As Arrow embarked in the second season, it was about Oliver transitioning from a vengeful killer to crusading hero and they did that through his actions. He killed one or two times, but they still had him on track to being the hero from the comics. He has changed his approach because of the death of his friend, Tommy Merlyn. It was what drove him to change. While he’s in that new approach, his old and new enemies he encounters were a reflection of what he once was back in the first season. The action in the second season was amped up when playing Green Arrow, but they still haven’t found a way to make his alter-ego Oliver Queen likeable like last season. I don’t think they progressed that in the present, but in the island flashbacks they sure did.
Diggle and Felicity were more involved in the action than they were in the first season. Diggle has a storyline with Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad while Felicity is conflicting with her feelings between Oliver and Barry Allen. I’m glad neither of them are gone as they will be the core group for Arrow and different directions have been planted for them, especially for Diggle when he found out he has a child with his ex-wife, Lyla Michaels. I hope Diggle’s child is named John Stewart. Team Arrow expanded its ranks with Roy and Sarah as we need some variety in the group.
This season had more deaths than the first season. The people who were gone this season were Shado, Moira Queen, Sebastian Blood, Kate Spencer, and now Isabel Rochev. Mainly these are comic book characters and the showrunners have a tendency to do that.
The second season was also supposed to be the beginning of the Black Canary story, but the way they did it was controversial in that instead of Dinah Laurel becoming her they had someone else do it. That someone happens to be her long-thought dead sister Sarah Lance. Already she looks and fights like the Black Canary from the comics and she was a hit with viewers, but she was where Oliver was in the first season in that she kills. Her story is tied to Oliver’s more than Dinah Laurel’s.
This made Dinah Laurel a problem for the show in that they put her in things that made her more unlikeable than ever such as her drug problems and blaming her sister for stealing her life. Dinah Laurel was on track when she was investigating Sebastian Blood, but got off track with the drug problem story. She was even absent in several episodes. It wasn’t until the final few episodes of the season that she became useful and the finale saw her wearing the Canary jacket that gives hints of where she’s going in the third sesaon. Hopefully, they will correct the beginning of the Black Canary story.
Roy joins Team Arrow, learns of Oliver’s secret identity, and had a falling out that got him with the Mirakuru that gave him enhanced strength like Slade, but it made him uncontrollable until Oliver cured him of it. In the finale, Roy suddenly becomes good with bows and arrows and this became a source of criticism and rightfully so as they should have covered Roy’s training more instead of the Mirakuru that could have made him unlikeable. I’m glad he’s heading towards Red Arrow than Arsenal and I think the finale was Roy’s best moment than whatever he did in the second season.
After the first season of being an annoyance, Thea ends up being the voice of reason in the second season and she doesn’t know Oliver’s secret as Arrow. She started out running Oliver’s club until she broke up with Roy and learned the truth of her real father that resulted in her fiction with Oliver and Moira. Just before she can reconcile with Moira, Slade took that away from her when he killed Moira in front of her and Oliver. That set Thea on a dark path that led to her encounter with her real father, Malcolm Merlyn, and eventually leaving Starling City with him.
There many guest-appearances of DCU characters such as Bronze Tiger, Nyssa Al Ghul, Barry Allen, Vibe, Killer Frost, and Amanda Waller, along with returning characters like Huntress, China White, Deadshot, and Professor Ivo.
The main villains of the second season were Slade, Sebastian Blood, Isabel Rochev, and Amanda Waller. All four were after either Oliver or Starling City. Slade has surpassed Malcolm Merlyn in villainy in that he killed Oliver’s mother and took away his money and Queen Consolidated from him. No way did they kill off Slade as his fate was appropriate and full circle. He will be used again down the line, but he’s likely benched for a season and he’s likely no longer a series regular after the season finale.
The second season has moved Oliver forward more as Green Arrow when he was transitioning from killer to hero and the police have eventually accepted him. Is it better than the first season? Definitely. I’m looking forward to the third season to see what it brings.