Thursday, July 2, 2015

Arrow, Season 1 (2012-2013)

I hope you will not miss this week episode which Arrow Season 1 Episode 9: Year's End will schedule on December 12, 2012. That it will celebrate a Christmas in the queens family with some of the close friend with Laurel, In Dark Archer appeared and kill one of the list of Arrow in their will be a crime scene at the Christmas night at
Last fall, I was determined I would watch CW and DC Comics's The Flash since it just looked so darned cool. (Who wouldn't want super speed, anyway?) I may have heard of Arrow in passing, but didn't pay much attention to it until the shows crossed over and Barry (The Flash) asked advice from The Arrow (Oliver Queen) on how to manage his new “secret super hero”-ness. Then the season progressed and Oliver/The Arrow (or his hacktivist aide, Felicity Smoak) made several more appearances, piquing my curiosity. I decided that this summer, to combat “TV show withdrawal,” I would watch the first three seasons in preparation for keeping up with the fourth, which premieres on the CW Network October 7.

I purchased all twenty-three episodes individually off YouTube. I do NOT recommend doing that. It was ridiculously expensive -- definitely more than it was worth. Typical season-pass price on both iTunes and YouTube is somewhere close to $34.99, which by ITSELF is ridiculous -- I compared these prices to Amazon, and found copies of the season that would sell for under $13.00 (disregarding shipping and tax, neither of which would bring the ending price anywhere close to thirty-five bucks). But, because I wasn't sure exactly what I'd be doing (if I'd end up buying the physical season off Amazon or at Fred Meyer, or potentially signing up for Netflix -- ?), and because I got hooked on the show, I ended up paying full price for all twenty-three episodes, or about $2.13 per episode. Yep, I don't recommend doing that. At all.

Arrow -- "Darkness on the Edge of Town" -- Image AR122a_0566b -- Pictured: Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2013 The CW Network. All Rights ReservedThe fix: Go on Netflix and sign up. Seriously. I did sign up, because I wanted the second season of the show -- and the third -- and $7.99 per month for immediate access to dozens of TV shows and movies instead of paying $13-$45+ for just one season of a show is so much more inexpensive than you think. (I guess you have to put it in perspective like I did.) To up their game, Netflix gives you your first month for free so if you don't want to watch anything after you've finished your season(s) of your show(s) just cancel your membership and you won't be charged.

. . . let's get into the review now :)

It's 2007. Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) goes on a brief voyage on his billionaire father's (Jamey Sheridan) yacht, the Queen's Gambit. Unbeknownst to everyone save the passengers on board, Oliver has brought his girlfriend's sister Sara (Caity Lotz). Abruptly, the Queen's Gambit hits a storm and wrecks while Oliver watches Sara die before becoming stranded on an island whose given name means Purgatory. After years of waiting for a rescue, Oliver finally returns to Starling City -- but he is not the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” he used to be. His father left him “The List,” containing the names of people who have wronged Starling City in some manner -- and Oliver is tasked with setting it right. So he dresses in a green hood and green leathers with a bow and arrow and becomes Starling City's infamous “Vigilante,” seemingly overnight.

I just think the synopsis sounds SO COOL. A bow is the best weapon (and considered possibly the most effective in the medieval era) EVER -- it's just so difficult to use that it inspires incredible admiration among viewers who watch Oliver use it to perfection.

Okay. Archery rant over.
This is a great family dynamic. Sometimes you only see friendship (Like Legoas/Gimli [LOTR], but I def get the brotherly love vibe from these two. Even when they are fighting and hating each other they are still there for one another.
What 5 years on an island can do for you XD
Obviously, the plot has to move beyond the synopsis I gave above because the story arc is over twenty-three episodes. The first episodes do, it's true, deal mainly with “The List,” BUT over time a “real” villain appears. These first episodes have their own individual villains, to some extent, and in many ways after the “real” villain first shows himself, that's what happens again. Thus, I felt as though the plot was often disjointed -- spending too much time focusing on random “bad” guys when it could have been dropping more hints about the villain's real operation. Everything should have been connected much better, and a viewer paying sufficient attention should have been able to note the slight connections between each villain and the “big bad.” Instead, I was never able to get the feeling that there were multiple connections, nor whence came the motives of some of the characters (maybe the latter will be answered in some later season?). The plot did succeed at drawing me in nicely, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have improved.

