Arrow Season 2 starts this Wednesday October 9th. You may have forgotten what happened in the first season due to post-traumatic stress disorder. Or, you might have missed it entirely and now want to tune in because of all those shirtless promo posters of the male cast. Not to worry, we’ll catch you up on the story to date!
The show is divided into two timeframes, first there’s….
Yao Fei: Oliver’s first playmate on Magical Ninja Island. They have a somewhat rocky relationship. For instance, their first meeting was Yao shooting him with an arrow. But it was only for the very best of reasons, really. This sets up a pattern of abuse that borders on comical, as it is a toss-up at any given time if Yao will protect him or beat him down.
Edward Fyers: The Bad Guy. Though doomed to be eclipsed by the season’s true bad ass super villain, Malcolm Merlyn (played to perfection by John Barrowman), Fyers still manages to put in a fair showing as a Grade A jerk. For one, he has no aesthetic appreciation at all. His first interaction with Oliver has him ordering his minion to cut our boy up. I man, really, that’s just a disservice to all of humanity, ruining art that way.
Slade Wilson: The second mentor for Oliver, he’s nearly as abusive as Yao Fei. He came to the island to retrieve Yao, but after things went south, decided that blowing the whole place to hell was the better course of action. Unfortunately for him, his boyfriend Billy Wintergreen turned on him. So he’s left trying to turn frat boy Oliver into a stone-cold killer so he can complete his mission.
Shado: The daughter of Yao Fei, she came to the island to save her dad. Parental issues, you will find, drive this show. No sooner did she set foot on Magical Ninja Island, though, than Fyers took her prisoner. He has a plan—or rather, his employer has a plan and it requires the cooperation of Yao Fei. Since Yao’s allegiances shift without warning, Fyers knows it’s best to have some collateral to guarantee good behavior.
Island Time is all about stopping Fyers, whose evil scheme is some ridiculous plot to crash the Chinese economy by shooting down a commercial airliner. Once he forced Yao to record a message saying he was responsible and that his fictional band of terrorists would shoot down more planes, Fyers puts a bullet in his head.
Well, Oliver isn’t having that. Sure, Yao Fei had beaten him stupid, trapped him in a cave-in, nearly drowned him and betrayed him a billion times, but they were still friends. So he busts loose and, with the help of Shado and Slade, puts a stop to Fyers’ plot. People die. Stuff blows up. A good time is had by all.
But then Fyers takes Shado hostage (which was entirely improbable) and faces off with Oliver one more time. His wages are finally paid when Oliver puts an arrow in him, which he totally deserved. And now Oliver, Shado and Slade have to find a way off the island. But that is a story for season two!
Moira Queen: Masterfully played by Susanna Thompon, it takes the entire season to really understand Oliver’s mother. At times, she is merciless and twisted—to the point that she has Oliver kidnapped and beaten to see what he knows, but does it to save his life. Caught up in Malcolm’s web of evil, there is seemingly nothing she won’t do to protect her family.
Thea Queen: Oliver’s attention-starved little sister, Thea is not the most lovable character. She takes lots of drugs and drives while high and she is a total brat to Oliver and her mother. Eventually, she pulls out of her spiral. And why? Because she has a mission, and that mission is named Roy Harper
Tommy Merlyn: Oliver’s best friend since childhood. Together, they were an immature tornado, wreaking havoc and getting into all kinds of trouble. Enough to inspire an entire Slash Fandom apparently. He has changed in the last five years, but not as much as Oliver. He wants to be a better person because he sees that as the way to Laurel’s heart.
Malcolm Merlyn: Master puppeteer, corporate raider, archer and martial artist, Malcolm puts all TV villains to shame. His cold, calm demeanor oozes moral depravity. He can out-think and out-fight the heroes, which he proves time and again. He is a true menace because it is hard to imagine a way to defeat him. And since he’s played by John Barrowman, it’s hard to not want to be at his mercy.
Laurel Lance: Laurel has grown up since she was Oliver’s main squeeze. She’s a lawyer fighting to give a voice to the voiceless. She has some pretty serious martial arts moves of her own. And she has a strong moral center. Of course, all of that goes out the window when Oliver gives her his Sad Puppy Eyes. But then, it’s hard to fault her for that.
Detective Lance: The dead weight of the show. Oh, I kid…. No, I don’t. As Laurel’s father, this character had potential. He had built-in reasons to hate Oliver—the death of daughter Sara which caused his divorce and his drinking. And as a cop, he conceivably had reasons to hate the Hood. Yet the way the character was written made him come off as both incompetent and unsympathetic.
John Diggle: The yin to Oiver’s yang, to peanut butter to Oliver’s celery, the cream cheese to his bagel…. You get the idea. From the very beginning, Digg established himself as a noble, dedicated man with a wonderfully wry sense of humor. It wasn’t long before he was brought in on Oliver’s secret where he became the voice of reason that Oliver never listened to.
Felicity Smoak: In ten years, after Arrow goes off the air (I’m being an optimist. Shut up.) Felicity Smoak will go off on her own show. She is just that good. In just a few scenes with this adorable computer nerd, we can see her inner strength, her quirky sense of humor and her good heart. As a Queen Industries employee, she was Oliver’s go-to for all tech mysteries. His lame-ass excuses didn’t fool her for a second, because she is Felicity and she defines awesome.
Roy Harper: Coming in late in the season, Bad Boy Roy is a street-smart, parkouring dude with a magazine-rack of issues. Basically, he’s catnip to the kitty of Thea. A chance encounter with the Hood, though, changes the course of his life and dooms any chance Thea has with him. Roy is convinced his life is now tied with the Hood’s.
Walter Steele: Robert Queen’s best friend and now Oliver’s step dad, he’s basically a really good guy who finds himself sinking into the muck of the Queen family drama. But he is willing to do what he must to find out what happened to his friend, no matter how much Moira begs him not to.
Modern Day is all about stopping something called The Undertaking. It takes Team Arrow forever to figure out what The Undertaking is, and by the time they do it’s already pretty much too late. It turns out Malcolm has contracted a group of Evil Scientists to build a device that causes earthquakes. He wants to use this Markov Device to level the poor part of town called the Glades because he’s tired of them all living off government welfare and he figures if they’re all dead then no one will protest his taxes getting lowered.
Well, no, he wants revenge for his wife who was murdered in the Glades. Not exactly rational, but Malcolm has rugged handsomeness, brilliance and physical prowess. You can’t expect him to be sane on top of all that. No world is that unjust.
Oliver begs his mother to stop being a patsy and do something to stop Malcolm. At first, she says she won’t, but then she calls a press conference and says, in essence, “Everyone in the Glades, you’re gonna die! Run for your lives!”
This sets off chaos in The Glades—looting, vandalism, jay-walking, that sort of thing. Oliver and Diggle go to stomp on Malcolm Merlyn, figuring that between Oliver’s bow and Diggle’s massive biceps, they can take him. That sticks Felicity with the job of helping Detective Lance disarm the Markov device—and I won’t get back into how utterly stupid that entire set-up was.
Oliver barely manages to defeat Malcolm, but the masterful villain Malcolm lets them know that he had two devices built so, essentially, “nyah nyah!”
The Glades shake, rattle and roll. Laurel nearly dies. Tommy does die. Malcolm is allegedly dead. It was a season finale worthy of Joss Whedon.
Where will the show go from here? When will Grant Gustin show up as The Flash? Are you as excited about the new season as I am?