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ARROW Recap – From Starling to Star, and Birdies Falling Far


We’re back! Oh, it seems like it’s been forever. And, I guess in TV terms it has. A lot went down at the end of Arrow‘s second season, not least of which being the death of Mrs. Queen at the hands of Deathstroke, the near destruction of Roy by miracle drug, Thea running off with her real father, Malcolm Merlyn, and a whole thing where Starling City nearly killed itself in a civil war. You know, the basic stuff for a comic book TV show. But now that we’re back for the third season, new paradigms need to be set up, and I’d say conservatively that they were set way the hell up. Who knows what the show will be like here on out? It was a pretty devastating premiere, especially for an episode called “The Calm.”

There’s a new arrow design in the opening title. I find it very intriguing; I’m sure it’ll have something to do with the Hong Kong storyline. More on that later.

Calm 4

We begin with a familiar scene, though, with Arrow and whoever Roy is (is he the Red Arrow, is he Arsenal, is he Speedy? Someone tell me for the love of Branding!) chasing after a truck with Diggle close behind in a van. The truck is carrying munitions which the good guys retrieve and everything seems A-Okay DOT DOT DOT USED FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT.

We find out what’s been going on with everybody: Laurel is still the head prosecutor in town, her father’s a captain and shouldn’t go out in the field because of his bad heart, Diggle’s very close to being a father with Lyla Michaels, Sara’s still gone doing League of Assassins stuff, Roy’s still distraught because Thea’s gone, Thea’s still gone but texts her (probably fake) whereabouts often, and Oliver and Felicity are making goo goo eyes at each other still. He’s still having trouble coming to grips with the fact that he wants to have a life with her and Diggle tells him he needs to try. He’s doing well and deserves some love every now and then. Oliver also gives Diggle an arrowhead necklace for his soon-to-be-born daughter, which is nice. But Oliver’s dead broke so he made it. Still nice. Nicer, really.

Calm 5

There’s now a really nice symbiotic relationship between the Arrow, the SCPD, and the District Attorney’s office, and almost all of Starling’s major criminal players are behind bars or running scared. Capt. Lance even gives a press conference to say he’s officially sanctioning the Arrow, but other vigilantism is still bad. Oliver thanks Laurel for the gift of being legitimate, but other people aren’t as happy. It seems the remaining crime lords are pretty cheesed off, but they don’t have time to worry about it because a lowly drug dealer’s making a play for the throne, in the form of Werner Zytle, played by guest star Peter Stormare, who is the bad guy on every TV show this year. He’s revived the Vertigo serum, now using it to make people face their darkest fears, and has taken on the mantle of Count Vertigo himself. Apparently, the previous mob guy’s greatest fear is the Flukeman from The X-Files. That was 20 years ago, dude; calm down about it!

Oliver takes Diggle’s advice and asks Felicity out on a date. Like a proper dinner date. Olicity is going to be a thing you kids!!! But, she’s got a new job since Oliver doesn’t run Queen Consolidated anymore, as tech person at a very small version of a Best Buy. She is still somehow able to help out Team Arrow from the apparently awesome computers they have in the break room that she no doubt set up herself. While she’s excited to go to dinner, a guy comes in asking about how to piggy back onto servers or something (I glaze over at tech talk) and also wonders why Felicity Smoak from QC would be working here and offers her a job. She turns him down, but because this guy is Brandon Routh, we know we’ll be seeing him again.

Calm 2

Oliver quickly changes out of his Arrow garb to meet Felicity. The following is a stream of consciousness account of what I was thinking during the beginning of this scene: “Wow, Arrow has a mechanical bow that can retract?!? That’s so cool, and kind of not practical. I mean, how could it keep its tensile strength if it can shrink that much? Wouldn’t it just collapse every time he tri– HOLY CRAP FELICITY IS GORGEOUS HUMINA HUMINA HUMINA.” Am I proud of this? Kind of, yeah.

Anyway, the date seems like it’s going to go okay and Oliver seems to be ready to commit and talks about how he didn’t trust anyone when he was on the island or in Hong Kong (or probably wherever else the writers decide he went when he was away for 5 years) and that Felicity was the first person he saw as just a person, not a thing who would be tray him. D’awwwwww… but, wouldn’t ya know it Count Vertigo had a tracer put on Arrow and fires a rocket into the restaurant. Rocket launchers always ruin dates, let me tell ya. Felicity and Oliver are okay, but people died and now Oliver’s whole confidence in being able to be a regular dude is tested. He wasn’t focused enough, he says.

Calm 1

Oliver gets Lance to help him find the hideout of the people responsible and it takes him right to the new Count Vertigo, who doses Oliver and makes him see himself. Or, more accurately, the Arrow sees Oliver Queen and is afraid. Lance stops Vertigo from killing the Arrow, but falls over into another heart attack and Arrow has to save him. Symbiosis. Lance legitimately can’t go out in the field anymore. His heart just can’t take it, and Laurel yells at him in the hospital for it.

