Tommy is dead, a large portion of the Glades is still in ruins after last season’s finale, and Oliver is nowhere to be seen. That is, unless you know the coordinates to the secluded island where this whole Arrow adventure began. And luckily for us, our hero’s sidekicks just happen to have access to a plane and a couple of parachutes.
With this new season underway, we start off episode one with a very familiar tone, but there is a twist. Oliver’s world is in upheaval after his losses were tallied last season and he is not processing it in the most productive way. Let me say that I appreciate that the writing team did not take the slap a bow on it approach that many shows take when it comes to wrapping up a season. Instead, they chose to put Oliver in a position he did not expect. He did not win. He was supposed to, and his brain and training had told him he would, but in the end, his vulnerabilities were exposed and he was left facing the aftermath of his enemies partial success.
I think that was a smart move by the creators. Although it is very obvious we will still be provided the narrative around a new “Big Bad” along with some minor side stories to keep us engaged, the writers left room for our character to continue to grow. In some ways, we come to expect that our heroes arrive fully formed and complete in their character development. Many times this is an accepted and welcome ideal because it is safe and easy for the audience to deal with. In Arrow, we are given opportunities to evolve, and not just for the main character, but from the supporting roles as well.
Oliver is having to deal with the culmination of all his efforts and what his failures have put in front of him to deal with, along with the flailing nature of his company and family. He is also dealing with the death of Tommy, giving us his shift away from the cold detached killer that he believed he needed to be. Instead, he now will be dispatching the baddies with much less prejudice.
Moira is having to deal with being demonized and jailed for her involvement in the destruction of the Glades forcing her to cling to humility for her survival and strive to reconnect with her family from behind bars. Time will tell how the relationship between her and Thea will mend.
In the absence of the Arrow, Roy has been doing nightly excursions in an effort to keep the evil of the city at bay. This has done little for his relationship with Oliver’s sister, and mostly aided him in racking up quite an array of fresh bruises and scars, but you have to start your vigilante career somewhere I guess.
I see this season building on the recapturing of purpose and redemption. Oliver continues to fight for the memories of those he has lost but redirects his physical efforts to less death inducing tactics. Moira searches for how to pay back the city and the family that she had disappointed. Roy works to reconcile his drive to protect with his desire to be a part of Thea’s life. Thea plays the grown-up while her sulking brother pads off to the wilderness and her mother stews in jail.
All in all, we are inducted into season two with some new themes exposed, and a couple of fresh characters to ponder. I look forward to exploring this shift in character dynamics with you in the coming episodes.