When I first saw Oliver Queen in The Flash (and you'll have to forgive me for referring to that TV show in a comparison/contrast format; I know that's typically not fair to one or both of the shows, but I'm using it as an example mechanism here), I disliked him. I figured he was the quintessential hero/villain who's cropped up in multiple TV shows and movies in recent years: Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock, Christian Bale's Batman, even Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man. All of these hold at least one element I described of Oliver above, in Tony Stark's own description of himself: “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” I get tired of the handsome, arrogant control freak who's massively talented in his field.

Thankfully, Oliver is not actually how my first impression portrayed him. Instead, he presents a bit of a conundrum to me. Why? Well, because he's not that cliched angsty hero. And yet he is. Under the hood, he becomes mysterious and indeed brooding -- and not exactly what you'd call nice, either. Outside the hood, it's obvious he cares deeply about the people around him -- he frequently asks his friends to tell him how they're doing, he presents a listening ear, and he would be the first to give you a hug if you needed one. Simultaneously, however, the screenwriters try to make him the troubled hero/struggling villain in and out of his Arrow uniform -- and it doesn't often succeed. It does at times when he's around his assistants, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) (like they rub him the wrong way or something), but even then Felicity will be all like, “He never admits when he's wrong,” and Diggle agrees with her, when literally about two episodes back there was a whole scene devoted to Oliver admitting to Diggle that, you guessed it, he was wrong, and Diggle was right. Go figure.
Arrow season 1 on Netflix
There are plenty of characters I really, really liked in this season -- with the exception of a few. Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), Oliver's mom, comes off as pitiful, irritating, and easily pressured; Thea (Willa Holland), Oliver's sister, is so freaking petulant and childish and spoiled -- aaargh! and very difficult to stand. (From my experience, she does improve slightly in Season 2. It gets better, people :)) Meantime, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), Oliver's ex-girlfriend/friend/girlfriend/not-girlfriend/girlfriend-again, was . . .

. . . just awful. There are no other words. And it's not because she's a “bad” person, given that she's one of the “good guys” of the show. Neither is it because her actress isn't talented. Rather, I think it's partially because I had preconceived notions of Oliver and Felicity's relationship, didn't realize there was another woman in the picture, and, to top it all off, Katie Cassidy reminds me so much of ABC's current Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe or-however-you-spell-her-name. (Kaitlyn is unimpressive as I'm sure all Bachelorettes are, but according to tabloids she might be the most unimpressive yet. Note: I tried to watch a couple episodes of The Bachelorette this season . . . but it's pretty crappy television, and not worth watching.) I guess all those things spelled Laurel's death sentence when it came to “liking” her, or “shipping” her and Oliver -- I mean, c'mon, I don't even think there's a ship name for those two. !?!

To get off my ranting bucket, there were a couple characters I admired and/or appreciated greatly: Tommy Merlyn, Oliver's best friend, and Roy Harper. At the season's commencement, Tommy is selfish, a playboy, pretty much just a -- yeah, a selfish pig. However, as his story arc continues, he runs into some “trouble,” hits proverbial rock-bottom, and recognizes that he needs to change. So he does -- he tries so hard to become a good man, and I love that about him. The other kid, Roy, we don't meet till at least halfway through the season if I remember correctly, but I hit it off with him immediately -- he does indeed look like an Abercrombie model, and instead of seeing the Vigilante as the gray-area villain most of Starling City's police force seems to, he looks up to him for executing justice, and sets him up as his role model of a hero -- something I really appreciate about him.