Later, Oliver and Felicity prepare to try to win back QC, but there’s another buyer. Dr. Ray Palmer (it’s Brandon Routh, you guys) who does win over the board members with a speech claiming to want to change Starling into Star City and make it not a shithole anymore. He wins, and Felicity realizes she inadvertently helped him get the data he used to win. So she’s real peeved, and later he tries to recruit her again, but she’s all “Nah, dawg.” Anyway, the upshot of all this is Oliver’s actually happy because he can’t be Oliver Queen anymore; he has to be Arrow full time, which means putting everything else on the back burner.

Calm 3

They eventually discover that Count Vertigo is planning to blow up the Starling Rockets’ arena the night of a big boxing match because there are three high-level mobsters in there. Oliver tells Diggle he can’t come because he’s minutes away from being a father and the two argue about it, but ultimately it’s Oliver’s crusade so he makes the rules. He and Roy suit up and head to the thing where Roy decides to defuse the bomb with Felicity’s radio help and Oliver will stop Vertigo. He gets some help from Canary who’s back in town briefly to see Laurel about something. After Vertigo is caught, and the bomb is frozen via Freon (were we REALLY afraid it would go off and kill Roy?), Sara tells Oliver it’s good to have someone without a mask to go home to.

Felicity and Oliver, separately, go to see Diggle and Lyla in the hospital and Diggle says Oliver was right, and that he won’t be going out adventuring anymore because he has this little baby to take care of now. Which is very sweet, but that means it’s really just Oliver and Roy now to do the bad guy wrangling. Oliver stops Felicity in the hall and tells her he can’t be with her right now, but maybe– she stops him. No more maybes. If it’s never gonna happen, he ought to just say so. He tells her he loves her (not directly) but she says it’s too late because he started talking. Sad.

Then he gets a call from Barry Allen and they go talk on the roof in The Flash the other night.

Calm 6

Laurel and Sara talk and Sara asks that their father not find out she’s back. She’s got to take care of something. As she’s getting ready to leave, Sara is intercepted by someone she knows, who fires three arrows into her chest, sending her falling off the rooftop to the street below. Laurel is there to witness the crash and goes to cradle her sister as she, presumably, dies. They focus on the Canary mask on the ground, which is the universal symbol for “changeover.” I am VERY sad about this. Caity Lotz was one of the best additions to the cast last year and to just kill her off, I guess, so Laurel can pick up the mantle, is a waste of a great character.

The flashbacks this year will be to Oliver’s time spent off the island and in Hong Kong apparently to work for Amanda Waller. However, he keeps trying to escape and an enforcer named Maseo Yamashiro (Karl Yune) has to continually stop him and bring him back. Oliver says he’d rather die than work for Waller, so that means she’s got to change tactics. Oliver wakes up in Yamashiro’s house where he meets the man’s wife Tatsu (Rila Fukushima, from The Wolverine!) and then finds out that Waller will kill the couple’s young son if Oliver escapes again. You know, I really don’t like Amanda Waller.

So that was the premiere. Holy crap, did it do a lot. So sad Sara Lance is dead (again, I’m guessing due to every piece of evidence presented onscreen), I’m sad but not surprised Olicity wasn’t long for this world, I’m intrigued by Diggle’s role this year, I’m interested to see where they take Roy, and Ray G.D. Palmer is in this show now so I’m super stoked. That’s four Justice League members in one episode of television! (Arrow, Flash, Atom, Canary, obviously.)

Next week’s episode is entitled “Sara” and looks to be all about trying to catch her murderer. So, that’s something.

We’ll check it all out next week. Thanks for reading! Glad I can be with you all again this season for this crazy face show. Until then, the Quiver is Qulosed.

Images: The CW

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  1. Josh says:

    Did not like the use of Sara, she convienently appears so she can swing her staff at generic thug for a bit to rescue Oliver then gets killed off as a plot device. They also show her head all bloody with a pool quickly forming from it but she didn’t hit her head in the fall. She lands on the dumpster from her midsection down then flips over so her legs hit the ground first and rolls onto her back.

  2. Ian Wing says:

    Did anyone else see the “Ferris Air” banner during the boxing scene? SWEET Green Lantern reference. All-in-all awesome episode!!

  3. morgan williams says:

    Certainly didnt see that coming in episode one. Knew they want to make whiny laurel become black canary. I shouldnt have been surprised, especially as shes getting her own vigilante personal trainer in wildcat. Can’t believe people actually liked flash thought it was awful from start to finish.

  4. dansolnite says:

    It was Thea. I’m coining it now: Reverse Speedy. Bank it.

  5. insightful Panda says:

    The episode was called The Calm; and as expected the storm would soon follow. Sarah’s death is going to have SOO many repercussions!

  6. Jason says:

    Wouldnt it be 5 members of the justice league since roy has been a part of the justice league

  7. Three Toes of Fury says:

    Wooot!   Great write up.

    the CW knocked it out of the park this week…the Flash came out of the gates with an incredible pilot and S3 of Arrow looks to be phenom.    The Hong Kong flashbacks feel tacked on but we’ll see where they go.  Otherwise i love the addition of Brandon Routh…he’s got a great presence.   Also loved the way they handled the Oliver/Felicity stuff and giving Diggle a kid.  I think its going to be another great season for an outstanding show.

    Peace .n. Arrow/Flash crossovers….squeee!