Of course, all that can't last. One big issue Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) faces is dealing with the aftermath that not only put his family in ruins, but also Queen Consolidated. While he spends his nights fighting crime, Oliver is also attempting to buy back his company, but he finds himself out-maneuvered in the board room by genius millionaire, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh, Superman Returns) who acquires the company and renames it.
While Oliver does spend some time recouping from this emotional blow, he also sees it as a way to spend more time in the green hood fighting crime. Alongside The Arrow include Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) as the red-hooded Arsenal and John Diggle (David Ramsey), with of course, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) keeping an eye on everyone at the computers. Before the first episode is up, not only does Oliver lose his family's company, but Sarah Lance/Canary (Caity Lotz) returns to Starling City, and is brutally killed by an unknown assailant.
The investigation into Sarah's death is what kicks the season off, and it even sends a few characters off in new directions. Not only does it spark the vengeful lust of her lover, Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law), but it also starts pushing Laurel (Katie Cassidy) into a path of replacing her sister and becoming the next Canary. To add even more wrinkles in Oliver's life, Thea (Willa Holland) returns to the city after secretly training under her father, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) for several months. On the surface, she looks to be the same Thea, just a bit more grown up, but the viewer quickly sees just how strong and independent she has become.
As Nyssa's investigation into Sarah's death grows more intense, Team Arrow finally learns who the killer is, and Oliver decides that he has to protect the person with his own life. He confronts Nysaa, claiming to be the killer, and in response, she tells Oliver that the only way to expunge himself is to face her father, Ra's al Ghul (Matthew Nable), in a fight to the death.
As with past seasons, Arrow: The Complete Third Season's main plot is interwoven with flashbacks to Oliver's time away from his family. Last season ended Oliver's second year with him waking up in Hong Kong under the control of Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), the head of the A.R.G.U.S. Agency. Here, he is put in the care of agent Maseo Yamashiro (Karl Yune) and his wife Tatsu (Rila Fukushima) where they teach Oliver all he needs to know in order to be a good A.R.G.U.S. operative, even if he doesn't want the knowledge or job. In the past, the flashback story has been closely tied to the events of the current plot, but a lot of this season's flashback didn't seem to fit with the current events. That being said, the longer the season goes, the more the connections between the two stories become apparent until the season's big finale.
Season Three also introduced a new element to Arrow, crossovers. Last season introduced Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, and ended his guest appearance with a lightning strike that DC followers knew would result in the CSI agent becoming The Flash. Well, paralleling this show's third season was The Flash: The Complete First Season, and the two series crossed over several times throughout the season. As with the case for most shows that delve into crossovers, order tends to matter if you want the full picture since there are times when Arrow will reference an event that just occurred in The Flash's crossover event since The Flash typically aired the night before this series.
Arrow: The Complete Third Season has several featurettes in its Blu-ray release. One is an in-depth look into the creation of Ra's al Ghul's Nanda Parbat setting. This lengthy special talks about the mountain-side entrance, the cliff Oliver must climb and the inner circle where Ra's holds his court. Another special feature is about the design that went into this season's superhero costumes. Everything from Roy's Arsenal suit, to the new Canary and Arrow outfits that Laurel and Oliver don is covered here. The last big featurette is all about adding Ray Palmer to the show's list of characters and how to make his comic book superpowers make sense in the Arrow series where superpowers aren't really relied upon all that much. Rounding out the special features are deleted scenes, audio commentaries, a gag reel and the 2014 Comic-Con panel.
Overall, I really enjoyed this season of Arrow, but I have to say that I still rank the first two seasons higher than this one. While the flashbacks give us more insight into Oliver's growing skillset, I feel like the first two seasons were far more cohesive in telling a bigger picture than either story did on their own. That all being said, any fan of the show should definitely watch Arrow: The Complete Third Season. All of the main characters change a lot throughout the season, and it will be interesting to see what the next installment has to offer.