UPDATED OCTOBER 9, 2015
This is definitely my favorite time of year. Autumn is in the air, and superheroes are back on my television. PS, you might be disappointed that the byline for this recap doesn’t say “Connie.” I’m going to fill in for her on the Season 4 premiere recap while she holds it down at New York Comic-Con.
So be gentle on me, Olicity shippers!
Speaking of Olicity, Arrow kicks off its fourth season with a bit of a fakeout (though not as jarring as the one from Central City the night before). It may look like Ollie’s running for his life through the jungles of Lian Yu, but really, he’s just doing a morning jog through the woods of his new idyllic post-vigilante life in the ‘burbs with Felicity.
I’ve gone on record as being less than impressed with the romantic pairing of Oliver and Felicity (hence my plea to Olicity shippers to go easy on me a couple paragraphs back). And the scenes in the suburbs this episode are one of the reasons why I think the “happily ever after” that’s implied by their romance is ultimately doomed — or at least detracts from the main thrust of the Arrow’s story. Hell, even Felicity bristles at the idea and also wants to get back to saving Star City because superheroes don’t go on vacation in Bali.
Quick confession: one of the reasons I was slow to warm to this show in the beginning was the fact that the writers decided to eschew some of the details from the comic. Renaming the city to “Starling” was one of those superficial strikes I held against it, so the fact that they’ve rebranded the city to its comic-inspired name makes me very happy. The fact that they did so in the same episode that Ollie dons a new suit and decides to go by “Green Arrow” is even better.
Speaking of Star City, I loved seeing Thea, Laurel, and Diggle working together as a team to stop the bad guys. While the new Team Arrow isn’t as good or effective without their leader, I appreciated the writers for showing that they were at least competent. It was also nice to see a superhero express some joy in their superheroing.
And I know the internet had jokes when Diggle’s costume was first revealed this summer, but I have to admit, it didn’t look that bad in action. There’s definitely some sort of visor covering the opening, which makes it look cooler than a straight up Magnegro ripoff. Still, despite producers’ admissions of the contrary, we’re all still waiting for the moment Diggle finds a green power ring and reveals that his middle name is actually “Stewart” anyway, right?
And since we’re on the topic of more DC heroes for the Arrowverse, how long until we see the CEO behind Kord Industries make an appearance? It was his truck and his weapons getting hijacked after all.
Either way, the members of Team Arrow are increasingly my favorite aspect of the show, and it’s always nice to see the dynamics play out between the various heroes. We know Ray Palmer will be back soon, only to be shipped off to star in his own series, Legends of Tomorrow. And even if we don’t get new heroes added to the mix, I hope Season 4 spends more time building out the supporting cast. Especially, the Black Canary.
I think it’s safe to say over the past couple seasons, Laurel has become my favorite character on the show. And I realize I’m in the minority on this opinion. Hell, even at this site.
But I’ve argued a lot in the past about how Arrow is as much about the origin story of Black Canary as it is the story of Green Arrow. And Katie Cassidy continues to grow in the role — making her the most dynamic character on the show. Think about it. From Season 1 to now, which of the main cast has shown the most development as a character? Laurel went from being just the spurned ex-girlfriend to a grieving alcoholic to now being a superhero in her own right.
I mean, that moment where Canary saves the little boy? That was easily my favorite part of the whole episode!
Man, that’s straight out of a comic book! And that wink! I just wish she had more fan support.
And for what it’s worth, I’m glad they ditched the blonde wig — even if that is a comic book staple. It’s just that this version of Black Canary looks so much better with Cassidy’s natural hair.
Anyway, back to the story. Season 4’s big bad is going to be Damien Darhk, and Neal McDonough looks to be a great addition to the cast. Who knew Dum Dum Dugan could be so evil?
In one episode, he’s already a more formidable villain than the chump they cast as Ra’s Al Ghul last year. I also dig how they’re continuing to bring in more of the mystical aspects of DC lore this season — even though Darhk, traditionally never had any super powers.
Still not exactly sure what Darhk’s ultimate plan is — apart from copying the Joker from The Dark Knight. I mean, assassinating city leadership and blowing up civic institutions? This dude is clearly a fan of the Nolan Batfilms — though it is just one episode.
I did find the twist of Captain Lance being in cahoots interesting, if not a bit out of left field.
The less said about the flashbacks the better. I do wish the showrunners would let go of this plot device. It was interesting the first two seasons when you got to see how Ollie survived the island, but once they got him off and we learned he actually wasn’t on the island for five years, I don’t know, it kind of lost its luster. And now, apparently, Ollie was vigilanting in Coast City during this time too? Whatever. I’m done with the flashbacks. Also, the terrible wigs.
I will say this: I was surprised to see appearances by Amanda Waller and Deadshot in the episode. I figured with the Suicide Squad movie coming out that those characters would be off-limits to Arrow moving forward. And at least they’ve found a way to put Ollie back on Lian Yu. So there’s that.
Besides, the flashback wasn’t the biggest moment of the ep. No, in true Lost fashion, the final twist was actually a flashforward to six months later and a mysterious grave site — coincidentally featuring the actual Flash.
Now, whoever’s in that grave is going to be the driving mystery of the season (unless the time-traveling Legends mess with the timeline). I have my own ideas, but I think @DT2Author has it right:
By Ollie’s reaction, it can only be one of two people: Felicity or Thea. We know it can’t be Diggle because he’s going to be Green Lantern. Also, he’s got a Guitar Hero challenge with Iris to worry about.
So who do you think is dead in six months? Sound off in the comments below.
UPDATE: Eagle-eyed Flash recapper Christelle tipped me off to a massive Easter Egg that I somehow missed when I wrote off the episode’s flashback sequences. Apparently, Ollie and a pre-GL Hal Jordan were in the same Coast City bar at the same time.
This is why she’s an expert recapper and I’m not.