For the past two years, each Arrow season has a had lot of baggage to answer for when it’s getting underway. After the stellar season 2, the show hit a bit of a slump. Each season tried (with middling results) to course correct the mistakes of the previous.
In season 6, Arrow still has a lot to answer for but in a much more positive way. Season 5 was arguably the best year of The CW’s superhero foundation and ended in a (literally) explosive cliffhanger that made the hiatus particularly hellish. In the season 6 premiere, “Fallout,” everything is revealed. More importantly, every sign points to Arrow continuing in its creative renaissance into season 6 and beyond.
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Things We Lost in the Fire
Arrow takes a smart approach to revealing the resolution to the deadly explosion of Lian Yu. Rather than just telling us up front, who lived and who died, the show opts to tell the story of the immediate aftermath of the explosion in flashback form. It trickles out slowly that Diggle, Dinah, Curtis, Rene, Quentin, Slade, Nyssa and, of course, Felicity are alive.
The two big standouts are Thea and Samantha. Samantha is, to the surprise of exactly no one, super dead. (She died as she lived: a plot device.) Thea, meanwhile, isn’t dead but in a very serious coma and hasn’t woken up in five months. Both consequences manage to feel right. Samantha’s dead jump-starts Oliver’s relationship with William. Thea’s coma is also a good way to have stakes to Chase’s threat, without losing such a fan-favorite character permanently.
All this information does trickle out slowly. Thea’s fate isn’t revealed until the very end of the hour. However, the small bits and bobs of reveals helps the premiere move along at the same breakneck pace of the season 5 finale. None of the reveals are exactly shocking, including that Olicity is officially back together, but they’re presented in such a way that Arrow keeps the audience’s interest from beginning to end in “Fallout.”
Black Siren’s Revenge
The real meat of “Fallout” is the flashback material. The present day story is fun (and occasionally tear-jerking) but not exactly the most complex. It turns out that while back on Lian Yu, Quentin was forced to shoot Black Siren to save Dinah’s life. This has brought Quentin and Dinah closer together, but it has severely pissed off Black Siren (who somehow survived the gunshot.)
The season premiere basically consists of Black Siren wrecking everything she can in Star City and then go directly after Oliver and crew. It’s the most significant airtime that Laurel’s evil twin has gotten and Katie Cassidy is loving every minute of it.
While Black Siren has a fair amount of hatred for all of Team Arrow, her evil sights are particularly set on Quentin and Dinah. This is perfect. Arrow season 6 can be nothing but Canary-on-Canary crime and it would be wonderful. (Thankfully, Black Siren escapes the Team Arrow’s clutches with the help of some mysterious and powerful friends, so there will be many more fights to come.)
My Dad, The Arrow
It’s the Quentin drama surrounding Black Siren that leads into the more emotional bits of the premiere. Quentin is still struggling with the notion that Black Siren looks, sounds and sometimes even acts like his dead daughter but she’s not the same. This is weirdly thematically resonant for Oliver, as he is struggling to raise William on his own.
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William has always been a bit of a question mark as it seems unclear why he has existed up to this point. William’s done nothing but been used as a pawn. In “Fallout,” the reason for William becomes a little more clear. The actor is allowed to act and he’s actually very solid. Arrow still doesn’t seem to know exactly how old William is supposed to be. Sometimes he seems like a six-year-old and others a moody teen. Mostly, he is a great foil for Oliver Queen.
“Fallout” sets up a great and emotionally wrought dynamic for Oliver and son. William, understandably, holds Oliver responsible for his mother’s death. (Although he communicates this in the most childish way possible calling Ollie, “The Bad Man.”) There’s still something really heartbreaking about Oliver wanting to connect with his son and being unable to tear down his wall. Even beyond the grave, Chase is messing with Oliver and his family.
What Do We Do Now?
After visiting with Slade, who is on his way to find his own son, Oliver tells William he’s not going anywhere. Oliver will always protect his son. This seems to impact William as he finally opens up to Oliver, just a tiny bit. Arrow being Arrow though, it dumps the metaphorical water all over Ollie’s happy flame. The season premiere doesn’t just answer a cliffhanger. It also introduces one.
Felicity calls Oliver in a panic and tells him to flip on the news. Oliver watches as the reporter announces that the Green Arrow has finally been unmasked. Cue an undeniably obvious and clear picture of Oliver (without his hood) in the Green Arrow costume.
Season 6, you have my attention.
But what do you think? Did you like the premiere? Can season 6 live up to season 5? Are you looking forward to more William and Oliver bonding? How did you feel about Black Siren’s biggest role yet?
Arrow season 6 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)