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Archer Glad To Be Back?

Welcome to ‘Arrow’ Season 3! I am very excited to be taking over the recaps this season, and I promise to do my best to do the show justice. Now let’s get into it.

The season opens with the Quiver Crew taking down an illegal arms shipment, showcasing the newly uniformed Roy, aka Arsenal, as well as the general effectiveness of the team.  Not to mention all the new toys Oliver is working with, from the explosive arrows to the “fish net” arrows, clearly someone has spent the five months since the finale of Season 2 treating himself to some new gadgets. While Diggle collects the arms themselves, Oliver and Roy take down the bad guys, culminating in a return to form for the Arrow, his classic “…you have failed this city” exclamation.

Boom – we’re back. Cut to the main title shot, which has changed this season, no longer the non-descript arrowhead, now it’s a very ornate and complex arrowhead, with strange writing etched into it.

Then it’s back to the Arrow HQ, which appears to still be beneath the abandoned Verdant Club. General mirth ensues, as the team scratches another crime boss off the list. Roy-Harper-Arsenal-in-Arrow-Season-3We briefly hear that Thea is on vacation (or so she’s led Oliver to believe), see Oliver congratulate Roy on a job well done, and then it’s quiet time for Oliver and Diggle. Oliver presents Diggle with an arrowhead necklace for the new baby set to arrive soon, and they discuss taking advantage of the relative quiet to find some happiness. Diggle suggests Oliver finally ask out Felicity, reminding him that everyone already knows he loves her.

In the first flashback of the night, we see Oliver attempting an escape in Hong Kong, only to be hunted down and caught just as he is emailing his mom with news of his whereabouts. It was a nice reminder of Moira’s place in the story, and of what Oliver lost when she died last season.

When next we catch up to Oliver, he’s meeting Laurel at the Courthouse, finding her newly promoted father, Lieutenant Lance giving a press conference thanking the Arrow for his efforts in the city, and then officially calling off the police manhunt for the “vigilante.” Also, it seems that after the heart attack scare at the end of last season, Lance is getting too old to be out in the field, and his promotion will serve to keep him behind a desk. For now.

Meanwhile, at some random criminal headquarters with glowing animal print columns, we meet a group of drug dealers discussing the dent the Arrow has put in their business. But before they can scheme any plans of their own, we meet the new Count Vertigo, a dealer from the streets who has enhanced the vertigo drug, making users face their worse fears after injection (as if one Scarecrow wasn’t enough.) Vertigo leaves the old bosses down for the count (pun intended), and he takes over their enterprises, vowing first to take out the Arrow.

And where is our stalwart hero? Walking down the back alley behind Verdant with Felicity, awkwardly asking her out on their first date. It’s an endearing scene, and Oliver’s trouble with words elicits the following gem of a statement from Felicity, “…usually I’m the one talking in sentence fragments.” While I never had much hope in their dating working out this early in the season, it is nice to see some progression in their relationship.

Cut to later that day (night?) where the Arrow is chasing down a new bad guy, and calls Felicity for help tracking the guy. Despite the fact that she is at work (in a Best Buy type store named “Tech” something), Felicity hacks into her networks from her workstation and pinpoints the action, informing Oliver that Lieutenant Lance is also in pursuit. It’s a fun scene watching Felicity perform her tasks in such a pedestrian setting, especially after Oliver asking if she likes Italian food in the middle of the chase throws her off. The Arrow and Lance catch the guy, and Lance takes him in, while Oliver hurries off to prep for his big date.

Amanda_WallerFlashback to Hong Kong, where Amanda Waller continues her attempts to get Oliver to work for her, speaking of his last nine escape attempts in the past five months. In the end, she makes it clear that she is in need of his talents, and won’t take no for an answer. At this point in the timeline I’m curious of what talents she is speaking of exactly, as past Oliver may have survived Slade and that island, but he’s not the Arrow just yet.

Back at the Best B- uh “Tech” store, Felicity meets Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), and I had a flashback of my own, to the last show where we saw Brandon Routh walk into a tech store, and I desperately hoped Felicity had better luck with the man than ‘Chuck’ did. Luckily, Felicity instantly connects with Palmer, helping him buy an important piece of equipment that will most definitely come back to haunt her later.

And then it was time for the date, and it was all the weird awkwardness we could hope for. Felicity points out that she and Oliver have already exhausted any topics that would normally be covered during a first date, and that she has “…already seen you shirtless…multiple times.” So Oliver opens up to her, explaining his trust issues and revealing to her information about his time in Hong Kong.

But before it gets too heavy, it is revealed that Vertigo has tracked the Arrow to the restaurant using a tracker placed on the distracted hero earlier, and is poised to blast the restaurant away using a missile launcher. And he does just that, though the noise from the launcher alerts Oliver to what is happening and he pulls himself and Felicity out of the line of fire. They survive the explosion, though Felicity is knocked out. And that’s when things get real for Mr. Queen.

