1. Season premiere.
You know, I haven’t seen a lot of people get upset with the MCU for having Captain America or Iron Man kill people. I think most are willing to accept that, hey, Steve Rogers is a soldier, he’s firing a gun, people are checking out. DC, on the other hand, has this very weird stance where they’ll give their characters no-kill policies… but have them kill someone (or over twenty someones) first, which doesn’t seem to accomplish much except piss both sides of the debate off. Or, you know, give DC an obligatory dose of grim and gritty ‘maturity’. “KILLING IS WRONG—BUT OUR HEROES DO IT ANYWAY, BEFORE THEY LEARN BETTER!”
So, Arrow season two starts with the conceit that, because of Tommy’s death (THANKS, LAUREL), Ollie has decided not to kill people anymore. So, what, he’s just going to use his arrows to shoot people’s guns out of their hands and pin their clothes to the wall? That seems kinda lame for a guy whose name is Green Arrow. You don’t see Blade just hitting people with the flat of his sword. Also, the sequence that got us here seems oddly inert, dramatically speaking.
-Ollie fights Merlyn, possibly or possibly not killing him. (I get that it’s a TV show, and they want to keep their options open as to whether to bring John Barrowman back or let the season finale be the last word on his character, but DAMN—lazy.)
-Ollie goes to find Tommy dying. They don’t say one word about murder, but Ollie is struck by an earlier conversation where Tommy called him a killer. He also says that he didn’t kill Malcolm, but later people refer to Malcolm as being dead, so, what—did Ollie stick him in a box with Schrodinger’s Cat?
-Ollie vows not to kill anymore.
Wouldn’t it make more sense if Ollie straight-up killed Merlyn, admitted as much to Tommy, had Tommy call him a murderer with his dying breath, and then that motivates him to use nonlethal force from then on?
Oh, one more thing.
Ollie: Laurel, at last we’re reunited! I’ve spent five long years dreaming of seeing you again! Truly, our love story is epic!
Shado: Hi Ollie!
Laurel: Who’s this?
Like, damn, girl, at some point, YOU’RE the side ho, know what?
2. Second episode
-Okay, this is getting to bug me. In this episode alone, we have Kelly Hu as China White and Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger. That’s pretty badass, right? Only now, in the second show of the season season, do we get a name for Kelly Hu’s character (not China White, obviously) and MJW’s only introduction is “he’s a guy who wants to kill you.” That’s literally his only motivation. I’m not saying I need an origin story or a flashback, but is a name too much to ask? China White is a recurring fucking character, she should’ve had a name back in the first season. Agents of SHIELD introduced Absorbing Man, a guy with freaking superpowers, and they gave him SOME introduction and motivation while still telling a story and not even giving him a full origin. I know they’re trying to be Nolanesque, but even Nolan uses codenames like Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, etc. Thumbs down.
-I mean, over in Gotham, apparently they called a bad guy BALLOONMAN, so you’re telling me that’s allowed and a cool-ass handle like BRONZE TIGER isn’t? I guess on The Flash, we can expect THE RAINBOW RAIDER and LEN SNART, a CAPTAIN in the Army who likes the COLD, GET IT?
-Also thumbs down, Diggle’s attempt at quipping. “Healthcare is bad enough without you punks”? Man, black people can just not make one-liners without the word motherfucker, can they?
-Okay, Ollie’s still arrowing plenty of people, but now Bronze Tiger said “You’re not going for killshots anymore,” so when someone gets hit, they just writhe around on the ground but are otherwise completely disabled. How convenient. So I guess all of the twenty-plus people he’s killed so far (in Starling City alone!) he deliberately, purposefully was trying to kill? Man, makes you think about how he told Helena that he only ever killed as a last resort, huh? Apparently the last resort comes up thirty times or so.
-I’m not spoiled or anything, but I really want Helena to show up and say “Well, I’ve turned over a new leaf, I’m not a killer anymore!” Because I think this writing team would try to have Ollie say “Nuh-uh!” with a straight face.
-You’d think a crime syndicate regularly murderizing FEMA employees and stealing their shit would get, like, the goddamn NSA or someone swooping in. I know, I know, it’s the Glades, George Bush doesn’t care about black people, yadda yadda, but even the most racist cop would care when ‘decent people’ get killed in a slum.
-Ollie’s new glass display case costume exhibit always makes it look like he’s mourning Jason Todd in a really weird way.
-Laurel attempting to connect with Roy Harper.
Laurel: The Vigilante has a way of… seducing you.
Laurel: It feels like he’s touched you deep inside.
Laurel: He’s so strong, and you just want to have that strength inside you…
Roy: This shit is why I left Teen Wolf.
-Speaking of gay jokes, Crixus’s long, long look at Ollie and Shado in PG-13 bliss. “I… I thought he liked snails, not oysters.”
Roy: There are other vigilantes out there!
Laurel: I only care about Green Arrow.
Roy: But… just last week there were a bunch of copycat vigilantes going around shooting people. You nearly died. Shouldn’t you be slightly more concerned?
Laurel: Shouldn’t you have died after a gunman fired a thousand bullets dead on into your car and then you got into a wreck that sent your car flying through the air?
China White: Shouldn’t I, a high-ranking Triad boss, have better things to do than to personally hijack drugs?
Blood: Would it really be that much to my advantage to piss off the CEO of the biggest corporation in town when he’s already making overtures of friendship to me?
