Arrow, S3 Ep01 – The Calm

Clearly the title “The Calm” is meant to imply that the arrival of one heck of a storm is soon to follow. This premiere eases us back into the world of Arrow months after the havoc Slade Wilson wreaked on Starling City. Characters are going on dates. Arrow is no longer being chased by police. Babies are being born. Sure, a restaurant is destroyed by a rocket launcher, but other than that all seems to be going well for Team Arrow. This is until later when the calm ends and the storm begins to settle in.

The CalmWhen “The Calm” begins in goes right back into the action Arrow is known for. Criminals are “running scared” according to Diggle and Roy has been given an official superhero costume to fight alongside Ollie. Off the bat I was a little surprised to see that Ollie is unaware of his sister Thea’s current whereabouts, training with her father, Malcolm Merlyn. Roy doesn’t seem to want to let Ollie in on what he knows, which could prove to be a problem for two of them later. Felicity is still helping out, but since Ollie lost Queen Consolidated, she had to pick up a retail job at a place called Tech Village.

A new character introduced in “The Calm” is Ray Palmer, played by former Superman Brandon Routh. Routh’s portrayal of Ray Palmer was great. He’s definitely cocky, but also very charming, Right away he feels like someone the audience will like. You almost want him to succeed at buying Queen Consolidated, especially since he has plans to help the city and re-brand it as Star City (the actual name of the city in the comics by the way). I’m definitely looking forward to see more of him and want to know what will happen between him and Felicity. She may end up working for his company fairly soon.

Felicity and Ollie have a date in this episode, but Olicity shippers out there will probably be upset about where their relationship ends up. After a rocket launcher blows up the restaurant Ollie and Felicity were eating in, Ollie changes his mind on whether or not he can be in a relationship. It’s like that scene in Spider-Man where Peter Parker tells Mary Jane he can’t be with her because his enemies would hurt her. I hated it then. I’m hating it now. Not that Ollie needs a significant other, but it would be nice to see him have happiness in that aspect of his life. Hopefully, this decision of his didn’t rattle Felicity too much, and she’ll be able to bounce back and still help Team Arrow without any awkwardness.

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Detective West is alive and well

The villain that blew up that restaurant was the new Count Vertigo played by Peter Stormare (Prison Break). Peter Stormare did a commendable job portraying Werner Zytle/Count Vertigo, a character very similar to Scarecrow from Batman Begins, but I was hoping the show would make him more than the typical villain-of-the-week. I still enjoyed every minute of him on screen, though, and I hope he returns. I’m sure he will.

As evident by the Arrow trailers released prior, Detective West is alive and well, but it seems he has to lay off the action after the incident he had in last season’s finale. His plan to get rid of the anti-Arrow task force was a nice touch for the series, and reminded me of other superhero movies where the city turns around and ends up supporting their vigilante.

When Ollie kicks Diggle off the team because Diggle has a baby on the way, I really thought Diggle would stay resentful towards Ollie. I was happy to see he wasn’t once he and Lyla’s baby was born. H ended up appreciating what Ollie did for him. Ollie and Diggle’s friendship is one of my favorite aspects about Arrow and I would hate for that friendship to dissipate. Still, hopefully this doesn’t mean we will be seeing less of Diggle. Diggle is awesome.

So, everything seems as good as it can be for Team Arrow. They take down Count Vertigo and save an arena filled with innocents. But then something happens after Laurel shares a loving reunion with her sister, Sara, a.k.a. Canary. After Laurel walks away, Canary sees someone (we don;t know who) and is then shot through the stomach with multiple arrows and falls from a roof. She’s dead. The episode ended with Laurel crying over her dead sister’s body.

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Sara Lance briefly returns to Starling City

I’ll admit, I’m indifferent about this ending. I loved everything about this episode up until that moment. Arrow is known for killing off characters just to give other characters more motivation. How many of Ollie’s loved ones have to die? Last season we had two characters (females nonetheless) who died, so Ollie could grow as a hero. This act is okay once in a while, and I actually didn’t mind it when Moira Queen died because of how well done it was, but its beginning to become redundant. Also, Sara Lance was one this series’ best characters and I got used the idea that she would be this universe’s Black Canary (both her sister and mother have donned the costume in the comics). On the plus side, it looks like this death will motivate Laurel to become something more, rather than Ollie. Also, its a mystery who killed Sara and murder mysteries can be entertaining. I suspect it was someone from Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins, or maybe another villain entirely.

Overall, “The Calm” was a fun and entertaining episode filled with some compelling new plot developments to steer this season in a new direction. The flashback scenes were short and sweet, as they tell the story of Ollie being kidnapped by the ruthless Amanda Waller and also introduced Katana, played by The Wolverine‘s Rila Fukushima. Also, I’ll say it again, Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Ray Palmer was great. You immediately love the guy. It’s just the ending of “The Calm” that nearly ruined the episode for me, but I’m hoping this death will bring something different to the table. This was still a strong start to what will hopefully be a superior third season.

Next week’s episode will be very depressing as Team Arrow deals with the loss of Sara. Check out the The CW’s official promo for “Sara” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “The Calm” in the comments.

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