I really hated season four of Arrow.
Not only was it a muddled mess from a narrative perspective, the show squandered a villain with enormous potential, forced a heinous love story upon us, and killed off my favorite character (Laurel Lance) for no apparent reason. I vowed I would never watch Arrow after the season four finale, but with the recent news of Laurel’s apparent return (shocking that death means nothing on this show anymore) and the fact that I really want to enjoy the four-way crossover, I decided to give this premiere a shot. Quite surprisingly, it wasn’t bad at all.
Of course we’re long ways off from Arrow‘s golden age during that stellar second season, but this premiere was a definite improvement over last year’s horrifying misfires. It at least shifts the status quo with Ollie juggling his new position as Star City’s mayor with his solo superhero duties. The fact that the team is now broken adds an intriguing dynamic to the season, and I’m actually quite eager to see Ollie train the new band of recruits. God knows his character needs a new kind of arc; how many times are we going to recycle his kill/no-kill rule? Because writers, this is getting old.
Major props to stunt director James Bamford who directed this episode. Every time he takes the reigns, Arrow is elevated to another level with creative choreography, incredible one-shots, and nifty camera angles. How brilliant was that sequence with Ollie flipping out of the exploding building and making his way on to the helicopter before parachuting down? Can Bamford just direct every episode from now on please? Because this is the show I fell in love with years ago.
Also I’m pleased to report that it looks like the flashbacks finally have a purpose again (they were useless the last two years). It seems our focus this season will be Ollie’s initiation into the Bratva. It was definitely hilarious to see Anatoly again. Fingers crossed the writers don’t mess this up and sustain the storyline’s brutality throughout the season.
Bits & Arrows
– Terrific opening fight between Arrow and Anarky. God I hate the latter.
– The fact that the Bratva have Ollie’s notebook! I miss season one and that list! Times were so simply back then.
– I’m not sure what to make of our new baddie, Tobias Church. On one hand, he’s vicious. On the other hand, shouldn’t he be no match for Ollie after all the mystical baddies and Mirakuru badasses? Ugh. Continuity please!
– The fact that Lance is drinking again made me sad.
– Great touch with Oliver’s hand trailing over Laurel’s pic on his way out of Lance’s apartment.
– Wasn’t Thea’s short dress kind of inappropriate at Laurel’s ceremony? Also that statue looks kind of laughable.
– Anyone else find it weird that Thea almost wasn’t going to save Ollie because she wanted to have a normal life? Talk about sibling loyalty!
– I enjoyed the visual parallels with Ollie snapping his attacker’s neck much like he did in the pilot.
– A Thea and Lance scene for once. More please!
– No more sleeveless suit Ollie? It did look kinda ridiculous.
– So we finally know what Laurel told Ollie on her deathbed: she asked him to make sure she wouldn’t be the “the last canary.” Hmmm. At least it wasn’t another pro-Olicity proclamation!
– Nice to see Lance in the Arrow Cave. Hope he sticks around!
– Curtis wants to join the team! Mister Terrific here we go!
– I surprisingly kind of miss Diggle!
– Felicity has a new boyfriend! Oh joy! Maybe they can both run off into the sunset together and leave us be?
– The new cop character got slaughtered in the episode’s final moments. How many times are we going to get introduced to yet ANOTHER dark archer? Ugh.
Quips & Canaries
Oliver: (to Curtis) Must be nice to have someone down here who speaks Felicity.
Felicity: How’d you ditch your security detail?
Oliver: I used to ditch John Diggle.
Thug: I didn’t vote for you.
Oliver: That’s ok. I ran unopposed.
Thug: “Mayor Handsome,” they call you. (He punches him) Not for long, though.
Felicity Look, I don’t know any Russian proverbs, all right, but both of us have got to move on.
Felicity: I thought that was going to be a bigger fight.
Hear Your Heart by James Bay
Surprisingly not a disaster. This had several promising elements so I’m not totally off this sinking ship just yet.