Arrow used to be my favorite superhero show on TV. I use the past tense because I wasn’t a huge fan of season 3. There were good elements and episodes, but let’s be real, it kinda sucked. The bizarre season finale lacked all semblance of logic and for that reason was an incredible low point in terms of quality. Season 4 is an all new Arrow. There’s a new costume, a new hero name and a new tone. Arrow, like its little brother, The Flash, is fun now. Not just dark, moody fun but actual legitimate fun. It’s all kinds of awesome.
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New Life, New Threat
While Felicity and Oliver are in the middle of an adorable domestic and suburban bliss, Laurel, Dig and Thea are fighting crime. Crime has a new name though and it’s called The Ghosts. They’re a group of masked special forces. The Ghosts are getting seriously in the way of the Arrow-less Team Arrow’s vigilante city saving activities.
The Ghosts are also threatening Star City’s (not Starling City anymore) city leaders. A group of city leaders including Quentin and some other nameless powerful people, including the district attorney, are meeting to discuss this new threat. They are interrupted by the leader of the Ghosts himself, Damien Darhk.
Here’s what you need to know about Damien: he’s played by Neal McDonough. He’s terrific, terrifying and more charismatic in five seconds than Ra’s Al Ghul was in a whole season. Also, Damien is about to kill everyone in this room except Quentin Lance because of unknown reasons. (Why anyone takes this job in this zip code, no matter what the city is called, is beyond me.)
Same Old Lying Tricks
In their new domestic life, Oliver and Felicity are facing an even bigger threat, overly friendly neighbors. Oliver and Felicity are having lunch with a couple that is so annoying, I almost wish this was the old Arrow and these people were about to “tragically” die. Sadly, they survive and Oliver tells them (when Felicity leaves the room) that he is planning to propose to Felicity tonight.
He never gets the chance because Laurel and Thea arrive to their home. They want the Arrow back and that means they need Oliver’s help. Felicity says they go, so they go. At the new vigilante cave, which is so much less swanky than the old Arrow cave, Dig is not so happy to see Oliver again. Wife kidnapping and months of lying will do that to a friendship.
The tables are turned though when the team leaves to investigate some more about the Ghosts. Oliver and Felicity are left alone. Oliver finds out that Felicity has been lying to him for quite some time. She has been helping the team in secret while they’ve been living their new life because Felicity finds her neighbors as insufferable as I do. This doesn’t cause a meltdown of their relationship or an overlong Oliver brood session. Oliver gets over the whole thing pretty fast, I can get used to this all-new Arrow.
Oliver Meet Damien
Because she is the best at everything, Felicity finds where Damien is meeting with The Ghosts. Oliver and the team goes to snoop and finds something pretty terrible. Damien is kind of magic. Not that the cute, Harry Potter wand-waving magic though. He can suck the life-force out of people who mildly annoy him. Rather than this causing him to go running like a normal person, Oliver leads the team into an attack. There’s a struggle and Damien escapes. The team is forced to flee as well when the cops arrive.
Thanks to some sleuthing and Felicity’s keyboard action, the team discovers Damien’s plan. At least they discover his plan for this episode. He is going to blow up the new train station. Everyone suits up, even Oliver. Cisco (from The Flash) made Oliver a new suit before he quit being the Arrow. It’s pretty flimsy as far as excuses go, but I’ll take it because this outfit is way better than the old one. This is further proof that Cisco is one step below Felicity on the perfection scale.
Team Arrow evacuate the train station and Oliver sneaks onto the train to confront Damien. This confrontation goes absolutely and terribly bad. It turns that life-force sucking isn’t the only thing Damien can do with his powers. He can also stop arrows in mid-air. This makes Oliver pretty damn useless. Luckily, Dig shows up to save Oliver … with a tranq gun? I get that it is a no-kill thing and blah-blah hero talk. A solider like Dig takes the kill shot always.
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Quickly, before we get into the episode wrap up, let’s quickly run through the flashback story. Surprisingly, the flashback stuff is actually mildly interesting. A big step up from the mind -numbing ridiculous of stupidity of season three’s flashback story-line.
Oliver is being a proto-Arrow in Coast City when he is quickly beat up by a common thug. He is found by the perpetually smirking Amanda Waller. Waller takes Oliver to a bar and tells him that he is not living up to his potential and drugs him like all good mother figures do with their fake children. Waller takes the drugged Ollie and throws him on a plane. She then forces Oliver to jump off the plane with a parachute at gunpoint. Oliver jumps out of the plane and onto the island he was first stranded on in season one. Oliver has a new mission in a old location.
Big Reveals to End
Anyway, in present day, Oliver and Felicity decide to stay in the city because … duh. Oliver finally re-brands himself as The Green Arrow because that’s awesome. Lance is working with Damien because … wait, hold up now. That makes no sense, but I guess we are going with it. Damien appears to be blackmailing Quentin and some kind of nonsense, but whatever. I’m on board with an “evil” Quentin because I kind of already hate him for just existing.
Last up, there is the big wallop of the final twist. In the last scene things jump ahead six months. Oliver is standing with Barry in front of a graveside. Someone has obviously just died. Oliver says he doesn’t feel like this is his fault but he’s responsible. He is still going to make “him” pay. Barry leaves Oliver alone and the latter bends down and cries at the tombstone (which is huge by the way.)
(Image courtesy of The CW)