***The review below contains spoilers.***
By Tyler Olson
Good superhero movies are hard to come by, and good superhero series on TV are even more rare. When watching the CW's Arrow I expected something like Smallville, but instead I got something closer to the Dark Knight, only with more killing.
This premiere crammed a lot of information and plots into a short 1 hour episode. There was the escape from the island of Purgatory, Oliver's father confessing his sins to his son before dying, the introduction of all the major characters, the welcome home party, Oliver got captured and tortured, a love triangle was started, and Arrow attacked his first villain of the series, Adam Hunt. Oddly with all that in one episode, at no time did it feel rushed.
The flashbacks were really well done. It seems since Lost ended (which was even mentioned in the episode) everyone has been trying to capture this type of storytelling. Most are awful, but thankfully Oliver's isn't. The flashbacks are always as dreams or memories, and never feels out-of-place. I think it is obvious that this isn't the last we will see of Purgatory, but while they keep to this style of flashback, I think it will be just fine.
Of all the secondary characters introduced, Tommy and John Diggle have the most promise. Both don't appear to be so blinded by Oliver's charming face that they don't realize what is happening. I don't think his secret is going to last for too long with these two, and probably in an episode or two, the Arrow will already have a couple of sidekicks, or at the very least, people who need to keep his secret.
Laurel also has some potential, although she needs to pick an emotion first. One minute she wishes Ollie spent longer in hell, then shortly after she is almost kissing him. She too will eventually come to and learn about Oliver's identity as well, but I think it will be a long time before she becomes the Black Canary. Of course the love triangle she is in might change things.
Thea is a complete toss up. I felt nothing out of her character, except that she will be the damsel in distress. I hope they don't use her in that role too often as it will get stale really fast.
The rest have "future villain" written all over their faces, especially with the reveal at the end. I can see some interesting family gatherings in the future.
Most superhero dramas follow the rule that the hero kills only when needed, but this series didn't just throw the rule book into the fire, it was part of the explosion that got the fishermen's attention. There were more deaths in this one episode than most series have in total. Sure, they were all minor enemies, but it is a huge change from what we are used to, and a very welcome one at that. I understand that everyone wants a flawless hero with high morals, but the world isn't just light and dark; having a hero matching this makes him seem much more realistic.
The only part of the entire episode that I felt was a bit off was Oliver narrating his reasons for creating the Arrow. They could have easily left it out and I don't think anyone would have complained. With the confessions on the raft and back story, there were already enough reasons for Queen to go vigilante.
This was an amazing premiere, and if the entire series is anything like this episode, I expect the CW's Arrow to last a full decade.
Reviewer's Rating: 5/5