I have to admit, domestic bliss looks pretty good on Oliver Queen. And a life full of omelettes (Oliver’s, not Felicity’s), souffles and lazy mornings in bed doesn’t sound soÂ bad. But when your city needs your help and your girlfriend admits she’d rather gouge her eyes out than talk about crockpots and preschools (I’m right there with you, Felicity!), it’s time to give up the white picket fence and head back in to the lion’s den. So Oliver returned to Star City, as we knew he would, to fight the bad guys and save the city once again. Let’s take a look at what’s changed, what’s stayed the sameÂ and where things may beÂ headed in Season 4.
Out With The OldÂ Oliver And In With The NewÂ —Â One episode in and it’s clear that this season, we’re dealing with a whole new Oliver Queen.Â In season 3, we saw himÂ full of doubt and constantly struggling with both his identity and his purpose. And sure, we saw glimmers of that in this episode too, but we also saw light and determination. Apparently 5 months off and true happiness has given him a new perspective and IÂ have to say, I’m liking it.Â He may not know who he is or how to “not be the darkness” but at least this season, he’s willing to try, which is a huge step for him. And while life in Ivy Town was a fantasy of sorts, it was inevitable that he and Felicity would eventually miss their crime-fighting daysÂ and feel the need to help the city they love. And hopefully this time, despite what others say, Oliver will figure out how to do it without losing himself.
Felicity: I love our new home and I love you. But I also love it here and you can’t honestly tell me that you don’t.
Oliver: Yea, of course, I miss aspects of it. The sense of purpose, the idea of helping people. But Lance was right.
Felicity: About what?
Oliver: A few months ago, he told me that all I brought back from the island was pain, misery and darkness. Of course, I knew that the moment we came back here, that darkness would be waiting for me.
Felicity: He’s wrong. Dead wrong. You didn’t bring the darkness back with you from Lian Yu.
Oliver: Felicity, I’m telling you the only way I know how to fight the darkness is to be the darkness, that is why I left. And I don’t what to be that person anymore.
Felicity: Maybe you just need to be a different type of person. And you’re not doing this alone any more.
As always, Felicity is right. He’s not alone and there is not just one way for him to help the city. With the Arrow dead in the eyes of the public and his image essentially tarnished, Oliver had to find a new way to be what the city needs, while also being what he himself needs to be. Of course, I loved that he did this not only privately, but also publicly with a televised message.
Green Arrow: Six months ago, the Arrow died. But what he stood for didn’t. It lived on in the heroes that took up his mantel, we all believe that this city should never descend in to hopelessness. We believe that although life is full of darkness, that darkness can be beaten by light. And tonight, I am declaring my intention to stand with them to fight for this city. To be the symbol of hope that the Arrow never was. I am the Green Arrow.
This is SO not something the old Arrow would do and to me, it was so symbolic of the way that Oliver and his approach is changing this season. Not to mention that he actually referenced that this is a team effort, another first for him. Both of these things shows that he’s learning from past mistakes, which is something Oliver hasn’t always been so good at, so it gives me hope that once they work out the kinks, Team Green Arrow will be just as strong, if not stronger than Team Arrow.
Damien Darhk Is Bad. Real BadÂ — The first season we had Malcolm Merlyn. Season 2 we had Slade Wilson. Last season we had Ra’s Al Ghul. And while none of theseÂ were easy adversaries, they seemed like bullies on a school playground compared to Darhk. And I say that after only one episode.
AnytimeÂ you add mystical elements and otherworldly powers, you up the ante. How can you fight a foe when the playing field isn’t even? Especially when you have a man who will kill puppies.
Darhk: You’re all fretting about this city dying, I’m here on behalf of an organization that wants you to let it die. See death is a beautiful thing. We die, we go in to the ground, our remains grow in to flowers. It’s only in the interval after dying that new things can sprout. Cities are like puppies, you see them writing in agony on the side of the street, you put them down. You don’t let them suffer.
Not cool, dude, not cool. That being said, I don’t get the feeling that he wants to bulldoze the city in order to create aÂ placeÂ full of daisies and roses either. No, his mission is clearly selfish and whatever it is that HIVE wants to achieve clearly is not with the greater good in mind.Â It seems like Team Arrow…excuse me, Team Green Arrow…will have to pull out all the stops to save Star City this time and even that may not be enough.
Detective Lance: Team HIVEÂ — This one shocked me. Not just shocked me, but SHOCKED me. With a man on the inside of both law enforcement and team vigilante, I can see how Darhk may be near impossible to defeat. But why? Lance has alway professed himself to be the pillar of morality. Sure, he’s has his share of personal ups and downs, but he has always loved and wanted to protect this city, no matter how misguided hisÂ actions of achieving that may be. But going in to business with Darhk, that seems like an obvious leap in the opposite direction.Â Could he really be so mad at Oliver/Arrow that he’s willing to pair up with anyone who desires to take him down a laÂ my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend?
