Review: Arrow Season 3 Episode 1 “The Calm”

What a way to kick off a season.  The Season 3 premiere of Arrow has combined a lot of elements from its run thus far to start us out with quite a bang.

We start out on a remarkably positive note.  Crime is down, Starling is repairing, newly appointed Captain Lance has disbanded the Anti-Vigilante Task Force, and Team Arrow has a new and solid dynamic going on.  Ollie is starting to enjoy being able to be both Oliver and The Arrow, but that’s just the calm before the storm.

A new drug lord has taken over Vertigo distribution (and the title) and is taking down both other crime lords and gunning for Arrow.  Meanwhile, a new and charismatic bidder has come to buy Queen Consolidated in the form of Ray Palmer.  Captain Lance’s health problems are flaring up to keep him out of the field.  And then the end happened.

This premiere was jam-packed before we added the flashbacks.  Now, many are complaining that the flashbacks have no point now, but I have great faith in our Arrow writers’ ability to make the past count.  All that really happened in our flashbacks was set-up, with us seeing how Waller is going to use the Yamashiro family to control Oliver.

Reference and Easter Egg Check:

Mrs. Yamashiro is the eventual superheroine Katana.

The name Wildcat on the back of the outfits at the boxing match is a reference to Ted “Wildcat” Grant, the champion boxer who trains Laurel on her path to becoming the Black Canary.


There’s a lot to love here in the premiere.  Roy suiting up is incredible to finally see (personally a huge fan of the character) and he got to do a lot of great stunts to show how far he’s come.  Diggle’s material was solid as well, as the baby gives us a nice way to explain/control the amount of Diggle being used in future episodes.  Stephen Amell is really owning the role of Oliver more than ever.  Team Arrow has a great setup this season.  Brandon Routh was fantastic as Dr. Palmer.  He’s already been a lot of fun to see and his developing dynamics with other characters will be great to see.  Peter Stormare’s first outing as Vertigo has already topped the previous incarnation.  Great casting and far more menacing a Vertigo than we had previously.  Also we get a quick cameo from Grant Gustin that does an excellent job of placing this in time with the Flash pilot.

It was great to finally get a degree of resolution to “Olicity”.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the pairing, but it was good to see the chemistry get addressed.  It was equally nice to see it get some resolution on both ends, as they almost both ended it.  While it’s clear that this isn’t all for that relationship, at least this will get some of the “will they or won’t they” silenced.  Some of it.

And then there was the ending.  The death of Sara was quite a shock (reminded me of Moira in Season 2).  I was very impressed that the writers managed to twist something everyone saw coming in a way that no one predicted.  The aftershocks of this, both on Team Arrow and some outsiders, are most certainly going to set the ball rolling for the whole season.


Some people will be bothered by the fear enhancement to Vertigo.  As a drug that already induces confusion it’s not a far jump to add that.  Personally, I wish there was a different way to introduce the fear element into Ollie’s struggles this season.  We could have used a bit more flashback time, especially with the Yamashiro family.

A few things seemed a little odd in the realism department.  One would be how fast Felicity recovered from the RPG, and the second would be the lack of any sort of security as Roy took down the bomb.

Two dialogue moments were awkward.  The first was some of the thugs’ dialogue with Vertigo near the beginning.  This was a bit clunky, but nothing too jarring.  The second was a moment in the flashbacks where the dialogue editing was off and Ollie repeats a line.  And my bringing that up should be a sign of how much I had to dig to find things I had issue with in this episode.

The Verdict

Arrow is back folks.  And quite frankly, it is better than ever.  We’ve kicked off with quite a bang and the ride is sure to get better from here.




Did you guys catch any other Easter Eggs?  And what did you think of the twist?  Share your findings and murderer theories in the comments!