Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Staying on Target!: Arrow Season 3 part 1 Review *SPOILERS*

His name is Oliver Queen. After five years in hell, he has come home with only one goal: to save his city. And he has done just that for 2 years, entertaining audiences all across America. When I first heard this series was announced I was a tad skeptical as my only basis of the Green Arrow mythos came in the form of that wise cracking loner in the Justice League Unlimited series. But not only has it blown my expectations out of the water since episode 1, it has become a staple in any comic book based television show.

Last season was so explosive and good, thanks to the character development, stories, and of course the villain, Slade Wilson AKA DEATHSTROKE, played by Manu Bennett. With such an amazing season with a villain that was both tragic and scary, and edge of your seat action with a flair of drama, how could the writers possibly top themselves? How about Team Arrow vs. The League of Assassins? ....Yeah, I would say that's a pretty good start. So since were halfway through the season, I might as well do a review of what we have seen and heard so far, and also think about where I think the show is going to go, so lets get started!

This review will talk about the characters and some of the best stories of Arrow season 3 thus far. 
There will be spoilers littered throughout, so just a heads up.

So if your one of the few who haven't watched Arrow(to which I ask what have you been doing with your Wednesday nights), Arrow is about Oliver Queen becoming a vigilante and protect his city. Along his journey through the past two seasons, he has made allies to form a team who helps him protect the city he has sworn to protect. The allies list to former army special forces soldier, John Diggle, to IT expert, and after 2 seasons of waiting love interest, Felicity Smoak. That isn't all though, this season Roy Harper finally dons his own uniform and joins Oliver on the streets of Starling as Speedy-I mean Arsenal. On the non-vigilante side of the law, we have police CAPTAIN Quentin Lance calling off the anti-vigilante task force, though now with a heart condition from his time helping the Arrow and the attack of the mirakuru soldiers in the season 2 finale. Laurel also returns, preparing to put away the criminals that the Arrow brings in. However her character takes a shocking turn when a familiar blonde haired assassin drops in...literally. That's right first episode of the season and the kill off Sara...again technically, but for real this time. With her death, it has become a catalyst for not only the stories of the show, but also for Laurel to become...Something Else(yeah not as cool unless Stephen Amell is narrating) and she does that with new coming recurring character Ted "Wildcat" Grant, a former vigilante and boxer who agrees to train Laurel. I do like how they've incorporated Canary's actual comic book teacher in the show, and the actor does a great job with him, I just wonder why they made him young. Wildcat is supposed to be an older man, who has been through so much and he retired. The guy looks just as old as Oliver and Laurel and hes already hung up the boxing gloves AND vigilante work? I'm just nitpicking, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

So everything seems to be looking great for the Arrow. City's on his side, Captain Lance has made sure no cops are aiming for's just not as great for Oliver Queen. Thanks to one Isabel Rochev last season, Queen Consolidated is up for grabs, and before Oliver can get his company back, Ray Palmer(better known as his comic persona The Atom) buys the company and hires Felicity. So now Oliver is slowly losing his funds for his "extra curricular activities" AND his potential love interest is now working with a handsome scientist CEO. Sometimes its just not good to be a Queen.

Out with the old... with the new

Another pair of returning faces is Malcolm Merlyn, played by John Barrowman who nails the role every time he appears on screen, and Thea Queen, who actually made a friggin' improvement on her character. For two seasons, I HATED her character of the spoiled brat who didn't get her way, and though she showed improvement when she began running Verdant, it was all flushed away when she literally ran away to be with her biological dad Merlyn because she couldn't handle the lies anymore! The ex-drug user/repeat felon is angry her mom and brother hid the truth about her parentage, and Roy being interested in the vigilante...just GAH! Sorry rant done. As I said she has improved as a character, who can clearly stand up for herself and isn't a whiny brat,so Merlyn did something right.

You guys have no idea how much I've considered shrinking the size of this character section. Like holy crap, there are so many characters intertwined into the story, and I haven't even gotten to the actual villains yet. The actors who play these parts do a fantastic job, especially Stephen Amell. As I said in my introduction, my only access to the green arrow mythos was in the form of his part on the justice league cartoon. Now the guy literally has become THE persona of Green Arrow. If you asked me what best represented green arrow, I'd point right to him. He portrays the tortured soul who has gone through 5 years of hell, 1 year of a murderous rampage, but sadness from it, and finally a year where he has finally become something helpful and good. If DC ever does have a Green Arrow movie, they NEED to have Stephen be the part he has shaped so greatly.

