Arrow (2012)

Dark, cinematic, breathtakingly-choreographed, epic in orchestral score, & rich in character development with a brilliant island dual-plot redemption arc & career performance by Stephen Amell. One of the most revolutionary TV-Series post-2000. 9.5/10.

Plot Synopsis: Notorious Billionaire Oliver Queen is shipwrecked on an Island in the North China Sea. After 5 years stranded on the island and nightmare experiences, he returns home to bring justice to the criminals of his city as the DC Comics hero Green Arrow.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

CLC’s Best #Arrow Episodes: 1. Pilot, 2. Lian Yu, 3. The Climb, 4. Deathstroke, 5. City Of Heroes, 6. Emerald Archer, 7. Crisis On Infinite Earths, Pt. IV, 8. The Slabside Redemption, 9. Honor Thy Father, 10. Darkness On The Edge of Town, 11. Reset, 12. The Promise, 13. Present Tense, 14. Home Invasion, 15. Green Arrow, 16. Prochnost, 17. Broken Dolls, 18. Welcome To Hong Kong, 19. Invasion, Pt. 2, 20. Docket No. 11-19-41-73, 21. Legacy, 22. The Undertaking, 23. Inmate 4587, 24. Seeing Red, 25. The Dragon

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Season-by-Season Reviews: S1 – 10/10 / S2 – 9.7/10 / S3 – 8/10 / S4 – 4/10 / S5 – 9.2/10 / S6 – 6/10 / S7 – 8.7/10 / S8 – 9.6/10

Series Review: Dark, Cinematic, Beautifully-Choreographed, Vigilantism-Complex, Epic In Orchestral Score, & Rich In Character Development With A Brilliant Island Dual-Plot Motif & Career Performance By Stephen Amell As The Billionaire-Turned-Emerald Archer, DC Comics’ 2012 Arrow Is One Of The Greatest & Most Revolutionary TV Series Post-2000 – Proof-Of-Concepting Blockbuster Franchises (& The Streaming Boom) On Television. 9.5/10.

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Season 1 – 10/10

The Green Arrow

One Of DC’s Richest (& Most Complex) Heroes Gets His Cinematic Debut 75 Years Later

Coming fresh off The Dark Knight Trilogy in 2012, DC Comics was in a very good position in the live-action superhero adaptation market. Universally agreed to be one of the greatest movie trilogies in the history of Cinema, with one of the greatest centerpieces ever in The Dark Knight, Nolan’s movies sparked a new age for DC Comics: one grounded in realism, tonal darkness, and bold reinvention translating these beloved characters from comic books to the big screen. This scripture was to be etched in time of all their media going forward, their first project post-TDK being a feature-length TV Series based on one of DC’s first and oldest superheroes ever: The Green Arrow. Little did they know what kind of massive success and legacy would follow, with what was originally scripted as a one-off about a billionaire who gets shipwrecked on an Island being instead big enough to springboard canvas an entire universe and the biggest TV franchise of All-Time named after it. Dark, cinematic, beautifully-choreographed, vigilantism-complex, epic in orchestral score, & rich in character development with a brilliant island dual-plot motif and career performance by Stephen Amell as the Billionaire-Turned-Emerald-Archer, DC Comics’ 2012 Arrow is one of the greatest & most revolutionary TV Series post-2000 – proof-of-concepting Blockbuster Franchises (& The Streaming Boom) on Television and changing what was possible.

The Tonal Blend

Dark, Cinematic, Violent, Compelling, Epic, & *Strikingly* Nolan-esque In Vigilante Thrills

