Arrow returned for its fourth season and its premiere episode set up what is sure to be Oliver’s year-long battle against his own dark impulses.
A five month break of world travel, suburban brunches and shagging Felicity has given Ollie a fresh perspective on life. There’s no need to be dark and broody all the time when there are recipes to be exchanged, questions to be popped and hot blondes to play house with.
Back at Team Arrow HQ, there’ve also been some changes. Thea has found shirts that cover her navel, Lawwrel has ditched that God-awful platinum wig and Diggle has taken up Boba Fett cosplay.
What hasn’t changed is that Star City is cesspool of a city that megalomaniacal criminal types want to take over, and the Ollie-less Team Arrow is in way over their heads. Despite some initial protests from both sides, Ollie and Felicity return to their life of adventure, this time fending off
Dum Dum Dugan Damien Dahrk and his HIVE of fanatical henchmen.
Ollie takes a page out of The Flash’s handbook and realizes he can fight for justice and whatnot without being so gloomy all the time. So he finally dons a new suit, calls himself Green Arrow and promises the beleaguered citizens of Star City that he will be the symbol of hope that the Arrow never was.
Up until the last scenes, this season setup felt like Arrow was making a shift back toward the familiar. This season’s flashback is taking place on The Island. No longer caught in a love triangle that drains her IQ, Felicity is free to be the competent, confident lighthearted character fans fell for. Ollie is embracing the family aspects of being part of the team, rather than pushing everyone away, which made Season 3 such a drag to watch.
Then the curveballs came. First, we discover that Capt. Lance is aiding Dahrk’s plan to take control of the city. Second, we flash forward six months for another all-too-familiar scene for Arrow fans: Ollie standing over the grave of someone he cares about (so much for not being gloomy).
While the visual hint right before the cut to the cemetery scene (and Ollie’s history with women) makes you think it’s Felicity who has a date with the Reaper, in reality all the primary players are candidates.
Thea has turned from a booze and pills junkie into an adrenaline junkie. Lance is working with the bad guy. Diggle has a young family and is feuding with Ollie (making some heroic sacrifice all the more impactful). Laurel is still terrible at being a vigilante and is likely to be killed by a trainee HIVE henchman.
In all, the episode was a decent setup for the story ahead and managed to negate some of last year’s frustrations thanks to a slight shift in tone and a quickie cliffhanger.
Craig Wack wonders how Emily Bett Rickards can wear such tight clothes and still breathe. Please follow his Twitter.