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Arrow - Green Arrow - Review

Arrow returned for season four and finally delivered the “Green Arrow.” The episode was created by the team of Greg Berlanti and Beth Schwartz (who wrote the story) and Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle (who wrote the teleplay) and was directed by Thor Freudenthal. For me, the most powerful scene was Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) speech declaring himself the Green Arrow. Kudos to the writers for making this change feel so organic over the course of three action-packed seasons. Oliver has come through the darkness to discover a better man in himself and re-discover joy in his life. He’s inspired others to pick up his mission and they, in turn, have inspired him to be better, to be something different.

The show picks up six months after Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) drove off into the sunset. They are now, apparently living the quiet, happy suburban life. I loved the opening scene that is so reminiscent of Oliver running through the brush on the Island but turns out to be him jogging in suburbia. Oliver has developed a passion for cooking, but Felicity is still burning the omelets. Oliver has even had his tattoos removed because he “doesn’t need them anymore.” The two are utterly adorable together, but their awkward dinner party with the neighbors is a good indication that they aren’t perhaps settling in as well as they’d like to think.

Oliver does confide in his neighbors that he’s proposing to Felicity and will be giving her Moira’s ring. He has it all set up in a chocolate soufflĂ© when Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Thea (Willa Holland) arrive. By the end of the episode, Oliver and Felicity are moving into Thea’s loft – and yeah that they are keeping that awesome set! We see Oliver hide the ring in a bowl full of glass pebbles. Is he setting up for another romantic proposal or is he putting off asking again?

Felicity is acting CEO of Palmer Industries and Starling City has been renamed Star City in honor of Ray’s (apparent) death. So far, Felicity has been doing everything remotely and even jokes about giving Oliver his company back. Perhaps my favorite scene in the episode with these two is when Felicity has to come clean about having been helping the team all along – and lying to Oliver about it.

We jump right into the action with the team in Star city as they take down a semi-truck full of weapons being driven by their latest nemeses – the “Ghosts.” Willa is clearly having a blast in her new role and it’s great to see Holland really embracing the role. This Willa is a lot more fun than brooding, angsty-teen Willa. I loved her being all, “I told you to call me Red Arrow” when they call her Speedy. Though clearly, when Oliver sees her mindlessly beating a Ghost after taking him down, something is not quite right with her – no doubt attributable to her coming back through the Lazarus pool.

We see that Diggle (David Ramsey) has finally gotten himself some urban camouflage. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the magneto-style helmet. It’s a good idea for protection whether he’s deflecting bullets or coming off a motorcycle, but I’m not convinced about the sightlines. I do like the t-shirt and vest combo… Do Diggle’s biceps look bigger to anyone else? I’m really happy to see Ramsey getting more to do as Diggle takes over the leadership of the team – or at least fills in for Oliver.

Diggle is not happy to see Oliver back. I loved the scene in which Oliver starts giving orders and the entire team just looks at Diggle, waiting for his go ahead. Interestingly, it’s Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) forgives Oliver first, recognizing that it was war and that in times of war, we do what we have to do. She tells Diggle that Oliver doesn’t always do the right thing, but that’s the very reason Oliver needs Diggle – his moral compass.

When Oliver tries to talk to Diggle about Thea, Diggle says she’s just a bit violent. He reminds Oliver that Oliver was a little violent and out of control when he started. Diggle again rebuffs Oliver from trying to make it seem like old times. Diggle tells Oliver that he’s not mad at him, he’s mad at himself for thinking Oliver was more than he is – you don’t trust because you’re every bit as dark as the league. And of course, this is exactly Oliver’s fear.

Oliver tells Felicity that he wanted to leave because the only way he knew how to fight the darkness was to be the darkness. Lance tells him that he’s brought the darkness to the city. He also tells him that the Arrow inspired other monsters. Oliver denies that he’s still a monster, and Lance wants to know what he is then.

In the flashbacks, Oliver is trying to make amends for what he’s done, and it’s hilarious to watch him try to take down a drug dealer, who ends up throwing him off the roof. Only to be found by Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) while hanging upside down. Waller tells him she’s seen Shrieve’s autopsy – and what Oliver did to him. She says she underestimated him. She tells him he hasn’t gone home because he thinks he’s a monster and tells him to stop avoiding your inner darkness and embrace it. She also tells him that he can’t change who he is in his bones and that the only way out is through – before she drugs him.

