By: Kyle Shultz
When we were last in Starling City, we saw possibly one of the most z-list characters DC Comics has to offer come to life, and he was Shrapnel. When we see him, he’s introduced as this serial bomber who is a very anti-government person, which is certainly an interesting twist to things, seeing how in the comics he is a being made up of organic metal. In the episodes that followed, we had some really awesome moments between Team Arrow, Roy & Laurel joining the team, Roy going comatose for a few episodes, Isabel Rochev being revealed as a villain, Brother Blood turning sides & Deathstroke kicking ass!
Bringing Bronze Tiger back into the mix was certainly something that I enjoyed as it almost brought back the Earthquake machine & Oliver had to reveal himself as Arrow to Roy in order for them to destroy it. I like Michael Jai White as an actor, and having him in this show is a nice touch & like Shrapnel, Bronze Tiger is a character you usually only see in the comics, so having him in a live action format is actually kind of cool. One character they’ve finally introduced that I’ve been waiting for is The Clock King, and Robert Knepper is perfect as The Clock King. When the show “Heroes” was on air, his character was one of the most interesting ones. The way he portrays any character he’s given is really strong. He brings something to his roles that I don’t really see; so having him on the show is pleasing to me. I just hope he gets more than three episodes before they kill him off.
Two of the best things happened in this last chunk of Arrow’s sophomore season, and those were Roy & Laurel joining the team. Having Roy join the team brings us a couple of steps closer to seeing him don a red hooded suit & a set of Archery equipment to match. Although with Roy being juiced up, it also brings a lot of conflict into the team as well, which we certainly saw much of towards the end of the season. I love the fact that they had Roy get injected with this Mirakuru. To me, that is sort of nod to the comics, back to the big reveal of Roy Harper being a heroine addict back in Green Lantern/Green Arrow Issues 85-86. Sure, Roy’s not addicted to it or he’s not taking it, but when he rages out, he cannot control what is happening to him; which works really well.
On the Laurel side of things, she’s actually going through an opiate addiction. Which is another nod to Roy Harper in the comics. I love that they tried to make it seem how Laurel’s drug problem is what made her think Sebastian Blood was a bad guy, that she thought she just couldn’t see clearly because of the drugs. That was a nice spin to things, & certainly made Oliver realize he has a blind spot for anything that deals with Laurel. Though when she started getting sober, & when Slade told her that Oliver is Arrow, her character started to become better. I’m not saying that she was the worst character of the cast, though I think since she has found out Oliver’s secret, they can’t do anything wrong with her character now & it’s going uphill from here for her.
The introduction of the Suicide Squad in this show was actually probably one of my favorite filler episodes ever. I love the Suicide Squad & I love Deadshot, and I love how Deadshot is portrayed in this show. Mike Rowe does a fantastic job with the character & I really hope we see more of him & the Suicide Squad in future episodes. One of the coolest Easter eggs in this show has to be that Harley Quinn was actually in the show, well her voice was. We didn’t really get to see her as much as we did hear her, but that voice is Tara Strong from The New Adventures of Batman & Robin, who voiced Batgirl & has since voiced Harley Quinn in the Batman: Arkham games, though I think it is smart to say that we will never see Harley in the show except for that little role.
Birds of Prey is another filler episode that was actually quite enjoyable. It was nice seeing The Huntress back in Starling, & that episode is probably single-handedly better than the entire series of Birds of Prey that starred Ashley Scott as The Huntress & Rachel Skarsten as Black Canary. The way this episode ended it’s kind of hard to say that we’ll see The Huntress back in the show, though I would really love to have her come back & possibly become a hero. Leave the murdering life behind & join Team Arrow. The events in this episode were a call back to Season One when The Huntress was first introduced. It ultimately ended with her father dying at the hands of a cop in crossfire, which made her hurt even more as she didn’t get to deliver the final shot to the man who killed her fiancé. Which made her whole hunt, pointless. When & if she does return, it will certainly be interesting to see how she is treated.
A character I must mention is Isabel Rochev. Her character from the comics is interesting, so bringing her into this show is just amazing as hell. I love Summer Glau, she’s definitely a favorite actress of mine & she’s just gorgeous as hell; so I’m not complaining about having her in this show & the fact that she’s not wearing that atrocious mask she wears in the comics. Though, one thing I hate is that she wasn’t exactly in the show for too much before she’s unveiled as this villainous, sidekick to Slade’s Deathstroke. Though I don’t want to say she’s underdeveloped, because she’s not; she’s just not established enough to make it more surprising that she has more to her plans than just a hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated. I love the fact that they not only made her one of Slade’s partners, but they actually gave her a suit that mirrors Deathstroke’s Daughter’s suit from the comics. Having Isabel Rochev be The Ravager was certainly something I didn’t see happening at all. I just expected her to come in, try to take over Oliver’s business & unveil that she & Oliver’s Dad had an affair. Never once did I expect them to make her a full-fledged suited up villain, which I’m sure has those basement dwelling fanboys that Adam loves so much convulsing in their basements. Having her character getting killed off in the finale seemed like wasted potential, as I’m sure that she could’ve brought something to the table in Season three. Though I do understand why they had killed her off.
Another character I really liked was Kevin Alejandro’s Sebastian Blood. Throughout this season I’ve grown to like this character & in the end you ultimately feel for the guy. He turns out to be a villain that does all the wrong things for all the right reasons. He really wants to help get Starling City back on its feet & put it back in a better place. When he decides to eventually help Team Arrow & dies at the hands of Isabel because of his helping, I kind of felt bad for Blood. I really thought he would’ve made it out alive.
Slade Wilson is a character that, since Lois & Clark and Smallville, I’ve longed for an accurate portrayal of Deathstroke The Terminator; and Arrow did just that. Although the overall conflict between Oliver and Slade seemed kind of bland to me, this whole war between the two was because Oliver, in a way, was behind Shado’s death. Slade loved Shado from afar, he never let her know how he felt, which makes me think that the whole reason behind this war is kind of stupid, but it made for damn good television & an epic finale; so who am I to argue against that? Slade kidnapping Thea, telling her & Laurel some secrets & then killing Moira just shows you to never cross Slade. He made a promise to Oliver that this would happen & it is, and he’s not holding back. The epic finale fight between present/past Slade/Oliver was very well choreographed, I loved how each blow seemed to connect with both the fight in the present and the past. Seeing Oliver “kill” Slade in the past & let him live in the present was actually really cool. He killed him once, in a sense. In this show, Slade seems like a character that wants to die, that the only way to really stop him is to kill him. That will end his real pain, though Oliver did the exact opposite. Allowing him to live, with being cured of the Mirakuru & putting him in this underground prison on Lian Yu is most likely driving him mad. I really cannot wait to see if they bring him into Season Three & how he’ll exactly be, whether in or out of prison.
Overall, Season Two of Arrow hit new heights and offered us some interesting villains that I really never thought we’d ever see on-screen. With the introduction of these villains and Suicide Squad, Arrow shows us that the floodgates at DC Comics are wide open & we’ll probably see more lesser characters than we’ve ever thought. This show delivers amazing one hour epics each week & is proving that there is more to comics on TV than just The Walking Dead. At the end of Season Two Arrow not only became one of the best Superhero TV shows, but one of the best programs on TV.