As has been stated before, season 4 of Arrow has been shaping up to be a fine season. It has improved in many ways over the poorly rated third season and has so far delivered exciting episodes that show much promise.
Season 3 of Arrow, while having some good moments, felt much like Avengers: Age of Ultron – where a good story was burdened by the need for the franchise’s universe building. Many of the seeds planted in Arrow season 3 are coming to bear now, and dare I say it, but after season 4 is finished, season 3 may not be considered as terrible as it was initially.
The Insanity of Thea Queen
Thea Queen’s (Willa Holland) mental instability played a huge role in both episodes two and three. In “The Candidate,” viewers were treated to a full psychotic episode when she is confronted by Oliver (Stephen Amell), and in response violently attacks her own brother and must be restrained; which in turn makes Oliver feel guilty, knowing she is suffering from these affects from the Lazarus Pit.
Both episodes did a good job in showing the torment Thea is going through, and in “Resurrection,” the hopelessness of her situation was further showcased when Malcolm (John Barrowman) informs Thea that the only way to be rid of the bloodlust is to kill. Thea’s seemingly lack of options has also laid the groundwork John Constantine’s arrival, where he may try and help cure her.
The Lazarus Pit
Another game changer was the revelation by Malcolm that the Lazarus Pit takes a bit of each soul it heals, and when one is healed by its waters, fragments of those souls are joined to the one using it. This is the reason for both Thea’s descent into madness and Sara Lance’s (Caity Lotz) madness after she is resurrected.
Speaking of, Sara’s resurrection was surprisingly dull given that months ago when DC’s Legends of Tomorrow featured it in their trailer the scene played as more a dramatic emergence from the water. What was shown on Arrow was lackluster, with little tension and none of the energy the scene had in the trailer. Hopefully, the overall story of her journey back to sanity will be handled better.
At the end of “Resurrection,” it is revealed that Nyssa (Katrina Law) has corrupted the waters of the pit, ruining its ability to heal. And it’s interesting to see the fear in Malcolm at that point – he is a deadly warrior, but he is only little better than Nyssa, and without the pit is advantage over her is reduced. With the Lazarus Pit removed from the narrative (at least for now) the stakes have been raised, characters can no longer rush to it to be saved and death is again real in the world of Arrow.
One thing Arrow does well is its depiction of the bad guys; the main villains in these episodes are Anarky (Alexander Calvert), a deadly mob enforcer, and Double Down (J.R. Bourne), a meta-human with playing card tattoos he can use as weapons. Both villains are well done and the fight choreography is, of course, excellent.
Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) is continuing to be a stand out as he practically drips menace and is very dangerous. The only thing the writers should be careful of is over using him, maybe not have him behind every crime in Star City. Season 4 would do well to have a few arcs featuring other threats, not unlike season 3’s Brick episodes.
The overall plot of this season is still a mystery, but a tiny clue from “Resurrection” indicates that Darhk is after something called ‘Genesis,’ but little else is revealed. There’s also a lot revolving around Sara and Thea’s recovery, and this thread holds plenty of promise for delving into the rich history that DC has to offer. Season 4 also seems to be leading up to a massive fight between the League of Assassins and H.I.V.E, which should prove interesting. All in all, this season is aiming tie up many loose ends from previous seasons, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the show was heading towards some major change.
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8pm/9c on The CW.