Arrow has been the jewel in the crown for The CW for the past three years. The show has reinvented the superhero genre for the small screen and it’s found the right balance between comic book and dark drama. The story picks up after Slade’s (Manu Bennett) attack on Starling City and the Arrow is now embraced by the city as a hero rather than a vigilante. The beginning of the season deals a shocking blow with the death of a very popular character, which acts as the catalyst for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and the team coming face-to-face with Ra’s al Ghul (Matthew Nable).
Arrow: The Complete Third Season is a season of big changes for Oliver and Team Arrow. Not only do they have to contend with the death of one of their own, they also have to deal with some big changes on the team. Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is no longer happy to stay in the background, Thea (Willa Holland) has been trained up by Malcolm (John Barrowman) and the team has to come together when Oliver makes a huge decision that leaves them without their hero.
The third season of Arrow came in for some criticism during its run, mostly to do with the flashback narrative for the season and the lukewarm reception to Ra’s al Ghul. Whilst it’s true that the flashbacks to Hong Kong didn’t always work or feel necessary, we would disagree when it comes to Ra’s. We thought he was a formidable enemy and his character introduced a mystical twist to the show that has previously stayed grounded in the real world.
A host of new characters arrive over the course of the season including Ray Palmer aka The Atom (Brandon Routh), who becomes a love interest for Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Ted Grant aka Wildcat (J.R. Ramirez) who helps train up Laurel so she can hold her own as part of Team Arrow. There are also a number of familiar characters that guest throughout the season and of course Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) pops up for a few crossover episodes.
Stephen Amell continues to be the star of the show with his nuanced performance as the tortured Oliver Queen. He’s ably supported by the excellent David Ramsey as Diggle, the energetic Colton Haynes as Roy Harper and Emily Bett Rickards as on/off love interest and tech wizard Felicity Smoak. It’s nice to see Katie Cassidy finally getting something meatier to do with her character Laurel too and the way she is integrated into Team Arrow, whilst divisive, is actually very clever.
Extras on the release include behind-the-scenes featurettes, a gag reel, deleted scenes and two audio commentaries. There’s also a featurette on Arrow at the 2014 Comic-Con as well as a featurette dedicated to Ray Palmer aka The Atom.
Arrow: The Complete Third Season is a bit of a game-changer for the show and it puts it on a very different course from where it’s gone before. There are plenty of shocks and twists over the season and we can guarantee a few tears will be shed too with the departure of some well-loved characters. Arrow season 4 is looking like a brand new proposition and we can’t wait to see how the story continues when it returns in the coming months.