Arrow: The Calm Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

Finally, the long drought is over. Arrow returned stronger than ever in its third season premiere with a delve into Oliver Queen’s life after his heroic triumph over Deathstroke.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead.

Let’s start with this: I get it, I really do. Logistically, I understand why the series killed off Sara, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, and I don’t. In my opinion they killed off the wrong Lance sister. More than anything her death felt more like the writers were making a justification for keeping Laurel around. In “The Calm” I actually liked Laurel she had just enough to do, wasn’t whiny, and was helping Team Arrow in a way in which she was qualified, but now I fear I’ll resent her character because she’s the reason they killed Sara.

The death propels the arc of the season. Finding her killer, who let’s be real is most likely either Ra’s al Ghul or one of his assassins, and avenging her death will be the main catalyst of the junior season.

A good chunk of time has passed from the end of season two and “The Calm” so who knows what went down with her and the League of Assassins and the real reason why she was in Starling City. Just like Colin Donnell I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Caity Lotz.

Brandon Routh did a superb job in his debut as Ray Palmer. In the past I’ve had a difficulty getting into his acting, maybe it was the parts he was playing that made him unlikeable (*cough* Chuck *cough*), but he was very charismatic and funny. He plays the character with ego, but surprisingly he is quite likeable. It helps that Routh plays the perfect foil to Amell’s Oliver.

One more thing about Palmer, he seems to actually want to help Starling City. Even bringing up the renaming of the city to Star City, which is the actual name of the city in the comics. Of course that could be just a smokescreen for his real ambitions and goals with Queen Consolidated, but for now I’m going to enjoy the quirky Palmer.

“Don’t ask me to say I don’t love you.” This was one of the many moments where Olicity fans died from “feels.” Oliver and Felicity had so much going on it was insane, in a good way. Amell and Rickards nailed the lighter funnier moments like when they were at the board meeting at Queen Consolidated or when Oliver was asking Felicity out to dinner and then they nailed it again in the emotional scenes.

Much of the episode was focused on Oliver finally letting himself be happy as being both The Arrow and Oliver Queen. Sure, it didn’t last long but I think he smiled more in this episode than he has in the entire series to date. Seeing that glimpse into what could be is what made his decision to not be with Felicity sting even more.

After killing off Seth Gabel’s Count, the series brought on another Count that took a form quite similar to Scarecrow from Batman Begins. The drug was modified to make the user see their deepest fear. From this plot device Oliver took a hard look at himself and saw that he was his own worst fear.

The thing that bothered me most and kept nagging at me was how do they have money to still clean up the streets. I mean it was even addressed that Oliver didn’t have enough money to afford a necklace, so how could he possibly afford to fix the Foundry and to even outfit new team member Roy.

Daddy Diggle had some good material in this episode. He wants to be with the team and participate like always but Oliver sidelines him. In the end the bromance between Oliver and Diggle won out.

A quick note that during the boxing ring scene there was a reference to “Wildcat” which would be a reference to Ted “Wildcat” Grant and a rather large sign that had Ferris Air on it. Now this is the second show in the same universe, The Flash being the other, with a reference to Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. Could Hal Jordan’s cameo be in the distant horizon?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


  1. MelanieOctober 10th, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Great review. Definitely one of my favourite episodes of the whole show and one of the best season openers this autumn apart from Castle, The Flash and Forever.
    I’ve to admit a I was quite shocked about Sara in the first moment but don’t like her so it’s not such a Drama (I would prefer if “Tommy” could come back but that’s a dream). And to come to “Palmer”…. I couldn’t help myself and thought the most of the times whe he had a scene… “come on… leave, Shaw!” lol
    I’m looking forward to the nex episode.

  2. RonnieOctober 11th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    “Don’t ask me to say I don’t love you.”

    Sure it is only season 3 and he is going to end up with Laurel (stupid cannon) in the end but DAMN YOU. How dare you get my Olicity loving heart all a flutter only to rip it out of my chest leaving me mumbling to myself. “Om Namha Shivaye”

  3. Joel RolstonOctober 13th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    This may be one of the best and fairest written reviews for an episode of Arrow I have ever read. Not too critical; highly favorable; keeps an objective opinion where necessary; and notes the easter eggs. Wonderful job, Ashley!

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