What to Expect From ‘Arrow’ Tonight

Setting the bar high isn't typical for Hollywood. So when Arrow co-creator Marc Guggenheim said in a preview (below) that tonight's show is the "the biggest episode we've ever done on the show to date," you know he has reason to be confident.

"The Promise" puts in motion the events that lead to an epic season 2 finale for Arrow. Source: The CW.

And why not? Arrow isn't typical Hollywood fare. The CW's foundational superhero epic has won a niche but growing audience while spawning at least one spinoff in The Flash, another superhero from Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) DC Comics line. (Arrow is based on the DC character, "Green Arrow.") A show about the all-villain team known as "The Suicide Squad" also strikes me as a possibility.

"The Suicide Squad" features the villains Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White), Shrapnel (Sean Maher), Deadshot (Michael Rowe), led by Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson), John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW.

Such introductions have become part of Arrow's signature. Yet tonight's episode, a flashback set on the island, isn't so much about new characters as old scores as Oliver (Stephen Amell), Slade (Manu Bennett), and Sara (Caity Lotz) prepare to take the freighter that could ferry them back to civilization. The ensuing battle, and the complications they unleash, should accelerate events as the season 2 finale draws near.

What Arrow needs to hit the mark tonight
Will the episode's outsized scope pay off as Guggenheim expects? That depends on your definition of success. Going by viewership, the pilot still ranks tops with 4.14 million viewers. Season 2's most-watched episode is "The Scientist," which introduces Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, who goes on to become The Flash.

I'll be surprised if "The Promise" delivers similar numbers for The CW, if only because the last episode, "Time of Death," brought in just 2.45 million viewers while introducing viewers to The Clock King. Yet it may not matter; Arrow already has its core audience.

What's changing -- and what I think Guggenheim is referring to -- is the show's scope. Production quality is rising. Heroes are becoming more heroic, villains more dastardly, and plots more twisted. In short: Arrow is growing, and with it, the entire DC Comics TV universe. That's a win for Time Warner investors no matter what the numbers look when the "Live+3" ratings make the rounds next week.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect to see in Arrow tonight? Have you been following the show? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think about Arrow, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Time Warner stock at current prices.

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