*all look at camera and shrug*
-By the way, Laurel’s newfound hatred of the Vigilante is because A. He abandoned the city after the destruction of the Glades (reasonable, but how does she know he wasn’t heavily wounded and recuperating?) and B. She blames him for Tommy’s death. REALLY, LAUREL. OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN STARLING CITY WHO MIGHT HAVE MAYBE, JUST MAYBE CONTRIBUTED TO TOMMY DYING HORRIBLY, YOU’RE GONNA GO WITH THE PERSON WHO HAS SAVED YOU APPROXIMATELY A KAZILLION TIMES? I don’t know, maybe there might be someone else who could be held accountable there? Someone who was repeatedly warned not to go into the Glades, then went there anyway, and who Tommy died trying to save? No, no, let’s blame, uhh… the EMT who tried performing CPR on Tommy’s crushed body and didn’t pull it off. Yeah, fuck that guy.
-Speaking of, shouldn’t Laurel be a bit suspicious of Ollie? He told her not to go into the Glades, then that very day it turned out that his mother was involved in building the Earthquake Machine that destroys the Glades. I don’t know, I might find that a bit suspicious.
3. Tonight on Criminal Minds, a man who kills women by symbolically jizzing down their throats. Wait, did I say Criminal Minds? I meant Arrow.
- Okay, decent Nolanization of Black Canary. Instead of a Canary Cry, she has a sonic device. That said…
Felicity: Well Ollie, it looks like we have a female vigilante who not only saved your life, but nonlethally subdued a bunch of rapists before they could assault a woman.
Ollie: SHE MUST BE STOPPED.
Seriously, how can I not attribute this to kneejerk sexism? Idiot Sisterfucker Roy Harper gets to be on the team, but not Boobie McCompetence?
What’s worse, at the end of the episode she actually DOES kill a guy, and THEN Ollie goes “is she friend… OR FOE?” when it would make sense for him to be considering stopping her. What the WTF?
-But really, we’re doing the Helena storyline again? Because that was just such a rousing success the last go-around?
-The fanservice is equally bizarre. We get a lab called Metamorpho Labs and a boat called the Amazo—both of which are cheesy as hell—but Quentin Lance has to be ‘Quentin Larry Lance’ instead of just Larry Lance? Dudes, your hero’s last name is Queen. Your cast list is never going to be big on dignity.
Also, in a bizarre callback to a brief storyline where Dinah Lance had an adopted Asian child named Sin, Sara Lance’s sidekick is a white girl who’s called Sin as short for Cindy. This being Tumblr, I’m sure that’s been aptly covered, but even without the racial angle, it’s just such an odd name to reference. Why not make her, say, the Arrowverse Misfit and name her Charlie, another member of Black Canary’s supporting cast? You could even call her Charlotte, if you want to be fucking weird about names because you’re fucking Arrow.
-Naturally, Sara hangs out in a clocktower (with a stripper pole secret entrance, swear to God!) because DC fucking loves cockteasing Birds of Prey. Just fucking dry-humping that BOP boner, all fucking day, never fucking delivering.
-Hey, I know lawyers are skeazy and all, but I really, REALLY doubt that if one were representing a serial killer for a client and said serial killer busted loose, that you would need to jam an arrow into him to get him to reveal where the guy was.
-What’s with the League of Assassins guy who shows up in a cloak and mask, has one line in an artificially deep voice, then takes the mask off and speaks normally? Were we trying to conceal his identity for five seconds? OH MY GOD! IT’S A RANDOM CHINESE GUY!
-Big round of applause for Laurel Lance, realizing she’s to blame for Tommy’s death. And it only took her five months, folks! There’s that crack legal mind at work!
-The scene where she confesses this to Larry—sorry, ‘Quentin’—is hilarious, tho.
Laurel: TOMMY’S DEAD BECAUSE OF ME.
Quentin: Yeah, pretty much. I can’t really argue that. Oh, shit, I’m supposed to be comforting you. Uh… shit, I’m just gonna hug you. This parenting business is hard work! Imagine if I still had to do it with two girls!
-They are missing out on a serious opportunity if they don’t cast Claudia Christian as Moira’s prison wife.
4. I'M NOT DRINKING ANY FUCKING MERLOT
-Well, Laurel’s still in a holding pattern until this dumb Proto-Canary arc ends the way we all know it’s going to, so now she’s got a drinking problem. Why not.
-This storyline goes from ‘Laurel emptying her glass’ to her getting a DUI and going “I can quit whenever I want!” in zero to fifty. I know this show is, I guess, a bit of a family show, but maybe we could wait a hot minute before the PSA?
-Oh, and we’ve started calling Ollie ‘the Arrow’ now, sorta, kinda. I know if you Batman ‘the Batman’ it sounds cooler, if you call Spider-Man ‘the Spider’ it kinda sounds non-retarded, but ‘the Arrow’… that’s just weak. Green Arrow is catchier, you have to admit. But fine. Baby steps. At least we don’t have to work downward from ‘The Hood’. “He’s also wearing boots! Let’s call him… BOOTSTRAPS!”
-This week, in the show based on a comic book, the guy named Blood turns out to be evil. Well, actually that is kinda a surprise. With this show’s approach to canon, he could’ve been Sebastian Jason Blood, who is secretly a street racer nicknamed Speed Demon. But yeah, between No Man’s Land—err, the destruction of the Glade, and a mysterious masked man with a deep voice who injects his men with some kind of super-steroid, I’m thinking Christopher Nolan has a case on his hands.
