There has been so much discussion about the topics that happened in the Arrow Season 1 finale that I almost forgot we hadn't checked back in with Starling City since then.
In "City of Heroes" we learned that instead of sticking around for the fallout from the disaster of Malcolm Merlyn's Undertaking, Oliver skipped town and let Starling City fend for itself.
That didn't seem like the reaction of a hero, did it?
As the city started to rebuild, Oliver had retreated to his island and only when Diggle and Felicity tracked him down did he return - not to act as the vigilante, but to attempt to save Queen Consolidated from a hostile takeover by Isabel Rochev (Arrow Season 2 guest star Summer Glau).
Needless to say, there have been a lot of changes in Oliver's absence, not only in real life, but in relation to his recollection of his previous life on the island as well. It appears the time for moving on is upon us.
As a quick run-down, Thea is running Verdant, Laurel is working for the DA's office and is on a mission to take down the only remaining archer in town, Queen Consolidated was on the verge of destruction, Quentin Lance is a beat cop and a group emulating the vigilante calling themselves The Hoods has run roughshod over Starling City while Roy Harper has tried to clean up its mean streets while simultaneously loving Thea and encouraging her to reconnect with Moira in prison. Whew!
In his personal island flashback timeline, Oliver is remembering how personally he reacted to attacks on those he loved, including Shado, which whom he had moved on to a romantic involvement.
This first episode back was essentially a way to re-engage Oliver with the mission to serve and protect his city. He no longer believed in his father's list and didn't want to be known as a killer. What happened to Tommy and the way people remembered The Hood, especially that harmful vigilante groups without restraint were springing up in his name, left a sour taste in his mouth. Things needed to change for him to move forward.
Out of the ashes will be born The Green Arrow. For now, we had this Arrow quote to serve as a placeholder:
Oliver: If we're gonna do this, it has to be about Tommy. I need to be the man he hoped I could be. Now you two have helped me take the first step.
Felicity: So what's step two? I'm game for anything as long as it doesn't involve skydiving, and I'm pretty down on landmines now, too.
Oliver: The city still needs saving, but not by The Hood. Not by some vigilante who's just crossing names off a list. It needs something more.
Diggle: It needs a hero, Oliver.
Felicity: It's too bad The Hoods kind of ruined your nickname.
Oliver: No, it's good. I don't want to be called The Hood anymore.
Diggle: Okay. So what do you want to be called? | permalink
As a standalone episode, the premiere served merely to remind us of where Oliver has been and where he needs to go, while sprinkling us with moments that will mean more as the series progresses than they did apart from the whole. You can get a step by step rundown of the hour in the Arrow recap.
- Did you notice that when The Hoods attacked the gala, the only person left standing in the room who put up a fight was Laurel Lance? Not one single man rose to the occasion. Say what you will about her, but the self defense classes have come in handy.
- It was ironic that the vigilante group called themselves The Hoods after the very man who they wanted to destroy. If they only knew.
- Oliver had to swing Felicity to safety twice in this episode alone. Much more and it's going to be a great drinking game!
- Roy's concern for Thea's relationship with Moira shows how much he has grown as a character. He could be blaming her, but instead he wants the woman he loves to understand the importance of having a connection with her mother. Impressive.
- The Hoods couldn't shoot people with machine guns across the length of a conference room table. How much of a threat were they?
- The entire wrath of the Whedonverse is about to rain down upon me, but I don't buy Summer Glau as a high powered corporate executive. A terminator? Sure. A wealthy woman running a corporate takeover? Sorry.
- Kudos to keeping Walter Steele in the family. I knew he loved those kids.
- Given the title of the episode and the large-breasted blonde who flew into action when Roy was fighting off the thugs in the street - I take it that was Arrow's version of The Black Canary? Well, she didn't exactly announce herself and she wasn't wearing the same outfit as my Barbie! Gimme a break!
- Since Laurel wants to take down the town archer, she'll not be ready to don the Canary suit until she sees the error of her ways, so it makes good story to bring in (who I suppose will be) her sister, Sarah.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.