In “The Calm”, it has been five months since the events in the season 2 finale episode of the series. After already losing his mansion, Oliver Queen now declares his hideout his new permanent home. As for the police, the task force that began in season 1 to hunt the Hood is finally disbanded by the now captain Quentin Lance. However, the new phase in the lives of Oliver Queen and his allies is not all that wonderful, especially when a new foe enters the scene: The Scarecrow-like villain known as Vertigo.
I have to admit, this episode of Arrow was full of surprises, including the unexpected stuff:
1) Oliver removed John Diggle from his crusade against crime, which was a bummer since Diggle was always a loyal aid to the archer superhero himself and still has no desire to reject his loyalty to any friend or lover of his.
2) Oliver’s sidekick Roy Harper was officially given his new battle outfit, one that resemble’s Oliver’s own except that it is in red.
3) Oliver apparently got back on his feet as head of Queen Consolidated despite his losses in season 2.
4) Barry Allen got a brief appearance in this episode
5) Felicity got employment at an electronic store
6) Ray Palmer, another superhero character from DC Universe lore, officially made his first live-action appearance since Legend of the Super-Heroes
7) Oliver was afraid of his civilian self
8) Sarah Lance (a.k.a. Canary) returned from her five-month absence
Regarding Roy Harper, I was hoping that he would get as much action time as Oliver was getting as The Arrow after their victory against Deathstroke in season 2.
But unfortunately, the kid superhero did not get that much action, not even when Vertigo drugged Oliver with the fear toxin. What is the point of sidekicks when they don’t get included in assignments where one hero cannot stop the extreme problem by himself, especially when Oliver now struggles to overcome his own personal weaknesses after the fear toxin was injected into him?
As for Diggle, an ex-military soldier, while it is a shame that he is now cut-off from Oliver’s crusade after all they went through, it helped create room for a new challenge for this supporting character, especially when he is about to start a new happy life for himself.
That is to say, we are about to see if Diggle can afford to lead this new great for himself without the risk of leaving his friend stranded in harm’s way in the process when he needs help from friends. Therefore, this episode did for Diggle was establish a dilemma where one person is torn between loyalties/devotions, which had very well added to the tragic side of the television series’ story plot.
Regarding Laurel Lance, she, like Diggle, was given a new challenge of her own after already having overcome her drinking problems: keeping her father Captain Lance from facing more health issues after his heart attack in the season 2 finale. I predict this challenge won’t be easy due to the police captain’s decision to remain in helping The Arrow’s crusade against corruption. What was odd was how the episode started off as it lacked reference to how Laurel’s father recovered as it skipped out a moment of time right after where the season 2 finale left off, though it was clear in dialogue that the police officer himself was no longer as invulnerable as he used to be despite his being able to carry on with his career.
Regarding Ray Palmer, I was excited to see that the writers working on the show wanted to add more DCU heroes into the series plot. So now, there are five DCU heroes who have appeared so far (Arrow, Canary, Roy, Barry, and Ray). Unfortunately, although some detail on the character’s profession was provided, it might be a while until he becomes The Atom, just like Barry was on the show for a few episodes before he got his powers, but whether or not Ray gets to be The Atom won’t affect the television series’ premise. Interestingly, this episode introduced a mystery about this guy: what did he want from Felicity exactly for his company? Is he good or evil? Who knows, but what I can tell you is that I sense that we are about to witness a clash of the organizations over one computer expert.
Last, but not least, there was Oliver’s struggle to maintain a romantic relationship with a woman he loves. At first, I did not expect Oliver to have any romance with Felicity since superheroes (well most of them anyway) don’t usually date their colleagues of the same organization, but I could see that an evolution in their relationship was just starting to take a new step.
What helped the narrative remain interesting when it came to dealing with problems was when Felicity became a target of torment for evil, paving way for Oliver to think back to his time in Hong Kong enough to find himself in a new problem: choosing between romantic relationships and devotion to the war against crime and evil, two parts of his life that now conflict with each over when it comes to keeping loved ones from paying the ultimate price for being involved in the life of a crime fighter.
This type of problem was illustrated before in superhero stories, but whoever says the love interest of a hero can’t develop towards being someone who can pull herself out of danger? Since this new season was just starting, there is room for Felicity to do that in time to rebuild hope for love in Oliver’s life, if the writers are willing to let that happen of course.
This episode of Arrow begins a new chapter of perils for multiple characters, and given nothing much gets resolved in this one, I predict the episodes to come will introduce new obstacles before their journeys to overcoming the struggles that begins here finally become complete.
It will take time until everything goes well again for Oliver Queen and his allies, and hopefully, Roy will get more time of action with Oliver later on as now is the time for him to shine as a costumed action hero. Make sure to tune in to the show every Wednesday at 8:00 PM ET on CTV and The CW.