One of the more pleasant surprises of the current TV season has been the CW’s Arrow.
Based on the longtime DC Comics’ character Green Arrow, the series eschews the “superhero” angle and instead opts to follow a more realistic path that draws comparisons (albeit on a lesser scale) to the Christopher Nolan theatrical Batman trilogy.
In this incarnation, the character is referred to by such monikers as “the hood”, a “vigilante” and, to some of the citizens of Starling City, a “guardian angel” and fights crime with a bow and arrow, steely resolve and his extraordinary physical prowess.
Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was thought dead after a terrible shipwreck left him stranded on a remote desert island. For five long years, Queen learned how to survive while developing his archery skills with the assistance of a mysterious stranger. When he returned to civilization, his new-found mission was to take the last thing his father gave him (a book with a list of names of those whose corruption are poisoning Starling City) and use his talents to bring justice to criminals.
Tuesday’s episode, “Burned”, picks up six weeks after Queen suffered his biggest defeat yet at the hands of another, even more formidable, archer. Queen was nearly killed and remarked how he failed his city and is no different than those to whom he doles out justice. He vowed to return to his vigilante ways.
In “Burned”, however, Queen finds himself hampered with self doubt and is unable to live up to his mission.
Interestingly enough, this particular episode was the spark I was looking for to return to my column.
A little over three years ago, I lost my desire to write for the column because I lost sight of what I wanted out of it. It wasn’t fun anymore and, truth be told, the fault can’t be ascribed to anyone but me. I went down the path of least resistance and took the easy way out, opting to take a steady paying job instead of pursuing my true passion which is writing.
For me, there’s always been one constant in life (not unlike the “constant” in Lost, i.e. something that always brings you back to your center and your true purpose—as well as restoring your sanity) and that’s television.
But things happen. Life takes you down different roads. Since my last column, I’ve tried a few different jobs (none of which proved to be my calling), enrolled in a graduate writing program (where I was successful but found it personally unfulfilling after only a semester and a half) and even got married (which has been the best decision I’ve made in years as she’s the most supportive and beautiful woman I could have ever hoped for as well as being my biggest cheerleader).
Through all that, there’s always been television. There have been some great shows that came to an end (Lost), some that were interesting but never found an audience (Awake), some that have been disappointing after a promising start (Once Upon A Time, Revolution), had their ups and downs (The Walking Dead, Modern Family) and, of course, ones that I have to view as they air because they’re so exciting to watch (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story).
And now…well now, there’s the writing again.
As I watched Arrow on Tuesday, I felt that it was one of those serendipitous moments, a message delivered to me for a reason.
Now here I am.
Just as Oliver Queen overcame his fear, I have to do the same. Queen felt he had lost his fire because, while on the island, he fought because he had nothing to live for and therefore, nothing to lose. In “Burned”, he discovers (thanks to the advice of Diggle, his bodyguard, confidant and the only one who is privy to his secret) that the people he let in since his return haven’t “taken away his edge”.
Queen is fearful after facing death (at the nemesis archer’s hands) that he will let down those who have become close to him again because they would lose him so soon after just getting him back. Diggle tells him that the people he let in actually give him an edge in battle. “You can stare down death with something to live for, or not. Something to live for…is better.”
The advice puts Queen back on track and he resumes his mission after saving the day once again.
“Burned” did the same for me. It gave me that extra push that I needed. No, I wasn’t facing a physical death, but maybe a spiritual one.
So as I continue with this column, I’ll be writing things that are meaningful to me and (I hope) you, the reader.
Future columns will feature everything from shows currently on the air to those that are long gone, but not forgotten. I’ll be doing some fun things as time goes on and the entries may fall somewhere between smarmy and off putting to charmingly delightful. Who can say?
All I know is that I’m back to doing what I enjoy.
And I’m certainly glad that Arrow is back because it’s been one of the hidden gems of the past few months. If you haven’t watched it, go back and start the season from the beginning. It may not be cerebral TV but it’s one hell of a fun ride!
Just like this is going to be.