Team Arrow is back and my, my, my, what a difference a year makes. Everything’s a little sunnier, a little greener, and I’m not talking about the color of Oliver’s hood. Life is just beautiful. Okay, not everything is sunshine and roses. After all, there are still criminals out there and now that Oliver and company have contributed to the significant drop in crime, that pretty much makes The Arrow the number one target on a villain’s hit list. Always the popular ones, right?
Come on though, doesn’t everyone deserve a bit of a break? It’s been a really rough few years. Diggle is about to be a father, Roy has a bitchin’ new red suit and a prominent role on the team (and no, he doesn’t have a sidekick name yet), Laurel is enjoying the benefits on the DA side of getting criminals handed over to her on a silver platter, and even Captain Lance (stop calling him Detective guys!) is using his position of power to dismantle that despicable vigilante act that I thought was dismantled back in season one (guess I wasn’t paying attention).
Felicity, who can’t sustain a wage as the assistant to a broke billionaire, has an adorkable new job as a Buy More tech (wearing blue instead of green and yellow). Hey, it pays the bills and it allows her to help some random guy take away Oliver’s chance of running Queen Consolidated (Star City! Sign me up). And Oliver, he’s living in the Arrow cave now, which is still safely tucked away at the abandoned factory that is in receivership now instead of being outright owned by Ollie and family. Hey, abandoned is abandoned. He has no money for vigilante services, but somehow they’re getting by anyway. He must of stocked up before everything went south.
Missing this week is the most awesome Malcolm Merlyn and Thea, the latter getting a faint mention because of a text message. She’s supposedly on a European vacation, although if she is I doubt she’s taking the tourist route.
Now that I’ve gone through the “where are they now?” segment, let’s focus on the heart of “The Calm.” It’s about…the heart. Oliver, thanks to a pep talk from the brand new Olicity shipper Diggle, has decided that now is the time to pursue his faithful gal. He’s cute about it, like discussing date plans with her while he’s in pursuit of the bad guy (I’m multi-tasking!). When the actual date happens, it’s quite an awkward event. Poor Oliver has been through a lot in seven years and trying to date a woman that isn’t as screwed up as him is clearly a point of discomfort, let alone someone who’s been his faithful assistant. He genuinely adores Felicity, heck he even professed his love for her, but does Oliver really know what love is? As he mentioned, his last girlfriend left to be in the League of Assassins and the one before that tried to kill him and Laurel. His track record is bleak. Still, he’s willing to try, because a lifetime of loneliness is not the better alternative. That’s growth.
This is a definite switch from season one when Oliver was going through the “Will they or won’t they?” with Laurel. Back then he didn’t think he could be the dark vigilante and live a content family life. He was just easing into the role then and the memories of the island were still very fresh. Plus, he had to keep that secret from Laurel. It’s easier when Felicity knows all about that double life and the burdens that come with it since she’s living the same life. He also knows that she doesn’t want him for money or power. She loves him for him.
Felicity ended up being the gun shy one, even though she finally got the attention from the man she always wanted. In her case, it ended up being be careful what you wish for. The discomfort on the date was inevitable, not knowing what to talk about since they spend so much time together, but his honesty about his year in Hong Kong was probably more than she could handle. She’s always had Oliver up on a pedestal and his vulnerable side is kind of scary. Romantic tension is the norm in these setups though, and it’s going to take Felicity a little time to come around. After all, what woman could forget a passionate kiss like the one Oliver smacked on her near the end of the episode. He’s hard to resist and doesn’t seem like the kind that would give up.
There wasn’t just Oliver and Felicity romantic tension though as the epic Arrow bromance had some rough patches as well! Diggle got all upset that Oliver kept him away from the action, the soon to be born baby being the ideal excuse. Diggle was all huffy until the baby actually came, and then he got it. Yep, he needs to be there for that beautiful new baby girl. I do wonder where Diggle’s plot will progress from here (this being a dark comic I do worry about Lila’s future), but as long as he gets a plot, I’m happy. You hear that TPTB? Diggle, plot, now.
Romances tend to get interrupted in this show though because of bad guys, and the villain of the week was no exception. He’s the latest guy to take on the Vertigo drug developed by the now dead The Count and was quite the treacherous odd ball – borderline entertaining actually – which is more than can be said for most of these villains. Still, his shtick was nothing that a good team smackdown couldn’t handle, thanks to the well timed return of Sara Lance. Kudos to using the vertigo drug though as a great premise to show a hallucinated Oliver Queen fighting The Arrow. It’s the awesome stuff comic books are made of!
The other thing that comic books are made of, the epic big bad all feared villain. In DC land, few are feared more than the grand poobah of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul. This show needs a guy to be feared this season and Ra’s al Ghul has been foreshadowed for quite a long time. His appearance in Starling City was always going to happen. Another thing that was always going to happen, Sara would die. The lore has been long foretold, Laurel is destined to be The Canary. So as soon as I saw Sara Lance appear, I knew this time she was toast. Laurel saw the whole thing, she clutched onto her dead sister after having the warm sister moment, her journey has started. RIP Sara Lance, your death will be serving a greater purpose.
I really wonder if Ra’s al Ghul also knows that Malcolm is alive and came to town because of that. Maybe Sara’s return had something to do with that. Whatever the reason, you know Malcolm is going to play into this somehow. And we know Malcolm thinks that he is a hero. This can all play out in so many delicious ways. Also, was Brandon Routh great or what? Please tell me he’s not here just to be part of the Oliver/Felicity love triangle. He could be so much more!
So, what does all of this mean? “The Calm” did it’s job very well. As usual, Arrow is fueling a lot of fires, and this season opener lulled us into a false sense of security long enough to think maybe these guys would get a break, even though we knew what show we were watching. Well, break over. We had the calm, now it’s time for that storm to roll in.