’t mind a whole lot of killing) kidnap Thea (Willa Holland). This time, however, Oliver has a new plan: No killing. If he can help it at all, Oliver isn’t going to be piercing the hearts of his targets this year.
Should make things interesting.
It’s also way more heroic of Oliver. The Hood is gone. The Arrow has begun his journey.
Oliver Queen, businessman?
Oliver comes home for one more reason: to save the family business. Since mass murder tends to be terrible for a company’s image, Queen Consolidated is about to disappear into a hostile takeover. With his mother behind bars, his father dead and his sister barely old enough to manage a bar, it’s left to Oliver to keep things going.
That would be much easier if he didn’t have to go up against Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau), a woman who looks angry in all of her photos and really isn’t too impressed with Oliver. That said, she gains a little more respect for her business foe when he keeps control of Queen Consolidated by calling in help.
Welcome back, Walter Steele (Colin Salmon)! Let’s just hope that Oliver’s stepfather is around for more than a one-time financial bailout.
Thea and Roy, sittin’ in the bar …
As mentioned, Thea has kept herself busy by managing Oliver’s abandoned
cover nightclub, Verdant. Obviously, this does not include the basement. It does, however, include a job for Roy (Colton Haynes) that keeps him available at all times for passionate hook-ups.
There is only one little hiccup in this bliss — Roy keeps playing the vigilante, trying to save people like his role model, the Hood, used to do. Thea understands the good intentions, but she also (rightly) points out that this is a great way for Roy to die a bloody death.
He doesn’t really listen.
Oh, and Thea is totally pouting about her mother being named as a mass murderer. Which is actually fair and not really teen petulance this time. Either way, Thea offers reconciliation with Moira before the premiere ends.
Oh, and Laurel is in this one too
Because most of the action stays away from her, it’s easy enough to forget that Laurel (Katie Cassidy) exists in the Season 2 premiere. Now working for the District Attorney (hello Hot Paul from “Orphan Black”!!!), she’s a witness to the copycat vigilantes killing the mayor. And then she and Oliver talk about how they felt like their brief surrender to temptation last season was cheating on Tommy.
Laurel also points out that she holds the Hood personally responsible for Tommy’s death.
But this doesn’t matter, because of …
… The Olicity of it all!
No, Oliver and Felicity are not hooking up. But that doesn’t mean the Season 2 premiere lacks chemistry between these two partners in vigilante crime. From Oliver saving his IT girl — Tarzan-style — from a landmine to Felicity saving the salmon-ladder bar to the two escaping criminals that shoot up the Queen Consolidated boardroom, “City of Heroes” is all about the Olicity.
It’s great. It’s especially great for someone like me — someone who just wants Oliver and Felicity together in whatever way it happens. Friends, friends with benefits, lovers, soulmates, buddies … I don’t care. As long as these two get to hang out, I’m good.
Island goings-on and whatnot
Remember how, when Oliver returned home after five years marooned on a “deserted” island, he could suddenly speak perfect Russian and Chinese? And how he had bizarre connections to the Russian mob?
It looks like “Arrow” might explain a lot of that in island flashbacks this season.
Obviously, Oliver learned his Chinese in the best possible way, thanks to the beautiful and oft-violent Shado (Celina Jade). But Russian?
That might be from a new group of men who invade the island. They’re not Fyers’ people, but they sure know about what was going on. And for some reason, these guys really want to find the bodies of all those men.
Are these guys Russians? Not sure about that — there wasn’t enough non-English happening to be sure. But Russians would make sense, at least in terms of Oliver’s later knowledge and connections. More flashbacks will hopefully make this clear.
There’s a new hero (?) in town
Back in the present-day, there is one more major plot point that we need to get out of the way: the Black Canary. Roy gets the first glimpse of this masked and cat-suited woman as she kicks butt from the shadows of the Glades.
Who is she? What does she want? Is she good or evil?
Season 2 is going to be one heck of a ride, isn’t it?
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.