"Arrow" season 2 premiered Wednesday, Oct. 9, with episode 1, "City of Heroes," and while Oliver may not have wanted to don the Hood again, he was left with no choice when vigilantes kidnapped someone close to him.
After the first season started and ended strong, "Arrow" season 2 kicked off with an epic premiere, and we could not have asked for more. Stephen Amell continued to be exactly what he needed to be as Oliver, Emily Bett Rickards continued to be the one to deliver the best lines as Felicity, Katie Cassidy showed off what a few self-defense classes mean for Laurel when it comes to danger, no one forgot about Tommy, Thea and Roy were both getting it "together," and the Queen family was on shaky ground but ultimately stood strong. Plus the series managed to do a pretty good job of touching on all the major relationships, romantic, familial, and otherwise: Oliver and Laurel; Oliver, Tommy, and Laurel; Oliver and Felicity; Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle; Felicity and Diggle; Oliver and Thea; Oliver and Moira; Thea and Moira; Oliver and Walter; Thea and Roy; Laurel and Quentin; and even Quentin and Oliver.
Like he was back on the island That was how Thea described the out-of-touch Oliver while he was "in Europe," when in fact he had returned to Lian Yu, and Felicity and Diggle were the ones who traveled halfway around the world to bring him home. (Did you see Deathstroke's mask?) Felicity acted pretty much the same way any sane person would on a rickety plane like they were on (it was "a plane so old, I'm pretty sure I was safer once I jumped out of it," as Felicity later described) and Diggle telling her the parachutes were "just in case we made it here" didn't help. Even after they jumped out of the plane, it wasn't easy going as Felicity stepped on a landmine. It was okay though because Oliver was there to swoop in for the rescue. "You're really sweaty," she commended as he lay on top of her on the ground. Yes, Felicity was still awesome. The rest of Team Arrow had been tracking him down for weeks, and while he may not have wanted to return to being the Hood after what happened to Tommy and the Glades, they didn't need the vigilante. They needed Oliver Queen because Stellmoor International was going to swoop in for the hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated, with the Vice President of Acquisitions, Isabel "she looks angry in every photo" Rochev, leading the charge.
Keeping it in the family While Oliver was off getting back in touch with the island, Thea had taken over the club and was pretty well put together—and we like the change in Thea. Meanwhile, Queen Consolidated also stayed in the family despite Isabel's attempt at a hostile takeover. While both she and Oliver controlled 45% of the company's stock and she didn't think he had a chance in getting the remaining 10%, a visit to Moira in prison set up the answer—and the return of Walter, who had become CFO at Starling National Bank and was there to not only help with the business but also offer words of praise. "You are not what people say about you," Isabel remarked. "Most people fail to see the real me," he replied. However, Moira had warned Oliver not to trust Isabel, that she was dangerous, so what's going to happen next now that the two are partners? Whatever does happen, we're looking forward to seeing more of Summer Glau in this role.
"You have failed this city." Oliver found himself on the other end of these words in this episode, as there were new vigilantes in town going by The Hood and living by his example—and they wanted him to pay since the Applied Sciences Division at Queen Consolidated built the earthquake generator. After they took out the mayor on live television—though Laurel stepped in when they had the nerve to go after Hot Paul, or rather Adam Donner ("Orphan Black's" Dylan Bruce)—they interrupted Oliver's meeting with Isabel, and in the midst of the gunfire, Oliver ended up jumping out the window with Felicity (who managed to save Oliver first) and swinging by the chain of the curtains down to the floor below. But the Hoods weren't done. They took over the club looking for Oliver, and when Roy tried to stop them, they grabbed Thea, willing to take any Queen. Oliver donned his gear and came to her rescue—but he didn't kill the Hoods. (And you had to love one of them arguing with him, "There was no justice for people like the Queens until you showed us how to get it." Oh, if they only knew.) Instead, he left them alive and tied to a fence for Officer Lance (yes, poor Quentin had been demoted to beat cop).
Family pains After a nicely done entrance as Thea talked about the vigilante not coming back, Oliver tried to talk to his sister about going to visit Moira in prison. She argued that their mother was a mass murderer, and when Roy tried to talk to her about it ("What I lack in height, I make up for in wicked good hearing"), she brought up his nighttime activities acting like a vigilante. When he stopped, she'd go see her mother, even as Roy argued to think about how it wasn't just hurting her mother, but it was hurting Thea herself as well.
One good thing did come out of the Hoods kidnapping her, however. Thea realized just how scared her mother must have been of Malcolm after everything he had done. So once she was safe, she went to see Moira, explaining that when she thought she was going to die, she kept thinking about how she'd think she hated her. She didn't, and mother and daughter hugged, taking a step in the right direction to fix their relationship. But while Thea had visited her mother and Roy said he would stop going out at night, he made his excuses to help a woman who was being harassed by three guys. He wasn't the one who took the guys out though. That was the Black Canary.
Honoring the fallen In a way, the love triangle continued even though Tommy was dead (RIP, we're still not over that), and the living members of the triangle were both honoring him in a way. Oliver and Laurel talked about what had happened between them, and she saw sleeping with him as a mistake, a betrayal of Tommy, a feeling Oliver knew all too well with Sara, and they couldn't go back. Later, she revealed to him by Tommy's grave that she was going after the vigilante because he died getting in the crosshairs of the two archers.
Meanwhile, Oliver was honoring his best friend by not being what Tommy thought he was: a murderer. "Anyone that I kill dishonors his memory," he explained to Felicity, but once the Hoods took Thea, all bets were off. Fortunately, Felicity had had a feeling he'd be back and had remodeled Arrow lair, including display cases for his arrows and suit. The salmon ladder was still there—"I liked watching you do that," she told him, and we whole-heartedly agreed—and all in all, it was a pretty sweet setup. "You were right," she told him. "Once I signed on, I stopped thinking about all the bodies you drop because I knew that being the Hood meant occasionally being a killer. Maybe there's another way."
Oliver was taking that advice and instead of going out there to avenge his father, he had a new mission. "If we're going to do this, it has to be about honoring Tommy. I need to become the man he hoped I could be. You two have helped me take the first step," he told Felicity and Dig in the lair as the episode ended. "The city still needs saving, but not by the Hood. Not by some vigilante who's just crossing names off a list. It needs something more." "It needs a hero," Dig told him. But Oliver was no longer going to be going by the Hood. So what was his new name going to be? Oliver looked down at the arrow in his hand.
They weren't alone on the island. "Arrow" was in no way finished telling the adventures of Oliver, Slade, and Shado from his first time on the island, and in the months after they took out Fyers and his camp, Oliver had come a long way when it came to training, but he still got distracted when Shado came in from hunting. However, as they learned thanks to the proximity detector they took from Fyers' camp, there were other people on the island. But when they went to investigate, Shado was taken and even as Slade argued that he cared about her too, there was no holding Oliver back when they saw a man with a knife to her. While Slade took out the other men, Oliver took a rock to the man who had been attacking Shado—and no one could stop him from killing him. As for where those men had come from, there was a ship just off the island. Was it the same one that was half-sunk at the beginning as Felicity and Diggle arrived on Lian Yu?
"Arrow" season 2 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of the premiere "City of Heroes"?