Arrow begins second season with a powerhouse start

City of Heroes

If you haven’t watched last night’s second season premiere episode of CW’s Arrow, “City of Heroes,” then come back after you’ve seen it…

…and once you’re back… WOW!  What a season opener!  We couldn’t ask for more action and drama.  CW really delivered one of the best season two starts in recent memory.

At first… confusion!  John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an old plane flying over the island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was marooned for five years?  Parachuting to the island and revealing Oliver had used the island as a retreat from the turmoil he left back in Starling City was a great place to begin.  We don’t want Felicity and Oliver as love interests, but we can’t get enough of them working together, and from this episode it looks like she is a full partner in Oliver’s Starling clean-up business.  And she even had a new compound bow custom made for him.

Rickards and Blackthorne in Arrow

Last season Oliver’s world was nearly destroyed.  Tommy Merlyn’s dad Malcom (John Barrowman) was behind a plot to destroy the Glades, Starling City’s slum neighborhood, and everyone in it using Queen Consolidated’s R&D resources.  With Tommy’s dad dead Oliver then lost Tommy (Colin Donnell) when his attempt to stop Malcom’s undertaking failed to save the Glades from a massive earthquake.  Oliver’s mom (Susanna Thompson) is now in jail for her complicity in the neighborhood’s destruction. The aftermath of the earthquake, with angry Glades survivors blaming the Queen family, gives an exciting new twist to the essential conflict at the heart of the series.

Oliver’s sister Thea–and Willa Holland, the actress playing her–has clearly grown up since we last saw her, now running Verdant, Oliver’s club in the building that also houses his secret vigilante headquarters.  Thea is still dating Roy Harper (Green Arrow’s sidekick in the DC Universe) who is out filling the crimefighting role left vacant by Oliver, sporting a red hood–a nod to his role as DC superhero Red Arrow.

Oliver and Shado and Slade

Also grown up is Summer Glau as newcomer Isabel Rochev, a tough businesswoman trying to take over control of Queen industries.  Glau looks great and should be a good addition to this season’s main cast.

And as a nice surprise Oliver’s stepfather Walter Steele (Colin Salmon) is back as the chief financial officer of a bank–sweeping in as a White Knight to save the day for Oliver and his family–offering last-minute financial support to keep Oliver from losing complete control of the company to Rochev.

Glau on Arrow

Along with some great persistence by John Diggle, the episode revealed that Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is now demoted beat cop Officer Lance, and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) now works for the district attorney’s office.  And she wants the Hood–Oliver’s vigilante–to pay for Tommy’s death.  We saw more backstory with John Slade (Manu Bennett) and Oliver’s love interest Shado (Celina Jade) back on the island.  Throw in four angry Hood wannabes from the Glade and it’s hard to believe so much was jammed into one episode.  And hardly any need for a supersuit for Oliver–at least this time.  Will Oliver really stop killing his targets?  And who is this new Black Canary character revealed in the cliffhanger?

City of Heroes

Arrow is setting a high bar that we hope ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aspires to.  We can hardly wait for more episodes.

Arrow airs Wednesday nights on the CW Network.

C.J. Bunce

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