Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review of Arrow: Season Two

Last month I posted my review of the first season of CW's cult hit TV series, Arrow. About a week after that, the second season came out on Netflix, and I started watching it. And by about another week later, I had finished the second season finale.

Cover of the Blu-Ray for the second season of Arrow
I've come to the conclusion that either I have a lot of free time on my hands, I'm obsessed with this show, or Arrow is really just that good! I know I don't have that much free time on my hands, and though there is a possibility that I am obsessed, I would lean more toward it just being that good.

If you haven't watched the first season and don't want any spoilers, don't read any farther until you've watched it. While I will keep spoilers for the second season to a minimum, in order to do justice to this review, I'll need to reference a number of the events from Season One.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, on to the review...

The logo used for the first two seasons of Arrow
The second season starts a couple of months after the end of the first season. Many of the characters are still feeling the consequences of the events in the first season finale. Moira is in prison awaiting trial for the part she played in the Undertaking. Thea resents her mother for what she's done and has been avoiding her. Laurel has started working for the district attorney's office and is dealing with her grief for Tommy's death by trying to bring down the vigilante. Oliver has gone back to the island to escape Starling City and the guilt he feels for failing to save Tommy and the Glades. Roy is trying to follow in the vigilante's footsteps by taking down criminals when he can. And Quentin Lance has been demoted for supporting the vigilante and has developed a grudging respect for Oliver's alter ego.

Diggle and Felicty go to the island to convince Oliver to come home. And though he reluctantly does, he is hesitant to putiting the hood back on, as he feels he failed the city. And after Tommy's death, he is not willing to go back to being a killer. Evnetually, with some help from Diggle and Felicity, he decides he can still fight to save his city.

In the opening monologue for most of the second season, Oliver says, “but to do so, I can't be the killer I once was. To honor my friend's memory, I must be someone else. I must be something else.”

There is a scene that I love in which Oliver tells Felicity and Diggle that he doesn't want to be called the Hood anymore, and as Diggle asks Oliver what he does want to be called, they show a close-up of Oliver holding up an arrow. Throughout the rest of the season, the other characters transition from referring to him as the vigilante or the Hood to calling him the Arrow.

And a new masked vigilante, this one a blond woman dressed in black, has shown up in Starling City.

And all of this happens in just the season premiere.

The Arrow starts wearing a mask during the second season
The second season is very much a transition of Oliver transitioning from being a vigilante to being a hero. It is not an easy journey for him, and his resolve to save his city without killing is tested repeatedly over the course of the season.

I mentioned in my review of the first season that I was bothered that Oliver didn't have the morals about not taking lives that the heroes that I followed most closely did. I was excited to see the changes in Oliver's character as he goes through the transition.

We also see the other characters grow and develop. Even after the amazing character development of the first season, many of the characters prove to be more complex than I could imagine.

Others have joined the Arrow in his crusade
Some of the other characters are a contrast to Oliver. The Canary is almost a reluctant hero. She feels guilt and shame about her past, and while she admires the hero that the Arrow is becoming, she has difficulty believing that she will ever be more than what she has done in the past.

The Canary
The Huntress and her vendetta show what Oliver could have become. Helena started out as someone just wanting to do the right thing. But tragedy in her life twisted her goal from justice to vengance, even to the point that she is willing to take innocent lives to achieve her goals.

The Huntress
Deathstroke is an example even more extreme than that of the Huntress. He is not only willing to kill innocents to acheive his goals, he is willing to take down an entire city to get his own twisted form of justice.

More than anything else, the message of this season is that individuals have the freedom to make their own choices and decide what kind of person they want to be. Oliver had his crucible from the five years he spent on the island. Others' crucibles included losing loved ones. Some are broken by their crucibles. Others become dark and turn into villans. While still others come through it stronger and become heroes. Each person has the choice of how they respond to their circumstances.

In this season, we also see new antagonists develop, one of whom is someone from Oliver's past that he thought dead. There also continue to be Easter eggs for lovers of DC Comics, with more characters from the DC Universe being introduced throughout the season, including a voice cameo of Harley Quinn. But the one I loved the most was Barry Allen, and how his introduction was used as a back-door pilot for the new Flash TV series.

Barry Allen introduces himself to Oliver and Felicity
This season, much like the first, had me captivated from start to finish with rarely a dull moment.

The main cast of Season Two of Arrow
I am now looking forward to watching Season Three. Although only four episodes have aired so far, I am already hooked, and look forward to seeing where they take the series next. As I will now have to wait each week for a new episode, it may be great practice of patience for me.

So if you haven't started watching Arrow yet, I would encourage you to start soon so that you don't miss out on this amazing series.

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