TV Report Card | 'Arrow' Season 3A Review

Overview: Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) returned to Starling City at the behest of Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) after, spending the season break, brooding over the death of his best friend, Tommy. Laurel (Katie Cassidy) became an alcoholic, while unbeknownst to her, Sarah (Caity Lotz), her wayward backstabbing sister had returned from the grave.

Plus, Barry Allen (the eventual Flash) came on the scene and Oliver’s mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) answered for her crimes.

Storyline Direction Pros: Felicity. Any story involving Felicity has been a grand slam. She is one of the best characters on TV and her awkward banter with Oliver is golden. The introduction of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was well handled and his being a possible love interest for the brilliant computer geek, is a fun prospect. The other highlight of the season has been Arrow’s numerous rescues of Felicity. Seeing him exemplify his hero status helped his character, immensely. 

Diggle’s Russia episode provided the show with an open and shut storyline that also opened up some revelations about Deadshot and his guilt for the death of Diggle’s brother. All of the plots have been well executed and with the appropriate time span for each of them. The freak of the week was weaned off with success and Moira’s trial was handled with swift resolve

Storyline Direction Cons: The switching back and forth between the island (the past) and Starling City (the present) has gotten a tad methodical and it might be time to call it with the former storyline. It adds very little to the landscape of current events and jars viewers with the incessant transitions.

There is so much that can be explored with the present storylines in Starling City and watching the island has become an obstacle to getting back to those stories. The connection between the two worlds grew to absurd proportions when the audience was spoon-fed the identity of the latest villain. The show jumped between the latest happenings on the island’s past, as Oliver in the present tried to connect the dots on his latest nemesis.

Sarah being back from the dead was a dud. Her character was whiny and abrasive. Imagining why Oliver would be attracted to her was a struggle and a half. Roy, Thea’s loser boyfriend, continues to be the series weakest link. We have actual heroes on the show, why do we need to waste time on a wannabe/poser?

Production Caliber: The action sequences have been sharp and the sets continue to be well lit and richly adorned.

Performance Quality: Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity) has shined throughout the first leg of the season with her killer comedic timing and savvy intellect. Stephen Amell (Oliver) has remained competent as our tortured hero. David Ramsey (Diggle) continues to bring his seriousness synergy to the crime fighting trio. 

Susanna Thompson (Moira) has remained equal parts regal, calculating and likable, as Oliver’s morally complicated mother. Manu Bennett (Slade) has thankfully been given more to do and his arc will hopefully be long term. Kevin Alejandro (Sebastian Blood) has done a worthy job as the series, surprise villain.

Colton Haynes continues to be a distractive presence as Roy; his characterization overly broody. Caity Lotz (Sarah) has been battling pouty writing for her character and while, she did good work in the horror indie “The Pact”, her performance here, lacks certain emotional texturing.

Musical Score: Consistently alluring.

Overall Grade: A, the second season got off to an even better start than its predecessor and that’s saying something. As the characters that are worthwhile, continue to take center stage, “Arrow” is finding its balance as not only a comic-book show but a worthy action-drama series.