BLU-RAY REVIEW: ARROW – THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: STEPHEN AMELL, MANU BENNETT, EMILY BETT RICKARDS, DAVID RAMSAY, CAITY LOTZ / RELEASED: SEPTEMBER 22ND
Whilst the first season of The CW’s Arrow was good, this second year made for some truly stunning television. In the aftermath of Malcolm Merlyn’s “undertaking” scheme, Oliver Queen (Amell) is doing his best to support the rebuilding of Starling City whilst also whooping the bad guys in his other job. Now known as The Arrow, Queen has to fight his way through a slew of familiar DC faces, such as The Clock King, Dollmaker, Count Vertigo, Brother Blood, Gyrus Gold, and Nyssa al Ghul. But it’s with one-time bestest bud Slade Wilson (Bennett) that The Emerald Archer starts to have serious problems. During the show’s island flashbacks, we find Wilson under the influence of mirakuru, a serum that increases his strength, speed, and aggression while making him near invincible and a little unhinged. As Slade loses his grip on sanity, he blames Oliver for the death of his ‘one true,’ putting in motion a plan of revenge that culminates in modern-day Starling City and with the aim of destroying Ollie and those closest to him.
Season Two of Arrow has so much going on, but the key is the pacing and the execution of its storytelling. The main arc is most definitely Slade’s ascension to the Deathstroke moniker, mirrored with Oliver’s growth from mere reckless vigilante to full-on hero who operates with a code, but there are so many subtle, intriguing subplots strewn throughout the season. We get to see Sara Lance (Lotz) return from the grave and become The Canary, Moira Quinn (Susanna Thompson) take on Sebastian ‘Brother’ Blood (Kevin Alejandro) for the Mayor of Starling City position, and Oliver take the troubled Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) under his wing. Then there’s the expanded trust between Oliver, Felicity (Rickards) and Diggle (Ramsay), the attack on Queen Consolidated by Isabelle Rochev (Summer Glau), mirakuru-ravaged soldiers on the streets of Starling City, The League of Assassins, Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and her Suicide Squad, and there’s a whole host more and the introduction of the freakin’ Flash (Grant Gustin)! To sum up such a crammed series in a concise review almost seems criminal.
Whereas there’s a whole lot going on in Season Two, the fractured relationship between former ‘brothers’ Oliver and Slade is brilliant to watch develop, particularly with the modern-day Wilson always being once step ahead of his former protégé. Whilst Manu Bennett simmers perfectly as Slade, Stephen Amell has gotten to the stage where the whole Arrow character fits him like a second skin. Natural, fluid, immersive, genuine, and emotive, Amell, much like Arrow itself, hits it out of the park here. Additionally, with a supporting cast of characters that have been so wonderfully developed the show can survive extensive time without its central hero, it really does feel like the minds behind Arrow have truly crafted something special for their audience.
Simply put, in terms of must-see television, Arrow clinically hits the bullseye.
Extras: Three featurettes / Select episode commentaries / Deleted scenes / Gag reel.