My guess is that there is something more to this than we know. While Lance was clearly at Darhk’s houseÂ of his own volition, there was also a hesitation to him that makes me refuse to give up on him quite yet….maybe this will bring him around and back to Team Green Arrow? Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Either way, Â after Darhk killed the whole counsel, you would think Lance would realize it’s time to buzz out, but it seems pretty clearÂ that Darhk is holding something over him that is forcing his hand and I’m eager to find out what that is.
Darhk: I’m a little disappointed the train station isn’t a smoldering pile of ash.
Lance: I’m not. Mass murder. Killing innocent civilians, I didn’t sign up for this.
Darhk: You signed up to follow my instructions, to do my will. i want to know everything about this Green Arrow. Where he lives and who he loves. And I want him off the boards by the time my associates arrive.
Lance: And if I don’t help you.
Darhk: Then I would be surprised as I believe I made it abundantly clear you don’t have a choice.
Will he do it? Especially if taking down Green Arrow could mean taking down and endangering his own daughter? Only time will tell.
Diggle Still Holds A Grudge — Just because it’s a new season and a new Oliver, doesn’t mean Diggle is ready to turn over a new leaf. As the episode progressed, we saw him reluctantly come around to accept Oliver’s help in order to protect “his city” (which definitely gave me the chills), but that doesn’t mean he’s forgiven what Oliver hasÂ done. And honestly, at this point, I don’t know that he ever fully will.
He went from not trusting Oliver and believing he did a bad thing to believing he’s actually a bad person. That’s a big distinction. Obviously I didn’t want Diggle to forgive Oliver immediately, that wouldn’t be realistic, but his whole opinion of Oliver as a person has changed and I don’t know what it’ll take for him to come back around.
Diggle: Oliver, what are we doing, man? Pretending everything is normal? That we are normal?
Oliver: I’m looking for a way in.
Diggle: I was furious to think that you trusted Malcolm Merlyn more than you trusted me. But then I realized I’m not angry at you, I’m at angry at myself for thinking you’re someone that you clearly aren’t.
Oliver: I don’t know what that means.
Diggle: Oliver, after everything we’ve been through, I couldn’t fathom why you didn’t trust me. But then I realized, you couldn’t, it’s not who you are. You don’t trust. You don’t love. You were able to fool Ra’s and join the League because inside you are every bit as dark as they are.
Ouch. This one hurt. Especially coming from Diggle. I don’t know that Oliver is really darkÂ or that he possess anÂ inherent “badness” like with Ra’s and Merlyn. Oliver hasÂ been through a lot and that has obviously affected him, but if the past five months with Felicity have proven anything, it’s that he CAN love and be happy and that the darkness doesn’t have to define or guide him. Nevertheless, I love that Oliver continues to try to connect, while also respecting Diggle’s process. And hopefullyÂ in proving to the cityÂ that he’s a good person, heÂ can prove thatÂ to his best friend as well.
The Lazarus Pit Does Have Side Effects –– Thank goodness. I made it pretty clear at the end of last season that I was frustrated by the fact that there was all this talk of the Lazarus Pit changing people and then aside from a little additional boldness and a penchant for red, we hardly saw any change in Thea. Suffice it to say,Â I’m thrilled that this storyline is being revisited and all that hype was not for naught. Her lack of restraint and her recklessness are clearly the opposite of what Merlyn taught her last season, but since we haven’t seen her as a true vigilante before, it’s hard to tell the real cause of this behavior. Either way, Â Oliver is picking up on it and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time beforeÂ her behavior gets them in to trouble and everyone else is forced to take notice as well.
Someone Dies — If I’m being honest, as soon as I saw Oliver standing in front of the grave (and then Barry come up behind him), I had a gut feeling who was six feet under. For a second, I even thought they might show us. Of course, they didn’t. And of course, I’m not going to say who I think it was…not because I’m afraid of being wrong, but because the show’s writers/creatorsÂ have gone on record saying even they don’t know exactly who it isÂ yet. That being said, they have said the death will stick, so no Lazarus Pit for this person, and it’s clear that whatever they’ve set themselves up for is something big. Also, it seems safe to assume the “him” Oliver is going to kill is Damien Darhk, but again, with a whole season ahead of us and plenty of time for infinite twists and turns, you never know. Oh and if I am right about who’s in that grave, I can clearly see the future so you better believe I’ll be buying a lottery ticket.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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