Let’s start off by saying that after only one episode, Arrow season 4 is already better than most of season 3 was as a whole. It is good to see the writers took seriously the complaints of the fans and worked hard to change what was missing from the show last spring.
The Green Reboot
This season of Arrow is basically a soft reboot while still adhering to canon. Much of the show is different than the previous seasons: the writing is lighter and has more jokes, the tone is less dark and brooding and more hopeful. Another change is Oliver’s new suit which was designed by S.T.A.R Labs. It’s sleeker, cooler, more combat effective than the old suit and looks very much like its comic book predecessor.
Also, the show has addressed the darkness that consumed Oliver Queen (Stephan Amell) and has proceeded to have him announce the death of the “Arrow” and the birth of “Green Arrow,” a hero who will fight for light, justice and freedom. Now if we could only get the goatee…
Granted, this started last year but the supernatural elements of the show have come into full fruition with this season. Arrow was always a show that felt like it could be happening in some city far away; it was gritty, grounded and based in reality, much like Nolan’s Batman. Season 3 only teased the supernatural aspect of the show when Oliver fell to his “death” and then recovered with the help of antibiotics and bed rest. Even the Lazarus Pit was left to the viewers imagination as the show went to great lengths to say that Thea Queen (Willa Holland) was dying, and never really said if she was dead when she went into its waters.
This season has embraced the supernatural full throttle: we have Damien Dahrk (Neal McDonough) stopping arrows with force-like power, fighting with super human strength and sucking the life out of people just by touching them. It’s safe to say that Arrow has entered the world of comic books and its less grounded rules. It’s going to be a weird and fun ride this season…
Several big things have changed this season in regards to Team Arrow’s roster. Thea has joined on as “Red Arrow” and is wearing Roy’s suit and Diggle (David Ramsey) has taken to wearing a disguise which consists of leather armor and an atrocious helmet (seriously the thing does not even cover his chin, someone call Cisco, stat!). Thea’s role on the team is going to be very interesting as she is beginning to show signs of the darkness that embodies people that come back from the Lazarus Pit (she almost beats a perp to death!). It will be very interesting to see where the writers take this, hopefully they’ll take time to flesh it out and not resolve it too quickly.
H.I.V.E & Damian Dahrk
The most fascinating part of this premiere was the reveal of season 3’s big bad: Damian Dahrk, a former rival to Ra’s Al Gual. Dahrk fled The League and created his own “Evil League,” code named H.I.V.E . Almost nothing is known about this incarnation of Dahrk except that he has super human strength, can stop projectiles with levitation and can kill people by touching them. Oliver states in the episode that Dahrk’s power is mystical and that he is not a meta-human. It was also a relief after the serious and grim Ra’s to have a villain like Dahrk who quipped and joked as he was fighting.
One of the final scenes has Dahrk opening a cabinet with an alter inside that has the image of a demon. After giving it his blood he is seen receiving power from it. The demon in question could be Etrigan, a character that has history with Green Arrow; he also has the power of super strength and injury protection. Most likely the demon will be restricted to the likes of what Brother Blood worshiped in season 2.
While “Green Arrow” had its flaws (mostly the same as previous seasons) it was a very solid episode that successfully introduced the main heroes and villains, while also hinting at the larger story to come. I for one enjoyed the campier and less gritty nature and found the jokes to be funny.
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8pm/9c on The CW.