With a major portion of the city destroyed because of last season's dastardly plan, Oliver (Stephen Amell), has left and gone back to his island in order to get some perspective. It isn't until Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) find him and drag him back that he realizes just how bad things in the city have gotten. For one, after confessing to being a part of the scheme, Oliver's mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson) is in prison. Meanwhile, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) has taken over Oliver's nightclub, but has a serious problem with her boyfriend, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) who spends his night attempting to fight crime like The Hood inspired him to do.
While all of that end up being important plot points, one main reason Oliver needs to return is to take over Queen Consolidated, and before a hostile takeover is fully executed by young businesswoman Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau). It takes some fast work on Oliver's part to secure enough shares to maintain a partnership with Rochev, but now Oliver has to take on the role of CEO - someone that has a bit more of a public face than what he had before.
Throughout the season, Oliver will make a conscious effort to change the way he fights crime. With Tommy's death in the final scenes of last season, Oliver realized that he can not be the killer he was. While his time on the island made him capable of taking a life when he felt it was right, he now believes that killing must be a last resort. Unfortunately, Oliver finds himself in many situations where killing is the quickest way to resolve the threats against his city and family.
One threat that is building this season is that of a masked man who seems to be preying on the downtrodden people who still inhabit The Glades. When Roy starts to investigate the apparent overdose of one of his friends, he learns of the new threat. With Roy's help, The Arrow starts to investigate the new threat, and also learns of another vigilante roaming the streets. Those familiar with the Green Arrow comics will quickly recognize Black Canary (called only Canary in the show), but anyone who thinks they know the character's backstory is going to be caught a little off guard when her identity is revealed.
After the standard fight that happens whenever two heroes meet for the first time, Arrow and Canary quickly form a unique team, one that starts to make Felicity a little jealous. While the show does seem to put Diggle and Felicity on the back burners for a bit, it doesn't stay that way for long.
Meanwhile, Oliver has a few problems to deal with. For one, as his mother's trial gets closer, it becomes clear that she is holding back even more secrets. For another, a young Alderman, Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro, True Blood, Southland) is calling the Queen family out for the amount of damage and torment they've caused the city. With Blood's bid for Mayor, Oliver tries his hardest to show the city that he can be relied upon, but of course, there are times when his night job trumps various appearances he needs to make. Each fund raiser, board meeting or press event missed just makes it look like he really doesn't care about Starling City or Queen Consolidated.
One of the aspects of Arrow that makes this a well crafted show is its ability to weave the current story in with flashbacks to Oliver's time on the island. Oliver's second year on the island proves to be much more perilous than the last. While he, Shado (Celina Jade) and Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) survived their attack on the paramilitary force that had taken over the island before, they don't have much time to take a break when they discover a shipping freighter anchored just offshore. As the island-side of Season Two's story unfolds, we learn that the group is led by a Dr. Ivo (Dylan Neal), a man looking for some strange chemical developed by the Japanese during World War II.
Ivo's quest for this chemical has Oliver and company in even more danger than they were before, and it isn't long before they have to make some seriously tough choices, choices that will have repercussions years down the road.
This season also made for a starting off point for the spinoff series, The Flash. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) shows up in Starling City as a CSI helping to determine exactly what happened when some equipment ends up missing at one of Oliver's facilities. He is around for a couple of episodes before returning to his home city and we witness the classic accident that will turn this geeky character into the fastest man alive. Unfortunately for Allen, the accident leaves him in a coma until, presumably, the first episode of his series.
Arrow: The Complete Second Season contains a lot of special features. Scattered throughout the release are deleted scenes and commentaries, but it also contains an amusing gag reel, the 2013 Comic-Con Panel and a full episode-long recap of the first season. To round things off, there are also three different featurettes that talk about everything from the wirework introduced this season to perform some amazing stunts, to the visual effects behind the show (particularly the season's opening sequence) and an interview with the showrunners as they talk about Oliver Queen's journey from vigilante to hero.
Like Season One, Arrow: The Complete Second Season does a masterful job of splicing together the two stories (on-island and off-island) in a way that subtly reveals the whole story as you need to know it. As you learn about Ivo's plans, you start to realize that there are similarities between that chemical and what is happening in The Glades. As you learn who is behind the masked man, you start to realize just what lead to everything that is happening in this season. This carries on right up to the final fight of the season to not only show how those past events carry over to the current ones, but also to see just how far Oliver has come from that time on the island. While the special features are great, the show stands on its own as a must see. Well written, well acted and planned out with an expert eye. If Season One didn't convince you to start watching this series, then Season Two will.