Winter break is officially over as one series after another returns to television in a quick race to pick up momentum from mid-season cliffhangers.
I have loved comic books so I was glad to see a new episode of Arrow out this week to join the rest of the pack.
Arrow, the super-hero action show featuring DC’s favorite Batman impersonation, has really hit its stride in the second season. Their first episode of 2014, Blast Radius, is a daring episode because it eschews the frenzied action and body counts that have racked up already this January as television shows. Instead, the team at CW have handed us what is known in writing craft as a sequel, not as in Superman II, but as part of the ebb and flow of storytelling. In writing craft stories are a give and take between scenes, where the hero tries to do something and succeeds or (more often and more interestingly) fails, and sequels, where the hero reacts to what has just happened, processes it, and then decides what to do nest (the next scene as it were).
Blast Radius takes the time to process the intense events of Arrow’s mid-season finale, and their gamble pays off. Scientist and Three Ghosts formed a two-part mid-season finale that left a lot to process, and it was a nice change in frantic pacing to get to do exactly that. Felicity’s burgeoning relationship with her new love interest and comatose future super-hero takes her away from her involvement with Oliver Queen’s team. The mystery of Brother Blood hasn’t gone away, and the Arrow has every reason to be freaking out after a near-death experience or two trying to stop the Mirakuru-powered criminals. It was also nice to take some time to dig deeper into this season’s two-fold threat, Loyd Slate and Brother Blood.
There is a lot to like in this series as a Christian. Season two has a pair of nice themes about justice and mercy. Oliver Queen was a cold-blooded killer when he had to be in the first season, but the opening credits hang a lantern on his quest to become a true protector, something more than vengeance. That echoes the Biblical truth that man’s anger doesn’t bring about the righteousness that God requires. There is a good deal of fellowship, loyalty, forgiveness, and trust as the Arrow team expands to include the future Flash, Forgiveness and redemption have been looming in the future for Roy Harper, who started season 2 as something of a tool and now stands at a crossroads. Will his new powers turn to good or evil, because he has too much of it to remain on the fence much longer. Family, the American idol, is a huge theme in nearly every secular drama series as well as religious ones, and it isn’t a bad message as long as it does not replace one or more members of the Trinity. Season two has had a nice theme of forgiveness inside the family as well during Moira Queen’s trial for complicity in the deaths of hundreds. There is another good truth hidden in season two: Forgiveness only applies to those who cannot possibly deserve it!
The guest-villain of the episode was a pleasant surprise. I haven’t seen much of Sean Maher since Serenity came out in theaters back in 2005. He was an interesting one-shot bad guy, but mostly served as enough of a plot mover to justify a lot of thought and feelings while the team regroups for more action in the second half of season two. Smallville didn’t rally this well in its second season, really hitting stride in season three, so I am hoping to see many more years of Arrow to come.