The jury is still out on whether Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice can successfully launch a DC Extended Universe to rival Marvel’s, but on network TV there’s no question: The CW’s “Arrowverse” series are a force to be reckoned with in the current age of superhero entertainment. Arrow has consistently defied expectations by turning archer/vigilante Oliver Queen into a household name, and continues to expand its cast of DC Comics heroes and rogues across new stories and an ever-growing mythos.
The upcoming episode of season 4, ‘Unchained,’ looks to take the Arrow story in surprising new directions, as Roy Harper returns and the enigmatic villain The Calculator makes his move on Star City and the rest of Team Arrow. All eyes will be on this new villain, as it was hinted at recently that he would have ties to Star City’s own Felicity Smoak.
Now, a new cache of stills from the episode have been released, featuring the costumed heroes of Team Arrow gearing up to take on threats new and old. This time, though, the team will be set against the more high-tech crimes set to be unleashed by The Calculator, a thoroughly-modern nemesis who works his menace from behind a keyboard rather than weapons or fisticuffs.
Take a look at the images below (via CBR):
Originally debuting in Detective Comics in 1976, The Calculator (real name Noah Kuttler) was a minor DC supervillain who used high-tech computation-based schemes to commit crimes and thwart his enemies. For a long time regarded as an infamously lower-tier villain, owing to his similarity to other, better-known characters like The Riddler and for wearing an ostentatious numbered keypad on his chest as a costume, The Calculator was revised by subsequent writers into an OCD-afflicted hacker, who subsequently became much more popular with readers.
It’s this version of the character that looks to be emerging on Arrow, in the person of actor Tom Amandes. His arrival as a new serious nemesis for Oliver Queen and his allies has been previously teased, and the nature of the threat he poses are implied to be of specific danger to Felicity, who is still recuperating from surgery and adjusting to her new life in a wheelchair. Notably, in the comics Calculator was for a time poised as a villainous counterpart to Oracle — the similarly wheelchair-bound (at the time) Barbara Gordon.
As is made clear in the images, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) has also returned to Star City for the first time since his troubled exit at the end of season 3. The onetime sidekick hasn’t been seen or heard from since departing and leaving his Arrow-backup duties to Thea, and it remains unclear what precisely is the cause of his sudden reappearance. Early descriptions for the episode have also promised big moves to be made by a returning Nyssa al Ghul — though Arrow is aiming to keep its plot twists tightly under wraps in the press.
Arrow has continued to be a critical success and ratings winner for The CW, where it has now been joined by a pair of spinoff series in The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow; a marked change in reception for a series that was at one point dreaded by Green Arrow fans. The series is today regarded as one of the modern templates for superheroes on television, with many devoted fans now expressing outrage that different actors are set to play the characters in their feature film incarnations in coming years.
Exactly how long Arrow can keep up the solid momentum and fan affection that has propelled it so far can’t be easily predicted, but so far viewers are clearly still onboard with the heroic exploits of Queen and his allies. At the very least, season 4 is primed to keep fans on their toes, as the heroes continue to face the looming threats of Shadowspire and ongoing issue of Damien Darhk’s plans for Star City.
Arrow returns next Wednesday with ‘Unchained’ at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.