Dee Discusses: Arrow Season 3 First Half

Posted: December 25, 2014 by Dee in Arrow, Dee, Flash, General Media, Television
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

There are spoilers from all seasons of Arrow in this.

Arrow has been one of my favorite shows for several seasons now. I churned through the first season when it was on Netflix, and I’ve seen every episode since live. It’s pretty much the only show I watch live. My attraction to the show started because obviously I’m a big comic nerd, but that also means I can be a huge skeptic. I was not a fan of Smallville, for example, and I couldn’t get through a few episodes of Gotham. What first got my attention was the fight choreography. It seems like a small thing, but on a show like this, it’s a very big thing. I’ve admired their stunt work from the pilot, it really might be the best on television. It helps that Stephen Amell is capable of doing the majority of his stunts himself. I love watching the videos of him working out and doing parkour all over the place to prove it’s him. It took a little while to warm up to Ollie, but that fits in with the show too. He’s not the most likable character, but he is driven, and he is interesting to watch. Season one was very strong, so I kept wondering how they were going to follow it up. Season two was also excellent, and I like that they always try to improve on the past. The characters are not stagnant, they’re changing and growing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. For Arrow fans, skip this next part, since it’s just rehashing things you know.

Arrow is about Oliver Queen, a former playboy shallow rich boy who had his life turned upside down after his father’s boat was intentionally sabotaged, leaving him stranded on an island. He was cheating on his then-girlfriend Laurel with her sister Sara, who was on the boat with him when it exploded, and she was thought to be lost at sea. His father confessed to Ollie that there was a list of rich people in their city, Starling, who were hurting the city instead of helping it, and they had some nefarious plans for the future. His father then committed suicide to give Ollie a better chance at surviving. While on the island he learned how to fight and how to kill to survive, because it was a prison island for very dangerous people. There he bonded with Yao Fei, his mentor, and eventually Fei’s daughter Shado. He met Slade Wilson who started out his friend and companion, but eventually went mad after being given a drug named the Mirakuru. He turned against Ollie due to that madness, and his grief about the loss of Shado. Ollie felt responsible for Shado’s death since he chose the still-alive Sara over her. After returning to Starling City, Ollie hunted down the people on his father’s list, and reconnected with his sister Thea, mother Moira, and best friend Tommy. The plan Moira and Malcolm Merlyn made with his father eventually went to fruition, although Ollie partially stopped it. Only a part of the city blew up, but it was enough to turn it into turmoil. Tommy died in the blast, destroying the heart of Ollie and his former girlfriend Laurel, who was dating Tommy at the time.

Arrow-Season-3-Casting-Team-Arrow

Season two was about Ollie deciding he had to be more than a vigilante, that there was another path for him. Felicity Smoak, his Girl Friday and tech genius best friend, believed he could be a hero and stop killing his problems. He had his own little team with John Diggle, Felicity, and Roy Harper, his protege who was dating Thea. Sara also returned, a former assassin for Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins. She was known as the Canary (aka Black Canary), and met with her family again. Laurel went through a rocky year when she became an alcoholic and didn’t welcome her sister with open arms, but she eventually got over it. Moira was going through a court case for her part in the attack on Starling City, and it was revealed that Thea’s father was in fact Malcolm Merlyn. While Moira did end up getting out, Slade Wilson was secretly taking over the city with his Mirakuru agents. He killed Moira in a situation similar to Sara vs Shado, but with Moira and Thea. Team Arrow fought Slade and the others, with Ollie choosing not to kill his former friend and sticking with the hero path. At the end of the season Thea learned the truth about Merlyn and left the city with him willingly. Barry Allen made a guest appearance that set things up for him to start in The Flash, and I wrote about that here.

