THIS FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE LATEST EPISODE OF CW's ARROW.
I made a video review which you can find at the bottom of this page. But, in case you are more of a reading type, here are 5 of the major talking points from this week's Arrow episode "Green Arrow."
1. The Sweet Life
We start with a shot that feels very Arrow, we move to a shot that really doesn’t. And at this point, I feel hope. I love Arrow, I really do, but it isn’t something that could ever really be called ‘good.’
It’s great fun. It’s cheesy in the best way. It’s funny at times. It contains within its hour the wonderful, perfect, hilarious Felicity Smoak. It is also full of terrible cliches, bad acting, and stiff dialogue - all things that I am usually happy to overlook for reasons that will become clear later on.
The show's playful transition between the wood and the suburban paradise at the start of the episode instilled within me a genuine belief that this show was about to start taking risks. The opening seemed to say, “we’re back, and things are different now.”
I really enjoyed the time we got to spend in the new house. The contrast between Oliver/Felicity and the Stepford couple was a lot of fun. Also, the “Felicity Smoak, you have failed this omelette” line, made me grin like a love-struck teenager.
But alas, it was not to be.
Despite rebranding the city, and assembling a council of city officials to lead it, bad things have once again returned to Starling (now Star) City. Speedy, Canary, and Diggle did what they could, but that was not much, and after a moments deliberation it is decided that they need Oliver’s help.
I say Oliver’s help, because it turns out that Felicity has already been helping them behind Oliver's back, a revelation that prompts an adorable exchange between the two:
Oliver: Felicity, you said there wasn't even E-mail in Bali?
Felicity: I know, but we both know I'm just that good.
Felicity Smoke is still by far and away the best thing about this show.
There is not much really to say about the new big bad. Damien Darhk is furthering Arrow’s trajectory towards becoming a more mystical show, which makes sense given everything that happened last season with the league of assassins. And H.I.V.E, who we assume are being led by Darhk, just appear to be generic henchmen, at least for the moment.
It is what it is. Barring John Barrowmen’s Malcolm Merlyn, who’s cabaret performance I very much enjoyed, Arrow has never been particularly strong in the villains department. The problem is the lack of subtlety. Compare any Arrow villain to Marvel’s Wilson Fisk from it's recent Daredevil series, and it is a clear victory for Fisk every time. What we need is a villain that isn’t just evil for evil’s sake with some trite reasoning for their actions thrown in as an afterthought. This may be asking too much, but what we need is a villain that feels like an actual person.
3. The Darkness
When they first use the word ‘darkness,’ it is forgivable. There are plenty of times they have adopted Batman storylines and motifs, so it only makes sense that they would make reference to the to-beat-the-bad-you-have-to-become-the-bad cliche. But this is Arrow, so they do not just make reference to it, they club you over the goddamn head with it, and it’s a little embarrassing. Not as embarrassing as the wig that they make Stephen Amell wear when he plays the younger Oliver Queen, but still pretty embarrassing. This show is so badly written at times, but never more so than when they are speaking in on-the-nose metaphors and treating them as if they are some sort of groundbreaking profundity.
Did I mention that I love this show? Because I really do!
When most shows pull shit like this I get angry. But there is an innocence to the way Arrow does it that you cannot help but be charmed by. It feels in many ways like it is written by a child, in that, in this world there are the very very bad, and there are the very very good, and there is not a whole lot in-between - and if there is something in-between you get bet your ass we are going to draw attention to it. Once you are on board with that though, and you accept it for what it is, the show becomes infinitely more enjoyable.
4. Diggle is not quite there yet...
I am going to just come out and say it… Diggle’s reasoning for not being okay with Oliver's decisions at the end of last season don’t make any sense. And him holding on to this absurd grudge is slowly turning Diggle from a character I loved, to a character that is beginning to really grate on me. There is no worse plot archetype than the how-can-I-make-it-up-to-you, followed by the you-can’t-I-have-been-cut-to-deep, followed by a couple of weeks of pointless and frustrating build up, to be concluded with the inevitable redemption and subsequent forgiveness. All we can hope for is that it doesn’t drag on for too long.
Also, Diggle’s helmet is a thing.
5. Green Arrow
The episode concludes with a hack-all-tv-channels-and-broadcast-to-the-entire-city cliche, and lo behold, we have a new hero:
From the dark the light is born, and though the darkness is hiding inside of him, and though at several points during the season it will come out uninvited, he will fight to let the light prevail, the light of hope, the light of justice - because he is the hero that star city needs a right now. A silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Green Arrow.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Arrow is Back, and I, for one, am thrilled. Season 4 continues Wednesday on the CW.
Click bellow for the video version of this review, and subscribe to my channel for more Recaps/reviews in the future.