After the death of his best friend, and the feeling of guilt after he failed to save the Glades from Malcolm Merlyn’s earthquake device, Oliver Queen has left Starling City and returned to the Island of Lian Yu, where he was stranded for five years before being rescued, after his fathers yacht, The Queen’s Gambit’, capsized during a storm out at sea. See my season one review for more:- Arrow Season One Review
Season Two brings us more of the action that fans enjoyed in the first season, and brings us new, gripping and interesting characters such as Isobel Rochev (portrayed by Summer Glau) who towards the end of the season becomes the character known as Ravager (though that name is never spoken in the series), Barton Mathis a.k.a The Dollmaker (portrayed by Michael Eklund), Sin (portrayed by Bex Taylor-Klaus), Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) and of course, the first character to recieve a spinoff series in the ‘Arrowverse’, Barry Allen (portrayed by Grant Gustin), who later goes on to become the metahuman superhero known as The Flash.
The series also brings back some fan favourite characters such as Count Vertigo (Seth Gabel), Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), and even the suppossedly deceased, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). As well as the series regulars, who we grew to love from the first season, including John Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Laurel Lance, Quentin Lance, Thea Queen, Moira Queen and of course the main man Oliver Queen.
The first half of the season concentrates somewhat heavily on the trial of Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) after she rconfessed on live news about her involvement in Malcolm Merlyns plan to destroy the Glades, which came to pass in the finale of the first season. The plot tries to concentrate less of Moira however, and focuses more heavily on the impact her trial has on Oliver and Thea, which is understandable as a big secret is revealed in the courtroom (and to Oliver & Thea beforehand) about Moira’s past with Merlyn.
Meanwhile in the flashback sequences for the first half, we get to see the tragedy that Oliver, Shado and Slade went through that brought Oliver to where he is today. Concentrating a lot of it’s focus on the character of Slade Wilson, portrayed by Manu Bennett, who comic book fans will recognize as the alter ego for one of DC’s biggest, meanest, and most popular villains in the in the world of DC Comics, known as Deathstroke.
The second half builds the real setup for the big bad of this season, and it builds it tremendously, as Slade Wilson’s character is brought into the present timeline, along with the new knowledge of Oliver and Slade’s past on the island of Lian Yu, the audience now feels the true tension between them whenever they share the screen together.
Manu Bennett did a superb job bringing Slade Wilson and the villainous Deathstroke to life, along with the shows writers and costume designers, who adpated the character from page to screen. Slade is smart, terrifying, and a strong character not just in the literal sense (thanks to the Mirakuru in his blood). His presence is felt every time he is mentioned or appears on screen, and his action sequences prove his true skill in combat, making him a force to be reckoned with.
As Slade Wilson, he causes drama and trouble for Oliver Queen, on his mission to seek revenge, by interacting with Olivers family, getting inside Olivers head and causing him to make difficult decisions. Away from Oliver, Slade causes trouble for the city as he continues to have his associate, Sebastian Blood, take on the mantle of the masked villain known as Brother Blood and gather a group of victims that will undergo a test for the the drug known as Mirakuru, which we learn more about in the flashback sequences.
The second season of Arrow brings us more references to the comics, and a tone that rivals the dark, brooding tone of the first season. It concentrates heavily on the plot of revenge, and merges the stories seen in both the past and the present, to create a present day storyline with more emotional impact than we have seen before.
Secrets are revealed, and emotions run wild in this season, which quickly made it a fan favourite, with many still claiming to this day that season two is their favourite of the entire series. Manu Bennett was praised for his portrayal of Deathstroke, and has since then returned to the role in later seasons.
As mentioned before, this season introduces us to the character of Barry Allen in episode eight, with the lead up to his own spinoff being one of the final scenes of episode nine, as Barry returns to his home in Central City, only to be struck by lightning after an explosion with the STAR Labs particle accelerator, and being knocked into a comatosed state, with a glow of lightning running through his body to tease the fans of the upcoming series.
Grant Gustin, who is probably previously best known for his portrayal of a Sebastian Smythe in the musical series Glee or as Campbell Price in 90210, portrayed a very innocent and young version of Barry Allen with a similar personality to that of Felicity Smoak. This made him instantly loveable by the audience and has since proven to be a perfect choice for the character after his own series kicked off with incredible success.
One factor to this series that I failed to mention in my season one review, was the score, by composer Blake Neely, which adds all of the emotion to every scene of every episode in the series. With themes such as ‘Deathstroke’, which is hard hitting, powerful and louder than most of the other themes in the show, it really adds impact to the character itself. Meaning that this show, would not be the same without Neely’s music, because of the atmosphere it creates within the scene and within the world.
You can listen to the Arrow Season Two Soundtrack on Spotify here:- Arrow Season Two OST
This is the season that our hero ‘The Hood’ a.k.a Oliver Queen, finally replaces the grease paint around his eyes, with a proper mask, given to him as a gift from Barry Allen, who is a big fan. The mask gives the character more of a hero complex to the audience, especially since Oliver no longer uses his arrows to kill the criminals he faces. Due to Tommy calling him a murderer, Oliver has decided to change his ways of fighting crime and finding justice, by only injuring his foes, but throughtout the series, Oliver must fight with his choice and decide what is best option for the situation’s he’s put in, which proves to be harder than he hoped when faced with the enemies of this series.
Overall this season builds on the action packed scenes that we loved from the first season and the drama that moves the plot forward and hits hard on the heartstrings of the audience. The casting for the new characters is superb, and the returning cast members come back stronger with each reprisal. The titular character, and Stephen Amell within the role, prove their skill as a vigilante combatant, with incredible prowess and skill. Amell continues to prove that he is a brilliant casting choice for the character, and leaves the audience wanting more and more with each episode that airs.
This season gets a 5/5 from me, because it gave us one of the greatest villains in comicbook television at the time, and continued to build and improve it’s already brilliant writing, directing and casting.