Previously on Arrow
We’re back, bitches! – uh sorry, wrong CW show. Anyway, Arrow was back for season four this week after a somewhat uneven third season (your mileage may vary), and it delivered a nice return to form. Six months after season three left off, Oliver and Felicity are trying out this newfangled emotion called happiness out in suburbia. Unfortunately for their new lifestyle of sex and omelettes, Starling City is faring even worse than normal (Seriously, why does anyone still live in that hellhole?)
The city is dealing with constant attacks from a group of ‘Ghosts’ commanded by Damian Darhk (I’m going to henceforth refer to him as DD, try not to get confused Marvel fans). The city leadership (which for some reason involves Lance) haven’t been able to find anyone stupid enough to want to be mayor (That job is worse than teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts), and the leadership issue is made worse by DD killing the whole council bar Lance. They really should have arrested him after he walked into their offices and threatened them, but hey, they really aren’t known for their great decision making skills.
Thea and Laurel call in on Oliver and Felicity to bring them back to the gang (Important question, what do you call Team Arrow when the Arrow’s not around?), inadvertently interrupting Oliver attempting to propose with soufflé. It doesn’t take too long to get the happy couple back on board, especially given that Felicity has been secretly helping out the gang all along. Who would expect otherwise from an actual genius and all around great person like Felicity.
They manage to foil DD’s plot to blow up the main train station, but not before discovering that he is ACTUALLY, HONEST TO GOD, MAGIC. LIKE THE REAL DEAL. I was used to dealing with the science-based magic of the metahumans, but I honestly didn’t expect them to get any actual magic in this show (Lazarus Pit notwithstanding.) I guess if I can suspend my disbelief at the fact that Oliver can release a video of himself becoming the Green Arrow without getting recognized, magic should be easy to swallow. That said, THE MASK DOES NOTHING! On the subject of things I have trouble believing, Lance seems to be working with DD. That is a twist I did not see coming.
Now, to that flash-forward. Six months in the future, Oliver is crying over a grave and swearing to kill DD. Given how much the show was trying to imply that Felicity is the one in the grave, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that FELICITY IS CLEARLY NOT DEAD. Breathe easy, Olicity shippers. I would say that the only people less likely to be in that grave are Oliver and Barry, because we literally saw them standing there. If I was a betting woman (which I totally am; let’s start a pool), my money would be on Laurel being the unlucky victim. I hope that isn’t the case, given that she’s just started to get interesting, but that’s what my gut is saying. What does everyone think? Hit me up with your theories. I guess time will tell.
It’s good to see Team “Consistently Underutilised Women”, aka Thea and Laurel, having a little more to do. Hardly any of their decisions were made for them by the men in their lives this episode. Two thumbs up!
Two seconds in and Damian Darhk is already far more interesting than R’as al Ghul ever was last season, although that probably has far more to do with casting than the actual writing of the character.
I would watch a whole show devoted to Oliver and Felicity brunching with their suburban friends. It’s a nice change to see Oliver not only smiling and joking, but actually sharing with other people.
It’s also nice to see that they are actually dealing with the fallout of the whole ‘kidnapping Diggle’s wife’ thing, rather than sweeping it under the rug.
“What should I say, our friends need our help, we should already be in the car!” Felicity once again proves herself to be the true MVP.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the transition to canon Olicity went. The episode managed to feed the shippers without overpowering the rest of the plot, which is a fine balance to strike.
Quote of the Week: “Felicity Smoak, you have failed this omelet.”
What Didn’t Work
Diggle’s new look – not as dumb in action as it looked in pictures, but still kinda dumb. At least he isn’t walking around without a costume anymore.
Waller is pretty great, but I’m honestly pretty done with the whole flashback framing device. The cast has expanded enough that it just feels like we’re wasting time we should spending in the present. And if we must have them, could we just once not have to deal with Oliver in a hideous wig?
Oliver lecturing Thea on restraint. Cue eye roll. Just once I’d like to get through a season without Oliver being a massive hypocrite to one of his teammates.
This was a good start to the season. There’s an interesting new villain, more agency for the ladies, inter team strife that doesn’t feel forced, and an exciting flash-forward to keep us interested. I would rather not have to deal with more flashbacks in Lian Yu, but we got to see Oliver get kicked out of plane, so there are upsides. Olicity did a nice job playing happy, Therel (Laurea? Speednary? – maybe I should just call them Thea and Laurel) did some nice ass kicking, Diggle is always great when he’s mad. Darhk is wonderfully theatrical in his evilness (Any other Buffy fans getting a little bit of a Mayor Wilkins vibe?) To be honest, after the underwhelming casting of Ra’s Al Ghul last season, Darhk doesn’t have to do much to seem comparatively awesome. Bonus points for Oliver’s single tear in the flash-forward. Most importantly, they’ve hit just the right balance between light and dark. Here’s hoping the rest of the season follows through.