What catalyzed this chain reaction? From the very first scene of the series, it’s clear this is nothing like anything ever attempted on TV before. We’re instantly bombarded with dynamic, quick-cuts of a nomadic man running through the forest on a deserted island – who sees a fishing vessel in the distance and fires an arrow into the wind, only to light up an S.O.S. signal for the rescue of a billionaire we learned was shipwrecked in the North China Sea awya from civilization for five years. The premise alone is enough to send chills by how incredibly dark and rife with existential possibilities it is, instantly drawing into the brilliant premise with one of the best establishing shots and opening scenes I’ve witnessed on TV to this day, but the series also feels wildly cinematic and more ambitious/epic than anything ever on the medium before it as well. As the season goes on and Oliver Queen has to join us back in society and learn how to be human again after his torturous experiences on that island, the series is VERY dark, violent, & compellingly-cinematic in what feels like a love-letter and perfect alike to Nolan’s tonal cocktail of the TDK series in all the right ways. Perhaps even darker – being shipwrecked on an island after watching your entire yacht staff and friends/family aboard die, tortured by mysterious parties, covered in scar tissue, and turned into such an animalistic presence that you kill the criminals or severely injure and punish/’put the fear of God into them’ instead of locking them up is a whole lot more than your parents just being killed in an alley – Arrow has achieved tonal masterpiece blending as a rich, vigilantism-steeped crime drama with cinematic flair and an island angle for an idiosyncrasy-riddled, stylistic canvas.

The Lavish, Opulent Magnificence Of Set Design

Beyond the tonal majesty, Arrow’s triumphant stylism seeps through to set design, cinematography, and premise. The set pieces and location settings are spectacular – ranging from rich, warm mahogany tones interior juxtaposing cool green lush mossy exteriors in the Queen mansion all the way to cold, dark towering obelisk-like cliffs in the bleak canvas of Lian Yu and black dim-lit back-alleys where Oliver is free to do his vigilante (anti)heroicism work. The cinematography is crisp as an arrow, with brilliant shot constructions and dynamicism in camerawork/cuts to only add to the cinematic feel established tonally. The costume design is equally as sensational – getting everything from the elegance of evening wear in the socialite lifestyle to Green Arrow’s phenomenal suit complete for war paint as a true soldier-meets-Robin-Hood look perfectly. As previously mentioned, Arrow’s island premise might be the most instantly-grabbing hook in television history – we’re avalanched with questions we have to know the answers to from the first flickers of film in the series: Who is this man? Why is he on this island? How did he get there? Why does he have a green hood and bow and arrow? How did he make that impossible archery shot? How long has he been there? How did he survive? Is there anyone else on the Island? What is the Deathstroke totem? etc. It combines the best of Lost x Batman in a dual-storyline plot device that allows for the series to feel like two different series at once – & one we join at a fascinating place in the timeline of both at the end of one horrific journey and beginning of another as a brilliant display of dazzling, skillfull screenwriting packed to the brim with entertainment and storytelling value.

Rich Character Development & Payoff By A Writers’ Room Display Of Dazzling Skill

The writer’s room certainly reinvented the wheel here: creating a series that both blends the greatest fictional premises, while also paving its own way for unparalleled cinematic entertainment value. Lost x Batman with loads of twists – even darker and more stretched-out than any previous Crusader film by way of its cold-blooded-killer/TV flip premise or any island series in the ominous presences/motivations lurking on that Chinese isle and the character set of a spoiled rich kid being shipwrecked on the one place money doesn’t matter and he gets thrust in the real world of survival antithesizing every silver spoon he’s ever been fed with. Indeed, the character development is absolutely PHENOMENAL – rich characterization of everyone from our central protagonist (one of the most compelling and fascinating I’ve ever seen by way of his tragic/broken unfathomable backstory) to the love-interest lawyer/(future Black Canary?) Laurel Lance to warm brotherhood/moral compass presence of John Diggle to party girl Thea Queen to comedic reliefs Tommy Merlyn and fizzy, bubbly I.T. girl Felicity Smoak to the bone-chilling antagonist of Malcolm Merlyn and his Court of Owls-like socialite enablers plotting the destruction of entire infrastructures and millions of lives. The show also speaks to bigger themes of wealth distribution, classism, grief, tragedy, loneliness, sociology, psychology, nihilism, existentialism, justice, criminality, and trials of the human spirit unfathomable to most of us like what happens to the psyche of someone on an island away from every shred of civilization and society/humanity for half a decade now thrust back into it – all in a canvas that balances its edge & sharp nihilistic darkness with heart, humour, thrills, & beautiful storytelling opened up in a way that has never been done on television before.

