Thursday, October 10, 2013

'Arrow' Recap: Oliver Retires as a Vigilante, but Can He Be Reborn as a True Hero?

Arrow recaps Oliver Queen City of Heroes screencap Stephen Amell

In "Arrow" episode "City of Heroes," we see the aftermath of The Undertaking. Hundreds are dead after the mass destruction in The Glades. Oliver's mother is in prison, his sister is running his nightclub, and several Hood wannabes are terrorizing anyone they feel is responsible for the tragedy. Where is Arrow in all this? Swinging shirtless through the trees, back on the Island, doing his best to avoid the thought of Tommy's death.

Heroes and villains
Felicity and Diggle take flight on a rusty old plane, and parachute into the jungle to find Oliver. Felicity gets rescued from a leftover landmine by her own personal Tarzan, and then she and Digg try to convince their favorite hero to come back home. Oliver wants no part of his vigilante past, but he's finally moved by the news that his father's company is about to go under, and his family with it.

Back at home, Thea does her best to be a responsible adult, which includes lecturing her boyfriend Roy about the dangers of trying to save the world. He counters by insisting she visit her mother, but she just can't face someone she thinks is a mass murderer.

Saving the family company
Oliver returns to Queen Consolidated for a meeting with the VP of Acquisitions of rival company Stellmoor International, Isabel Rochev. She coolly informs him that he's short the necessary cash it would take to buy up company shares and thwart a hostile takeover. Since his mother has ruined the family name, there's no one who would invest or lend Oliver the money, either.

Unlike his sister, Oliver is willing to visit his mother in jail and ask her advice. She lets him know that he can always count on family, and soon after, Walter Steele swoops in to save his ex-wife's empire. His new job at a large bank gives him the power to grant Oliver the money to buy enough shares for a majority. Oliver and Isabel will apparently be partners in running the company now.

Oliver retires his vigilante cloak
All is not well, however. Four hooded vigilantes have shot the mayor in cold blood, and since they can't get to Moira, they're looking for Oliver instead. Felicity and Digg try to convince Oliver to don the hood again, but he can't bring himself to do it. He was truly affected by Tommy's assertion that he was nothing but a murderer, and he feels any death now would be an insult to his friend's memory.

Birth of a killer
We flash back to The Island, where Oliver is continuing his training with Slade, and his romance with Shado. Their seemingly new idyllic life is interrupted by a new threat, however, and Shado is kidnapped by three men in the jungle and questioned about a grave site. Her two heroes come to the rescue, and Slade is unable to stop Oliver from killing one of the men in brutal fashion. We see the birth of that angry killer that eventually came back to Starling City.

Another way
Back in the present, Oliver's sister Thea is kidnapped by the Four Hoods, and he's forced to spring into action. Felicity and Diggle show him the new, technologically advanced hero's lair. Felicity speaks for fangirls everywhere when she confesses she kept the pull-up bars, because she always loved Oliver working out on those. Fantasizing aside, Felicity also convinces Oliver there may be another way to be a hero that doesn't involve killing.

Through their investigations, the team discovers that the kidnappers all lost a loved one in The Glades earthquake and are looking for revenge. Oliver tracks them down at the church where they all initially met. He frees Thea and subdues all four men without causing permanent harm, even pulling one up from an imminent rooftop fall.

Birth of a hero
He turns them all over to Officer Lance, who's been demoted to a beat cop. The former detective is surprised that the vigilante has brought him four warm bodies instead of cold ones. Oliver says he's trying another way, and we expect Lance will soon be grateful that he might get a promotion out of this big bust.

Oliver decides he may return to crime-fighting after all, and in a way that helps others, not as a way of seeing revenge. As a result, he doesn't want to be called "The Hood." We see him examining the green tip of the arrow in his hand, and we know what his new hero name will be.

After her near-death experience, Thea finally visits her mother. She's realized that her mother was living a life of fear, and had done what she thought was best to keep the rest of her family safe. Moira takes responsibility for her part in the deaths, but she's overwhelmed and grateful that her daughter has forgiven her.

Another new hero?
Meanwhile, an injured Roy still decides to take on a band of street thugs. He saves a woman from harm, but he's outnumbered and outmatched. Lucky for him, a woman with white blonde hair and serious fighting skills comes along and saves his butt. He has no idea who she is, but we're thinking it's China White.

More Season 2 Recaps here!


PHOTO: 2013 "Arrow" screencap, "City of Heroes," CW, fair use.

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