Arrow: Season 3
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Arrow: The Complete Third Season (DVD)
Determined to right the wrongs of Starling City and sworn to bring justice to those who have failed it, Oliver Queen (aka The Arrow) — with the help of his iron-fisted right hand, John Diggle, the tech-savvy Felicity Smoak and the newest member of the team, Roy Harper — narrowly defeats the vengeful Slade Wilson, his onetime ally and mentor on the island of Lian Yu. But like all wars, there are casualties. Sacrificing herself for her children, Moira Queen falls at the hand of Deathstroke, sending Oliver’s sister, Thea, into self-imposed exile with her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn. In Season Three, Oliver faces an even greater threat, when another lethal face emerges from his dark and tortured past – Ra’s Al Ghul!]]>
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This season severely benefits from binge-watching, since you'll be less likely to forget plot points and details that you might lose if watching on TV schedule. Another thing that benefits it are repeated viewings, since you will start noticing nuances you wouldn't have seen the first time. In fact, upon my second viewing I realized the attention to detail and subtle foreshadowing for this season is only rivaled by Arrested Development.
Season 3 of the show kicks off with the eponymous character and his team being on the receiving end of the city's favor, but things quickly turn dark once one of their allies is murdered, which kickstarts Oliver's confrontation with one of the most fearless and determined foes from the DC universe: Ra's Al Ghul, and his League of Assassins, whose end goal turns the city against the Arrow. Meanwhile, Oliver's personal life is turned complicated with the arrival of Ray Palmer, who takes posession of his company and is a rival for his love interest. Curiously, though, Palmer also holds a certain interest for costumed justice.
The season's overaching plot is one of the most interesting yet, as Oliver is pitted against a foe who's his superior in physical and mental strength, but also makes him question his resolve and his legacy. This is all wonderfully complemented by the acting, which is great all around. Stephen Amell has played Oliver Queen since the beginning as a man with almost lost humanity, who's become emotionally distant and finds it hard to express his emotions, and, unfortunately, this has translated as people thinking he doesn't have acting chops. On the contrary, every time something so powerful occurs that forces Oliver's emotions to come out, Amell does a fantastic job. Look at the scene where he's convinced he's going to lose the love of his sister forever or the one where he hears his friend has died and he sells those expressions so well you will feel the pain inside you as if it all was happening to you.
While mostly all of the other characters do a good job too, major props should be offered to Matt Nable as Ra's Al Ghul. He might be off-putting at first for fans of the source material, since he really doesn't look much like the character he's playing, but only one episode in and you'll realize he IS Ra's Al Ghul and those doubts will dissipate forever.
All in all, this season does a great job in moving the story forward and evolving the characters. Don't let some bad opinions keep you from it. And if you saw it before and didn't think much of it, give it a second chance. It gets better.
Arrow is a show that keeps getting better, even with a very large ensemble cast (that has to an extent been trimmed down in some respects, but added to as well). This season picks up after the events of season 2 and the battle vs Slade Wilson and the Super Soldiers. Oliver is still reeling over the death of his mother, his sister having run off, and losing his company. There is a major death at the end of the first episode, the ramifications of which carry through the entire season and a couple different showdowns with the League of Assassins and Ra's Al Ghul.
As with prior seasons the show is told partly in current time and partly through flashbacks showing the events of the 5 years Oliver was lost. Where the first two seasons set the flashbacks on the island this year they are mostly in Tokyo, as was teased at the end of season 2, and at various points in the first two seasons when Oliver said and/or hinted that he was not on the island the whole time. The flashbacks also allow for a couple of appearances of Tommy Merlyn during the season.
The main additions to the cast this year included Brandon Routh coming on as Ray Palmer who serves as an obstacle to Oliver in a couple respects, Matt Nable who does a great job as Ra's , and expanded roles for Katrina Law who plays Nyssa.and John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn. It also sees shifting roles for Katie Cassidy and David Ramsey as their characters play a larger role in "Team Arrow". There are also multiple points in the season where characters from The Flash make appearances on the show including a full on cross-over episode, since the two shows share the same "universe."
For those who get the actual discs, the show looks and sounds great as you would expect. Unlike prior seasons if you buy the blu ray you do not have to pay for the DVDs to be included. The season is just on 4 blu ray discs. For extras there are commentary tracks on the season premiere and the mid-season finale episode. Deleted scenes on many, but not all, episodes, and then on the last disc a few behind the scenes and making of features, a gag reel, and part of the comic-con panel. A decent amount of stuff for people who like to go through the extras.
Overall I think the show really has found its footing. The acting and writing are very good, and the show is written well enough and gives all the characters enough to do that it does not get stale by the end of the season. Which is hard to do for series that get 22-23 episode runs. I think in that respect the larger ensemble cast helps. Chances are if you are reading this you know what the show is, and have an idea of how you feel about it. If you are just checking it out, you definitely need to watch the prior seasons first to know what is going on, but if you are a fan of the genre, it is definitely worth checking out.