The Aptitude & Badassness Of Oliver’s Mission – Brought To Life By Godly Fight Choreography & Neely’s Beautifully-Orchestrated Score

This storytelling prowess transcends boundaries, making itself especially known in that of Oliver Queen and his primal Mission he’s tasked with upon returning home to the real world. A list given to him by his father before killing himself, he is charged with the duty of excising everyone on that list like cancers complicit in the crime underworld of Starling City – a task he takes little mercy in exercizing and bringing justice to. The beautiful simplicity of the mission: simply crossing names off a list much akin to a Devil’s list of souls to collect by criminals deserving justice, is fantastic, and badass in all the right ways being able to do away with morality or traditional superheroicism tropes by way of the island pariah backstory and being able to deliver badass A-tier vigilantism thrills unburdened by hedge-betting or anything that’d shroud its intensity or interrogative brutality – brought to by life by god-tier fight choreography. My favorite thing about Arrow in its entirety is how absolutely breathtaking the fight and action scenes are – visceral, pulse-rattling, balls-to-the-wall and untempered by morality or anything less than surgical excision of criminal cancers from his city, plus a career performance by Stephen Amell as The Emerald Archer. Neely’s score is cold, calculating, breathtakingly-cinematic, and haunting as one of the best orchestral accompaniments I’ve heard outside Hans Zimmer x Junkie XL and a beautifully-scored soundscape that parallels the tonal darkness in every way, shape, and form.

Stephen Amell

A CAREER-Making Performance As The Emerald Archer & Billionaire Playboy

A heroic drama is only as good as its lead role – and, luckily for Arrow, they have found a central performance so good.. it’s one that an entire FRANCHISE & UNIVERSE can be built upon. Stephen Amell’s brutal, damaged, broken, layered, morality-questionable, charming-yet-brooding, human-flawed, strikingly-badass, fear-of-God-instilling, duality-filled pariah/vigilante persona – developed with surgical skill as a character by season’s end to hero and tested in acting capabilities by full range playing two veritable antitheses and polar opposite versions of the character in both the flashbacks and present-day – is nothing short of MAGIC. Indeed, what could be a more epic story and character arc than a socialite trust-fund kid billionaire so rich-yet-morally-bankrupt he can cheat on his girlfriend with her own sister, being shipwrecked on an island where none of his status and wealth and power matter beyond cold-blooded survival, all the way into a devil’s advocate archer bringing justice but in the most sinister of ways, finally learning to become a true superhero by the end of the season. I would absolutely put Amell’s visionary take on Oliver Queen amongst the greatest hero performances of All-Time cinematically, a definitive version of the character on-screen for the first time.

The Island Dual-Storyline Motif

One Of The Most Brilliant Premises For A Show I’ve Ever Seen & One Packed With Entertainment & Existential-Analysis Potential

The dual-storyline plot device is just one more piece of the puzzle and scripting prowess that allowed Arrow to springboard canvas itself into the stratosphere. As previously mentioned, it feels like the series is two different series in one – a separate island mystery arc probably its most fascinating and surprise-filled of us learning what happened to Oliver Queen when he went missing in the North China Sea and present-day flashforwarded five years from that point where he’s this morality-less vigilante who has no problem putting an arrow between the eyes of a criminal without even a second’s thought. Even if you don’t like superheroicism films/TV as a booming market this series is sure to popularize even more in the public eye, the series is entertainment and universally-accessible thematic/cinematic brilliance by its premise alone for one of the most compelling and addictive binge-watching series of television I’ve ever witnessed.

Massive Cameos Of Huge DC Comics Lore & Visceral, Breathtaking Action Sequences Of God-Tier Fight Choregoraphy And Scale

The comic book lore and MASSIVE cameo characters from throughout DC and Green Arrow’s history makes for even more enjoyment by any superhero fan. Legendary heroes/villains like Deadshot, The Huntress, allusions to Black Canary and Deathstroke, The Royal Flush Gang, The Triad, China White, Bronze Tiger, The Magician/Dark Archer, Ra’s Al Ghul, and countless more make for a canvas of featurettes unlike anything ever able to be fit in a trilogy – bolstered by the series’ length and structure having 23+-hour long episodes to explore the DC Comics lore. This is HUGE pedigree superheroic character territory any comic book fan will fall head-over-heels with – all leads me to the big bad of Season 1 and one of its biggest triumphs: Malcolm Merlyn.

