I’m surprised at how good this episode was. I’ve often felt that Arrow has a lot of potential but doesn’t necessarily utilize it. This episode is actually really entertaining television and it benefits from the influx of new storylines and the familiarity of old friends. “City of Heroes” reestablishes the show giving it a new direction and it works.
The episode opens up with the obligatory shirtless Stephan Amell shot(I can’t be the only one who finds it funny), he’s back on the island and Felicity and Diggle have come to bring him back to Starling City. Oliver’s changed since we last saw him, and Tommy’s death has taken a huge toll on him, it also becomes clear Oliver/Felicity is pretty much inevitable. The graphics also seem much nicer this season, the island looks much more realistic.
Something that’s often kept me from enjoying the show is Stephan Amell’s acting. Here though it’s actually not only tolerable but actually pretty okay, not saying I see Emmys in his future but the acting has definitely taken a step up. I found it a bit humorous that they chose Summer Glau, whose acting is very cold and static, to play his new rival Isabel Rochev. Not to say I don’t like Summer Glau, her acting fits here but I’d like to see her play a bright and fun character for once to see how well she’d fare.
I’ve often praised the acting of Willa Holland, and this is no different. Her character has gone through a lot of development, and Holland is clearly very talented(see also her work in “Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep”). The relationship between her and Colton Hayes’s Roy Harper is interesting and I wonder where it’ll go from here.
The episode introduces Sebastian Blood(fun fact the reporter shown in the episode Bethany Snow was a follower of the Cult of Blood in the comics). Laurel has a new direction this season, and I hope it works better than her one last season. I like Katie Cassidy from her work on Supernatural but I really don’t care for Laurel, I hope they take a risk and actually have her closing in on Oliver.
Oliver seeing himself for what he really is, a serial killing vigilante, is nice because I’ve always had trouble with the aspect of the show(as a fan of Dexter as well). I’m a bit surprised their dealing with the topic as it seemed they’d just expected the audience to accept his moral ambiguity.
The episode sets up a lot of new storylines, but features a lot of familiar faces( ‘Sup Walter?) and with Amell’s acting showing some improvement as does the writing this episode is really good. If the show keeps it up, Arrow could turn out to be excellent but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
B++ 88% of Awesome