He had to go baaaaack! The CW’s Arrow opened Season 2 with Oliver once again scampering around Lian Yu, the island that made him who he is today. But Oliver is now there to forget that man and the losses he suffered in Starling City.
A bit of Felicity upchuck and one thwarted land mine later, Diggle and “one very blond IT expert” convince Oliver to return home, if only to be at his mother’s side as she stands trial for orchestrating The Undertaking and to help Queen Consolidated fend off a takeover by Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev.
Though not even old enough to drink, Thea is somehow now running Verdant — a night club — when she’s not haranguing Roy “What I Lack in Height I Make Up for in Wit” Harper about his seeming “death wish” or hearing him urge her to reconnect with her mom.
In the wake of The Undertaking and in the vigilante’s absence, Starling City has fallen prey to hooded copycats looking to take back what they’ve lost – as evidenced at a gala where Laurel flattens one marauder (albeit in vain). Touching base after their months-long estrangement, Laurel tells Oliver she regrets bedding him and laments losing Tommy. They both wish to turn back time, but as Laurel notes, “We can’t go back.”
In his first bid to save Queen Consolidated, Oliver meets with Rochev, who’s as rich with barbs as she is in dollars. (“Sorry I’m late.” “For this meeting or a career in business?” And: “Since you majored in dropping out of college….”) She and Oliver each own 45 percent of QC, leaving 10 percent of the company stock in play — and Oliver has no resources to snatch it up. The meeting is busted up by the hooded marauders, determined to bring their fight to the Queens’ doorstep. (The fleeting sequence largely exists only to have Oliver/Felicity engage in a bit of derring-do, though it also cues up some ruminating by Oliver about his “kill or be killed” burden as a vigilante.) Running parallel with all of this are island flashbacks where Oliver brutally beats a new interloper while saving Shado. Were the flashbacks as efficient as my recap.
When the hoods storm Verdant, this time the aimless and rather inept lot of ‘em actually accomplish something – they take Thea. Thus, Oliver’s next stop is the Arrowcave, where Felicity has “made a few improvements” (yet retained the salmon ladder, because, you know, “I like watching you do that”). Felicity’s clickety-clacking at the keyboard points to a church, so Oliver grabs his sexy new custom-made bow and promptly gives the goons a beat down of biblical proportions (while improbably grabbing/saving one guy who’d been sent over a railing by an arrow shot from 10 feet away).
Bumping into each other at Tommy’s gravestone, Oliver and Laurel agree they still need each other in their lives. But then Laurel lets loose with her treatise about how Tommy was “killed in the crossfire between two archers,” and with Malcolm dead, she’s determined to help her boss, ADA Adam Donner, catch the last archer standing. Eep.
On the heels of Oliver visiting Moira at Iron Heights, Thea finally finds it in herself to see their mother. “I want to hate you. I really tried to,” the daughter says through tears. “But I can’t. I can’t, Mom.” A surprisingly moving scene.
Back in the boardroom, Isabel assumes she has the upper hand while Oliver has no resources. Enter Walter Steel, who’s now the CFO of Starling National Bank – which bought up the remaining shares. “I know I majored in dropping out, but I’m pretty sure that makes us partners,” Oliver zings at the lady tycoon, visibly impressing her.
The premiere closes with two wowza moments. First, Roy tries (but fails) to break up a mugging, only to see Black Canary finish the job for him, and with style. (“Where the hell did you come from,” indeed.) Then, in the Arrowcave, Oliver says, “If we’re going to do this… I need to become the man Tommy hoped I could be. The city still needs saving, and not by ‘the hood.’ And not by some vigilante crossing names off a list.” Says Diggle, “It needs a hero…. What do you want to be called?” Close-up of… arrow.
P.S. Catch the TV anchor’s report on Central City and the Star Labs particle accelerator to be completed by Christmas? Flash! Ah-ahhhhh.