Malcolm Merlyn

A Surprise Twist & Incredible Villain That Dark-Parallels G.A. & Hits Oliver Where It Hurts Most In His Bones (And WINS)

A comic book adaptation is also only as good as its villain, and – despite the fact that he isn’t the most name-recognizable big bad in DC Comics – Arrow S1’s villain is absolutely bone-chilling. John Barrowman gives a broken, tragic, thunderous, evil, nuanced performance just as traumatized husband and father losing his life’s purpose by the senseless violence that took his wife’s life in the slums of The Glades – with intent to wipe it off the face of the planet in recompense. This is downright evil – and even terrorism-laced – in every conceivable notion; most villains are trying to take over or rule the city in self-minded greed/arrogance.. Merlyn is so disgusted, he wants to leave a lifeless crater in the area entirely. Unconcerned with the millions of lives and infrastructure lost in the process in this unparalleled-stakes plan, powerful in fight aptitude and training by Ra’s Al Ghul and the League Of Assassins itself before going rogue and using their training for a mission wholly sacrilegious against their code, sharing the same ‘superpower’ as G.A. being just as good of an archer as him and carrying out this mission with just a centuries-old weapon, chilling reflection of the other side of grief and anger turning to violence and rage instead of heroicism like Oliver’s after both undergoing traumatic journeys, mysterious in the organizational plot slowly unveiling its widespread corruption among Starling’s City’s wealthy elite who are supposed to be helping the city instead of destroying it, and hitting Oliver hardest by the fact that it’s his best friend’s father and a father-figure to him since he was a child as the villain he must put an arrow through – but does not know if he can. Beyond that, the ballsy, jaw-dropping finale cliffhanger allowing this symbol of evil and angel of death to acutally win and accomplish his dark mission of destroying the city is one of most shocking and S2-segway physiological need-inducing decisions in superhero media. Brilliant.

One Of The Greatest Seasons Of Television I’ve Ever Witnessed & Game-Changing Proof-Of-Concept Bringing Blockbuster Scale To TV

Overall, Season 1 of Arrow is one of the most perfect and captivating seasons of television I have ever witnessed – and changed what was possible on the medium. Never before have I seen a TV series so strikingly-cinematic in scale and ambition/feel, it reads and thrills with the bolstrous presence and dynamicism of a feature-length film – that goes on for 23+-hours allowing for unparalleled depth and rich storytelling/characterization unlike anything thought possible. Even having watched through the season multiple times, as with The Dark Knight I credit equally in getting me into crime dramas and cinema itself as an artform changing my life: I cannot find a serious flaw. Dark, cinematic, beautifully-choreographed, vigilantism-complex, epic in orchestral score, & rich in character development with a brilliant island dual-plot motif and career performance by Stephen Amell as the Billionaire-Turned-Emerald-Archer, DC Comics’ 2012 Arrow is one of the greatest & most revolutionary TV Series post-2000 – proof-of-concepting Blockbuster Franchises (& The Streaming Boom) on Television.

Official CLC Score: 10/10

Season 2 – 9.7/10

The Ultimate Villain Of DC Comics & CBM History Rivaled Only By Joker Comes To Town

A finale destroying the entire city of the superhero/guardian angel that was supposed to prevent it from happening. That’s what Arrow S1 accomplished – in what is one of the most cinematic, dynamic, and game-changing seasons of Television post-2000 era. How do you follow-up such subversive and top-tier TV? Make it bigger, badder, and even more ambitious – here accomplished near-instantly by mention of one name who sends chills up the spines of any fan of comic book history: Deathstroke. One of the greatest villains of All-Time, already richly-character developed as a friend in Slade Wilson in S1, the decision to tackle such unchartered territory is what launched Arrow – and the subsequent UNIVERSE it gave birth to – into the stratosphere. and DC History and one of my top 5 favorites ever, was going to be the main villain. By way of more rich character writing, a bone-chilling performance by Manu Bennett as the ultimate villain of comics (rivaled only by The Joker), a full hero’s transformation in further development, perfect Black Canary by Caity Loitz, more-enthralling treasure hunting island storyline, and the best action scenes the series has ever witnessed, S2 of Arrow is another near-*perfect* season of television – and even bigger and (arguably) better than Season 1.

