Arrow‘s second season opened with a very melancholy approach to the premiere episode’s story structure. It’s like a safe approach to maintain consistency and subtle recaps, while introducing a new year into the lead character’s backstory. The show usually takes a few beats to progress, and the third season’s premiere does just that.
The episode lulls you into the usual antics of the Arrow, while layering itself with a formulaic structure that just feels smooth, as if the show is melancholy, but easily hits you with a surprising shot. Sadly, this episode didn’t feel fresh. It was treading calm water as if it had a lifeboat for any mess up. Granted, the show has been known to lay on the suspense with ease. It doesn’t go wrong in maintaining its bleak tone.
The episode also seems lost in trying to figure out where it wants to lead these characters next. Personally, I felt that they were trying to toy with my emotions without prior warning, especially with their will-they/won’t-they subplot. It keeps with this theme of a new beginning throughout, but the only new beginnings I saw were with Diggle and the Easter egg in the board meeting scene. As we all know, Green Arrow is from Star City, and in Arrow we have Starling City, but during Brandon Routh’s slideshow you see a quick glimpse of the “future,” which he dubbed Star City.
This leaves me to speculate that this season might have a better sense of direction with further episodes, as it could get more politically involved. For one, I didn’t think the episode was bad, nowhere near it, but it did have these faults within a broad spectrum.
The acting is still as top notch as it can get for the CW. Amell and Rickards really have a chemistry that brings out the greatness of each, although other characters are given the bench for most of the runtime. The episode ends with a cliffhanger after the return of Sara Lance. We should know from the last season that no one leaves the league of assassins. So what happens near the end is sort of justifiable, but Sara is left with such an open hole, it leaves me curious as to where it could lead. I’m skeptical like I’ve always been with the show during each season, but as of now it seems like it could go one of two ways: really shitty or pretty damn good, depending on how they explain the stinger at the end of the episode.
This episode played it safe, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. It was pretty exceptional, but we still have to wait to see where this new beginning leads.