After The Flash‘s excellent pilot episode, how did the season three premiere of Arrow compare?
After a bit of a rough and cheesy opening sequence, the show quickly got back into the swing of things, and shaped up to be a solid opening episode for this new season of Arrow. While the first action scene helped to set up the “monster of the week” for the episode, it had a few cheesy moments, namely excessive acrobatics from Oliver and Roy, that really distracted me with it’s cheap theatrics.
Thankfully the action quickly dies down and we’re introduced to what’s been happening since we last saw our vigilante friends. Five months have passed since last season’s events, and a lot has changed. Oliver, once a wealthy Bruce Wayne clone, is now flat broke, unable to even pay Diggle or Felicity, with the latter having to take a job at a generic tech store to make ends meet. It’s an interesting element, that not only provides a few laughs as Felicity attempts to track criminals whist simultaneously deal with customers, but also introduces the conflict of Oliver trying to regain control of his family’s company, Q Consolidated. Ollie’s attempt to convince his former board of trustees to bring him back is thwarted by the smooth-talking, forward-thinking Ray Palmer, a new character played by someone familiar with DC Comic characters, Brandon Routh, who is most famous for his title role in Superman Returns.
Palmer seems like he’ll be an excellent addition to the cast, as he’s sharp and witty, finally providing someone to keep up with Felicity’s constant jokes. Palmer has also expressed an interest in Felicity working for him, although his intentions both with her and Q Consolidated have yet to be revealed. A romantic interest with Felicity could bring a complicated love triangle, as this episode also saw a blossoming relationship between her and Oliver, something teased near the end of last season. Further complications could also arise, as Felicity had an interest in Barry Allen, aka The Flash, prior to his coma, and given the intended crossover elements planned for both shows – and Barry’s brief appearance in this episode – he’s now awake and ready for action.
The Lance family also returned with a bang. Detective Lance survived his heart attack from last season, and has been promoted to Captain, thus removing him from danger. Naturally he gets into some trouble, and risks his health, something I imagine we’ll see happening a lot over the next 20 or so episodes this season. Laurel has embraced Oliver’s need to be the Arrow, and has established a healthy working relationship with him – he catches the crooks, she gets them convicted. Sara Lance, makes a surprise appearance near the end of the episode, and provides the much needed kick the episode needed when, after saying goodbye to Oliver and Laurel, she is confronted by a mysterious archer, who puts a few arrows in her gut, launching her over the edge of a building to fall to her death right in front of her sister.
Given the use of the Lazarus Pit previously in the show for members of the League of Shadows, I wouldn’t rule out Sara’s return entirely, but we all knew that eventually Laurel would need a reason to take over the Black Canary mantle. We also only get a brief glimpse of who attacked her, so I assume this may be the key villain for the season. I hope this is the case, as the main villain for this episode came from character actor Peter Stormare, but the role was generic – simply a version of last season’s Vertigo villain mashed up with Batman’s Scarecrow. While Stormare was fine, the use of the villain and plot related were definitely the weakest elements of last night’s premiere, and simply existed to tie the meat of the show – the characters – together.
Other smaller details we got to see was Roy Palmer as a full-fledged member of Arrow’s team, serving as a partner/sidekick now. Thea is briefly mentioned as having been travelling since Moira Queen’s death, and Roy clearly is tense about her not being present in Starling City. Roy is also clearly used more to take over the action previously seen by Diggle, as Diggle becomes a father in this episode, and Oliver asks that he no longer dives head first into danger.
Overall this was a solid season premiere. It had a few hammy moments, but did some great work with the characters, set up some neat ideas for the season, and had a huge surprise with the death of Sara. It wasn’t as strong or as fun as The Flash pilot, but I’m glad Arrow is back – traditionally each season starts slow and ramps up, so I expect nothing less from the coming episodes.