Mirakuru x Shado

The Island Arc in S2

Lian Yu is the major battleground for S2 – being foundational setting off the chain reaction of events that lead to the emergence of its two biggest non-Oliver characters: Deathstroke and Black Canary. From the opening flickers of the season, the island is the focus – starting off with the most cinematic scene the series has seen to date to open revisiting that fateful island present-day in an establishing scene that screams blockbuster sequel, where Oliver is hiding away from the world unable to face the gravity of his failure. The way S2 splices its flashback and present-day storylines into a singular blend is a showcase of extreme skill and screenwriting prowess that allows the season to achieve a cohesive feel that none other quite accomplished. Flashbacks center around a treasure hunt of sorts – with a mysterious patron and his forces after a miracle drug that somehow – as if S1’s island arc wasn’t already mysterious enough – wound up on Lian Yu. Dr. Ivo is a sensational alt-villain – combining the best of Frankenstein-ic sci-fi/physiological horror with a strong performance and ruthless need to find a cure after his wife’s backstory (almost reading like a Mr. Freeze showing how cinematically-beautiful his premise can be, when done right – sorry, Schwarzenegger). Shado is also given a phenomenal arc making for a masterpiece mix of character drama, betrayal, brotherhood, jealousy, and guilt balancing all arcs beautifully in a dazzling Victorian display that feels distinctly-human and sets the stage phenomenally for Deathstroke’s plans later on.. as well as the most shocking addition to the series yet: Sara’s return.

The QUEEN Of DC Heroines

A *PERFECT* BLACK CANARY By Caity Loitz

The most shocking addition to the season – and one of the best All-Time – additions to the series is Oliver’s shipmate who was supposed to be dead but given new life and a mystery arc of her own off-screen: SARA. I cannot describe how masterful a plot twist it was when she reveals herself to Oliver, sending his life into chaos trying to process how one of his biggest regrets and character cruxes in S1 being twanged with guilt for not only cheating on her against her sister but being the punk who got her killed has completely changed. After finding herself also on Lian Yu and being equally-connected to Slade and Ivo’s plans, she is again shipwrecked and cast out to sea thought to be gone forever – this time landing on the far-off shores of Nanda Parbat (made even more breathtaking by the symbolism of a Canary being what gives her strength as she floats on the desolate sea), she is picked up and trained by the ultimate trainers: The League Of Assassins x Ra’s Al Ghul. When she returns to Starling City, she is the absolute *PERFECT* Black Canary in every remote sense of the words – brought to life by a career-making performance by Caity Loitz. Bold, badass, brutal, intimidating, capable fighting-wise, romantic with Oliver both training & fighting crime vigilantism-style for the iconic chemistry-riddled power couple, and sexy (complete with a fishnet-clad comic-accurate suit and motorcycle), she is the definitive comic book Black Canary I’ve ever seen – one boasting the same acting chops Oliver displayed in S1 as her character is developed from helpless, cute, innocent girl into assassin. I only wish she had a sonic device on her neck or something instead of a hand-held to imitate the infamous Canary Cry as what would’ve then been easily a Top 5 comic book hero adaptation ever. Regardless, brilliant.

Flashbacks: The Real Green Arrow In Training, By Way Of More Godly Character Development

Also fit into that masterful flashback half of the season is a godly character development arc that brings Oliver into the early-stages of Green Arrow-readiness. Through a rigorous fitness and training regiment, he’s finally able to wield that bow-and-arrow on target, hold his own in hand-to-hand combat/stickfighting, and maneuver with some aptitude as the episodes roll. The island backdrop plays phenomenally off this training highlighting the reason why Green is such a foundational color schematic for G.A. being the predominant color where he trained and found his love and calling for archery. Even more so, we see Oliver start to become more sure of himself and gain some of his confidence, swagger, personality, trust, and soul back after the life-changing/breaking events happened to him when he first washed ashore on Lian Yu. However, while our hero is also starting to enjoy life a bit again, a cyst of darkness and devil’s tricks are set into motion of the beginning of the end: Slade Wilson’s miracle-fueled dark transformation from brother/best friend to public enemy.