Laurel also tells him he can’t change who he is in his bones – but because she knows he can’t simply turn his back on his friends, his city, and the mission he started. And it’s not monsters who he’s inspired, it’s heroes. The women in this episode are the voices of wisdom – Waller aside. Felicity tells him simply, to be somebody different. She points out that he doesn’t have to be alone anymore and in fact, isn’t alone anymore.

Of course, the real darkness that the team is up against is Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). He is determined that the city controllers should let the city die – “so flowers can spring up” from the ruins. Clearly, he has his own evil agenda. He kills off 3 of the 4 city controllers, and as we learn by the end of the episode, he sways Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to his side. Once Darhk apologizes for Lance’s arm, it’s clear that Lance has been working with Darhk for some time. McDonough is terrific at playing the bad guy with a touch of the crazy.

It seems that Laurel and Lance have settled at least some of their differences. It’s a nice moment when they are actually enjoying working together. I really liked her rushing to the police station to save her Dad – and then him, in turn, saving her. I’m also enjoying the relationship that has been developed since the first season between Thea and Laurel paying off. It is curious that Oliver doesn’t speak to Laurel about the changes he sees in Thea.

As befits the nemesis of the great Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable), there is a lot more to Darhk than first meets the eye. We see him suck the life out of Alvarez (Paolo Maiolo) because he “allowed” the shipment to be attacked. Oliver calls it “mystical,” insisting that Darhk is not a meta-human. Oliver mysteriously says he’s seen things. I’m betting this will tie in to this year’s flashbacks. We see Darhk perform some kind of dark magic/blood ritual.

The episode features some excellent action sequences, including the initial attack on the semi, the fight against Darhk’s ghosts, and the Oliver/Darhk fight. I do hope they find a slightly better body double for McDonough though. Diggle saves Oliver from Dahrk’s mystic power, and it does seem that Diggle may be getting past last season. However, Diggle does hold back what he knows about Hive’s involvement in his brother’s murder.

The show has always done a good job with the long arc and providing pay off for viewers as the season unfolds but also between seasons. Cisco has made Oliver a new suit – can’t wait to see all the special features! And we have the ritual suiting up of the hero before he goes off to stop the train.

It was a nice touch for Oliver’s team to take over the Emergency Broadcasting System to deliver Oliver’s message to the city. Oliver pays homage to what the Arrow started and then declares that he will stand with the other heroes to save their city. The theme of darkness is addressed – and yes, Darhk’s name is a little on the nose, but hey, that’s comics! Oliver declares that the darkness can be defeated by the light, and he intends to be the symbol of hope the Arrow never was: “I am the Green Arrow!”

I was loving this episode right up until Oliver dropped the ring in the bowl and we cut to six months in the future and Oliver standing at a grave. WHAT?!?!?! This is dirty pool – though cunning storytelling. Barry (Grant Gustin) joins Oliver at the grave, apologizing for missing the funeral. Zoom has kept Barry away – the new big bad on The Flash. Barry offers his support, but Oliver tells him he wants to be left alone, so Barry flashes out. We don’t – of course!!! – see the grave to know who Oliver is crying for. Amell is outstanding in this episode, really finally getting to show the range he’s capable of now that Oliver is emotionally whole.

This leaves us to speculate on who is in that grave. Of course, my first thought is Felicity because why else wouldn’t she be right by his side? She is also the one who told him he is not alone, so Oliver’s words echo hers. Barry would be most likely to attend her funeral and be most sorry to have missed it, given their history. Hopefully, this is a red herring. It’s easy to say the show can’t lose Felicity, but then who else do we want to see in that grave?

Overall, this was a great start to the new season. In flashbacks, Oliver is back on the Island. Theoretically, we will have only this season and next for flashbacks, so will Oliver now be back there for both seasons? My bet is that Lance is doing the wrong thing for the right reason. Did he join Dahrk in a desperate attempt to help the city not knowing what he was getting into? What did you think of the episode? Speculations on who is in that grave? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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