colin salmon


After last season’s shocking ending – seriously, I’m not being sarcastic, I really didn’t see that coming – Arrow returned for its second season last night with a solid premiere. The Hood has been absent since an earthquake left a good chunk of Starling City in ruins. Coincidentally, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) skipped town, too, though no one in town seems to find any correlation between these two events. Hey, they’re suffering, we can’t ask them to draw obvious conclusions right now. (more…)

Darkness on the Edge of Town

This is it, the final stretch. Only two more episodes to go, and wow!, did “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” really set things in motion for next week’s finale. It’s almost as if this is the episode we’ve all be waiting for because, finally, all of Arrow‘s tangent plot lines are coming together. Things kicked off at breakneck speed with the Dark Archer, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) attacking Unidac Industries and killing every scientist who had anything to do with the seismic device “the undertaking” is using to destroy The Glades. And I was immediately struck by how distraught I’ll be when Barrowman’s villain meets his inevitable sticky end.

I’m guessing we’ll see his undoing this season, with Tommy (Colin Donnell) taking his place as head of Merlyn Global and The Hood’s arch-nemesis. I do hope I’m wrong, because bad guy Barrowman is too much fun to give up, but the police drawing a connection between the Dark Archer and Merlyn Global so quickly can’t be good sign. At least there’s plenty of promise Malcolm’s not going down without a fight.


The Undertaking

Finally, at 21 episodes in, Arrow is beginning to move towards its finale. And with its dragging pace, to only be getting us to this point now further proves 23 episode orders for a TV series are tiresome. As I look back over this season there are so many episodes, so many villains of the week, that served no purpose other than fattening the story so the overall plot could fill 23 episodes. Can you imagine what a heart-pounding, thrilling season we could have had were they to stick with only 10 to 12 episodes? No Firefly, no overly done and unnecessary romantic subplots, and even as it pains me to say this, no Dinah Lance. I was thrilled to learn Alex Kingston was joining Arrow as Laurel’s mother, but then, that plot line only served to prove Sarah dead, like we thought, and mend some wounds within the Lance family.

Was any of that necessary for this season? Does it tie into Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) transition to vigilante? Does it set up “the undertaking”? No, and therefor wasn’t all that necessary beyond providing filler. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. There’s still two more episodes to go, and last night’s “The Undertaking” was the first step towards wrapping up this long endeavor of Malcom Merlyn’s (John Barrowman).


Last night was the mid-season final of Arrow where the show remembered it had quite a bit of plot to move along since resolving Ollie’s (Stephen Amell) botched attempt at bonding with fellow vigilante, The Huntress, Helena Bertinelli (Jessia de Gouw). There were some island flashbacks, more investigating from Walter (Colin Salmon), the reveal of an “evil” archer in Starling City, and Ollie trying to save Christmas.

And his attempt to imbue his family with the holiday spirit they are lacking is awkward at best. Actually, the Queen family is all sorts of awkward and their forced enjoyment of each others’ company is heaped with awkward moment upon awkward moment. Have I said awkward enough, yet? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Good, ’cause that’s how watching the Queen family interact makes me feel.

Turns out since Oliver and his dad disappeared they’ve stopped celebrating Christmas, and more importantly stopped throwing their annual Christmas party. And if one guys knows how to throw party, it’s Ollie, and he does so with the hope it’ll liven up his family’s dreary Yuletide. It, of course, has the opposite effect but that’s exactly what I’d expect from the most awkward family in Starling City.


In the second to last episode of Arrow before the series goes on its midseason break (Is it just me or are more shows taking longer breaks halfway through their seasons?) we get to see Helena (Jessica de Gouw) go full blown Huntress while Ollie (Stephen Amell) tries to reign her in, Diggle (David Ramsey) gets jealous, and Walter (Colin Salmon) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) become a detective duo. I’m thinking spinoff for these two, but more on that later.

We left the vigilante, sorta couple last week making out in Helena’s apartment and unsurprisingly we begin this episode with them asleep in bed. Man, CW, why you gotta leave the good bits off screen? Then Helena wakes up, sneaks away, and attempts to kill some head honcho for the Triad. Her goal is to spark a gang war between the Triad and her father in order to punish him for murdering her fiance. Sounds like a sound plan to me, but of course Oliver shows up in time to stop her.

Kids, today’s episode is brought to you by the letters “V” for vengeance, “J” for justice, and we’re gonna learn all about how they differ. Or not, because the show itself seems to be a little confused.


Last week’s Arrow ended on a couple of cliffhangers, the most shocking being Ollie’s (Stephen Amell) arrest on the suspicion of being the vigilante, The Hood. In the real world we know it would be next to impossible for a prolific billionaire’s son to keep his nighttime activities a secret, and especially if those activities meant shooting arrows at thugs and mobsters. Often in the world of comic book super heroes being able to keep a wrap on their duel identities is a given, at they very least it’s a storyline not played out for some time. But that’s exactly what “Damaged” seeks to explore, how is Oliver going to prove he’s not The Hood when all the evidence is mounted against him.

