Following an amazing second season meant that season three of Arrow always had the odds stacked against it, and perhaps that’s why it ultimately ended up being a disappointment. While it was far from bad, it felt like there was a lot that the show got wrong from the very start, and not all of those problems were fixed by the finale.
Ra’s al Ghul remained an unsatisfying villain, the relationship between Oliver and Felicity had become one of the worst parts of the series, and the way things wrapped up did little to signal we would see any sort of great improvement in season four. It’s a relief then that tonight’s premiere is not only excellent, but a huge step in the right direction for Arrow and one of its strongest episodes to date.
The premiere actually feels like a reboot of sorts for the series, but plenty of time is still devoted to addressing unresolved plot threads from season three and either wrapping them up in a satisfying manner or developing them in such a way that we can feel confident that they’ll be of interest rather than a hindrance to Arrow moving forward.
Even those who recoil in horror at the prospect of “Olicity” should be happy with how that relationship is handled here. Gone is the unrequited love and constant crying; instead, they now feel like a real couple and are all the more easy and enjoyable to watch for it. The relationships between the other characters continues to be a plus as well, and whether it’s the tension between Oliver and Diggle or the former Arrow continuing to lecture Thea, it feels good to be once again spending time with these people.
MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB
The biggest new addition to Arrow also fares well. So long as the series handles him as wisely in future episodes as it does here, Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk looks set to be just as great a villain as Deathstroke. Powerful, frightening, and sadistic as hell, he makes a huge impact in “Green Arrow” and is a joy to watch (though anyone who remembers McDonough from Justified will know just how amazing he is as a bad guy).
Just as satisfying as Darhk’s introduction is how season four of Arrow handles the flashbacks. In season three, they became a hindrance, with far too much time devoted to scenes which featured generally uninteresting developments as a very simple story was stretched out for far too long. While it’s too soon to say how they’ll fare throughout the rest of this season, they’re off to a strong start and take a very unexpected turn early on.
The blink and you’ll miss it nod to Hal Jordan is probably the greatest Easter Egg this series has ever used though, even if it’s hard not to be disappointed that we won’t be seeing Jordan show up, as many fans had theorized would be the case this year.