TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Episode 1 "Green Arrow"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 1: "Green Arrow"
Synopsis: Oliver and Felicity's blissful getaway is cut short when Thea and Laurelpay them a visit and tell Oliver they need his help back in Star City. The city has been attacked by "Ghosts", assassins led by a dangerous man named Damien Darhk. However, when Oliver returns, Diggle makes it very clear that he doesn’t want Oliver on the team
Review: The third season of Arrow was a disappointment compared to the action-packed first two, but if this premiere is any indication, the fourth season of the series is back on track thanks to a partial reboot. Set six months after the last season finale, Oliver is living in suburbia with Felicity and is on the brink of popping the question. Laurel, Diggle, and Thea are teamed up and defending Star City in the wake of Ray Palmer's death and dealing with a crew of mercenaries they have dubbed Ghosts. These Ghosts are prone to killing themselves with cyanide capsules while stealing heavier weaponry from Kord Industries trucks, a nice nod to Ted Kord aka Blue Beetle. Feeling over their heads, the trio call Oliver back to his hometown.
But not all is well in Star City as Diggle still feels animosity towards Oliver for kidnapping his wife and child during his stint with R'as Al Ghul last season. But, with the carefully plotted assassination of the city council acting in the stead of a Mayor of Star City, we soon meet the man orchestrating the Ghosts. Neal McDonough embodies Damien Darhk with the smarminess of Malcolm Merlyn and the mystical powers of R'as Al Ghul. Something that has been sorely lacking the last couple of seasons on Arrow has been a worthy big bad guy but Darhk seems to fit the bill.
Like the opening of last season, Oliver Queen has a quandary as to whether he can be happy or not. But, unlike last season, he has decided to try and embrace being a hero to try and save Star City. The question is whether or not he can do it without the darkness he feels is inside him. Which brings us to the other improvement from last season: the flashbacks. Last year gave us a forced excursion for Oliver in Hong Kong that served no purpose but to explain his friend and eventual compatriot in the battle against R'as Al Ghul. Last season left Oliver heading to Coast City which is only a brief pitstop this season complete with a blink and you'll miss it cameo from future Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. Instead, Amanda Waller decides she needs Oliver skills back on Lian Yu and sends him back to his island prison. The reason why remains a mystery.
Back at home, Oliver and company have multiple issues brewing thanks to the plots of Damien Darhk, including this episode's plot to blow up a high speed train from Central City. The team unites, including Oliver in his new uniform designed by Cisco, to foil the plot but not before showcasing Darhk stopping arrows midair and draining the life from people with a simple touch. Darhk's powers seem to be more than even R'as Al Ghul had up his sleeve and that will most definitely come back to affect the Lazarus Pit-resurrected Thea who shows some issues with anger and violence this episode. Diggle still has not fully come to embrace the returned Oliver and last season's reference to H.I.V.E. comes back in connection with Darhk.
But, this premiere gives us two major plot twists that will come into play for this season and are some of the best decisions the showrunners have made in a long time. First, we learn after Oliver rechristens himself the Green Arrow that Darhk has aligned himself with Captain Lance. Lance seems to be working for the villain reluctantly, but the straight shooting cop has always been the bastion of good in Star City. Giving him a secret to keep from Laurel and everyone else in his life should definitely make for some interesting drama. The other twist comes in the form of a closing scene set six months after this episode. Oliver is met at a fresh grave site by Barry Allen. Oliver is teary and says that he is not at fault for the person's death but he vows to kill whoever did it. The identity of the deceased person remains unknown.
Arrow is definitely back strong this season. While not deviating far from the formula that has made the show work so well, the showrunners have still found a way to reboot everything that didn't work last year without forcing the series from becoming something that it is not. The crossover elements between Arrow and The Flash felt even less forced in this episode which owes to the growing cohesiveness of the DC small screen universe. I am still not sure how the new and improved Green Arrow will differ from who Oliver Queen has been the last three years, but I am bought in to find out what Damien Darhk's master plan is, what is going to happen to Thea, why Oliver is back on Lian Yu, and just whose grave that is in the final scene.
Next on ARROW: "The Candidate" airs October 14th: When an old family friend, Jessica Danforth, tells Oliver and Thea that she is going to run for mayor, both Queens are concerned considering the last three mayors have been murdered. Despite their protests, Jessica makes her announcement so the Green Arrow and Speedy vow to protect her. Meanwhile, Thea begins to exhibit effects from the Lazarus Pit. In addition, Felicity is faced with a tough business decision and looks to one of her employees, Curtis Holt, for help.