The previous three seasons of Arrow have had varying degrees of success. Season 1 was a solid start for the show and established the world fairly well. Season 2 kicked things up a notch and was at times quite gripping . And then season 3 came along and was a huge disappointment as it was a step backwards for a show that had been so good.
Will season 4 right the wrongs of the previous season? Based off the first episode – called “The Green Arrow” – it’s tough to say, but it certainly showed some signs of being able to do so.
Last season ended with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Rickards) literally riding off into the sunset and when we’re reintroduced to Olicity in this episode, they’re living a crime fighting-free life away from Starling City in suburban bliss.
Meanwhile, the vigilante antics have been left to the Arrow-less Team Arrow which consists of Laurel’s Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), Thea (Willa Holland) as the new Red Arrow and Diggle (David Ramsey) – who’s sporting a helmet which makes him look like a black version of Magneto from X Men: First Class.
The gang are doing their best to protect Starling City but their efforts seem to be in vain as a mysterious group of highly skilled bandits – named “Ghosts” – are terrorising the city. Unable to cope with the new threat, Laurel and Thea beg Oliver and Felicity to leave their “domestic life of tranquillity and soufflé” to help them fight Starling City’s latest criminal plague.
Of course it was obvious that Oliver wouldn’t stay away from the heroics for too long as he returns with Felicity to deal with the “Ghosts”. It appears Oliver’s reappearance to Starling City six months after his “bad guy” stint from last season will offer up some interesting dynamics with some of the supporting cast. Detective Lance hates his guts more than ever before. Diggle also has a major bone to pick with Ollie as he’s still hurting from his best bud’s apparent betrayal. Little sis Thea seems to be enjoying her new role as a crimefighter too much as she comes close to crossing the line and spurns her brother when he tries to confront her about it. All of these strained relationships plant seeds for some intriguing interactions for Oliver down the line.
After his return, it appears Oliver wants to rid himself of his tormented and brooding ways in order to cap arrows in people assess as an inspiring hero rather than a terrifying vigilante. A slight change to both his alter ego’s name (he’s now the Green Arrow) and costume suggest that he and the show are going towards a new lighter direction.
The episode introduces us to Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), who appears to be the season’s big bad. The charismatic new villain carries a compelling aura which suggests he’ll be a fascinating villain to watch. His unexplained supernatural powers add a new dimension to the show and it’ll be interesting to see how Oliver deals with the new nemesis. However, it did feel a bit strange that he was introduced to us so early and makes me wonder how his evil doing will be preserved throughout 23 episodes. And his city-cleansing motivations seem a bit too similar to Ra’s Al Ghul’s from last season, which at times felt like a rehash of 2005’s Batman Begins, but hey – I’m invested into the character so far.
As always there are the flashback scenes, which seem to be going nowhere interesting until the final one. It might be going down a path which may feel too familiar to some, but personally I look forward to the how the subplot might develop.
Action-wise nothing particularly spectacular happens and it’s all pretty much what you’d expect from the show, although Oliver’s battle with Damien Dahk on a speeding train was quite enjoyable.
While the episode has its strength’s, one glaring weakness was its portrayal of Laurel. She feels like a character who the writers don’t really know how to handle and feels thrown into the story for the sake of it. Hopefully she’s gets better treatment later on in the season.
The episode seems to coast along smoothly as there’s not much that will blow your socks off until the very end which sees a time-jumping conclusion which will have you feverishly waiting for the next episode. And there’s a brief appearance from a very familiar face. Overall, it’s a satisfying episode which showed signs that season 4 could be a welcome return to form for the show, “The Green Arrow” scores a: