Warner Bros’ ambitious comic book adapted series, Arrow, took us on a journey of adventure, conspiracy and a crap load of action in its freshman season. In season one, we found security in our heroic vigilante, even if he wasn’t secure in whom he was or the kind of hero he wanted to be. Arrow Season 2 takes all of our comfort zones and squeezes them through the ringer. Deathstroke is in the mix as well as array of other villains. And the Green Arrow has got to put his inhibitions aside and grow his team. That’s right, Smallville fans. Arrow has pushed the story and adrenaline forward in a way we only wished could have happened by Smallville’s fifth season. Plus, the showrunners tossed in enough comic book Easter eggs to make even the staunchest fan giddy with excitement.
What did the producers get right in Season 2? The first thing you’ll notice is that Oliver Queen’s hair doesn’t look like a bad toupee. His hair was painfully distracting in all the season one flashbacks. Thankfully, without the hair waving about in the wind, you get to enjoy all the great action on the island.
This season, the flashbacks actually feel like a self-contained story. We really get a chance to get inside the psyche of Slade Wilson and his inevitable transformation into Deathstroke. His relationship with Oliver becomes as close and strained as Oliver’s tenuous relationship with his mother. By creating this long term, symbiotic relationship between Slade and Arrow, the producers were able to give more weight to their falling out.
While Slade’s story was top notch, Roy Harper’s story was touch and go. After getting injected by what can only be called DC Comics’ version of a super soldier serum, Roy has to learn how to balance his new found strength without taking out the mental stresses of the serum physically on his friends, and especially Oli’s sister, Thea.
But, Roy isn’t the only powered-up ally on Arrow’s team. Sara joins the roster as Black Canary. With all these heroes in the mix, one has to wonder where does Diggle fall into play – especially with Oliver basically having the martial arts skill of Batman (an attribute that was never present in the comic)? Unfortunately, Diggle takes a back seat this season. He’s more there to offer Oli sage advice, whenever Oli gets a little too heroic for his own good or fails to separate his personal life from his vigilante life. However, he does get a few brief moments to shine when Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad starts to take shape.
Quentin Lance is also an oddity this season. At first, it seemed he would become more like Star City’s version of Commissioner Gordon. However, he ends up being more of a needless plot device to create an additional riff between Oliver, the Arrow and Laurel.
Regardless of a few pitfalls in character overload, Arrow continues to pulsate with enough high-velocity tension to keep you glued to the screen week-to-week. This is simply one of the most intense drama and action series on broadcast TV that you need to tune into, if you haven’t already done so.
The Blu-ray release adds several bonus features that you’ll want to dive into. While I do enjoy when studios include special features that involve cast sit-downs, I prefer to see more off-the-cuff interviews with third parties. You get to see the cast in a different light – even if some of the answers are canned responses. However, what I do love are bonus features that show how the magic of a series is executed. Arrow is one of those shows that hinges on cool stunts and special effects. Even though there’s a reality to Star City, there are a few fantastical elements that we tune in every week to see.
There are two great bonus features to check out on this blu-ray release. The first is the visual effects of Arrow. We get to hear from the visual effects team and learn how they helped bring season two to life. The second special feature is the wirework of arrow. This is great since Arrow is basically the Batman of Star City. So you get to see how all these intense stunts are performed so that the talents live to perform another day.
Arrow Season 3 premieres on Oct 8 at 8/7C on the CW.