An ‘Arrow’ newbie considers the themes of Season One
Editor’s Note: Arrow Rewind is a new column here at Arrowverse.tv. Writer Joel Getter has only recently begun to watch Arrow and will use this space to share his views on the show as he makes his way through the early seasons. It should be a lot of fun to experience Arrow through fresh eyes again, and yes, to snicker at spoilers to come that we know about, but Joel does not. This is the first entry in the Arrow Rewind column; more will arrive regularly. Enjoy!
Since I am a new follower to Arrow, our editor thought it would be a great idea for me to chronicle my thoughts on the early seasons of the show. Rather than the traditional format of reviewing a specific episode, I thought I would review certain themes that pop up as I binge-watch multiple episodes at a time. It is my understanding that many fans have been unhappy with the most recent season; hopefully, these rewinds will give a fresh perspective on the adventures of Oliver Queen, as well as a chance for fans to reminisce about the past exploits of Starling City’s hooded vigilante.
Prior to this binge-watching project of mine, my full knowledge of Green Arrow consisted of two facts: 1) he shoots arrows, and 2) he was a character on Smallville. I actually gave up on Smallville due to it being too much of a teen drama for me.
After having completed the first six episodes of Arrow, though, I found myself enjoying it a lot. Arrow is a show that manages to be fun, while also maintaining a dark and gritty feel that Smallville sadly lacked.
Arrow is the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), a millionaire playboy not unlike Batman’s Bruce Wayne, who has been stranded on a mysterious island for the past five years. He has returned, taking the guise of a hooded vigilante determined to stop the criminals that have taken over his city. Sound familiar? True, it does echo the exploits of the hero of Gotham City; however, there are differences that help distinguish Oliver Queen from the infamous Dark Knight.
The biggest difference is that Oliver is surrounded by family and friends who both complicate his life, as well as give it meaning. Watching Ollie attempt to fix the broken relationships in his life is in many ways just as entertaining as watching him take on the villainous underside of Starling City. The most compelling of this supporting cast is Oliver’s mother, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), who is hiding a dangerous secret. She even went so far as to have Ollie kidnapped just to discover if he knows anything about her plans. Could she be the real villain of this show? I’m excited to find out!
Amell’s chemistry with the rest of the cast is also compelling to watch. John Diggle (David Ramsey) became an instant favorite of mine, and it is great that he is there serving as the voice of Ollie’s conscience. I have to say that as this point, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) is my least favorite character, as she comes across as a bit of a whiny teenager. However, I’m holding out that there are bigger things in store for little “Speedy.” Then there is Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), Ollie’s former flame whom he abandoned years before by running off with her sister. At this point, it is interesting to watch their interactions; I just hope this doesn’t degenerate into the mushy teen drama that spoiled my enjoyment of Smallville.
Oliver’s time on the island is told through flashbacks in each episode, similar to the television show Lost. This is an intriguing idea because it expands the origin story of this hero over multiple episodes. I’m curious to see how these flashbacks play out as the series continues, whether they will still prove to be exciting or just plain ridiculous. For now, I am enjoying them as a fresh take on the traditional origin story by making it a part of the ongoing series. Most shows have the origin told by the end of the pilot. With Arrow, it is fascinating to watch Oliver’s slow transformation into the person we see in the present day.
The fight scenes have been great with extraordinary choreography and editing, and Stephen Amell was the perfect choice to play this conflicted hero. Arrow is a rare show that has managed to balance both the action and the family drama. The result is a compelling show that can appeal to mass audiences, and I love forward to binge-watching even more episodes.
Long live Oliver Queen!