-I forgot to mention earlier, but goddamn, is the chick playing Sin riding Claudia Donovan’s jock. She is totally the Christian Slater to Claudia Scag’s Jack Nicholson. Is it, like, a rule in TV that all bisexual female adventurers need a spunky straight-girl sidekick? Bo has Kenzi, Myka has Claudia, now Sara has Sin.
-So in five years of crazy adventures, Ollie gains a psychotic drive to rid the city of evil, while his female counterpart rolls the dice and gets a virulent hatred of misogyny? How convenient. I’m just saying, this show would’ve been a lot better if Ollie were going around demanding that men respect women and Sara was the one knocking off the Mob.
-Our villain du jour is The Mayor, and when I see him, I can’t stop thinking that Microsoft is trying to convince me that black people love Windows 8.
-That man has shilled a tablet in his life, goddamnit! I know it!
-By the way, you’re think a couple police officers would be better shots than some gangbangers, even armed with assault rifles. I mean, they weren’t even guarding Laurel Lance, so there’s no excuse for this incompetence.
-The world is cruel and random, you can die at any moment, so I might as well pick now to talk about the Ra’s al Ghul controversy, where a character who was conceived as Middle Eastern is repeatedly portrayed as a white man. And I understand that at the time Ra’s was written, a Middle Eastern terrorist (even one with environmental rather than religious motives) had very different connotations than it does today. DC wants to avoid offending people, fine, I get it. But while I can get using Ra’s in the Batman movies, since he’s pretty much Bruce’s Doc Ock… why does he need to be an Arrow baddie? As long as you’re borrowing villains for Arrow’s rogue’s gallery, there’s no reason to use Ra’s. You could just as easily use Vandal Savage, make Nyssa Al Ghul into Scandal Savage, bam, done. Cast a white guy, who cares? All I can come up with is A. the writers being uncreative and using a character that doesn’t completely fit their vision rather than a more obscure one. B. the writers desperately trying to jock Chris Nolan since this is The Dark Knight: The Series.
5-6. Mission to Moscow
-I’m a bit sick, so I’m gonna do these two episodes in one review. Cool? Cool. Okay, first one, Sara Lance deals with the League of Assassins and tells her father she’s still alive. It also turns out that she was Winter-Soldiered by Professor Ivo, THEN she swore loyalty to Ra’s al Ghul (and was super-gay about it), before finally breaking free and heading to Starling City to be an antihero with a taste for defending women—and she was also a ho fo sho to begin with. Hey, she slept with her sister’s boyfriend, people. That shit gets you on Jerry Springer in any civilized society. So with a rich character like that, I’m sure we can look forward to years of stories being told about her. Hell, maybe even her own spin-off.
-A bit oddly, the show does contort itself to justify Sara telling Daddy Lance she’s alive, but not her sister or mom. I get it, they have twenty-two episodes to fill, they need to space this stuff out, but they literally have nothing better to do with Laurel’s character. Why not have have her deal with this? “I’m so glad you’re alive, Sara, but you did fuck my boyfriend on a yacht.” Even just do a storyline where Laurel doesn’t know that it’s Sara and is just interacting with the Canary. The irony would be so rich!
-Although that could get kind of awkward.
Laurel: Thank you for saving me, Canary. You’re so brave… so strong…
Laurel: Do I get to say thank you this time?
Sara: THIS LOVE QUADRANGLE IS GETTING TOO UNCOMFORTABLE FOR ME.
-By the way, what’s the point of this downward spiral arc? I guess it’s supposed to be affecting, but that would require us to care about Laurel, and she’s pretty much a horrible person. I mean, I have watched movies where there was an asshole, but they suffered so much that I felt sorry for them and wanted them to get a happy ending, but the last time that happened was in the Saw series. I don’t think the show is going to go that far to get me to like Laurel Lance.
-(Why not involve her in the Brother Blood storyline? I thought at first that she was working with Sebastian Blood unknowingly, and so that would be a whole big deal when he turned out to be evil, but no, Blood and her kinda boyfriend are two DIFFERENT generic white boys. So she’s just doing a regurgitated Papa Lance “I hate the Arrow!” storyline.)
-Hey kids, did you enjoy that the Tommy Merlyn storyline last season didn’t result in him becoming a supervillain because of a love triangle with Ollie and Laurel? Well, get ready for Slade/Ollie/Shado! We couldn’t think of a better way for Slade to turn evil than him being angry that Ollie’s getting his bone on, and we have to make Slade actively evil instead of amoral or sympathetically bad, so fuck it. Love triangle, goddamnit! NICHOLAS SPARKS!
-Oh, Amanda Waller shows up, but as a slender woman instead of The Wall. Now, like all right-thinking individuals, I do love it when people who were on Spartacus get work, but making the Wall your typical CW supermodel is like giving Professor X hair and letting him walk. It just takes away what’s distinctive about the character.
But it makes him way easier to slash with a hot Irishman. REPRESENTATION!
So, if your goal is to make this character less memorable in every way, cool, mission accomplished.
-Now it’s time for the Quiver Qrew to bust Diggle’s ex-wife/emergency love interest out of the gulag. Also, to get some if possible, but what are the chances of that?
Felicity: How could you sleep with yet another emotionless Summer Glau character?
