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I never did a write up at the end of Arrow’s second season. I wanted to, but I never got around to it. So, since the third season is starting up today, I figured now would be as good of a time as any to look back at the show’s sophomore year.
I really enjoyed the first year of Arrow which was something I really didn’t expect. I wasn’t much of a Green Arrow comic book fan (I had zero investment in the character), but the show just grabbed me and I became a regular viewer. I thoroughly enjoyed how the episodes didn’t hold back on the narrative the way its spiritual predecessor Smallville did. The show kept moving forward with exciting twists and turns along the way.
Sometimes shows in their second year lose some steam. I was so happy that this wasn’t the case with Arrow. If anything, the writers/producers took the momentum of the first year and pushed it to new heights. More and more things were happening in Arrow which gave the show a much more epic feeling to it.
The main narrative of the second year had Starling City recovering from the undertaking in which a good portion of the city was destroyed. During this, a new villain arises for Ollie to tangle with in Sabastian Blood, a mayoral candidate who is secretly delivering a strength-enhancing serum to a growing cult of criminals. What I liked about this season’s storyline was that you think the main conflict is largely a good versus bad tale without much character depth, but then mid-way through, the show pulls the rug out under you and completely redefines the arc by tying it back in to Ollie’s time on the island and the discovery that Slade is behind it all.
Though I am not a fan of the “you-killed-my-love-interest motivation” cliché that Arrow used, I did like Slade as a villain. He’s cunning and ruthless while also being evil for the sake of being evil. In short, it worked. The revelation also worked as it was completely unexpected, but it makes total sense.
I also liked Ollie’s journey this season from going to a somewhat reckless outlaw to a true hero. In that journey, he makes some surprising sacrifices that have completely redefined the show. I am looking forward to the ramifications in Arrow’s third year.
Not everything was great, however. I really don’t like the whole Felicity/Ollie thing the show is forcing. It doesn’t work for me. Though, I do have to admit, I love how they used that to play against the audience in the season finale (then again, I am a fan of when show gives viewers the finger).
Also, I wasn’t a fan of Isabel. She added very, very little to the show. I personally don’t think the writers knew what to do with her as her eventual connection to Slade makes absolutely no sense compared to when we first meet her. I almost wonder if they changed directions on what they were going to do with her mid-year (especially after she disappeared for the middle half of the season).
Finally, we have Caity Lotz as Sara. Sigh. I know the online community likes her, and I like the idea of her character, but Lotz just doesn’t work for me. I really feel she is a weak link among the cast. Nothing about her is convincing and she has too much of a “cutesy” voice for me to buy into her being an assassin.
The rest of the cast continues to shine in their respective roles. I do hope Arrow does more with Diggle next season. Right now, I feel that they are underutilizing him, especially given his background. I also hope they develop Thea much more. I like how they made her a more confident a character, but I am concerned on the direction they decided to take her in the season ender, especially considering her very weak motivation.
In some ways, the concluding episodes of season two really felt like a series finale. It brought so many plotlines to a close that if the show did end, I would have been satisfied. But, we are getting a third season (and likely more after that). I am excited to see what Arrow goes from here. I think season two really opened up the Arrow universe and now it can really grow and expand.