Holy cats, Batman, did you hear what I just heard? I swear I heard the thrum and rush of a quietly vibrant Queen heart growing louder and stronger inside the powerful chest of the man in tight green leather. Yowza. And that was only 120 seconds into the season 3 Arrow premiere deceptively labeled, “The Calm,” which was anything but.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a lot going on in this premiere and there sure as hell better be after all the teasing Stephen Amell (who plays Oliver), and Emily Bett Rickards (who plays Felicity), have been doing in interviews and articles ever since the first teasers hit the street about what was in store for Arrow‘s third season.
Arrow: 5 Things You Need to Know about Season 3 >>>
Season 3 Dangles Lots of Carrots for Fans
So, this season we’ve been promised that adorable Roy (Colton Haynes) will be returning in a tight red leather outfit as ‘Arsenal‘, that Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) will be back with a promotion that is supposed to keep him off the streets after he collapsed during last season’s finale, and that fan favorite John Barrowman (Torchwood) will be returning as a series regular character as Thea’s father and Oliver rival, Malcolm Merlyn. Oh, and Superman, er, I mean, Brandon Routh (who you have to admit is Christopher Reeve’s clone and did, in fact, play Superman) will be joining Arrow as Ray Palmer, an turd inventor who takes over Queen Consolidated.
Most excitingly, however, is the promise that Oliver will become a one-woman-man and that woman’s name will be FELICITY SMOAK! Aiieee, Chijuaha. Are you as excited about that as I am?
Well, a lot of that did get packed into the first Arrow episode of its third season, but some was left on the table for us to enjoy later. And, of course, things do heat up for Olicity, but they get cooled off far too quickly. However, not before setting the tone for how things are going to go for the rest of the season between Oliver and Felicity. Mayhaps someone in tight leather may have to juggle his super fancy arrow with a torch he will also be carrying for the one woman who he sees as a human being rather than a threat? This could be really good, or tired and forced, but probably good, because this is Arrow after all. Onward.
Montage of Success
“The Calm” opens with a montage of typical Arrow activity to catch us up on all that’s been happening over the five month hiatus since last season’s finale. Team Arrow is ticking criminals off boards, getting recognition from Starling City for basically saving the planet, Oliver is partnering with Laurel to put the bad guys away, Felicity buys a fern to make Oliver’s new basement home inside of Verdant seem a little more homey, and Diggle is bemoaning the task of putting a bassinet together in anticipation of the impending birth of his daughter.
To top it all off, Roy, Diggle and Arrow overtake a semi full of rocket-propelled grenades and catch the bad guy who was trying to deliver them. This begins the intro to the big bad of tonight’s episode: Werner Zytle a Russian (maybe?) freak who, as usual, wants to take over the world and where better to start than with Staling City? His whole premise leaves a lot to be desired, but this premiere’s real purpose is to get us all caught up on the Arrow universe and set the tone for this season’s storyline.
You Can Call Me Vertigo 2.0
Werner Zytle has descended upon Starling City with a new recipe for Vertigo laced with hallucinogenic mushrooms which make its victims face their worst fears. For one guy that means being attacked by an alien. Of course, for Oliver Queen that means fighting a duel with himself. By the end of the episode, Arrow has killed the hell out of Vertigo (who it’s insinuated has been collaborating with crooked cops) and Lance ends up having a cardiac event once again, but not before Oliver gets hit with the tainted hallucinogens twice. The second time he beats the crazy that the drug induces, though we aren’t sure exactly what that’s supposed to mean because all is not well by the end of the episode in Oliver’s life.
Felicity (Love) Is the Answer to What Ails Oliver
In one of the early scenes, Diggle and Oliver talk about the wonderful events going on in Diggle’s life. mostly due to the impending birth of his daughter and his happy relationship with lady love, Lyla. You should get yourself some of that good lovin’, Diggle goads Oliver as a segue to one of Oliver’s best lines of the episode:
“Last girlfriend, she’s in the league of assassins. Girlfriend before that? She shot my girlfriend before that …”
Okay, Oliver. Enough of the pity party. Felicity is right there in front of you and she’s hot for you. You deserve some happiness. And thus begins a major theme throughout episode one: Oliver trying to figure out if he can be a normal person in a normal relationship.
Oliver and Felicity do end up going out on a date, which adds more fantastic lines to the script. “We’ve already talked about everything you’d talk about during a first, second and third date. And I’ve already seen you shirtless,” Felicity says, breathless and behind a huge flush of the cheeks. “Multiple times shirtless. All. The. Time. Shirtless!” Yes, Felicity, and we all thank the Arrow fairies for that lovely image, for all those lovely images. Gah.
Then a missile explodes through the restaurant and people are killed. Oliver escapes carrying Felicity who is passed out and bloody, lying on the slab in the Arrow lair, looking like a Sleeping Beauty who just needs a good hard Arrow kiss to wake her up. I may be projecting here, but don’t tell me you didn’t feel it too. Unfortunately, Oliver takes this to be a sign that he cannot be a normal guy with a normal girlfriend and he gets a little mopey about it, but who wouldn’t? As for poor Felicity, she’s left to her own devices and looking forward to daily cold showers, poor girl.
The cool thing about this entire sequence is that we get to see Oliver and Felicity vocalize what we’ve all been sensing they were feeling throughout the first two seasons. The strange part about it is that they never have spoken about it at all before, but the dialog makes it sound like it’s something they have both accepted and been aware of. Did I miss something? It feels like we missed a step. Or maybe this is just what happens when you bypass 5 months of time, but I would have loved to see some of that romantic awakening. We know they have felt great affection for each other, but all of a sudden it’s right out there and it feels a bit odd. Welcome, to be sure, but odd.
A New Beginning For Diggle, An End For Olicity
Diggle’s daughter is born and John waxes philosophical, making Oliver feel like life is moving on without him. On the way out of the hospital, Oliver lays the big “I can’t be like other guys and have a normal life” speech on Felicity and gives her a huge and way-too-chaste kiss. They both know it’s the end of their pseudo-romance, and Felicity (justifiably) goes off in a slight huff after challenging him to tell her it will never work and that he never loved her. He can’t do that, and now we see that Oliver is most likely going to spend the entire season pining after Felicity and getting jealous every time someone in pants looks at her cross-eyed.
Enter The Flash and Superman
After Felicity stomps off, Oliver gets a call from Barry who is finally out of his coma. He needs help. Wait — didn’t Felicity and Barry have a little thing going on before he got hit by lightening? Enter the first opportunity for Oliver to get jealous of someone who might have an interest in Felicity.
Speaking of love interests for Felicity, a new guy, as mentioned above, has taken over Queen Consolidated, and this guy is gorgeous. Superman gorgeous. And he’s flirtatious and loaded. Can’t wait to see what comes of this little development…
Major Character Death Shocker
In the final moments of Arrow‘s premiere, Sara chats with Laurel and one wonders if her appearance in this episode might mean she’ll be headed back to the mattresses (literally) with Oliver now that he knows he can’t have a normal relationship, but the Canary sounds more in favor of Oliver getting a regular life. Tragically, after talking with Laurel, an off-screen assailant shoots three arrows into Sara’s body, knocking her off the rooftop and killing her. Who was it? Malcolm? Tune in next week to find out. See you then!
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.
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(Image courtesy of CW)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV