The second episode of this season of Arrow focuses on the most important plot thread left hanging in the final moments of the premier, though one that we’ve all seen the show do before; Oliver (Stephen Amell) facing accusations being the Green Arrow.
This is a story that the show has done before, and done better. There’s very little worry at this point that Oliver will be permanently outed as Star City’s vigilante hero. Having managed to get around this issue in the past, it rather becomes a question of how he’ll get out of it. Whilst I expected that he would get another member of Team Arrow to dress up as Green Arrow whilst he’s making a public appearance, the choice he makes at the end of the episode was genuinely surprising.
Thanks to having William (Jack Moore) in his life, and not wanting his son to end up an orphan, Oliver makes the game changing choice to give up being the Green Arrow, passing the mantle on to Diggle (David Ramsey). This was not something that I saw coming. However, if there is a time for Oliver to give up being the Green Arrow, and passing that title on to another, it feels right that it is now.
Oliver has grown a lot since the beginning of the series, and with a large team around him, his job as the mayor, and a son needing him to come home safe it doesn’t feel massively out of character that he would give up his hero role. Though I doubt this will last forever (I see Oliver taking up the mantle again before the season is done) it will at least lead to some interesting developments for the series.
The choice of Diggle to take over the role of Green Arrow makes a certain amount of sense, he’s Oliver’s oldest friend and ally since his return to Star City five years ago, however, as we learn this episode Diggle was quite seriously injured during the events of the last season finale. With degenerative nerve damage it’s likely that Diggle won’t be able to be the Green Arrow for very long, unless he receives some kind of medical intervention.
Could this be the reason why Oliver will have to become the Green Arrow again before the season is out? Maybe, though it could also be an opportunity for the series to introduce another hero in the role. Personally, with the return of Deathstroke to the series as a friend and ally of Oliver’s I’d quite like to see him in the role. It would certainly lead to some drama.
Elsewhere in the episode we’re treated to the return of Anatoly (David Nykl), who has returned to Star City as an antagonist for Team Arrow following the events of the previous season.
Anatoly makes a great villain for Oliver, thanks in large part for their past relationship. He respects Oliver, and ‘has honour’, meaning that he won’t go to some of the extremes that other villains have; such as targeting Oliver’s family. In return, Oliver is less inclined to simply shoot Anatoly like other villains. This gives the show an interesting new hero/villain dynamic.
Whether or not Anatoly is being honest when he says he didn’t play a part in leaking Oliver’s identity as the Green Arrow, or if he has a connection to Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) remains to be seen; however, as someone that was on Lian Yu in the past, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility that he was the mysterious figure that rescued Black Siren from the islands ruins.
This week also set Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) up as a new tech business duo, something that works really well for the characters. With it appearing that much of Oliver’s time this season being taken up by his new role as a father, giving Felicity something other than her relationship with Oliver to concentrate on is a good thing. With the two characters working so well together in the past, I’m looking forward to seeing more of the two of them.
‘Tribute’ also name drops Bruce Wayne, which is something that should be fun, but feels slightly odd at this point. With Green Arrow having been around for years, and now dozens of other heroes such as the Flash, Vibe, Steel, and Firestorm to name just a few, it seems like it’s too late to introduce Bruce Wayne into this world. If Batman is something that the CW wants to do, hopefully they’ll choose to go with Batman of Earth-38 (the Supergirl universe), as then they can have an older, more experienced Batman.
With some surprise moments and some genuine charm, Arrow was able to retread old ground but remain entertaining. Thanks to a surprise decision from Oliver, we have the promise of new and interesting stories to come.