The CW’s Arrow Green Arrow TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 4, Episode 1: Green Arrow saw the green archer return to Starling City, now Star City, to reunite with his team, but is it his team anymore? Last season, the series left us with an endearing frame of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) riding along the coast into the sunset. They left behind a group of newly minted heroes in Laurel aka Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), Thea Queen aka Speedy (Willa Holland) and John Diggle (David Ramsey).
Oliver seems happy in his domestic life in suburbia with Felicity, and genuinely tired of the darkness associated with his alter ego. (The opening sequence was so cheesy it kind of made my eyes hurt, but I hung in there.) The couple seems genuinely in love … and Oliver is ready to pop the question! Meanwhile, Felicity has been helping the team behind Oliver’s back because she is bored with domestic life. So, when Thea and Laurel ask them to pick up and come home, it is jarring for Oliver, but a welcome change to Felicity. Oh, and we must not overlook the fact that Felicity is a “hacktivist”-turned-CEO, making Felicity the millionaire benefactor of this bunch.
Oliver and Diggle’s relationship was left fractured after Oliver kidnapped Diggle’s wife in order to win favor with Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). Diggle was always Oliver’s compass and counterweight. Without their arguments we would have almost no clear justification for Oliver’s actions. I think Diggle’s distrust will last a while and he will make Oliver work hard to regain it. I also think Diggle’s resentment lies in the fact that Oliver demonstrated how much he did not need Diggle to weigh decisions, that Diggle was still susceptible to Oliver’s manipulation. One thing we have learned over the years is that Diggle is no man’s fool. So not only was his trust broken but his pride was damaged. As Lyla Diggle (Audrey Marie Anderson) put it, “if Oliver Queen always made the right choice, he wouldn’t need you.” Diggle will come around.
Holland and Cassidy return as Speedy and Black Canary under the direction of Ramsey’s Diggle, who is sporting some tough looking head gear (reminiscent of Juggernaut anyone?) in an effort to FINALLY conceal his identity in the field. Phew! He was more than reckless with his identity in some street battles in the past. (Though it was always a treat to see him don the green arrow suit.) Speaking of which…
This opening episode is titled “Green Arrow,” and following last year’s finale “My Name is Oliver Queen,” I am excited to see Oliver own the Green Arrow moniker with an upgraded suit which is beefier and mechanized. The first two years of the series were focused on the making of the Arrow and his team, the nuts and bolts of the operation. Last year seemed to be more about an odyssey of a man without true identity. Oliver struggled with his dual identity, as sympathetic Oliver and detached Arrow. Then, Oliver shed both identities to become a third, Al Sah-Him, only to reveal that he had embraced his given name and his humanity as Oliver Queen. Now, Oliver embraces the “Green Arrow” identity in a live broadcast announcing his return to Star City.
I like this dynamic of light and dark that the series is setting up now. Oliver wants to be a new, lighter-hearted hero. At the same time, the flashbacks to his relationship with A.R.G.U.S. led by the oh-so-creepy Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) are preparing us for more glimpses into how dark Oliver really can be. We also witness Oliver’s surprise when he sees Thea’s spark of bloodlust during a fight. Thea’s own darkness may be derived from two sources: her father Malcolm Reynolds, the new Ra’s al Ghul (John Barrowman) and her resurrection from the Lazarus Pit. I think Thea’s new attitude is clearly going to test Oliver’s new values – and my patience – throughout the season. Thea asked him to come back, but quickly shuts him out when he shows brotherly concern. She makes no sense. Thea was always a brat, but I will blame the enhance bratty attitude on the Lazarus Pit.
New villain Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) appears in sinister style at a Star City Council meeting threatening the entire council, which he promptly backs up by systematically assassinating the city’s leaders. With his wild-eyed charm, McDonough’s inclusion into the Arrow cast as the villainous leader of “the Ghosts” that have been terrorizing Star City seems so fitting. I am especially intrigued by his power to kill with one touch. Oliver seemed both surprised and knowledgeable about this “mystical” ability. Hopefully, more flashbacks will concentrate on this. Two very interesting developments arise from Darhk’s appearance: we know that Diggle is hiding something he knows about an organization called “HIVE,” and we know that Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is in a forced alliance with Darhk for some unknown reason.
So, in true Arrow fashion, the opening episode is packed with action, comedy, romance (or cheese), peril, and subplots upon subplots… one must keep up.
The episode ends foreshadowing the demise of a beloved character. We see Oliver Queen standing over a fresh grave six months later with Barry Allen “The Flash” (Grant Gustin). We do not know whose name is on the headstone, but the death evokes teary-eyed threats of vengeance from Oliver Queen. Who will be lost?
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