Ollie: I AM KINDA A SLUT.
-So, uh, did Ollie and his friends just make a plan to explicitly blow the fuck out of a couple Russian prison guards who were only doing their job? Because literally the last thing separating Ollie from Helena, morally speaking, is that she ‘kills’ cops, and we just had the camera literally pan over the strewn body parts from Ollie detonating an explosive coat (?). And last episode he tried to shoot an arrow into the back of an assassin’s head (“That was a warning!” Nice save, Ollie). Again, I’m fine with Ollie being a killer, that’s the show’s premise, but can we please have some consistency in the writing? Especially if we’re going to have him be the arbitrator of vigilante morality for Starling City.
-That said, the writing is doing a lot better by Sara than it did for the inexplicably hated Helena Bertinelli. Since Sara has literally gone through exactly what he did, Ollie seems to understand that he can’t really judge her for killing people, and though he tries to talk her down from snapping people’s necks like a G-6, he doesn’t get on a high horse about it. So that’s nice, at least.
7. If the Hood doesn't fit, you must acquit.
-Well, that’s disappointing. All this talk about Moira having a deep, dark secret and the DA having a trump card that will make Moira look so guilty she might as well grow a Hitler ‘stache—and it turns out to be that she fucked Malcolm Merlyn. Thus proving her entire ‘under duress’ defense is bollocks! Because, you know, no woman has ever had sex with a man and then had him turn violent and threaten her. Don’t be ABSURD.
-Is this episode really trying to wring pathos out of Ollie killing Count Vertigo to keep him from murdering Felicity? Like, just last episode, he blew up more Russians than Ronald Reagan. The notion of him being broken up over cranking the the read-out from thirty to thirty-one is risible as it is, but dude, they’re still scrubbing the walls of that gulag.
-So, exit Count Vertigo, huh? Shame. I was just getting to like that weirdo. Even though he proves that crazy people aren’t really in the best position to be criminal masterminds. His cunning plan:
1. Discover the Arrow’s secret identity.
2. Take the Arrow’s not-girlfriend-even-though-he-feels-
3. Force Arrow to meet him at an isolated location.
4. Take out a gun and shoot him.
5. If 4 doesn’t work, use platonic-but-not-really friend as a human shield. Then kill her anyway? Arrow probably won’t be able to do anything about it, he’s only absurdly proficient at the use of projectile weaponry.
You can see this plan lacks follow-through.
-You know, I think I would make a better superhero than Ollie. I’d be much better at coming up at excuses.
Thea: Ollie, where are you going? Aren’t you going to stay and hear Mom’s verdict.
Me: No, I gotta go.
Thea: Why? Are you the Arrow and your new non-Laurel UST friend is in deadly danger?
Me: No, I just gotta take a massive shit.
Like, no one ever uses that excuse, but who would lie about it? FOOLPROOF.
-Hey, Felicity, can I talk to you a sec? You’re supposed to be smart, yet you thought it was a good idea to go off alone to investigate the dangerous supervillain’s operation. You said ‘maybe it’s nothing’ out loud. What’s going on, girl, you’re smarter than this?
Felicity: Well, Ollie was at his mom’s trial and Diggle was sick.
Yes, and you couldn’t call in Quentin Lance for back-up? Or Roy Harper? I take it Sara Lance was out of the city, but hell, why not just put in a tip to the cops and let them handle it? You know Quentin, he could’ve handled it no problem.
Felicity: But I needed to get captured so that Ollie could kill the Count and have angst—
I know, I know, but you can make things a little interesting, you know? They at least let Laurel get in a few shots before she gets taken hostage; you can get to be smart before you’re put in the damsel in distress role. Which I guess officially makes you the romantic lead. Congratulations.
Felicity: Thank you!
Just a suggestion, but if part of the plot involves Diggle being addicted to Vertigo, maybe he could be under the influence, go to the Count for a dose, and then he could end up being the hostage that Ollie kills for. That makes just as much sense, right?
Felicity: Yes, but the storyline needs to show that me and Ollie are falling for each other.
You can still comfort him when he’s all broken up over taking a life. That’s a stronger, more interesting foundation for a relationship than a man doing violence on your behalf.
Felicity: I guess you’re right.
Of course I am, I’m writing this post. I mean, I’m not adverse to the hostage stuff—it’s a TV show, it happens to everyone, even Ollie needs to be rescued now and then. It’s not that offensive, the circumstances just weren’t that well thought out. But it’s not like they fridged their only queer character, so I’m not that upset.
8. The one with Barry Allen
-I’ll never get DC’s hard-on for the Silver Age. Like, okay, you’re taking Barry Allen, but making him a twenty-something, giving him an ‘adorkable’ personality, making him a brunet, giving him a new origin story about his mom being killed… like, how is that still Barry Allen? At what point are you just writing a new character? Why even call this guy Barry Allen? Is it just a dick thing? idk
-That said, the whole thing’s eminently tolerable, except for all the little jokes where Barry Allen says something that’s funny because he’ll be the Flash later—like “I can’t dance, I’m not very good on my feet.” Get it, because later he’ll become the Flash, and he WILL be good on his feet! Christ, I can’t believe we went through ten years of that shit on Smallville. What the fuck was wrong with the 2000s?
