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March 31, 2014  admin No comments Arrow

Last fall on Arrow, Grant Gustin was introduced as Barry Allen, the boy who would become The Flash. Now, you’ll meet several new faces from the CW spinoff before the season is over.

Episode 19 of Arrow, titled “The Man Under the Hood,” is penned by the trio behind The Flash — Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg — and will introduce two characters from the spinoff: S.T.A.R. Labs’ bioengineering expert Caitlin, played by Danielle Panabaker, and mechanical engineering genius Cisco, played by Carlos Valdes.

“This was something that really came about because obviously Barry is in a coma at the end of episode nine [of Arrow]. That pretty much made it impossible for Barry to appear in episode 19, 20 — pick an episode of Arrow — because he’s got to stay in a coma until October of next year,” Guggenheim explained.

The idea for a Flash crossover (of sorts) was borne out of a writers’ room pitch, wherein it was suggested that members of the S.T.A.R. Labs crew come into the Arrow-verse around the time the backdoor pilot was originally slated.

“Even though the circumstances of that pitch changed, the idea of bringing in those characters really, really appealed to us because it allowed us to honor our original intention that we had at the beginning of the year, which was to do something Flash-related around episode 19 or 20 without of course having comatose Barry and basically paying Grant Gustin a lot of money to sit around with his eyes closed unconscious the whole episode,” Guggenheim said, adding that that original idea was written. The problem was “It’s really boring.”

If anything, seeing Caitlin and Cisco operating on Arrow opens things up for the producers — and keeps the public’s interest level high. “It allows us to further flush out The Flash universe in Arrow,” Guggenheim said of the hour, likely airing in April. “We get to see their dynamic.”

Interestingly, Panabaker and Valdes filmed their episodes concurrently with The Flash and Arrow; Guggenheim maintained that the scheduling coincidence wasn’t why they did it. “In fact, that was an added producing/logistical complication. It’s just so much fun to see these characters before you — it’s like previewing Boba Fett in the holiday special.”

December 10, 2013  admin No comments Arrow

A- Arrow Season 2

In “Identity,” the second episode of the excellent second season of Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is chasing his frequent adversary, gang leader China White (Kelly Hu). Having recently declared a “no kill” edict for himself in honor of his slain best friend, the Arrow chooses to incapacitate his foe rather than go for a kill shot, eliciting Hu to snidely declare that despite his new philosophical aversion to murder, he’ll still never be seen as anything but a criminal to the very people he’s trying to protect.

The Arrow’s response—that as long as his city is safe, it doesn’t matter what its denizens think of him—is significant, because it puts a perfect capper on the show’s journey up until that moment, while also offering an exciting jumping-off point for what’s to come. Although Amell had been donning the hood and chasing bad guys for more than a season, it was in this moment that a superhero was born and that Arrow officially established itself as one of the most satisfying shows on television. The most satisfying thing of all is that it did so by respecting its characters.

A superhero show on The CW is inevitably forced to face an uphill battle with public perception, especially from the very comics fans that most want it to be successful. Will the leads be too pretty? Will the stories be too soapy? Will the character’s rich mythology be ignored? Arrow smartly deals with these concerns by using them to the show’s advantage, respecting the character’s comic-book roots in its overarching plotlines, all while using the network-appropriate soap-opera stories to do the heavy character lifting. This was best exemplified by last season’s love triangle between Oliver and longtime friends Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Tommy (Colin Donnell), an arc that started as bland nonsense, but slowly and effectively evolved into something much deeper for all three parties. It did this by essentially making Amell the bad guy and betrayer—not because he stole his best friend’s girl, but because he kept his secret identity hidden, a secret identity that Donnell could not bring himself to even comprehend, let alone accept.

At its heart this is basic superhero stuff, but what Arrow always recognizes is how to take these tropes and use them to resonate beyond their traditionally narrow scope. When Tommy dies while trying to save Laurel from an earthquake machine that’s threatening to destroy a whole neighborhood (an earthquake machine placed there by his supervillain father—this is a comic-book show after all), it informs everything about Oliver and Laurel in season two. Arrow uses ripple effects such as these to create a world where every action builds upon itself, every personal choice has consequences, and the past is just as important as the future.
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