Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the season 2 premiere of Arrow, stop reading now. Here’s our take on the good, the bad, and the — wait, nothing ugly here.
• Good: Laurel and Oliver officially broke up. They hadn’t seen each other since Tommy’s funeral: She’s felt guilty for having slept with Oliver and considers it a mistake; he’s been back on the island literally running around shirtless because he couldn’t see a way to be the vigilante in Starling City without being a murderer, which dishonors Tommy’s memory. They’ll remain friends, which is where the fun comes in: The vigilante is No. 1 on Laurel’s most-wanted list now that she’s with the DA’s office. (Bonus: The DA is played by Orphan Black‘s Hot Paul, Dylan Bruce.) I’ve never found the sparks between Laurel and Oliver to be all that smokin’, so the new dynamic should shake things up nicely.
• Bad: Laurel’s ensemble when she went to Tommy’s grave. I wonder if they’re going to make her look more bold this season to go along with her determination to capture the vigilante… I like seeing Laurel kick ass, but let’s not make her makeup too harsh (or her cleavage-bearing dress too coral).
• Good: Felicity still swoons over Oliver in the best possible way. Even if you’re shipping them, I think you’d agree it’s way too early to get them together. And the fact is, the way Felicity’s being written, I don’t think she even wants to be in a relationship with Oliver. And that’s what’s great: We don’t have to feel her heart breaking and wish he’d notice her, so a.) the show avoids the pressure from fans (for now) and b.) we can just enjoy her innocent, earnest appreciation of Oliver’s hotness. This hour gave us two such moments: After Felicity and Dig skydived onto the Island to fetch Oliver and she promptly stepped on a landmine, Oliver swung down one-handed from a tree to swoop her off of it. The landmine blew, and he landed on top of her. “God, you’re really sweaty,” she said, touching his bare back. And when she later unveiled her renovations to their lair, she explained why she kept the salmon ladder: “I liked watching you do that.” (Thank you, Felicity. I hope she thought ahead and installed new ways for him to workout.)
• Bad: Summer Glau’s character Isabel Rochev. She’s the VP of acquisitions for the company that now owns 50 percent of Queen Consolidated. She thought she’d have controlling interest of the company, but Walter, who’s now Chief Financial Officer of Starling National Bank, gave Oliver the funds to prevent that. The character’s introduction was a bit too stoic, even when she was insulting Oliver’s education level, for me to feel like I’m going to love to hate her. But the arc continues, so I’ll give it time. Also, Oliver’s not the only one hiding his skills, right? You can’t have Summer Glau on and not let her get physical. (I’m someone who hasn’t read the comics and doesn’t want to spoil the TV show by Googling.)
• Good: Thea and Roy are less annoying! In Oliver’s absence, Thea has taken over running the club and gotten her act together. Roy works at the club and tries to keep moonlighting as an amateur vigilante from affecting his sex life with a worried, disapproving Thea. I liked that Roy was levelheaded enough to see past the destruction of the Glades and encourage Thea to visit her mother in jail. I’m also a fan of not everyone being able to get themselves out of situations easily. Roy saved a woman who was about to be gang raped, but he couldn’t handle all the men on his own. He was about to get knifed when the mysterious Black Canary — blonde hair, tight leather wardrobe — made her entrance and saved him. (That said, I do enjoy that Felicity isn’t just there to be rescued: She saved Oliver from a copycat Hood before he took her for another swing, this time to a different floor of the same building in the urban jungle.)
• Bad: The security at the club. How did the four copycat Hoods waltz in with those large guns? Since, in the media’s eyes, Oliver’s return trumped them having murdering the mayor, they decided they needed to make the Queen family pay for its company’s applied sciences division having built the earthquake generator. They went to the club looking for Oliver, and when they didn’t find him, they took Thea instead. Also bad, Thea wearing a short dress when she was kidnapped: Having to sit with your legs together while being held captive in a chair — just additional stress.
• Good: The new super bow Felicity had custom-made for Oliver. Instead of pistol-whipping, Oliver bow-whipped one of the Hoods when he rescued Thea. As much as I write about Stephen Amell being shirtless, my favorite part of Arrow is actually the hand-to-hand combat. That’s when it felt like Arrow was back. Oliver managed to save her without killing anyone. That’s the moment Oliver realized he could be a hero. It wasn’t like when he killed a man with a rock on the Island after his girlfriend there had been taken. (The trio have learned they’re not alone.) He can choose to control his emotions, even when it’s a loved one who’s been put in danger. Gone is the nickname the Hood. Now, he’ll be called Arrow.
• Bad: Island Oliver’s hair. It’s always been bad, I know. But isn’t it time for a trim?
• Good: Moira’s prison uniform. I actually prefer the dark color to a prison orange. And the short sleeves show off her biceps. (They run in the family!) Her trial is still upcoming.
• Bad: Laurel’s dad’s cop uniform. It just feels wrong to see him in one. Plus, now that we can’t call him Det. Lance, we have to learn his first name (Quintin).