-Also, it would have been really hilarious if the Flash show wasn’t picked up and Arrow just brought on a cute, cuddly nerd for two episodes to romance Felicity, only for him to be randomly struck by lightning at the end and killed. Ha ha ha! That’s something out of a Coen Brothers movie, you must admit.
-I will give points to any show that represents PTSD by having its sufferer get into a fistfight with a ghost. Imagine how great Good Will Hunting would’ve been if they portrayed mental illness like that. “It’s not your fault, Will. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. IT’S HIS FAULT! GET HIM!” *Jason Bourne*
-Likewise for Slade apparently ripping a guy’s heart out on network television. “Uh, Manu, you know you’re not on Spartacus anymore, right?”
-Though, what’s with Ollie shooting Roy through the leg for no reason? Did he quit being a rip-off of Chris Nolan Batman and become a rip-off of Frank Miller Batman for a minute there?
-I see the Roy/Thea/Sin OT3 is coming along nicely. You go, Thea. Do those John Barrowman genes proud!
-Oh, yeah, John Barrowman is still alive. Apparently, just like Deadshot, Ollie just assumed he killed the guy and then he just, I don’t know, got up and left. Are we sure Ollie quit killing because it’s morally wrong and not because he kinda sucks at it? At least it explains why he felt the need to shoot Count Vertigo three times and knock him out a skyscraper. “FAKE THAT DEATH, MOTHERFUCKER!”
-Not Without My Daughter: The Malcolm Merlyn Story.
-Like, okay Tommy, it’s cool that your ghost came back to tell Ollie that he was a hero, not a murderer, but he has murdered people. Like, a bunch of people. There’s a funeral being held in Russia for a bucket right now.
13. Sweet lady kisses
-Good God, man, Ollie’s dick points in more directions than a compass in the Bermuda Triangle. And I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that Sara, still in love with Nyssa and feeling repentant about her broken relationship with Laurel, would hop back into bed with Ollie. Ditto on his part; “well, I’m partially responsible for driving Laurel to substance abuse, might as well keep right on sister-fucking.” It has the air of a relationship thrown in mostly to see what sticks against the wall, as the writers don’t have the balls to move Olicity out of UST territory (every writing staff would love to keep their main couple in Will They Or Won’t They for seven years, X-Files style).
-I do really love how they depict the effects of the supersoldier serum. I can’t spell it, but it’s Japanese, it drives you crazy, and it leaves people deformed and misshapen, so I’m gonna nickname it Anime. You know I liked how CA:TWS showed Cap punching people across rooms and stuff, well, they do that here too on what must be a fraction of the budget. I mean, I’m sure it’s not breaking the bank or anything, but it’s streets ahead of Smallville, where every fight was just Clark throwing someone across a room or conveniently causing their power to backfire because he’s a Kryptonian.
-In fact, this entire season is going really nicely. Instead of being random filler, the island storyline ties in to what’s going on in present-day. The cast is large, but everyone has stuff to do—it took half a season, but even Laurel has something to do. There are a lot more twists and turns, whereas the first season just had “Merlyn is up to something!” But yeah, no way Moira runs for Mayor. They couldn’t make Walter Steele the candidate? That’s at least vaguely plausible. I know Susanna Thompson gotta eat, but isn’t there any other storyline they could think up for her? Mrs. Robinsoning Roy? Anything?
-And Deathstroke looks great, by the way. They’re doing a lot better this back-half of the season with, ya know, naming their villains, giving them personalities and motivations. They lean a little heavy on the “I have possibly sick wife/daughter/sister, I’m doing it all for HER!” which is just Sympathetic Backstory 101, but Deadshot being a scumbag with a spleen or pancreas of gold gives him far more personality than him tattooing people’s names on his chest.
-I do think they’re skimping a little on Sara’s backstory, since the flashbacks this year are pretty much her origin (Ollie seems pretty much at the same place, character development wise, that he was at the end of Island Year 1—he’s just picking up more scars, making allies, training more, etc.). Considering how big a deal Sara’s relationship with Ivo has to be to her characterization, it’s skimped over pretty hard, leaving the audience to fill in the blanks. And we can, but this time last year, we were getting scintillating flashbacks like “Ollie learns his father wrote in invisible ink!” so sparing a little time to flesh her out more wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
-By the way, wouldn’t it make sense if Shado were in love with Slade, and that’s why Ollie picked Sara over her, and why Slade is so pissed off? As it is, you kinda expect the guy to start complaining about the friend-zone—not really the best tone for a mildly sympathetic arch-villain.
-Like, he couldn’t want revenge for Shado’s death if he were just a really good friend to her either? He has to want to pork her? Okay, Arrow.
-By the way, does anyone ever think “okay, sure, they made Ra’s Al Ghul white, but then they also made Brother Blood Hispanic?” I’m guessing because ‘Latino cult leader’ doesn’t really have the same connotations—that is, any. (Although he is taking orders from Deathstroke, whereas in the comics it’s more likely to find him hiring Slade.) Does that even out at some point? Is there an exchange rate?
17. -Another Huntress episode, which means this show takes a steep nosedive in quality. I mean, fucking Deadshot—DEADSHOT—gets treated better than Huntress on this series. So, folks, count yourself lucky that my entire review isn’t
-WHY DON’T THEY JUST LET HELENA KILL FRANK?
-WHY DON’T THEY JUST LET HELENA KILL FRANK?
-WHY DON’T THEY JUST LET HELENA KILL FRANK?