After returning to HQ to leave Felicity with the team, Roy discovers the tracker, and Oliver calls Lance to help him track down the men who blew up the restaurant. The Arrow heads out to confront his assailant, finally meeting the new Count Vertigo shortly before the villain injects him with the new drug. Before his eyes, Count Vertigo morphs into a copy of Oliver, and we get a bizarre Oliver vs. Arrow fight, with the pseudo-Oliver clearly having the upper hand. The fight stops as Lance arrives, shooting a warning shot at Vertigo. However, the excitement is too much for him, and he collapses, while Vertigo menacingly stands over him. Luckily, the real Oliver has recovered his wits, and shoots Vertigo using his handy new portable / retractable bow. Vertigo escapes, and Oliver takes Lance to the hospital.

Back in Hong Kong of 5 years ago, Oliver awakens to find himself in the home of a Japanese woman, who happens to be married to the Japanese lackey of Amanda Waller that had chased him down earlier in the episode.

In the present, while Laurel berates her father for unnecessarily risking his life, Oliver and Felicity show up at Queen Consolidated to convince the board to sell him back the family business. Unfortunately, Ray Palmer also has his eyes on the company, and a much more convincing presentation, with information he obtained thanks to the help Felicity gave him earlier. Unfortunately for Oliver, Palmer is likeable and has a good plan, his cockiness clearly comforting to a board tired of terrorist attacks and half-hearted attempts at running the company from the old CEO. And who doesn’t like a guy who shows up to a meeting riding his own helicopter?

Needless to say, Oliver loses his company again, and with it a part of himself. He confesses to Felicity that he’s afraid of being Oliver Queen, which explains his hallucination while on vertigo.  He feels he chose to be the Arrow for a reason, and he cannot afford to be Oliver Queen at this point in time.

Which all leads up to the climax, where the team heads out to an arena to diffuse a bomb Count Vertigo has placed to take out the last of his crime boss rivals. Before they head out, Oliver orders Diggle to stay behind, leading to one of the better arguments of the night, Diggle vs. Oliver, which ends with Oliver pulling the family card on Diggle, reminding him that the mission belonged to Oliver, and as such he got to call the shots.

From here we get an excellent action scene of Roy disarming the bomb (with Felicity talking him through it) using the AC of the building, while Oliver goes mano-a-mano with Count Vertigo. Despite a second infusion of the drug, Oliver powers through, taking down the Count quite spectacularly with a little help from the conveniently returned Sara Lance. As the count goes down, he warns the Arrow that there will always be a Count Vertigo.

Afterwards, Oliver thanks Sara for her help, and she echoes Diggle’s earlier statements about Oliver needing a life beyond the mask. Which he clearly ignores, as he needs to get to the hospital. Diggle’s baby girl was apparently born while they were saving the day at the arena, and Felicity is dismayed to find Ray Palmer there with a job offer for her, especially if she helps him get the porcupine flatulence sounds off his devices (which she implanted as retribution). Oliver arrives and he and Diggle talk, with Diggle admitting Oliver was right, and that he knew his life had changed as soon as he saw his daughter.

Flash back to 5 years ago, where the Japanese couple reveals to Oliver that Amanda has chosen to threaten the life of their child and their family, if they do not get Oliver to cooperate. It’s easy to see why Oliver has trust issues.

As for Oliver and Felicity in the present, he gives her the never good line “We need to talk,” and she instantly knows what’s up. To her credit, she demands that he make a decision for good, as she’s over being left dangling by “maybes” and potential promises for the future. Oliver kisses her during the interchange, but it’s not enough for Felicity, and she walks away, knowing that it is over. Or is it? We have a full season to see what progress the couple makes.

And in the final scenes of the night, Barry Allen calls Oliver for advice (which is a scene you’ll only see if you watch the phenomenal ‘The Flash’ pilot which aired again following the ‘Arrow’ premiere.) And then Sara and Laurel catch up on a rooftop; with Sara asking Laurel not to tell their father she is in town. It all seemed pretty par for the course with Sara, until Laurel leaves and we hear a voice behind Sara.

(SPOILER AHEAD – stop reading at this point if you haven’t seen the episode!)

In an electronically altered voice (similar to the Arrow), the voice utters “Hello Sara,” right before launching three blackened arrows into her gut. Sara topples over the rooftop, falling to the street below right in front of her sister. With all the blood, we know she’s dead. End of episode.

That’s how one confidently starts a season.

Lots of fun moments, great drama, just in general it’s clear that the show is still in its stride, and hasn’t lost any momentum from last season. The idea of Oliver figuring out who he is isn’t exactly fresh territory, but I have faith that the show knows where it’s going with the theme, and it will all tie together with the main arc this season.

BOW-STRING THEORIES:

  • Could the mysterious archer who killed Sara be Malcolm Merlyn? It’s been reported he’s going to be back this season, but I think him being the killer is a little too obvious for a smart show like ‘Arrow.’
  • Laurel died her hair a lighter shade of brown this season, with tinges of blonde in it. Could this be a subtle hint that she will be taking her (blonde) sister’s place as the new Canary?
  • Where is Thea really? Has she been training with Merlyn for five months? And with his sister missing for that long, is Oliver really not worried?
  • Roy aka “Arsenal” was relatively low-key this episode, aside from his action moments. Will they open up his story this season? Does he still maintain contact with Thea? From his reaction to Oliver mentioning her I’d guess not, but it might just be an act.

That’s if for now, come back next week for the recap of the second outing of the season, with the telling title of “Sara.” Feel free to comment below if I missed anything or a point needs to be clarified, and make sure to check out all the ‘Arrow’ news and rumors on ScienceFiction.com!