Arrow, Season 2

The second season of Arrow has done something interesting, straight out of the gate.

Essentially, it has reset the first season as being one long origin story. The whole island schtick is still in there - looking more and more like Lost - but we're now looking at the whole Glades/Tommy/kill-ALL-the-bad-guys elements as backstory for the new season, not as part of an ongoing set of stories. This, I reckon, allows the writers to do a few new things.

First and foremost, it allows them to change direction. It's possible now to move Oliver from being PTSD-Man to being the wise-cracking Green Arrow from the comics (although it doesn't look likely - angst sells better on television). It's certainly possible to move him in a more superhero direction of not killing, and that's being taken pretty seriously.

Second, it lets them throw in occasional references to the backstory without needing to depend on it too much. And it gives a reasonable backing to why anyone who might ask awkward questions about where Oliver is at any given time is not doing so - Thea's running the nightclub, Moira's in jail, Walter's the CFO for a bank. Of course, Summer Glau's character - who falls into her usual area of not-quite-sane, I suspect - will be asking some questions, but they'll be ones Oliver can more easily justify not answering. This character looks like she'll be occupying a space similar to Tess in later seasons of Smallville, and I'll be interested to see if she has some backstory of her own tying her in to the rest.

Roy Harper has finally made some kind of contact with the Vigilante side of Oliver's life. This is setting up reasonably clearly for his eventual Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal role. However, with Thea already having the nickname of 'Speedy', there's going to be something else going on there. It's possible there'll be a bait-and-switch going on, as per Merlyn.

And we're told there'll be superpowers appearing, in the form of the Flash. That makes me a lot happier - as I've said before, the main point of Green Arrow is that he's a non-super-powered guy in a superpowered setting. Now quite how you'd go about telling the Oliver of Arrow apart from Bruce Wayne, I don't know - in the comics, Oliver has humour and colour, as opposed to Batman's grim shadows. This Oliver's pretty grimly shadowy.

Three points with which I'm less impressed: the CGI backgrounds are notably awful in places. The island never looks remotely real in the aerial shots, and the discovery of the Japanese bunker ten paces from somewhere Slade knows "like his own name" seems contrived. Unless, of course, it's masterful fore-shadowing, and "Slade" isn't his real name. And finally, the info-dumping is crude. "As you know, Oliver, this is the device we took from the camp..." (not a real quote, but close).

But overall, I'm liking the second season start, rather more than season one. And I'm really looking forward to the appearance of the Flash, who's one of my favourite characters in DC continuity.

Posted by Drew Shiel at October 17, 2013 11:50 AM

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