An Eye For An Eye

Manu Bennett’s Legendary Performance As Brother-Turned-Enemy Slade Wilson (& One Of The Greatest Villain Performances Of All-Time)

Finally, Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke/Slade Wilson. EASILY the highlight of the season – and one of the greatest villain performances of All-Time cinematically, I’m honestly at a loss for words trying to translate how flawless it is into print. Absolutely merciless with a bone-chilling black-and-orange suit, cocky swagger in his walk and talk stylism (bolstered by the joyous comic-accurate Australian accent), fueled by intense hate/jealousy and revenge-minded rage at the loss of his love who really loved Oliver at his own hands after being put in an impossible place to choose who dies between Sara and Shado, ruthless enough to turn that decision back on Oliver in one of the most jaw-dropping and emotional shock scenes in the history of TV in his murder of Moira Queen, phenomenal hand-to-hand and sword-wielding combatant, guerilla warfare-spawning and string-pulling mastermind exuding power in his every chess move, and able to hit Oliver where it hurts most in his bones through thorough knowledge of his psyche, persona, and every secret he ever told him on the Island as a once-best friend (as always, make the best villains) now turned public enemy #1.

The Choice: One Of The Most Breathtaking & Shocking Plot Twists I Have Ever Witnessed

Is that a good enough description? That’s about as best I can describe one of the most powerful and deliciously-dark/tension-filled villain performances comic book media and TV has – and will – ever witness. If there’s one flaw to be found in the season (along with Sara having the sonic device on her neck instead of handheld as more Black Canary), it’s that I wish the finale centered a bit more on him and Oliver than a widespread city apocalypse.. and that the final fight between Green Arrow and Deathstroke had a better backdrop. But these are minuscule nitpicks not even remotely the fault of Manu or any of the cast beyond cinematographers and costume design it would be ludicrous to weigh seriously in what’s otherwise a masterpiece TV season.

Filled To The Brim With Easter Eggs

And A Spin-Off Of One Of The Biggest Superhero Names *Of All-Time*

Beyond the plot and arcs itself, S2 is one of the biggest seasons of television ever attempted in history for how much it took on its plates outside it. Recurring villains from S1 are back like Huntress and Deadshot, formation of The Suicide Squad with more fantastic addition characters like Bronze Tiger, one of DC’s best and most differentiating quirks in sidekicks with (Colton Haynes’ fantastically-acted) Roy finally earning his mantle as Green Arrow’s famous sidekick Red Arrow, and the surprise cameo and name to end all names: BARRY. ALLEN. Grant Gustin’s cameo in S2E8 is one of the most iconic moments in comic book media ever accomplished; perhaps signaling a spinoff of one of the biggest and most legendary superheroes of *ALL-TIME* finally getting his big screen debut 75+ years later as well: The Flash. Gustin is yet another career casting as CSI Barry Allen: he gets the geekiness, humour/awkwardness, bleeding sci-fi/lab love, pain, and yet unbridled optimism and hope of the Scarlet Speedster absolutely perfectly – for what I hope will become its own show Arrow births for a one-two punch of legendary comics adaptations.

Bigger & Better Than S1 In Almost Every Conceivable Way – & One Of The Greatest Sequels Of All-Time.. On *Television*?

Season 2 of Arrow is what cemented it as one of the greatest & most game-changing TV Series post-2000. Though I prefer S1 by the slightest of (almost imperceptible) margins simply by its limitless possibilities and more stunning finale, S2 is near-perfect itself as well. Bigger, bolder, beautiful, richly-emotional, more blockbuster-feeling, more streamlined & action-packed, human-based in its visceral character drama, and bolstered by a TRINITY of new characters in three of the biggest characters in comic book history coming to town: Deathstroke, Black Canary, & The Flash, Arrow Season 2 is a masterpiece sequel I cannot believe is on TV over theaters. This is a legendary moment for cinema we’re witnessing in the diversification of media and what’s possible outside of only picture palaces once-thought to be the only place you could see this type of entertainment. A New Era is here though, and it’s glorious time to be a cinephile (and comic book fan).