-WHY DON’T THEY JUST LET HELENA KILL FRANK?
-WHY DON’T THEY JUST LET HELENA KILL FRANK?
-Seriously, even this new and improved Hippie Oliver 2.0 is fine with killing when expedient—Slade, Cyrus Volk, Count Vertigo, a bunch of Russian guards. Sara’s killed the Dollmaker and a bunch of League assassins. Laurel emptied a clip into Officer Daley. And as far as Ollie knows, he killed Malcolm Merlyn in cold blood, just like Deadshot. Where does he get off telling Helena that she doesn’t deserve her vengeance?
-Sara, same question. I thought you were supposed to be sticking up for women and shit, yet you don’t at all question Team Arrow telling you that Helena is Ollie’s ‘psycho ex’? You don’t once ask why it’s okay to kill Slade but not Frank Bertinelli? You don’t even ask why everyone is so worried about Laurel being harmed because of her prosecuting Frank? Because that’s seriously inexplicable.
-And show, why are you treating Laurel ‘blackmailing’ her way into getting her job back as her turning to the Dark Side? The DA recruited her as BAIT. She and everyone in that courthouse should have a class-action lawsuit going against the city. Laurel ‘just’ getting her job back is pretty much her being a saint compared to the book deal/talk show circuit/lawsuit/docudrama movie she should be gunning for.
-In an episode named after a female team book, we have the two premiere members of that team getting into a catfight over Ollie. Dude. DUDE.
-Also, what the hell is up with this subplot where Roy smooches on some other woman to push Thea away? I can suspend my disbelief for alien gods from a place called Apokolips invading the Earth, but c’mon—how many times has a relationship ended because one partner cheated on the other for their own good? I thought you were better than this Gossip Girl nonsense, Arrow.
-At least this dumb Tom & Jerry game between Helena and Frank is over—which of course means that, by preventing Helena from just killing Frank in the first place, all Ollie accomplished to was to cause injury or endangerment to scores more innocent people. If not outright cop-killings and shooting deaths. Oh, and he denied Helena the satisfaction of killing Frank herself.
-Which brings me to two questions. Well, three, really. 1. How is Helena able to recruit henchmen to deliberately stage a hostage crisis which will almost certainly result in death or capture? 2. Why is Helena being portrayed as such a psychopath that she’s willing to kill innocent people and cops?
-Yes, she was roguish in the comics, but all she did there was kill or severely injure CRIMINALS. She wasn’t some kind of monster. It’s like… on Arrow, Ollie is ALREADY killing/maiming criminals, so even though it would be canonical for Helena to ONLY be as bad as HE IS, the show chooses instead to adapt the sexist “Helena is worse than the real heroes” dynamic and makes her a torturous psychopath. So I guess if they made a show where the hero killed innocent people, Helena would rape people, and if they made a show where the hero was a rapist, Helena would be a pedophile. HELENA BERTINELLI MUST ALWAYS BE THE BAD EXAMPLE THAT SHOWS OTHER HEROES AREN’T THAT BAD.
-Like, fuck, if we’re going to make her THAT bad, why not name this character after a villainess? There are plenty in the DC universe who are far worse than Helena, why not adapt one of them? Tarantula. She could be Tarantula and I would not have any problems with that characterization.
-Third question: Okay, so we’re still under the pretext that Ollie is keeping Helena from murdering Frank for her own good (even though he’s willing to literally kill Helena to stop her; we had to destroy the village in order to save it). At this point, WHAT’S THE POINT? Helena has killed and tortured numerous people, both guilty and innocent. What’s one more really going to do?
-Oh, and the ending scene has Ollie apologizing to Helena, so the show knows they’ve done wrong by Helena—why put this in an episode full of Helena hurting and endangering innocent people? It comes off like a fig-leaf bit of pandering. “Yeah, Ollie mistreated Helena, but she really is a psychopath!” There must be a million ways to better redeem the character. Why not make her a part of the Suicide Squad?
-This has got to be one of the only mainstream stories I can think of where the politics are that Moira Queen, a white ‘pro-business’ woman, is the good guy and Sebastian Blood, a Latino social activist, is the bad guy whose welfare programs and taxes on the rich will bankrupt the city, and who is technically working for foreign interests against America. True, they do soften the blow by having Ollie support Blood before his mother gets involved in the race, but even so, that’s very surprising politics for a Hollywood production. You’d think Fox News would do a special encouraging Republicans to watch Arrow or something, damn.
-Watch out, Roy Harper, you’re questioning Ollie’s arbitrary decision-making. Oop—too late, you’ve gotten the Helena Bertinelli Treatment.
-Maybe it’s peevish, but why is everyone so quick to believe Slade Wilson, the creepy kidnapper who just showed up in show and who looks like the bad guy in a telenovela?
"Thea Queen—Malcolm Merlyn is your father!"
"Can you back that up?"
"No, not really, but admit that it makes sense. I mean, what other plot can your character really have going?"
19. YOU WILL LIKE THE SUPPORTING CAST OF THE FLASH, ARROW FANS!
-Okay, Arrow, I’m okay with you having Barry Allen show up and prequelizing the main character in your spin-off series. That’s why. Stan Lee had Spider-Man show up in the Fantastic Four, Iron Man meet Daredevil, that kind of stuff happening all the time. Him, Kirby, Dikto, they absolutely would’ve had Stephen Strange show up in the pages of Spider-Man a month before his magazine launched if that was the production apparatus they were working with.
