Arrow S4x01 “Green Arrow”
It’s difficult to determine how much I was looking forward to the premiere of Arrow’s fourth season. On one hand, Season 2 was excellent, and at its height, surpassed most other shows on television. It would probably be my favourite of the comic book shows that I’ve seen so far, including amongst the excellent ones like Daredevil and iZombie that we’ve had since. However, along came Season 3 and things went dramatically downhill very quickly after a few false starts, where I was hopeful that things would be looking up only to be proved wrong in the next episode. Highlights became few and far between, and even the most troubled comic book show of the lot, Gotham, still at times surpassed Arrow’s third season. So is it too early to decide whether or not Arrow has turned everything around and gotten back on track? I’m going to say yes. After all, Season 3’s opener, Sara, was a pretty strong one, and we all know what happened next.
Retooled, refurbished and rebooted, Green Arrow is not without its problems, but it’s a pretty solid premiere that sees Oliver, after four seasons, finally adopt the comic book name of his character. It’s been a long hard journey for him, but now things are looking up. He’s in a relationship with Felicity and has said goodbye to Starling City, renamed Star City in the wake of Ray Palmer’s death, and has left his friends to do the work that he’s started: continue to protect the city. Laurel has improved in leaps and bounds as Black Canary, and Thea is transforming into Speedy, replacing Roy Harper, who departed last season when he had to fake his death. Diggle has adopted a new costume even if he bears some resentment for Oliver, understandably, when he, working for the League of Shadows, threatened his family. The two have got a lot of things to work out between them, as was shown, when they were reunited in the premiere to tackle a new group of villains called Ghosts, led by the sinister Damien Darhk. Despite the silly name, Darhk is actually a formidable and interesting antagonist for the season and it’s clear that Neal McDonough is having a great time.
One thing that Arrow seems to be having a problem with though (and it’s the same problem that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is having) is that all of Oliver Queen’s problems could be solved the second he phoned Barry. Even the people of Star City seem to be recognising this as well and are flooding out of the city in droves to go to the brighter, more optimistic Central City, even though they have to deal with the occasional black hole. It also means that Star City is struggling to come up with candidates for the Mayoral position, which is no surprise when you consider the role doesn’t have the best life expectancy.
It was good to have the multiple characters back on the show this season. I’m not the greatest fan of Felicity’s character (even if I did like her at first) and her role in Season 3 was reduced to a weepy, and dull love interest for Oliver and Ray to fight over. Hopefully, we should be seeing some more positive development for the character now that that’s out of the way. Laurel has improved as well, even if her father is still treating her like a child and refusing to let her get involved with anything, and doesn’t hold Oliver in the highest regards either, ignoring the fact that he saved the city in the previous season. Remember when Quentin was a likeable character? Hopefully, that’s something that changes over the course of the season because at the moment he’s one of my least favourite.
Another thing that’s worthy of note was Thea’s new direction this season. She seems to be feeling the effects of the Lazarus Pit at last and it’ll be interesting to see how her character changes over the course of the season. She’s one of the most evolved characters on the series, but at the same time, there’s also a sense of “Been There, Done That.” Isn’t her story at the moment more or less the same as it was with Roy? Regardless, we’re only getting started, so there are plenty of new directions for us to go in here.
One of the weakest things about Season 3 was the poorly paced, muddled flashback sequences, but based on Green Arrow, they’ve now turned into something pretty strong. We’re back to the Island, presumably answering the question how Oliver returned it on a mission for ARGUS. It was a solid stage-setter for what should be interesting to see play out over the course of the season. Something else that was pretty good was the more mystical approach for Season 4, which will be more evident during the episode with John Constantine (which I personally, cannot wait for). It’s easily my most anticipated episode of the Season (I’m not 100% sure which one Matt Ryan has been confirmed for; I think it’s four), but one thing’s for sure, is that the show hasn’t stopped connecting to the wider DC universe. There’s even the biggest Green Lantern teaser that we’ve had yet in this episode, as not only did the opener take place in Coast City, but we also got to see Martin Jordan’s jacket at a bar. I don’t know if they’re going to or how they’d work Green Lantern into the show, but this teaser automatically makes the episode better just because of it.
Despite the fact that things were looking lighter for Season 3, we got the hint at darker things to come with the end of episode teaser. A flashfoward wants us to ask the question “Who Died?” without quite showing us who’s going to be killed off yet. How long we’re going to have to wait before we see who meets their fate remains to be seen, but it’s a lingering question that will start getting audiences talking. Who’s the next Arrow character to bite the bullet? My money’s on Felicity at the moment, given hat superheroes don’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping love interests alive. At the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if the death wasn’t permanent, especially when Roy, Ollie and Thea have come back from the dead or have faked their deaths in previous episodes, and that Sara and Ray are going to come back in time for Legends of Tomorrow.
Did you enjoy the premiere of Arrow? Who do you think isn’t going to make it out of Season 4 alive? Let me know in the comments below.
Arrow continues next Wednesday on The CW.