Felicity's BCBGMAXAZRIA Tenya Cocktail Dress Arrow Season 1, Episode 14: “The Odyssey" - Spotted on TVRegarding the immoralities of the TV show, because they inevitably crop up in primetime television these days . . . as Starling City is wont to do, I think conservative viewers may have a problem with how Oliver “does things.” Sometimes it seems that he comes across as playing God, choosing whether his victims live or die, instead of handing them over to the police. As I've stated before on this blog, this recurrent theme in literature/myth/fiction always ends badly. However, there is also something to be said for justice. We always talk about how loving God is, but that's only one of His attributes -- He also hates sin and damns it to hell. That's not to acquit Oliver of acting like God himself; I just want to point out that our society has eschewed its idea of justice in many cases.

As children, we saw things in black and white -- that's why when we remember the morals of the movies we watched when we were little, we remember, “The good guy killed or beat all the bad guys.” As we age, emotions and realities become more complex -- motives are not always purely bad or purely good, and we understand, to some limited extent, how painful it would be to have a family member commit a crime and then be sentenced to death for it -- we would want the sentencing lightened at all costs. My discomfort with Oliver's seeming carelessness made me think, and brought me to that point: if I were a kid watching this show, I wouldn't care. Why? Because, just like it's “supposed” to happen, the good guys beat or kill the bad guys.

You can draw your own conclusions on justice -- those are just my observations.

Oliver's romantic life is seriously complicated throughout this season. I got annoyed in The Flash season 1 when Barry “kissed” four different girls. (You have to actually watch the season to understand why I put it in quotations.) That was nothing to Oliver's four-ish romantic entanglements, three of which ended in premature/premarital intimacy (nothing explicit is shown on screen but what is gives us that knowledge). All three times he slept with his girlfriend of the time being, there were serious consequences. I don't know if the writers noticed that, but that's the way it goes with sin.

So, I really really liked this first season. I'd encourage you to look it up -- as I said, it's not squeaky clean for sure, and definitely not as family-friendly as The Flash . . . but it's a pretty good story nonetheless.

The series is rated TV-14 and includes besides sexual implications a lot of violence, some drug use, plenty of drinking (Oliver owns a club), some profanity, and sexual references.


  1. I love this show! I've been watching it on Netflix, and it's getting very good. I haven't met Felicity yet, but I have to agree, I don't like Laurel too much so far.
    Anyway, great review! :)

    1. Yay! Another Hoodie! haha. (I wonder if that's actually a fandom name for this series?)

      Hmm. . .I believe Felicity comes in in the fifth or sixth episode, so hopefully you're not too far from meeting her! She's hilarious, although I admit to liking her far better in Arrow than I did in The Flash.

      Have fun!

  2. You know, I would agree. I don't think fans really "ship" Oliver and Laurel. I read that Felicity was meant to be a three - five time guest star (or something) and isn't even a prominent character (certainly not a love interest for Oliver), but she became SO much more. Imagine where this show would be without her? It's really impossible to think about. :D Love her and Oliver and if they're not the endgame (romantically), I'll be one unhappy fan. :)

    Glad you enjoyed season one so much. Thanks for writing a fun "gush" about it, Hannah. It IS a fun show and I look forward to see where the writer's take it - darkness (via season three) and all. :)

    1. Oh wow. It cracks me up how TV series introduce a random character for some storyline "help" and he/she becomes one of the main draws to the show! I think that's what happened with Hook in Once Upon a Time -- he was originally going to be a Season 2 guest star and villain, and ended up being a fan favorite ;)

      And I know ... #Olicity HAS to happen. Since we were talking about Barry+Felicity on Twitter ... gosh, I wish he could find someone like her in Central City! I'm not much of an Iris fan myself and liked the idea of Caitlin+Barry for a while, then didn't ... and so far haven't "met" anyone other than Felicity who really seemed to hit it off with him :)

      I do too! I'm closing out Season 2 now, and hope Netflix gets Season 3 on BEFORE October 7! If it doesn't though it shouldn't be a big deal; they keep the episodes on Hulu for a while anyway :)

      Thanks for commenting as always!

  3. The first season of Arrow was great but the second one was so disappointing
    Dresses & Denim

    1. Sorry you weren't able to enjoy it, Carly. I liked the second season a lot personally!

      Thanks for stopping by :)


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