Note - There are 4 things you need to know about me before reading this review:
1. Laurel was my least favorite character in season 1. For me, she waffled between self-righteous martyr and manipulative hypocrite, neither of which did the character any favors.
2. I really, really want to like Laurel and I have high hopes for her this season.
3. The #1 item on my wish list for Arrow season 2 was that the writers improve Laurel's character.
4. I hate shipping. In fact the only romance I can even root for on this show is Thea and Roy and that's only because they both are interesting alone and as a couple. All other pairings, canon or not, generally make me sigh.
Fast forward 7 days and Laurel's a conundrum. In many ways I like Laurel 2.0. I have absolutely no problem with her targeting the Hood in an anti-vigilante campaign. In fact, it makes a lot of sense to me. If Laurel sees all vigilantes as a threat to peace in Starling City, no matter who they are, then it feels right for her to rid the city of them. It's a natural reaction to watching hundreds die senselessly after one person lashed out in grief over losing his wife. After all if one vigilante could turn so evil, a post-traumatic stressed Laurel could easily feel all vigilantes are a potential threat. Even last year she was uneasy with her partnership with the Hood partnership, questioning his motives and methods. However when she interrogates Roy, it is very clear this is a personal vendetta against the Hood himself, not a general crusade for justice. She doesn't care about the masked vigilante Roy speaks of and is only interested in Roy for Hood information. This is not a sweeping crusade for the legal system and judicial check and balances. It's a war on the Hood, and that's where things get tricky.
Episode MVP: James Bamford
-As always the fight scenes were top notch. Arrow and Revolution have the best fights scenes around so kudos to Bamford, fight choreographer, for another job well done.
Best line: Thea: "I'll always think of you fondly."
-When your older brother asks for alone time with your boyfriend at the police station, it's not a good sign. I love Thea's snarky attitude and the fact that she never protested, but left Roy to his fate. Ha!
Worst line: Felicity: "And I love spending the night with you…."
-Argh! Stop making Felicity sound like a silly twit tween with her first crush. It's embarrassing and no longer fits the character. She has grown up by being on Team Arrow. Just stop, writers.
Other great lines:
Laurel: "We're not pressing charges so long as he gives up looking for trouble." Thea: "Might as well tell him to give up breathing."
Diggle: "Well it could be worse. My secret identity is his black driver."
Felicity: "Oh, may I get you a cup of coffee?" Oliver: "You're not actually offering to get me a cup of coffee are you?" Felicity: "Yeah…nope. That won't be happening…ever."
Shado: "No island, no place, can make you something you're not." Oliver: "So I've always been a killer."
Felicity: "I love that we live in a city where the police are more interested in catching you than the drug stealing mobsters. Our tax dollars at work."
Thea: "Now that we're closed are you going to be starting your second shift, suicide by Chinese street thugs?"
Felicity: "I hacked into FEMA's sever…yet another federal offense, thank you very much…"
Diggle: "You know we're getting dangerously close to hug territory so I'm going to fall back. You need a ride?" Oliver: "Turns out that being CEO, I actually have some work to do. I'll find my own way." Diggle: "You always do."
Roy: "I can fight." Hood: "You can take a beating. There's a difference."
-I root for Roy as a hero, but he is always over his head…this time literally.
Best forward plot movement: The Hood recruits Roy to be his eyes and ears in the Glades
-Roy spent more time taking himself out than actual crime lords so I'm glad he's got a solid reason to keep in the mytharc, develop as a character, and end a never-ending argument with Thea. Kudos to the writers for accelerating Roy's timeline before it got stale.
Best Oliver character development: Oliver: "What I meant was I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you because I should have been. I got wrapped up in my own suffering and I forgot that some other people might be suffering too."
-Now there's the Oliver who cares about his team. I like considerate Oliver a whole lot better than douche Oliver, which brings us to…
-I like how Felicity stands up for herself and the team now. It makes her more of an active partner instead of just the IT wiz. Last year both Felicity and Diggle took too many of Oliver's scoldings. While others may prefer Felicity's anti-secretary rant, I find this scene more adult and more team-focused.
Biggest "Ouch": Slade: "She's a distraction and in a place like this a distraction is going to cloud your judgment and that is what is going to get you killed. Look at what this island's already done to you, kid."
-Not sure if it's jealousy or tough love but Slade just told Shado to talk Oliver down. I doubt this was psychologically helpful. Douche move, Slade.
Best Karaoke Moment: Shado tells Oliver everyone is both good and bad, yin and yang
-Everyone else thought this was a beautiful moment. I got the lyrics to Ebony and Ivory stuck in my head:
"We all know that people are the same wherever you go.
There is good and bad in everyone, and we learn to live.
We learn to give each other what we need to survive, together alive."
-I don't know comics at all so maybe Bronze Tiger came first, but Wolverine is better known by the general public. It makes me less interested in Bronze Tiger no matter how many arrows he chops mid-air.
Best Geek Girl Moment: Cop: "Who in the hell could be feeding us year-old surveillance?"
-I adore Felicity's smile when she hears the cop. This is Felicity at her geeky best.
The "You Read My Mind" Award: Diggle: "You know I've been meaning to tell you that it really wears me out to no end the way you refer to yourself in the third person like that."
-Thank you Diggle. Oliver's not a king. No need for the royal "we".
-I'm calling it right now. Blood's involved in the medical thefts to rile his constituents for political power. He's evil. All he needs now is a mustache and German accent. (Um, sorry the latter is Sleepy Hollow.)
Biggest Logic Leap: FEMA's trucks
-Why is FEMA sending unarmed trucks? This is not a local crime. If they attack FEMA, it's federal. That should bring the FBI and possibly the National Guard out for these thieves.
Best Unusual Character Interaction: Laurel and Roy in interrogation
-I like that different characters are interacting. It is good to see Laurel outside the Queen/Lance families. It also let Roy spout his beliefs with someone besides Thea, while getting a glimpse into Laurel's thinking.
Best plot reveal: Diggle and Carly broke up
-From what Felicity said, I thought Carly died post-quake but any end to the uncle-daddy plot is a relief.
-Oliver is one smoke bomb arrow and shot to the ceiling away from escape, especially since the cops completely surrounded him and cannot shoot him without shooting themselves. (facepalm)
"Egads, Not ANOTHER Love Triangle" Award: Slade sees Shado and Oliver post-coitus
-Aaaaarrrggggghhhhhh!!!!! We just got rid of one. Please stop. If Slade goes evil over this, I give up.
Amell Abs Watch: The Abs guest star in the new weekly opening as well as an extended workout role. They also strip tease for Shado. I hope they get their own paycheck.
Most Missed: Tommy of course but I think Laurel needs Joanna back again to talk her off the ledge.
Screencaps by MTV, ComicBook.Com, Comics Alliance, and Screencapped.net.