The show thus far have also provided some interesting villains for our heroes to face. The first one was Werner Zytle, but you can call him Vertigo, who in all actuality was more Scarecrow than Vertigo, but I will say for an older man he can kick some ASS! I heard he will be coming back in the
back half of the season, and I can't wait. As much as I loved the old Count, this newer one seems more menacing, though I could do without the fear drugs, just give them vertigo like the character should(also i'm a little afraid were gonna see the guy put someone through a wood Minnesota...Fargo!). We have an episode with Komodo, who i'm not in depth with as I don't read the modern Green Arrow comics(I know, for shame!), A new version of Brother Eye as a cyber terrorist group(not a bad premise if I do say so myself)but then we have Cupid, who I was getting creeped out by every second she was on screen in the best possible way. She was a mixture of creepy fan girl and psychopath and I loved it, especially when she just can't get the hint! At the end of her episode, Diggle tells Oliver she is now part of the Suicide Squad, and if theres another squad centered episode I can't wait. I think right now the only dissapointment so far is Ra's Al Ghul. Now before you fellow fans of the show smite me where I stand, thus far he's only been in two episodes. I really wish he was in more, especially after the midseason finale(Which will be more elaborated on in the story section).

As the past 2 seasons of Arrow and the first season so far of the Flash, the season has an overarching story. This first half had essentially become a mystery. The mystery? Who killed Sara/ The Canary?
In every episode, they always seemed to get one step closer, only to get kicked in the gut with more questions. We first think its Komodo, it's not. Then Merlyn, and after kind of teaming up with oliver to save Thea, its revealed he's not either. One guess or another my guesses have been shot out of the sky, until we ran out of suspects. Now while that has gone on, we learned the origins of Felicity, who was one of those college kids "fighting the power", except this time behind a keyboard. It was nice to see more background with her, yet we still haven't seen or heard anything about her father, and I don't know why. We also get to see Ray Palmer's plans come to a head with the help of Felicity. Using her tech wizardry, he is able to get blueprints, then redesign them from an OMAC suit to the Advanced Technology Operating Mechanism...or ATOM suit. Lets just say I REALLY hope he shows up sooner rather than later, though the way he looks as well as the suit gives off a real Iron Man approach.

Though I won't go into the Arrow/Flash crossover so much in this review, as I said my mind in the Flash review, but I will say once more it's nice seeing the two shows interweaving so freely. Now the episode after is what you readers probably want to see me talk about. This of course is the midseason finale. It was an emotional ride and a good mid season finale, but I did find 1 thing wrong with it. I feel like the whole reveal of the killer was kind of a cop out. We learn that it's Thea under hypnotic drug control from Merlyn. I get they didn't want "oh so innocent" Thea to be labeled a murderer, but come on, hypnotic drugs? Really? They should have had her been completely aware of what she was doing. We don't know what kind of insidious lessons her father had been giving to her over those months in Corto Maltese, it would have been a nice tragic mirror for the Oliver and Roy. Merlyn has corrupted and twisted Thea into his own speedy, so Oliver and Roy have to fight to save her mind. But no we get a cop out.

Despite the cop out however, the entire episode was littered with emotions. From Oliver saying goodbye to his friends and family, to the flashbacks where his distraction causes a boy to lose his mother, and then finally the battle with Ra's Al Ghul. I did like Ra's in the battle. They both knew he would win that fight, and he literally made me gulp when he told Oliver "I'll take those swords from you when you are done." And he did. and then he gave it back...through the stomach. I never thought I would say this...but bravo on killing your main character. That took a lot of guts to write and execute right, and they most certainly succeeded. Also props to Stephen for helping to play the part. It left a sad feeling in my heart as I watched Ra's kick him over the edge, especially after Oliver thinks of all the loved ones he lost and can't protect anymore. I know he will return(as literally there's an episode called The Return in the back half of the season), but this was one of the most emotional deaths of the series.

Final Verdict
Arrow is doing a fine job ramping up their story and drama, not afraid of being hidden under the shadow of their last big season, despite a few nitpicks. The actors do a fantastic part at bringing this universe to life, and I wish I could get that taste of it all year round. I honestly have no idea where the story is going to go right now. The only thing i'm certain about however is that we have a few heroes ready to don their costumes and ready to save the city while Ollie is off being dead. If you've been watching the show since season 1, you know how good it has become, and if you haven't, I recommend you watch the first two seasons first so you have a better understanding, but it's still a season you don't wanna miss...

Well thinking about that last episode bummed me out, what do you think Oliver?

My thoughts exactly.
So what did you think of the season so far? What did you think of this review? Leave a comment, and i'll see you all next time.


  1. Just a quick comment on Wildcat. I'm pretty sure he was one of the boxers fighting in the arena during the season premiere, so he hasn't hung up the gloves. I think he uses his gym for training in the lead up to fights and helps train others between his own fights.

    1. oh yeah! i do remember that, thanks for the catch!