But having The Flash’s supporting cast show up and being friends with Felicity and dumping exposition about Iris West—okay, that is just gross. That is Iron Man 2 level overbearing. Save it for the pilot, guys.
-Pet peeve time, I hate when a show realizes “hey, this is a situation where our cast should really be wearing masks,” then they have them immediately take off their masks so, idk, people can make gifs of them? In a situation where any rational person would keep their ski mask on for all five minutes of the job? It’s like, once we acknowledge the need for masks, it just makes it weirder that they would have them on and take them off.
-Okay, so Ollie has slept with both Laurel and her sister, Isabelle has slept with both Ollie and his father, and Thea lusted after her half-brother Tommy and probably mmm-bopped it to him at least once. Season 2: It turns out the city doesn’t need a hero, IT NEEDS JESUS.
-I do so love Ollie shooting the shit out of Ivo while he’s in the middle of a self-pitying ‘I am a misunderstood, morally conflicted antihero’ monologue. Like, dude, you had a dungeon. You can shut the fuck up about the greater good ONCE YOU HAVE A DUNGEON.
And it doesn’t at all make you a hypocrite that you won’t let Helena do the same thing to the guy who killed her lover as you did. And don’t give me that jive about it being a mercy killing, that’s totally the narrative doing a cop-out.
-There’s probably a really good feminist treatise to be written comparing the popularity of Jemma Simmons and Felicity Smoak, and the un-popularity of Skye on AOS and Laurel Lance on Arrow. Like, I think Jemma and Felicity are really similar as far as coding and archetypes go, and the “girl genius” archetype is a popular one in fandom, whereas the archetypes Skye and Laurel fit into—Mary-Sue Chosen One and Designated Love Interest—are not looked favorably on. But I ain’t writing that shit!
-By the way, Quentin Lance has been killing it this season. He’s smart, he’s competent, he’s supportive while still calling people out on their shit, he apologizes when he’s wrong—just all around an MVP. And now that things aren’t working out with Alex Kingston (insert Eleventh Doctor joke here), maybe there’s another recently divorced, age-appropriate person out there for him…
-Fine, I’ll admit it, I ship Quentin/Moira. I want them to do bad things to each other. I want an entire episode that is just Laurel and Sara and Ollie and Thea FREAKING THE FUCK OUT as their ‘rents get it on. I want Quentin to come out of Moira’s room in a kimono, four in the morning, Moira’s smoking a cigarette, her hair’s standing up, she’s got a robe half-on and her bra strap’s showing, Ollie sees them on his way to the bathroom and he screams like he’s in the ending to The Mist. I HAVE VERY SPECIFIC NEEDS, BUT THEY ARE MINE.
-Ollie: How? HOOOOOOOOW?
Sin: Why not, man, dude’s pretty cut for an old guy.
-“You wanted to kill Helena.” Ollie, SHUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDDDDDDDUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP
-So, the Mirakuro just instills people with generalized craziness? That’s a bit weird. I thought it was amplifying what was already there, so Slade’s feeling of rage and hurt at Shado’s death becomes absolute crazy-pants when he gives into it—but now, somehow Roy I guess has given into the Mirakuro and that makes him want to kill Thea for breaking up with him, even though he WANTED her to break up with him to protect her? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to either become insanely overprotective of her—like a King Kong/Fay Wray thing—OR take his frustration out on Ollie, who ordered him to break up with Thea in the first place? It feels like the show kinda uncomfortably falling back on these domestic violence/violence against women tropes when they and their implications aren’t called for.
-So after like seven episodes of Ollie being obsessed with catching Slade, suddenly he’s just lazing around in bed with Sara and suggesting they move in together? I guess even the show thought we needed to be reminded that they’re an extremely poorly-conceived item.
-Speaking of which…
Ollie: Roy, you have to break up with Thea. You’re no good for her.
Sara: Ollie, we have to break up. I’m no good for you.
Ollie: Irony, you cruel bitch.
-You know, this whole 16 & Pregnant plotline could be a really good explanation for Connor Hawke if they hadn’t cast a white actress as Teen Mom. Now if they want to introduce that character, they have to have had Ollie knock up two women and cheated on Laurel with her sister, which I think takes him past irresponsible jackass and into sociopath territory.
-Speaking of, this random Moira is morally ambiguous but also doing it all for her family backstory is some more material that could’ve been cut in favor of flashbacks exploring Sara’s thinly sketched backstory. Oh well, I guess there’s plenty of time for that in Season 3.
-Can we please stop with people saying ‘they thought’ Ollie was a murderer and that he’s all sweetness and light? He IS a murderer. He’s killed thirty people and I’m guessing he isn’t going to cart Slade off to jail, aka, Do The Right Thing According To His Own Words Whenever He Has A Conversation With Helena Bertinelli? Enough of this born-again virgin shit.
-FUCKING FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE 2013 TV SEASON.
Slade: I have the love of your life!
Ollie: Oh, you want to kill her? Go right the fuck ahead, pussy! I don’t give a shit! Do it, motherfucker! What are you, chicken? Byuck byuck byuck! What’s the matter? Are you not shooting her because you can’t hold a gun in your GIANT VAGINA?
Slade: I meant Felicity.
Ollie: Oh, shit. Okay, let’s do this.
