TV Show Review

TV Review: ARROW: Season 7, Episode 1: Inmate 4587 [The CW]

Stephen Amell Arrow Inmate 4587

Arrow Inmate 4587 Review

The CW‘s Arrow: Season 7, Episode 1: Inmate 4587 sculpted a new Arrow. A thicker build, a thicker beard, and thicker skin, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was not the same man. Inmate 4587 was a different Lian Yu from which Oliver will carry different scars. Oliver was literally stripped of everything and forced to mentally and physically fight for every bit of his solitude. Even the opening Arrow emblem was devoid of its green glow, reflecting the coldness of the prison bars keeping our hero subdued.  With seamless grace, our stars and James Bamford delivered an emotional, physical season opener.

Oliver was naive to think he could serve his sentence peacefully. He was incarcerated with the people he helped incarcerate. Brick (Vinnie Jones) and Tiger (Michael Jai White) were there! It is like a cop in general population with criminals. It simply should not be done because the cop would be killed. The circumstances were mostly the same with Oliver. He could not keep his head down and stay clean. No, by the end, Oliver, Inmate 4587, was a battered and bruised target.

The central issue in this episode was about rising up, and not only the literal images of Oliver rising every morning to the beat of the same prison drum (his daily routine underscored with “Madness” by Ruelle). Everyone was laying low. Rene had his students beating on dilapidated equipment in a broken down gym. Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) were wearing the cloaks of detective and DA.  Felicity embraced her gothic youth to blend in with hipsters in Any City, USA. Oliver, he wore his prison grays like a kryptonite shroud, stripping him of his sympathy, and making him numb.  We know Oliver can be cold at times, but Inmate 4587 was ice. It is hard to describe the hurt I felt when Oliver walked away as that little man, Stanley (Brendan Fletcher), got destroyed.

The message from sage Diggle (David Ramsey) rang clear as a bell: Oliver could either choose to let prison change him or be the man he honed himself to be no matter the circumstances. As he can not control Felicity’s choice to rise up out of hiding and fight back, Oliver made the decision to rise up too.

Inmate 4587 was woven together to show that neither Oliver, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) nor Rene (Rick Gonzalez) could bear a life of passivity. Felicity did not escape the same fate as Oliver, because, despite the pink hair and sunshine, she was essentially in prison too. People say it all the time. Prisoners are not the only ones who serve their time. Their families do time too. We got the image that her days were as monotonous and uneventful as the flat white brew she served her customers.

It was only when she peeked her head out to solve a dysfunction in an app code that she was “discovered” the next day. How awfully convenient that her customer had a code issue that he needed solved. Maybe I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) is a clever man, and Felicity has explained several times that coders have signatures. We know that the same is true of her. Felicity can’t not touch a keyboard if it means she can be helpful. For her, working an espresso machine would be like rubbing sticks to together to make fire. She needs to rise to the occasion, which she certainly did with Diaz.

Felicity’s fight with Diaz was spectacular! That was probably one of the most realistic fights I have ever seen on Arrow. Felicity was a mother desperately fighting an intruder to save her child and herself from certain death. She used anything within reach and did not let up. Untrained and overpowered she still held her own, so it was realistic, which made it fantastic!

All of the action was directed beautifully, and no wonder, given Bamford was at the helm of our Season 7 premiere. Bamford‘s style of sustained, frenetic movement always keeps you engaged, but not dizzy or confused. His attention to how a person’s character dictate’s his or her violent ability is crucial when there are so many fighters in this series.  Juxtaposing Felicity’s fight at home with Oliver’s fight in the prison shower was perfect, and not just as a plot device. They were caught unaware and attacked in the most intimate settings, but this couple is nothing if not resourceful. They used everything around them to survive – Oliver more controlled, while Felicity just straight scrapped. Hopefully, we will have many more episodes from Bamford.

The other story in the episode centered on the appearance of a new Green Arrow in Star City. More like a Robin Hood, but clearly a discerning vigilante, he seems to have won the respect of the Glades, namely Rene, who helped him escape police custody. I do not understand Dinah’s insistence on arresting Rene for helping the new vigilante. She had a point that it would be foolish to risk their immunity by wearing their masks again. On the other hand, Rene made a valid point too. They should not break their covenant with Oliver to continue protecting the city with all of their abilities.

Police officers, while heroic, must play by the rules. Criminals in Star City do not. They are diabolically imaginative from the very first season to the last. Green Arrow, Mad Dog and all the others are the necessary opposing force. Rene is speaking truth. If we must choose a side, I am on his. So are Felicity and Oliver, who, by the end of Inmate 4587, were done hiding. They chose to fight.

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About the author

PopcornMovieMaiden

I am ...a lover of all things film ...a published poet with a law degree from Howard University School of Law ...a D.C. native, who frequents local and international film festivals ...a self-professed couch potato who can usually be caught watching anything produced by Joss and Jed Whedon. My favorite TV shows include the Buffy & Angel Series, Sons of Anarchy, Oz, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Shield. Still, I am open to everything on TV and Netflix, which is doing big things.

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