Official CLC Score: 9.7/10

Season 3 – 8/10

If Deathstroke Wasn’t Already Big Enough Of A Comic Book Lore & DC Villain Name..

Ra’s Al Ghul x The League Of Assassins

After the legendary first 2 seasons of Arrow, I was both eager and reluctant to dive into Season 3. Almost all shows I can think of have 1-2 phenomenal seasons, and the rest are alright but heavily declined in quality. With Arrow using up its 2 perfect seasons already, and a good half its writing team leaving to help set up the monumental (and wildly successful) Flash show, I was worried it would fall into that same trap, as the odds seemed to be against them. However, Season 3 of Arrow was surprisingly very good, and although it is not as good as Seasons 1 and 2 and mildly struggled keeping its footing towards the end of the season, I was not disappointed in the end result, and it even put to screen some of the craziest moments in the show’s history.

The Premiere

Let’s start with the premiere. With an awesome opening scene and a great team of Green Arrow-centered superheroes, the season premiere delivers some cool moments, and keeps some of the most intriguing storylines from S2 including Thea’s Malcolm-assisted transformation arc and Roy/Sara’s developments. This is cut short though by one of the craziest plot twists ever: Sara’s death. That took me completely by surprise, especially that they would show it in the season premiere – a truly ballsy move but one that would carry the season well and spur what I called, and rightfully proven: Laurel becoming Black Canary to carry on her legacy and name.

The Mystical City Unfazed For Centuries: Nanda Parbat & More Breathtaking Set Design

While I got really hyped to see Laurel as BC and loved her training arc in the first half of the season, I have to admit a potentially unpopular opinion but one that I stick by 100% as a huge superhero fan and comic reader: I did not like Laurel (Katie Cassidy)’s Black Canary. She is weak, whiny, improperly trained, has a cringy mouth opening to scream with no vibrations or anything to show her iconic Canary Cry, and the costume looks pretty awkward on her (strange, since it looked incredible on Sara). I also could not stand how she constantly moaned and cried about the team wanting to protect her and not let her get killed when she basically only had the equivalent of 1-2 months of training.. from a gym teacher (may have been Wildcat, but still no League of Assassins or Slade).

The League Of Assassins

Speaking of League of Assassins, let’s discuss the big bad of the season, and one I absolutely LOVED: Ra’s al Ghul!! Every superhero fan instantly knows the name, anyone who’s heard of Batman is familiar with, and anyone who’s simply seen The Dark Knight trilogy will remember. The decision to have Ra’s al Ghul as the big bad was an awesome thing to behold: it solidified and even crossed over the implied Green Arrow/Batman connection, got to flesh out the iconic villain from a greattt (although cluttered) Batman Begins, and was impeccably acted by Matt Nable in what is so far my favorite take on the character ever – sorry not sorry Liam Neeson. He exudes power, darkness, and the old-world tradition that Ra’s should, while also being able to fight extremely well, as is seen in my favorite and one of the most jaw-dropping moments in television HISTORY: Oliver vs. Ra’s mountaintop duel and Oliver’s death. I could not believe my eyes when I saw them make that bold a decision to kill off the main character, and with the music, cinematography, snowy setting, and chilling realism, that scene will go down in history.

The Climb

One Of The Most Jaw-Dropping Episodes Of Television & Plot Twists I’ve EVER Witnessed

Although Ra’s story arc is phenomenal in the first half of the season and slightly after the finale, it begins to lose its way in the second half. Perhaps this is due to how many episodes are in each season for CW (23 episodes, WHYYYYY?! -.-), but there are some obvious fillers with dumb side plots and lazier writing like Oliver marrying Nyssa (gets too Batman-y trying to emulate Bruce-Talia) and pretending he’s bad. Also, perhaps the biggest problem of this season in my opinion: I do NOT like the decision to go to China in the flashbacks. I was severely let down by this decision: Oliver is supposed to spend all his time on LIAN YU during the five years, as it makes his return much more heartbreking because he was on a deserted island cut off from civilization, not eating Take-out in Hong Kong. It takes a lot of wind out of the sales, and is not comic accurate or good show value because his exploits are far more uninteresting than either S1 or S2.