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Arrow season 2 premieres Wednesday on the CW at 8/7 Central.

After such a smashing finale in Season 1, where does Arrow go from there? Rebuilding of course, and it's not just Starling City that is different. This premiere is largely about resetting the tenets of Arrow after Tommy's death and the destruction of the Glades. To be or not to be a vigilante is the theme and it comes up no less than 5 times in 42 minutes.

Jumping forward 5 months from Tommy's death, Moira is in jail awaiting trial, Thea is managing Verdant (yeah, I don't get it either), and Oliver has run back to the island. The intrepid Diggle and Felicity head to Lian Yu to retrieve him, where of course wacky hijinks ensue. Man is it great to see Team Arrow working (and to a lesser degree, arguing) together again. I've missed them. While Oliver will not come back to be the Hood again, he does acquiesce to save Queen Consolidated from a hostile takeover, led by Isabel Rochev. For fans of Summer Glau, this is likely to be a high point. For me it is not since she again wears the same expression throughout the entire episode, making her the weakest link. Expect a tense moment between Oliver and Isabel, but since Oliver has multiple significant moments with every female in the premiere it is the rule, not the exception.

For the most part this episode is a reset of the main characters and their motivations, which makes sense as they have all been through a traumatic event. How they deal with it individually appears to set up the main conflicts going forward. Both Oliver and Laurel are significantly changed, which feels like a positive move right now. Laurel has a new purpose; Oliver cares more about his conscience. Other points:

*Felicity has a more active role in Team Arrow and has done a complete role reversal on the mission
*Copycat vigilantes have taken over Starling City and the body count is getting very high.
*Laurel and Felicity have had a makeover
*Diggle continues to be the voice of reason
*Roy takes hero worship to dangerous levels
*CNRI is demolished
*Queen Consolidated has some shoddy glasswork
*Sadly this episode has the lamest cliffhanger of them all


Highlights:

1. A recurring character has a cameo at the end.
2. Thea's experience is a turning point for multiple characters.
3. Quentin is busted down from detective to beat cop, which at first was worrisome but the change works so far.
4. Flashbacks - Yes, I'm positive about the flashbacks for the first time.
5. Everything about Moira, even the emoangsting.
6. Oliver's disdain towards Roy.
7. The Arrow Cave.
8. Thea and Roy's conversations at Verdant
9. Good mix of action and character development
10. Constant mentioning of Tommy - now if he could only haunt them. 


Quotes:

"Apparently that's his job." "And I love my job."
"FYI - No one is eating the bagels."
"If I hug you, are they going to shoot us?"
"Maybe there's another way."
"She looks angry in every photo."
"What I lack in height, I make up for in wicked good hearing."
"Where the hell did you come from?"
"You could at least offer us a water….or coconut." "Fresh out of coconuts."
"You're not the first man to learn the hard way, women are a distraction."
"You're right. I have family."
"You're still here?" "Always."


Grade: B+, which for me in a setup episode is high praise indeed


Watch Arrow Wednesday on the CW at 8/7 Central.

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