Meanwhile, former Superman, Brandon Routh, did a great job in the role of Ray Palmer, and was a humorous mix of Clark Kent and Superman. He was goofy and a bit too into his flashy powerpoint presentation, but he’s got the charm to make up for it. I’m incredibly excited to see how his role progresses throughout the season, especially if we begin to learn more about Palmer’s own alter-ego, The Atom.
Routh may not suit up on the series for a while, but I found his more public approach at saving Starling a nice contrast to the nighttime activities Oliver is resorting to. In a way, it’s a mirror of the Harvey Dent/Bruce Wayne dynamic, especially as seen in The Dark Knight. Perhaps Oliver has a thing to learn from Palmer about being both a hero and an actual human being?
Speaking of Oliver, I was honestly never that interested in an Oliver/Felicity relationship, as it always felt forced to me, but I commend the writers for finally getting me on board. Which is ironic, considering that Oliver ends the relationship before it really begins, but I suspect that that won’t be the end of “Olicity.” This is the CW, after all. The show may stray from run-of-the-mill melodrama and romantic pining as often as it can, but you’ve got to hit that teen demographic somehow, right?
Other side characters were given their due this week as well, as Lance survived the Deathstroke attack last year and is now the new SCPD Captain. It’s a role that will take some getting used to for him, as he’s more of a field guy and not someone content with sitting behind a desk, but I like that his story runs parallel with Oliver’s. The two are really grappling with how to have personal and heroic lives at the same time, and at least Oliver has the benefit of hiding behind a mask.
We were also introduced to Peter Stormare’s Werner Zytle, the new Count Vertigo, who is already leaps and bounds ahead of his predecessor. I was never a fan of Seth Gabel’s over-the-top and hammy performance as The Count, and am glad that the writers found a way to reintroduce the classic Green Arrow villain and make him more menacing. Stormare became a threat the second he appeared on screen, and showed throughout the episode that Oliver will have to try his hardest to keep him down.
Even Laurel was given a bit more to do this time around, and was only half as intolerable as before. I like that she and Oliver have an arrangement where the Arrow catches the bad guys for Laurel to put away (“You catch ’em, I cook ’em!”). Her role is about to expand significantly now that Sara is dead. We know that Ted Grant, a.k.a. Wildcat will appear this year and begin to train her, and I predict that the appearance of a new Canary is not too far off.