I have been a bit too busy to watch movies lately so how about this new series where I eventually review all the Arrowverse shows. I like to put them on in the background while I’m working on my book and I’ve seen them all before. Not gonna review every episode though, I just don’t have the time.
Okay, SPOILERS follow, but something I noticed about all the shows in this particular shared universe, is that it’s really hard to talk about anything in the show without spoiling something.
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is a spoiled rich kid whose boat sinks and he’s left stranded on an island for five years. When he comes back, he comes back with a mission. One given to him by his father, who died shortly after the boat sank. But admitted to Oliver that he worked with evil people in a conspiracy to destroy the worst parts of the city to eliminate crime. It’s a bit ridiculous if you stop and think about it, but creates great moments of drama and action, and a final act to the season that stands out among all episodes as some of the most exciting.
I like most of the dynamics in this season, such as the conflict between Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) who is trying to take down the Hood (as Queen’s vigilante persona is called in this season) is just as interesting to watch as the Hood taking down some criminals in an action packed sequence. I also like John Diggle (David Ramsey) and how he starts off being a bodyguard for what seems like just a spoiled rich kid who doesn’t like being followed, but when he discovers Oliver’s secret, the first of many to do so, he’s at first apprehensive that he’s murdering people, but once Oliver explains that it’s “only bad people” everything is fine…for some reason.
The other character I really like is Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). I heard she was only going to be a one-shot guest star but I’m glad they realized Rickards just works on the show and I couldn’t imagine the show without her.
This is a more realistic take on the character, as is the second season, though that all kind of goes out the window once the Flash is added to the mix and they make the change to be more of a straight-comic-book show, but I like how it is here showing the stakes it would take to really be a superhero, one who has more going against him than for, but so driven that nothing can stop him from completing his task.
That’s something else I really like about this season, but I guess I’m just a sucker for in depth character development, Oliver isn’t doing this to be a hero. He’s just a vigilante, and takes some real convincing to do anything that’s unrelated to his “Kill These People” list, such as stopping a family of bank robbers that he’s against taking any action until Diggle convinces him otherwise. From the get go, he’s just in it as he sees the people on the list as a target for revenge against the death of his father. As he goes through it he starts discovering they were more involved with his death than he would have thought. But he doesn’t start out as the hero DC fans might expect from this character. And Amell’s performance as Queen is one that strives in this internal conflict, one who doesn’t want to be the hero Starling City needs, he only wants his revenge (whether he admits it or not). Once he’s the only one who’s able to save the city when it’s needed most. Doesn’t mean he succeeds though, something else I like about this series is that it’s willing to show Oliver fail, and he does…kind of a lot actually.
I have two complaints, the first is Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). Don’t get me wrong, Donnell is a good actor and he’s obviously doing the best with what he’s given, just all his parts throughout this season are riddled with cliches and some pretty stupid decisions. I like when he takes the initiative and becomes Oliver’s club owner, and when he discovers Oliver’s secret and makes him morally question what he’s doing. But these are just two scenes in 23 episodes, the rest of the time, whenever he walks into frame something in my brain knows it’s just going to be a scene that isn’t interesting and kind of feels more like it was hastily thrown in there to eat up screen time than anything else.
I’m also not the biggest fan of love triangles, especially ones that just take the formula of a love triangle without really changing much or making it interesting. You know what’s an interesting love triangle? The one between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine from the X-Men. It has levels and dynamics to it that I could fill a whole article about if I so chose. Here though it feels somewhat sloppy, and the Tommy’s decision to break up with Laurel because Oliver still has feelings for her is just dumb as a major plot point.
My other complaint was some of the drama was a bit soap-opera-y, but I’ll just chock that up to being Tommy’s fault.
Final Thoughts: If you’ve seen Iron Fist before this you might see some similarities in the first few episodes between the two, but Oliver Queen has one thing Iron Fist didn’t have in his first season: a character arch.
+7.5: Great start to a few parallel-universes full of superheroes
-2: Tommy…just Tommy
+1: Everyone else is a solidly-written character
+1: Great character arch for Queen
+1: Bonus point for realizing Rickards should be a mainstay as Felicity Smoak