Why Arrow Season Three Episode One is Awesome

 

Big, big things are already happening!”

Arrow quickly established itself as an exciting, gritty, action packed superhero show in its first season, and continued to go from strength to strength in a stellar second; so what's in store for the third? Judging from the first episode, big things!

From here on out, there are spoilers for this episode.

The status quo going in is that Team Arrow – Oliver, Roy, Diggle and Felicity – have cracked down on crime in Starling City to the point where everything is going largely hunky dory. Roy is a fully fledged masked superhero fighting alongside the Arrow, and he's absolutely bad ass. Diggle is about to become a Dad as Lyla approaches her due date. Felicity and Oliver are edging towards a relationship. Laurel is working with Team Arrow to put away the criminals they bring in, and Detective Lance is now a Captain. All seems well, but as we know, it can't stay that way.

Enter the always watchable Peter Stormare. Stormare plays Werner Zylte, the new Count Vertigo, who's modified the infamous drug for his campaign to kill the Arrow. Whilst his part were enjoyable, the way they've framed the villain himself is something I'm a little unsure of; rather than redefining Vertigo as something more akin to his comic incarnation, they opted instead to go a route that strongly resembles veteran Batman villain, Scarecrow, with the drug being modified so those injected see their worse fears. It works for the plot of the episode, messing with Ollie's head and taking away from happy go lucky and back towards dark and brooding, but I was hoping for more. Still, it's likely that we'll see Stormare return, and maybe go through further modifications to really become a top villain for Arrow.

Ollicity fans will both praise and curse the fact that the show has finally done something with the two; praise because they finally go on a date, we get acknowledgement of Ollie's feelings and so on, curse because it's a temporary setup for Oliver to return to a “I can't be with anyone” mode. Whilst I have no problem with the conflicted Oliver that we are so accustomed to, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that they didn't continue with the happy period for at least a while, maybe seeing an Oliver more akin to the wise-cracking one of the comics.

Other than Vertigo, things continue to fall apart for Ollie as his bid to take back Queen Corps is upstaged by the highly entertaining Ray Palmer (the future Atom, played by former Superman, Brandon Routh). Routh brings a fun, witty, lighter dimension to the show that I really hope they continue with, and if I was ever going to jump on the shipper train, I'd put him with Felicity and Ollie with Laurel sometime in the future when she becomes Canary.

In the flashback sequences, we largely get a setup for the seasons thread there: Ollie is being held and coerced against his will by Amanda Waller, but he's determined to escape. Knowing that threatening his life is pointless, Waller instead threatens the lives of another of her employees (its not fully clear whether he's a willing one or, like Oliver, held against his will) and his family. Nothing much to go on yet, but its a solid base.

The final big, huge moment is right at the end, where they bring back Sarah to almost immediately and brutally kill her off; I was genuinely shocked, expecting to see more of her before the inevitable death to accommodate Laurel's transition to the mask. Whilst I'll miss the character, though, I was happy with the shock factor, and look forward to seeing Laurel progress this season. Plus, it was black arrows that killed her, so that basically means its either Merlyn or Thea – given Sarah's reaction was “What are you doing here?”, my money is on it being Thea, which means we have exciting times ahead!

Whilst there were one or two minor blips, the episode was still hugely enjoyable, and a great premiere for what promises to be another fantastic season.

Final Score: 9/10

This has been Blacksmith, writing for The Awesome Update.

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