Last week, the new season of Arrow kicked off with a bang: We saw Oliver Queen decide to tone down the violence and become a kinder, gentler vigilante. We also saw what might have been the introduction of the Black Canary to the Arrow universe. The episode was tightly paced and a great sign that season 2 isn’t going to coast on season 1’s merits.
Episode two, “Identity”, opens with a FEMA truck being pursued by a couple of goons on motorbikes. Some criminal organization is hijacking medical gear intended for the Glade’s medical facilities. Roy Harper takes one of the goons down, but his car gets smashed up by the other. Ollie takes Thea to pick Roy up from the Police department, where Roy fills Oliver in on what’s been happening with the FEMA deliveries. Suddenly, Oliver has a new outlet for his vigilante activities, and vows to take the hijackers down.
Laurel Lance has also made a vow of her own: She wants to take the Arrow down, believing that he brings chaos and destruction whenever he’s around. Laurel is personally leading the police effort to bring the vigilante to justice. She does just that right in the middle of a fight between the Arrow, China White, and her new hired muscle, Bronze Tiger.
There is a lot to love in this episode. Michael Jai White guest stars as the Bronze Tiger, and he’s as ferocious, ruthless, and physically imposing as you would hope. His taunting Oliver’s reservation against lethal force during their fight is a lot of fun, and you can tell White is having a blast.
Making Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance the main legal foil against the Hood was one of the wiser decisions the creative team behind Arrow have made. Cassidy may be a fine actress, but most of her screen time during season 1 was spent moping. Now, as an Assistant DA, Laurel gets a lot more opportunity to be more than a pretty face on the show.
Digg and Felicity get a lot more to do now, too. The show is taking advantage of the ensemble cast’s chemistry, and allowing everyone their chance to take time in the spotlight.
Oh, and one last bit: TRICK ARROWS. I was hoping they would show up, and now that Oliver has taken a less lethal stance on his war against crime, he’s got a far more entertaining arsenal. So far, we’ve seen the grappling hook arrow; this week we get the taser arrow and the freaking HANDCUFF ARROW. And they pull it off with barely a trace of cheese. Love it!