"Arrow's" second season is reigning in some of the ridiculousness while it builds towards a bigger DC Cinematic Universe. Plus maybe some Batman.
The episode picks up directly where the previous left off; Arrow in a dark police station with a dozen SWAT members training their guns on him. All seems lost, until a blonde woman in a black mask drops in through an apparent skylight and hits the button on a blue device. It sends out a piercing scream that shatters glass and has everyone covering their ears long enough for the woman to lead Arrow out to safety. She declines to talk and runs off.
The next day, Officer Lance tries to answer a call about a homicide, and it turns out it's the Dollmaker, a serial killer who covers women in porcelain, inside and out. The Lieutenant tells him to stay out of it, but instead he calls Felicity, who in turn informs Arrow. He sends Roy to find out info on the blonde woman while he investigates Dollmaker with Lance. After an arrow lands in his shoulder, Dollmaker's lawyer gives up his location; they head there immediately, but it's a trap. Lance gets to hear Dollmaker claim a victim while Arrow has Felicity trace the call.
The two decide to install a hack in the police's computers so they can keep up with the case. Felicity offers to act as bait for the Dollmaker, and when he falls for it by dragging her into an alley, they spring into action. He gets away though, and Lance is arrested and charged with obstruction. Problem compound when Oliver's mother, Moira Queen, is informed the lawyer prosecuting her for Season 1 in a nutshell is seeking the death penalty. In the police station, Laurel gets her father's charges dropped, and when she says to stop making the Dollmaker personal, he tells her to stop blaming Arrow for Tommy Merlin's death (Season 1 now on Netflix).
Roy chases down someone who might be the blonde woman, until they arrive in a clock tower and he's knocked out. That night, Dollmaker kidnaps Lance and Laurel, planning to kill Laurel in front of him, until Arrow drops in and stops him. They tussle until he runs to the roof, when the Woman Who Would Be Black Canary stops him. He drops some pipes on her, but Arrow finally stops him just in time. Black Canary (?) decides he gets a staff implanted in his chest however, and flies off.
Recovering, Laurel mulls over Arrow's actions, deciding she's blaming the wrong person for Tommy's death. Moira Queen says she's made peace with death, so long as her family is with her. Back at the clocktower, Roy is gone but Black Canary has a visitor. A man dressed like Malcolm Merlyn announces that she has to return; Ra's Ah Ghul wants to see her. She declines by stabbing him in the chest.
Also, in the episode's flashbacks, Oliver, Slade and Shado investigate the WWII era skeletons they found, when two ships start shelling their hideout. Slade's hands are burned, and Oliver is knocked out to wake up in a cage on a boat's holding area.
This is the first of these reviews for Examiner.com. I wrote on the series briefly for an old blog, but to get ready for the season premiere I had to marathon the first season on Netflix. So the events are still fairly fresh in my mind, making me glad this episode they got rid of Laurel's vendetta against Arrow.
It was completely random and ass-backward. At the end of Season 1 (I'd post SPOILERS but if you're reading about the first episodes of Season 2, you either know or don't care), Tommy sacrificed himself to save Laurel from a collapsing building while Arrow fought Merlyn basically to a stand-still. As a result, she developed a hatred of Arrow, and regrettably couldn't be with Oliver because he reminded her of Tommy. Which made no sense, because while Oliver's alter ego failed to completely stop The Undertaking, he saved basically half the Glades neighborhood. "Sorry I couldn't save the ONE GUY who broke up with you a day prior, BTW." You'd think she'd have a hatred of Oliver, who suspiciously doesn't have an alibi. Anyway, it's over, and the next question is whether she continues to pursue him, officially and unofficially.
I'm also slightly annoyed that the general direction of this season seems to be Oliver saying "gee, maybe I don't have to kill everyone!" Without the "Revenge for my Father" motivation that ran through Season 1, he's gone full hero-vigilante, but the catch is that he still killed about 20 people in the past year. If he really wanted to atone, just not killing anymore wouldn't do it. He'd have to turn himself in and face a jury of his peers, but then the show would be over. I hope they get around to some kind of full reconciliation, but considering they went a full 22 episode season without really dealing with it, I won't hold my breath.
If this show is building up to a DC Cinematic Universe, they're certainly on the right track as well. Roy Harper is on his way to becoming Speedy, there's a Black Canary, and the first season introduced Huntress. Plus, The Flash is coming up, and if people don't know who Ra's Ah Ghul is by now...shucks. Thankfully it mostly all makes sense within the show. If it turns out Black Canary and Merlyn were trained by Ghul, that sets up a formidable big bad for the season, as well as ties to the Batman franchise. Looking forward to it.