-I’ve actually heard a few spoilers for season 3 and man, what an odd exit for Sara’s character. She just goes off to join Nyssa Al Ghul and is never seen again? Huh. Alright then. I guess that’s a satisfactory end for her. She’s happy, she’s with the woman she loves, I’m sure GLAAD and co are cool with a bisexual woman having a happy ending with a same-sex partner. And she’s inspired Laurel to maybe take up the Canary mantle. I guess we never do have to see her again, when all that’s needed to be said about the character has been said. Well, au revoir, Sara Lance. Have fun paying off that debt to Nyssa, wink wink.
-Although I actually wouldn’t have minded if Slade had died—we’ve had two seasons of him, we get the dealio—and one of his co-villains had survived to cause trouble. Imagine Mayor Brother Blood hanging around, with Team Arrow knowing he’s bad and trying to prove it, or Isabel living to fight another day. I mean, we barely got any exploration of her feud with Ollie’s Dad The Walkin’ Man. But alright, let’s keep Slade around. Fine.
-It is a bit odd to see Super-Liberal Oliver Queen being fine with extralegal imprisonment and congratulating himself on his morality because he didn’t, you know, kill the shit out of Slade. Well, we’ve still got four seasons and a movie to go, by my count, so there’s time for Ollie to learn that supervillains deserve legal representation and a day in court as well.
-Man, it takes surprisingly little effort to convince Thea to hook up with Mass Murderer John Barrowman. He didn’t even have to sing for her.
-Wait, so Ollie also did black ops operations for Amanda Waller during his five years gone? Ha ha, comics and CW shows are so dumb.
24. Post-game wrap-up.
-Well, for better or worse, the second season continued the trend of the first season, upticking in quality with more elaborate plots, a larger cast, even a stealth pilot. However, it's still basically riding the jock of Chris Nolan. The whole season was basically a redo of TDKR--a vengeful, super-strong psychopath in a creepy mask with a monomanical obsession with the hero dedicates limitless resources just to screwing with the guy and his hero, colluding with a female business partner of the hero (who also jumps him) and an ambitious business rival. Wait, here it's a political rival. Totally different.
-Although an army of Deathstrokes (Strokers?) is far more comic booky than TDKR's elaborate explanation for an atomic bomb--not even a big nuclear bomb. Bit of a midget bomb, really. I guess that's the saving grace of this season. It got a lot more comic booky, and with Island!Ollie about to become a spy (really?) and the Flash about to share his universe, I guess Season 3 will pretty much be a Marvel movie.
-Wait, what WAS the point of Brother Blood? And his cult? Remember the cult? What was up with that? I assume they, as well as the prisoners Slade freed, made up the ranks of the Mirakuro soldiers. But if so, why were they fanatically loyal to Slade? Why couldn't Blood control them? And seriously, what did he need from Slade after he was mayor? Why did he think was going to happen there? "Ah, a small amount of apocalypse--just what I need!" If the intention was to rally the people behind him even more firmly with his calm, cool leadership in the face of crisis, how come we didn't see that?
-Also, what was the point of Sara/Ollie? Did anyone ship that? It really seemed like an afterthought.
-Okay, now that Ollie and Felicity are having long talks about their feelings, we've given up on Laurel/Ollie? There's no point in trying to make her the female lead, or a vigilante in her own right, since we already have a character who does all the things people like about Black Canary--answer to the name Canary, have blonde hair, does kung-fu, Canary Cry, kisses ladies...
-I know everyone has their own opinion about what should’ve been done with Sara Lance. Here’s my idea. She’s doing her thing, fighting crime, when she’s critically wounded. Saving a kid from a burning building, fighting some new supervillain, whatever. She’s taken to a hospital and it turns out she’s paralyzed from the waist down. So, naturally, she starts the recovery process, and as she recuperates, she still wants to help out—so, Felicity takes her under her wing and teaches Sara how to help out with the computers.
As the season progresses, it turns out that although Sara can partly recover, she’ll never be fighting fit again—maybe she says “screw that noise” and goes out for a fight, but ends up almost paralyzing herself permanently. So, after the expected down of that, she decides to really go for this hacker thing. Of course, there’s only so much two Hollywood hackers can do that one can’t—she soon gets the idea that she’s wasting her potential, just shadowing Felicity, so she decides to move to a new city and see about recruiting her own ‘Diggle, Arrow, and Roy.’
Here’s where you bring in Helena. Ollie and Dig tell her what bad news Helena is, how she’s a killer, a psycho, and Sara points out “hey, so was I.” So, under Team Arrow’s watchful eye, and over the course of an episode, Sara sends Helena digital messages. With the help of a bank account Ollie has set up, Sara is able to use Helena as her ‘legs’ and together, they bring down a criminal enterprise—with Sara able to talk her out of killing the Big Bad by relating to Helena from her own experiences, rather than coming down on her as Judge Queen. The two keep teaming up and, long story short, Sara, Helena, and oh-let’s-say-Nyssa decide to take their show on the road, going somewhere they’re needed. Bludhaven, maybe.
Of course, all this time Laurel has been training herself, wanting to take up Sara’s mantle, just not in so many words. She finally screws up the nerve to ask Sara if that’s okay with her, and Sara says, hell yes. She isn’t the Canary anymore. Canaries can fly, sure, but there’s only so far they can see. With her computers, Sara can see everything, be everywhere, help anyone. Laurel is free to be the Canary. Sara is an Oracle.