The opening scene draws a parallel between Ollie being arrested in the present and flashbacks to his capture by mercenaries on the island. In Starling City Ollie is being drilled by Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) about his activities as The Hood, while on the island he’s interrogated by mercenary Edward Fyres (Sebastian Dunn) – a guy you’ll swear stepped straight out of a Bond movie – about his green-hooded companion. As you watch the two scenes it becomes clear what other skill Oliver learned during his time on the island: deception. Ollie have become extremely good at lying, and not only lying, but using these lies to manipulate those around him. Sure, he’s using this new set of skills for good but it doesn’t make his behavior any less questionable. After all, intent is pointless when in the end you’re lying to those you love.


Picking right up where we left things last week Arrow, The Hood, Ollie (Stephen Amell), whatever you want to call him, has revealed his secret identity to bodyguard, John Diggle (David Ramsey), and expecting him to join up as a brother in arms is a little shocked when Dig takes a swing at him. Of course, he’s still recovering from Deadshot’s poison bullet so his aim’s a little rusty. Diggle calls Ollie a criminal and a murderer, name-calling that is completely warranted as his actions as The Hood – seriously, this name is dumb – have indeed made him commit crimes and murder people. So this moment of opening up doesn’t really go as planned and Diggle resigns.

Don’t worry, he’s soon replaced by the most incompetent bodyguard known to man. He’s a riot he’s so terrible. Please say he becomes a series regular.

Coming back home Ollie is met with more grief, this time from Laurel (Katie Cassidy) who’s come to the Queen mansion to check in on the assassination survivors and ream him for how worried he made everyone by just disappearing. She accuses him of caring for no one but himself which is well, ouch, considering he just saved everyone from Deadshot. Such is the life of a masked avenger trying to hide his true intentions by acting the dick all the time. With Laurel out the door Ollie’s sister, Thea (Will Holland) comes in for support as it seems she’s starting to grow up and leave trashy, nightlife loving, “Lohan” Thea behind. She tells Ollie to stop being a jerk – thanks, sis – and to start being real with Laurel if he cares at all.

Cue the case/criminal of the week. The news story buzzin’ all over Starling City is of Peter Declan, a man convicted of murdering his wife who is scheduled to be executed in 24 hrs. Turns out his wife worked for a man on Ollie’s list and that leads him to be suspicious of the murder charge, thinking it more likely her employer, Jason Brodeaur, was behind it rather than the husband. Evidence? He’s on the list, Dad said he was bad, just go with it.


As if this episode’s title wasn’t enough of a clue, one of the many DC characters promised to make an appearance this season indeed has his appearance. Deadshot, Floyd Lawton (Michael Rowe) is in Starling City and is doing what he does best, assassinating from afar with startling accuracy. He’s been hired by the Russian mafia to assassinate businessmen interested in making a bid to buy Unidec Industries, which includes Ollie’s (Stephen Amell) stepfather, Walter (Colin Salmon). Deadshot’s arrival forces Arrow and Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to team up, or rather, Arrow to let Lance in on what’s happening and hope the cop will trust him enough to follow through.

Back at home Ollie’s sister, Thea (Willa Holland) is continuing to spiral out of control. Moving on from recreational drug use and binge drinking, the girl is now into larceny. She’s basically the Lindsey Lohan of Starling City. We’re given a glimpse into “Parenting 101 by The Queens” with Moira (Susanna Thompson) and it clearly lacking in the discipline and structure a young debutante needs. While out clubbin’, a very intoxicated Thea lets it slip to Ollie that Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Tommy (Colin Donnell) had been hookin’ up while he was “dead.” And strangely, Ollie doesn’t seem too shaken up by this which means it’s likely he already had his suspicions.

In the few island flashbacks we’re given this episode we learn that the mysterious archer who last week shot Ollie through the chest was doing so to save his life, though he could have fooled me. He takes Ollie back to his cave and patches him up, but Ollie still misunderstands and tries to escape only to be caught in the trap of another group on the island. No real hint as to who these men are, but once again rescued by the archer the two are on the run.


DC has had a mixture of success and failure when bringing their comic book properties to television. Arguably, Smallville has been their most successful foray into a weekly superhero series, but last night’s premiere of Arrow from Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg shows promise. In a updating of their emerald archer that pulls more from Christopher Nolan than any of their previous TV shows, this Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) is more gritty and grounded than we’ve seen him before. In fact, Arrow is a mixture of keeping the hero grounded in reality as much as possible with the extravagant, unbelievable feats only a superhero show’s premise could get away with, and, surprisingly, it works.

The origin of billionaire playboy, Oliver Queen’s, arrow-slinging alter ego is at its core, the same. Stranded on an island for five years after his father’s yacht sinks Oliver has had to learn the hard how how to survive. The skills learned during this life-altering period is the training he’ll later utilize when fighting crime and corruption in Starling City. What’s interesting is how they’re choosing to present this origin story. We’re only given a glimpse of Ollie’s time on the island in an opening scene where he’s rescued, but in that short scene we’re teased about a major moment that must have gone down during his time there. Let’s just say it’s the first of many DC easter eggs littered throughout Arrow. But what it promises is as the show progresses we’ll be learning just as much about Ollie’s time on the island in the China Sea as we will about his first year as a masked crime fighter, and that interesting narrative choice could prove to be one of Arrow‘s strongest assets.