Season 4 of Arrow has premiered, and it wastes no time getting Oliver and Felicity back into Star City, and even less time showing that our new villain will be one to force The Arrow and Company to think about their fight from a whole new perspective.
The last time we had Arrow in our weekly lives, Oliver had defeated Ra’s Al Ghul and had his sister Thea reborn in the Lazarus Pit, and captured the wife and son of his best mate Diggle to appease his seeming turn to the League of Shadows. From then on, he has been quite happy, actually! In his time under the wing of Ra’s Al Ghul, Oliver is told of a man named Damien Darhk, who “continues the League’s ways through his own organization filled with a HIVE of agents.” Oliver will come to know that Ra’s was being quite literal in this foreshadowing of our season’s villain.
The episode opens with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) living in the middle of a suburban neighborhood with way too much color and trivial conversation about cooking and engagements that the show is almost unrecognizable. While I wasn’t able to get past a laughing fit at Oliver’s quip “You have failed this omelette” for (I kid you not) 10 minutes, I resumed the episode to find that their new lives served as an effective contrast to the current status of Star City, which, despite having more active heroes than before, is in pretty dire times. It’s here we see Diggle’s (David Ramsey) new helmet in action, Thea (Willa Holland) donning the red hood as Speedy, and Laurel’s Black Canary (Katie Cassidy) kicking more ass than I ever thought possible when we first met her. With the team now in a minimalist lair with even less resources and intel, it’s suggested that Oliver and Felicity are requested back into the city, with Thea and Laurel convinced they’re in over their heads.
Diggle on the other hand, is noticeably different in his place on the team. Where we once loved Diggle as the voice of reason to ground our main cast, here we see him holding a grudge against Oliver for his actions while infiltrating the League of Shadows, partly because Oliver didn’t trust him, but more so that he put Lyla and his child in danger. While Diggle is having a hard time forgiving Oliver for those actions, everyone else, most importantly his wife, have moved on. I don’t mind Diggle having a grudge for the sake of growing his character, but this could become one note very quickly, so here’s to hoping something comes along to change his mind.
Thea, on the other hand, is an interesting case. In this week’s action sequences she proves to be good in a fight, but also displays an unsettling amount of aggression with her fists, and when Oliver questions her about it, she gets pretty defensive. When the concern is brought to Diggle, we’re reminded that Oliver was kind of a murderer when he first started wearing the hood, which is a valid comparison, but I have to wonder if something happened to her when she came out of the Lazarus Pit and was saved from death last spring.
The show is wasting no time revealing the villain to us this season either, with Neal McDonough starring as the jovial and morbid Damien Darhk. Darhk not only deals in the mystical arts in a much more aggressive way than Oliver has ever faced, but is also utilizing his organization HIVE and “ways of the League of Shadows” to tear Star City and its leadership apart from the inside, but this corruption is depicted in a way that appears like a cross between the actions of Batman’s Joker and Daredevil’s Kingpin. Between all this, I find Darhk will definitely be a formidable villain for the Green Arrow in the months to come, and will force Oliver to think about how he acts as a vigilante from an upside-down perspective.
Oliver and Felicity’s plot line for the episode mostly keeps coming back to how neither of them can stay away from their need to protect the city: whether it be for their friends, for their morals, or for an adrenaline rush of heroism. Beyond this, Oliver has a moment of questioning himself and his identity, and why he wanted to get away from being “The Arrow” in the first place. Oliver felt that, in order to fight the darkness in his city, he had to be darkness himself. I’m sure Batman would find that adorable, but the moment is a turning point for both our lead character and the tone of the series, and with a new costume tailored by our favorite Central City science bro (Cisco), Oliver makes a broadcasted statement to the city, declaring himself the “Green Arrow.” Now, all we need is a goatee. But, that’ll never happen.
And just when you think their relationship is one that could probably last forever, we’re left with a dangling question to be popped… no no, not the whole marriage proposal. I don’t care about that… The episode concludes by showing Oliver at a gravestone six months later, with our always dependable friend, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) at his side. We don’t see whose grave it is, and I’m sure there will be severe “How I Met Your Mother” degrees of anxiety, build up and misdirection as to what the reveal will be. So, we also have that to look forward to.
–> FLASHBACK NOTES <–
→) Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) comes across Oliver in the beginning of his “You have failed this city” questing.
→) She takes him out for a drink to talk about his unusual new hobby, and psychoanalyzes him for us that he feels he’s become a monster, and he can’t return home until he’s changed, but, as the episode follows through with the theme, nothing, and no one “can change who you are in your bones.”
→) Waller drugs his scotch, and sends him on a mission packaged with a free HALO Jump… guess where he’s going back to? You guessed it, Lian Yu — oh good, he gets knocked down the second he lands.
Arrow 4×01 “Green Arrow” (7.5/10)
Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl? Check out Ally’s review of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!
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