Arrow‘s Second Season begins on the island but not as a flashback as Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) head to the middle of nowhere to pull their friend out of his self-imposed exile after the tragedy in the Glades and his failure to save the city and honor his father’s legacy. Oliver reluctantly returns to flagging company in the crosshairs of a corporate takeover by Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau), his mother (Susanna Thompson) in prison awaiting trial, and deadly new band of machine-gun wielding hood-wearing copycats taking up the slack in the missing Green Arrow’s absence including killing the mayor and taking Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and many of the city’s wealthy elite hostage. When that fails to get their point across, the vigilantes decide to target the city’s favorite media darling – Oliver Queen.
Even after an attack on Laurel and another on his life that puts Isabel, Diggle, and Felicity in danger, Oliver still refuses to pick up his bow and fight back. He does, however, put his energies into saving the company calling on both the help of his imprisoned mother and Walter (Colin Salmon), who Thea (Willa Holland) still refuses to visit, and . When the gang hits the club and puts kidnaps Thea, Ollie gets the final push he needs to get back to business, although he does manage to so without his usual impressive body count.
The season premiere also includes flashbacks to the island five months after the death of Fryers and his men when Oliver, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), Shado‘s (Celina Jade) isolation is ended with a group of mercenaries. Although the initial threat on the island was neutralized it looks like we’ve got an entire new season of flashbacks for the stranded threesome this year. The episode also offers more street-level vigilante action by Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) including the young man biting off more than he chew and getting saved by the show’s first appearance of the Black Canary (Caity Lotz) who promises to make Ollie’s world even more complicated.
With Moira behind bars, the introduction of Rochev, Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) busted down to officer (and still on good terms with the vigilante), and Laurel jumping the aisle and determined to help the District Attorney take down the man she holds responsible for Tommy (Colin Donnell) death, the first episode of Season Two certainly shakes thing up among the supporting cast. However, that all comes secondary to the obvious change in Oliver, who has put his father’s notebook and vendetta aside and taken the first step from trying to transform “the Hood” into a hero. As season premieres go “City of Heroes” resets the stage for an exciting new season with a strong and well-crafted episode promising big things for Ollie in the months to come.