Season three continued the storyline well, with Ollie feeling more confident than ever about his position as the Arrow in Starling City. He was so high on that, he believed he was capable of starting a relationship with Felicity Smoak. They’re an interesting ship because it isn’t canon, and it wasn’t planned, but the fanbase was fervent and their natural chemistry is undeniable. Over the seasons we watched the two fall in love, so it felt like it was earned. However after an attack, Ollie doubted it was safe for her, and broke it off. This is silly considering she’s already actively involved in the Arrow business, eesh. Sara was killed early on, and that pissed off a lot of people, myself included. I’m not going to lie, Laurel Lance drives me insane, and I knew that Sara was going to be killed off to pave the way for Laurel to be Black Canary. I feel like it’s unnecessary since Laurel herself is not Dinah Lance, even if she was named after her, their personality and background are nothing alike. Sara was much more like the real Black Canary. It seemed unnecessary to knock her off, especially since she was such a strong character. Ah well. So this part of the season was everyone trying to catch Sara’s killer, and Laurel coming to grips with losing her sister again and trying to be a vigilante. She’s been training with Wildcat, a DC comic character that is usually much older. He is a former vigilante himself.

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The season introduced Ray Palmer, another comic hero known as the Atom. He bought Ollie’s company and hired Felicity. There’s a romance between the two of them, but it’s a very strange one. I think his gestures are supposed to be romantic, but he tracks her phone and stalks her. He bought her work trying to get her to leave it. It’s just a little questionable, something more Twilight-esque. He did reveal his tragic backstory, he lost his fiance when she was killed in front of him, and it led him to try and make a super suit that will help him fight crime. It’s unknown if he’ll be going full-out Atom on the show, or if he’ll just have the super suit. Meanwhile Diggle was a first time parent with his ex-wife, and Barry did a cross-over where he learned how dangerous Starling City is, and why Ollie has to be as brutal as he is. It was great to see how Barry’s gentleness – and innocence – sort of offset Ollie’s darkness. I really enjoy that dynamic and how close they’ve become. I talked about the crossover in The Flash review, but I like how it wasn’t just a publicity stunt. Both characters got a lot from the experience. Roy and Ollie’s partnership grew to emotional levels this season, when Ollie swore he’d never give up on him. Aw. This part of the season ended with Ollie finding out that Malcolm was secretly turning his sister into an assassin, and she was forced to kill Sara while being drugged. I kind of wish she hadn’t been drugged; she didn’t know Sara was the Canary. He could have encouraged her to make her first kill against a dangerous opponent. Ollie was set up that he had to confess to Ra’s al Ghul and the league that he killed her instead, and that meant he needed to take Ra’s on one-on-one. It was Malcolm’s plan all along. He said his goodbyes and “I love you” to Felicity, and while he put up a valiant fight, he was killed in the battle with Ra’s. So what now? That’s the question.

I think the fanbase is pretty much correct: Lazarus Pit is coming in. They’ve tried to make it fuzzy with superpowers on the show, leaving that to the Flash right now. But they made it a point for Ra’s to mention how old he was, much older than what he appeared, and Ollie did seem flat out dead. There’s no way to come back from that, especially after his fall from the mountain. His friend (from the flashbacks of season 3, honestly they didn’t seem important enough to talk about) was there, so he could easily find Ollie and pit him. Since I don’t give a crap about Laurel, I’m less than interested in her becoming the Canary, but that’s going to be a major part of the season. Props though to Katie Cassidy who has been working hard on looking the part more. She’s been working out and taking it seriously. It was ballsy to kill Ollie like that, even if we all know he’s coming back. It didn’t seem like a twist or a plot point only; emotionally he’s taken quite the journey to get to this point. I can’t wait to see where he develops from here. We’re all not sure where the show is going to pick up, whether it’ll be some time afterward, with everyone moving on or trying to from Oliver’s death. Ray might be the new vigilante, with Team Arrow helping him, or it might be ten seconds later. Thea will probably have to find out eventually about Sara, and that’s going to be difficult. Will that lead Laurel to challenge her to a fight? I hope not, because it wasn’t exactly her fault. It bothers me Quentin still has no idea about Sara. It bothers me Sara’s dead at all.

Arrow-Season-3-Olicity

But this show is still pretty much my favorite current one on the air. I think there are only good places for them to go from here. I love how much they use the source material. It’s much better than how DC handles their movies, although to be fair TV shows have a lot more time. We’ve seen the team build for three years, not in only a few hours of screen time. This is a strong show. The acting is great, the fight choreography is still amazing, the writing is tight, and even their filler episodes like the Cupid one was entertaining to watch. Everyone should give it a try. Seriously. Give it a try!

When the show picks back up I will attempt to do weekly recaps, so stick around for that if you’re interested.

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