By Ben Hurley
Now that I’ve covered season 1 of this show, I’ve got about one more season before it becomes a chore to review. All joking aside, this season is really good and it’s a shame the rest of the show isn’t consistent in its quality. The series again stars Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, and Manu Bennett. The series now adds Caity Lotz, Kevin Ajendro, and even Summer Glau.
The writing has improved greatly from season 1. Last season felt like the writers were having a little trouble finding their footing, but here they’ve got a tight handle on it all. The drama, the action, the characters, all feel tightly knit in this plot. I found myself more invested in characters then I was last season, even Laurel. Laurel had an amazing arc of falling into pill addiction and alcoholism and learned to pick herself up after Tommy’s death. The pacing felt off at times, there were parts that felt kind of unnecessary like Diggle’s relationship with Lyla and the whole Suicide Squad felt very meh for me. However around when Deathstroke shows up in Starling City is when the season really picks up. The finale is exciting and tense, pushing Oliver to his limit, as hundreds of nearly invincible Mirakuru soldiers invade the city. When it all comes to a close and deathstroke is defeated, it’s satisfying to see Oliver finally achieve victory after season 1 had Oliver lose to Malcolm Merlyn.
Deathstroke as a villain is amazing and his hatred of Oliver felt real and never felt sudden or unrealistic. Manu Bennett gave a fantastic performance that made Deathstroke feel calculating and intelligent but also unhinged and unpredictable. On the other hand, I didn’t really like Brother Blood. This isn’t the fault of the actor, Kevin Alejadaro, just the writers trying to recreate another Batman villain. I’m not a comic purist and I’m all for adjusting a character for adaptation, but that’s just it, he wasn’t adjusted to make him fit better in the story, he was adjusted to be the Scarecrow. He really is a hand-me-down Jonathan Crane from Batman Begins, he specializes in a drug the hero has encountered in his past that was given to him by an old friend turned enemy of the hero, and wears a stitched up mask.
The action has improved as well, definitely a step up from season 1. Luckily, there are no more poorly cut fight scenes. The action scenes are well cut together, you can easily tell what’s going on, and it’s not hurting your eyes with all the cuts. The choreography is solid, good use of agility, and Oliver is always sufficiently challenged by every villain he fights.
This season is an improvement from the last, every aspect is improved on. The story feels more tightly paced, and the overall writing felt more compelling this time around. Deathstroke is a compelling and intimidating, villain however Brother Blood is less than interesting. The action is improved and always a treat to watch. This season is a very high point in the series, sadly one that’s never reached again for 2 more seasons. If you like Arrow season 1 or even if you felt it was a bit of a let down, you’ll find yourself enjoying this season a lot more.