Arrow Season 3 Premiere: The Calm

Kalem Lalonde's picture
(Minor spoilers)
Arrow is a great show. It’s history somewhat mixed but anything past the first half of the first second is great TV. Following an outstanding second season, Arrow returns this week with “The Calm”. Arrow starts the season off with a calm, hopeful and shocking episode. If you ever doubted team Arrow’s capabilities of withholding the second season’s quality, you may have be wrong. “The Calm” is a great episode and primer for what will undoubtedly be another fantastic season.

After last year’s somber and brutal storyline, I think we needed a little bit of light and that’s exactly what we’re given here. Diggle is about to become a father, Roy is an official member of team Arrow and Starling City’s criminal activity is dwindling by the day. I felt jubilant throughout the majority of this episode which is fresh for Arrow. The optimism feels like an innate extension of season 2 and that’s accurate for the entirety this episode.  The tone was unique for this series and I appreciate the writers’ effort to mix things up a bit.

Arrow has had an overarching problem with a formulaic villain of the week conflict that was season 2’s principle flaw. In this episode, we are introduced to a new version of Vertigo played by Peter Stormare whose performance is quite strong. The character himself lack’s depth or even motivations but that didn’t detract from the episode due to Stormare’s portrayal. He had a much more menacing presence than the usual weekly villain. The problems from this character arise from his similarities to the Scarecrow. The vertigo drug has now been turned into fear-gas and I was convinced that Arrow had decided to surprise us with an unannounced Scarecrow appearance. Hopefully, we will see more from this character in the coming months because his presence in this episode was not detrimental which many Arrow villains tend to bring to the table.

We’re also introduced to Brandon Routh’s as the enticing businessman Ray Palmer. Yes, Routh wasn’t the best Superman but he completely nails this role. The wrong actor could have made this character unlikeable and obnoxious but Routh delivers a charismatic performance and injects energy and magnetism into the character. His presence may result into a love triangle but his relevance at Queen makes the character a very welcome addition to the cast.

Another one of season 2’s weaknesses was the severe lack of Diggle. He was predominantly pushed to the background throughout the season. This episode addresses that with his new circumstances. In addition to his family affairs, he’s no longer Arrow’s main sidekick and is wanting in the field in comparison to Roy. There was an interesting conflict between Ollie and Diggle during this episode and is resolved by the end so we don’t have to deal with conflict between the Arrow team for too long. However, there isn’t room for every character to shine. Disappointingly, Roy takes the back seat in this episode. I would have liked to see his new status-quo explored more than a casual compliment and few seconds of attention. We also didn’t get to see Thea with her new mentor. This was my favourite part of season 2’s conclusion so I was displeased with her absence here.

I can’t shun this forever so let’s talk about Olicity now. The couple is allocated a lot of screen time here but it never feels elongated or dull. The show took 2 season’s to get us invested in these characters and it was a good decision to wait until season 3 for Olicity. None of their scenes bored me or had me wishing for more action because I genuinely care for the both of them and their relationship. I am fearful for the future of this story, however. I would hate to see it become a conventional and uninspired romance. 

 The flashback scenes are also vastly improved in this episode due to the new setting. Hong Kong revitalizes the past storyline with a fresh take on Ollie’s forming days. There wasn’t an abundance of material in this episode but my interest has been piqued and I don’t doubt that this storyline will be underwhelming.  

Overall, Arrow has returned with the same amount of quality you’ve come to expect. Season 3 begins with an amazing episode despite it’s slow pace. The end of the premiere drastically opens the story up, loading it with potential. We’ve got a special show on our hands here and its future is seeming very bright.