The second season of The CW’s Arrow is right up there with the very best seasons of genre TV in recent memory. As such, following up such a much-heralded year of television was always going to be a tricky task. The big question, though, was whether Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Co. could follow-up the excellent Season 2 with an equally good third year.
As Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen again dons the famed green hood, a new ‘big bad’ appears on the scene in the form of famed DC comic book villain Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). Seeing Oliver as both a rival and a future heir, Ra’s looks to get involved with the Emerald Archer in an attempt to force his hand and work alongside him. Added to this, a hard-hitting shocker of a conclusion to the first episode of Season 3 leads to a whodunit mystery that plays out through the majority of the season as familiar faces come and go and as we’re introduced to new characters to both aide and go up against the Master Bowman and the rest of Team Arrow. Again utilising the approach of flashbacks, the show also takes us into the past of Oliver Queen, this time focusing on Ollie’s problems with Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and A.R.G.U.S. during his time in Hong Kong as a deadly virus begins to come into play.
Arrow has again delivered an enjoyable action ride of twists and turns, with its third season certainly not pulling any punches and featuring many shocking moments that will leave viewers’ jaws agape. Sure, it may not quite live up to the excellence of the previous season, but it still hits plenty of the right beats, not least in its action sequences and the performances of the majority of its key players. Star Stephen Amell is as comfortable in the skin of Oliver Queen and The Arrow as near-enough any live-action hero of recent memory, and he’s helped out fantastically by the likes of David Ramsey’s Diggle, Emily Bett Rickards’ uber-cute Felicity Smoak, Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper (himself now outright his own hero under the Arsenal moniker), and of course nefarious no-good sorts like Matt Nable’s pitch-perfect Ra’s al Ghul and John Barrowman’s scenery-chewing Malcolm Merlyn. Still though, Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance, despite taking steps towards becoming Black Canary, is all over the shop and often comes off as thoroughly unlikeable and unrealistic in the scheme of all things Arrow.
Whilst still maintaining many of the facets that made its previous season so enjoyable, Arrow varies in tone during its third year. There’s extremely dark moments (even if some of them may not stick quite as long as we’d have liked…) but yet the show also has moments of great hope and even suffers a mighty tonal shift by the time the season comes to a close.
Largely hitting the target, Season 3 of Arrow again delivers for one of the most popular genre shows out there at the moment. Our main gripe (bar the largely headache-inducing Laurel Lance) is that maybe some of the consequences of certain happenings could’ve been given more time to hit home, but all in all fans of the show will find plenty to lap up in this new release.
Special Features: Audio commentaries / Three featurettes / Arrow at Comic Con 2014 / Gag reel / Deleted scenes
ARROW SEASON 3 / CERT: 15/ DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: STEPHEN AMELL, EMILY BETT RICKARDS, DAVID RAMSEY, COLTON HAYNES, JOHN BARROWMAN, MATT NABLE / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 28TH