TV SHOW: Arrow
SEASON/EPISODE: 3.01 ‘The Calm’
WRITER: Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim & Jake Coburn
DIRECTOR: Glen Winter
Just as everything is beginning to look up for Team Arrow, with Starling City proclaiming the Vigilante as their savoir and all. A new Count Vertigo appears on the scene and Oliver has to deal with his feelings for Felicity, and he faces losing Queen Consolidated to new arrival Ray Palmer.
After dealing with Slade and his army of Mirakuru infused soldiers last season, you would not blame the show for taking a breather with the episode that followed that storyline, hence this instalment which is adequately titled ‘The Calm’.
And things do appear to be going well for Oliver and company, what with him and Roy (just start calling him Arsenal or Red-Arrow, so we can finally start calling Oliver – Green-Arrow already) cleaning up the streets and sending the criminals running for their lives, while Diggle and Lyla are preparing to become parents. And the City’s police now recognise the Arrow as a force for good and have disbanded their anti-vigilante operation, and also Oliver and Felicty are growing more closer (much to the joy of the fan base).
Now with things going so well, we just knew it wasn’t going to last and in steps the new Count Veritgo (played this time by Peter Stormare). Now this is definitely a step up from the previous actor, but I can’t help but feel that he is now becoming a discount Scarecrow (Arrow can’t stop channelling Nolan’s Batman films through it’s veins can it).
But this does lead to a rather cool fight between Arrow and Vertigo, where Oliver is infected with the latter’s drug and forced to fight him while thinking that he is facing himself (a well known comic book cliché, but also a good one).
It was also good to see Roy coming into his own as a masked vigilante, and we get to see him in action twice this episode. The first being a very fun opening scene where team Arrow takes down an arms shipment, and then at the end when he stops a bomb from exploding and killing everyone at a boxing match (though he did have help from Felicity).
Speaking of Felicity, I did like the scene of her helping Oliver and Diggle taking down another criminal, all while she was working at an electronics store. And this brings us to the newest character to appear in the show….Ray Palmer (DC Comics the Atom), played by Brandon Routh. And he played the character wonderfully, I instantly found him likeable and enjoyed each scene he appeared in (whether it was his taking over Queen Consolidated, or his conversations with Felicity). I am looking forward to seeing more of Ray in the future and who knows, perhaps we will get to see him don his own costume.
Also the episode’s ending was obviously going to be a cliff-hanger, but I certainly was not expecting Sara to die. Killed from three arrows to the stomach and a fall from the roof of the building she was on and wouldn’t you know it, just happened to fall directly in front of her sister (I know they had just been talking, but what are the odds). Who killed Sara is of course a mystery, she did know who it was and was surprised to see them. But was it the League of Assassins or someone new? I guess we will find out soon enough.
Now on to the part of this episode I did not like, which is Oliver/Felicity’s romance. I can’t be the only person thinks this doesn’t feel organic or natural. I mean for two seasons we have seen Felicity and her growing affection for Oliver, but he has barely even noticed her (much like the Martha and Doctor situation in series 3 of Doctor Who). Then in last season’s finale, out of nowhere he tells her that he loves her, which turns out to be a ploy to catch Slade off guard. Okay that I can believe, but if they are serious about going down this road and having these two become a couple, then just do it.
But what happens, Felicity is nearly killed and Oliver retreats into himself again and shuts out everyone (for fear of getting those he cares about killed). But news-flash, Felicity is ‘working’ him in his Arrow persona. So she is in danger all the time anyway, so his reasons for not pursuing a relationship doesn’t make any sense.
I feel like I am watching Smallville’s Clark and Lana story all over again, which brings back the soap opera feel that I thought hindered the show during it’s first season.
I am just saying that if the writers want to give the fans (what they want) a romance between Oliver and Felicity, then they should just do it and stop teasing it. Because that will get old, really fast (look at Smallville, that teasing lasted years).
The episode's title summed it up perfectly.
A solid enough start to the new season, bringing us a better Count Vertigo (abet a Scarecrow-themed one) and a great introduction to Ray Palmer.