The Flash got off to a fantastic start with its series premiere last night, so I was curious to see how Arrow would follow it up with its own third season premiere. Since it’s first episode was titled “The Calm”, I honestly didn’t expect much beyond a bit of catch-up with the cast and a setup for where the show will go this season. And that’s pretty much what we got from the first 58 minutes, right up until that very last gut-wrenching moment which Arrow has become known for. As for how that surprising moment will impact the rest of the season, well we’ll just have to wait and see.
Hit the jump for my Arrow recap for tonight’s season three premiere.
Let’s get back into the swing of things by taking a look at the events of Oliver’s flashbacks in Hong Kong. We see Ollie running through a crowded marketplace, which gives Stephen Amell a chance to employ his Parkour skills in a new location. It turns out that Ollie’s trying to escape from his captors, of which Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is the leader. Not much else happens here except for Ollie saying that they might as well kill him since he will keep trying to escape and doesn’t fear death. The always-clever Waller then threatens the family of Ollie’s handler (which includes the newly added Rila Fukushima as Tatsu Yamashiro) if he happens to escape again. It’s clear we’ll be spending a lot of time in Hong Kong this season, both in flashbacks and in stories from Ollie himself.
Aside from his mental wanderings back to his past difficulties, things seem to be going along just fine at present. Arrow is taking down criminals with the help of Red Arrow/Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) at his side, John Diggle (David Ramsey) as his back-up, and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) back at HQ running logistics. Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) is also helping the team on the legal side of things. Even the very-much-alive and newly promoted Captain Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is on the vigilante’s side as he publicly thanks him for his help during the recent terrorist attacks and disbands the anti-vigilante task force. It’s a well-oiled crime-fighting machine at this point, so what could possibly go wrong?
Well, any time you introduce romance into Oliver’s already complicated life, things go south in a hurry. Though it surely made the fans happy to see Oliver and Felicity finally flirting out in the open and going on dates, their new relationship got off to a rather … explosive start. Complicating things was the arrival of two new additions to Arrow’s cast. First, in a recurring role, we are introduced to Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), who seems harmless enough at first as he chats up Felicity at her job as an electronics store clerk (hilarious), but soon becomes both a real-world corporate threat to Oliver’s bid to head up Queen Consolidated, and a romantic competitor for Felicity’s hand. On the costumed side of things, the arrival and exponentially fast rise to power of Peter Stormare’s Werner Zytle, aka Count Vertigo.
I love watching Stormare chew the scenery in any role he gets, and his time on Arrow was no exception. Unfortunately, his character is very much a (likely) once-and-done “Villain of the Week” and the path to bring him down follows Arrow‘s tried and true template from seasons past: chase scene, factory fight where the hero loses and retreats, chase scene, rooftop fight where the villain loses but is captured by the hero. I was hoping that after the shake up with the introduction of The Flash, Arrow would refresh its plotting a bit, but perhaps it’s just too early to tell.
What is new is the aforementioned relationship between Ollie and Felicity. Unfortunately, it seems to last about as long as this first episode. In the space of that hour, they flirt, confess their past difficulties, nearly get blown up by an RPG, take down some bad guys, kiss, and break up. (Is this show set during high school?) There’s clearly going to be some tension between the two for the rest of the season, so fans will have to wait and see whether or not there’s a chance for them in the long run. We’ll also have to wait and see if Ollie finally, finally lets his team members do their own thing rather than trying to dissuade them from helping him every week. By this point, you think he’d trust them enough to make their own choices, regardless of life-changing events like births (Congrats to John and Lyla!) and personal vendettas. Oh, about that…
So I had no idea why the show’s writers chose the season three premiere to re-introduce Black Canary/Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) out of nowhere. Apparently it was to set up the false pretense that she’d always be there waiting in the shadows to help the team out. Nope. Instead, someone, a deep-voiced someone with a bow and arrow, was waiting in the wings to shoot her three times and knock her off the rooftop to her death in the alley below. As we saw in the sneak peek at the upcoming episodes, there’s a funeral for Sara Lance coming soon, so she’s likely gone for good. Who do we think was behind such a dastardly act? (My money’s on John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn.) All in all, a strong start to the season, but it fell far short of the show’s potential.
- Arrow: “Vincent Stilgrave, you have failed this city!”
- Love the new arrowhead logo for this season.
- Arrow: “Last girlfriend, she’s in the League of Assassins. Girlfriend before that shot my girlfriend before that.”
- Felicity and Oliver’s new relationship (and employment status) is like a gender-reversed Chuck.
- Lyla: “I feel like an M1A1.” John: “It’s a tank. Think, a big, big tank.”
- So how many lives does Quentin Lance have anyway?
- Palmer: “Sorry I’m late. Traffic was terrible, which is why I took my helicopter. I parked on your roof, I hope that’s okay. You guys validate, right?”
- Nice nod to the comics’ version of Star City during Palmer’s speech.
- Proverb: “A man cannot live by two names.”
- Is it just me or does Roy seem like he’s just going through the motions?
- Rooftops are the hip new meeting place for today’s conflicted twenty-somethings.
- Normally, I’d say that Black Canary will be back soon since this show’s characters heal abnormally quickly even for a comicbook story, but showing her brains dashed out on the pavement seemed incredibly final to me…