Review by Logan
He’s rich. He’s experienced a death in his family. He was away for several years, presumed dead, only to come back with a determination to fight a war on crime. No, his name is not Bruce Wayne. His name is Oliver Queen.
Arrow has been through a lot of ups and downs since its first episodes on the CW. From a commercial perspective it’s been almost exclusively ups, almost immediately spawning a cult following and giving way to another superhero show on the same network, The Flash. But from a worldview perspective, there have most certainly been downs.
When Oliver comes back after being on a deserted island fighting for his life, his war on crime is simple and focused. He’s not interested in petty street crime or even mob bosses, to a great extent. He’s interested in the rich and filthy corrupt who are, in the Arrow’s words, poisoning his city. There’s no problem with that . . . or there wouldn’t be if he wasn’t playing god.
You see, the Oliver in season one didn’t hang up these men to later be arrested. He killed them. That sets the cops, who would be Oliver’s friends, firmly against him. Add to that the fact that his best friend is dating his ex-girlfriend and that makes the Arrow quite the lonely hero . . . as well as living in a soap opera, but hey, it’s the CW, what did you expect?
That tone to the show didn’t stick around indefinitely, though. Along with the struggle against Merlin, and the phenomenal battle that capped the season, came a new attitude for Olly. He no longer sees himself as a god who had the right to take human life. That also sends him into a depression for a short amount of time, forcing his new friends Diggle and Felicity to hunt him down and bring him back into the action. He eventually does, and good thing too, because Starling City didn’t stand a chance against Deathstroke without him.
Season two expanded the show’s cast a lot, too, with the arrival of two new allies. The Black Canary, while being an expected addition to the show (Green Arrow without Black Canary is like Batman without Robin; you can do it, but the fans will get mad), added a lot of variety. It unlocked another very interesting backstory to Oliver’s adventures on the island, and she turned out to be an incredible fighter, with an array of talents Oliver didn’t have by himself. Season two also saw further development of Roy, the boyfriend of Oliver’s sister who comic book fans know as the Arrow’s sidekick, who was first called Speedy and later donned the persona of the Red Arrow
Now entering season three, Arrow has a lot to live up to. People probably weren’t expecting anything near the caliber that they got in season one, and season two had a lot of hype just by virtue of the new characters the writers were exploring, which are all fascinating in their own right. But now the show is at a bit of a crossroads. The incessant flashbacks are quickly becoming annoying, and if this continues every season, it will soon be impossible to believe that Oliver cold have had so many experiences in such a short time when he was supposed to be on the island. And with the promise of an iconic villain like Ra’s al Ghul, the expectations for the show are enormously high.
My expectations for the show as a Christian are high as well. I’ve watched the show turn from promoting violent vigilantism to espousing a more peaceful form of crime fighting and exploring themes of not only justice, but sacrifice, humility, and even mercy, particularly in Oliver’s relationship with Roy. If the writers will cut out more of the soap opera elements, stop doing so many flashbacks, and focus more on advancing the present story, giving way to an epic struggle with Ra’s al Ghul, this season will be exactly what the show needs to stand out in the midst of growing competition from other comic book-based shows.