Alright, ‘Arrow’ is back, and I’m back reviewing, for the 4th season in a row. And let me tell you, I don’t know what to think. Season 5 came back with a bang and I got very excited, and while it was certainly better than Season 4, it did not quite live up to the potential I envisioned when it first started last year. Now Season 6 has begun, and once again things are looking up, but I cannot help but wonder whether this is the curse of ‘Arrow,’ a strong beginning, and then flailing around for half the season trying to fill time until they can actually get to the meat of the story they are trying to tell. Perhaps the CW should think about making these seasons 13 episodes…
Anyways, the big cliffhanger at the end of last season was “Who died?” when Chase’s bombs went off on Lian Yu, and all summer we were given teases by producers about whether or not we would find out those answers immediately, letting us believe they might actually kill off some major cast members. Surprise, surprise, they did not. The only confirmed death was William’s mom, whose name is not even important enough for me to remember (though it does provide some interesting conflict between Oliver and his son). Thea appeared dead but was later found to be in a coma (convenient for the writers), and everyone else caught in the “deadly” blasts managed to walk away with nothing more than bruises, scrapes, and in the case of Diggle, a serious case of the shakes.
However, aside from the disappointing red herring of the non-deaths, there was a lot of positives in the premiere. I like Black Siren as a recurring major villain, she has power, personal ties to the team, and a great motive now that Lance tried to kill her on Lian Yu, and that always makes for the best villains on ‘Arrow,’ as opposed to the villains who are simply the latest bad guys to visit town. And the new dynamic of Oliver having to raise William and be a father while also being both the mayor and the Green Arrow has finally made his character mature and fulfill a growing-up arc, and I like seeing a more adult Oliver, who is now helping his teammates through their paces. Throw in the fact that Mr. Terrific is finally “terrific” and kicking butt out in the field, Wild Dog and the new Black Canary have cool new costumes, and Diggle has a new arc trying to recover from his injuries (or PTSD) from the blasts, and we finally saw some changes to the Quiver Crew, bringing out different shades of the characters we have come to know over 5 previous seasons.
The episode’s plot was fairly straightforward, showing off the excelling fight choreography of the show in the opening to thwart a missile being launched at the city, all so the villain could get into the police station and set off an explosive, which granted Black Siren access so she could wreak havoc and taunt our heroes. We eventually learn she has a vendetta against Quentin Lance for shooting her on Lian Yu to save Dinah, which of course is causing massive guilt for Lance because he feels the Earth-2 Laurel is still his daughter (not to mention the fact that he and Dinah lied to the team about what happened to her).
After some sleuthing by Dinah and Diggle and some talk about how Diggle is unable to perform in the field at the moment, they uncover a plot to attack the police academy graduation, which Team Arrow sets out to stop. At the last minute, they discover it was all a ruse to leave their HQ unprotected so Black Siren and her goons can gain access to steal a prototype T-Sphere, which is almost thwarted by Diggle who had chosen to remain behind because of his performance issues. Oliver and company get back to HQ just in time to drive out the dark Laurel and her cronies, belatedly realizing what she stole, but not realizing what she would want the T-Sphere for since it had not yet been weaponized by Curtis. Meanwhile, during an earlier battle, which also featured the first, much anticipated showdown between the new Black Canary (Dinah) and Black Siren (Earth-2 Laurel), Rene is injured when Diggle fails to take out one of their opponents, sending him to the hospital. When Oliver later visits him, finding him to be recovering just fine, we learn Oliver and the new DA have pulled some strings to get Rene another hearing for custody of his daughter.
While there, Oliver visits Thea who is still in a coma from Lian Yu, and finds Slade Wilson also there, checking up on Oliver and Thea before he goes out to find his son, thanks to the information give to him by Oliver during the Season 5 finale (no mention of how Slade is able to walk around unmolested in the city he terrorized only 3 years or so prior though…) Slade gives Oliver a warning about his dual identities though, telling him he may find it difficult to be the Green Arrow and the father William needs, words that end up being prophetic by the end of the episode.
By episode’s end Dinah and Lance have come clean to the team about what really happened with the Black Siren on Lian Yu (having previously told them she was already dead when they found her), and Oliver manages to make amends with his son, who up till that point had been holding his father responsible for the death of his mom (somewhat rightfully so). Just as things are looking up, Felicity calls Oliver and tells him to turn on the news, and we see a reporter inform all of Star City that a new picture has provided evidence that Mayor Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow, leaving Oliver clueless as to his next move.
- Well, they didn’t even have the guts to kill off Thea, instead they just put her in a coma, finding yet another way to write her out of a number of episodes this season, so she can come back conveniently when they need her. And I’m guessing with the rumors of Roy making an appearance this season that will be the episode she awakens, and perhaps leaves Star City once more (allowing them to get rid of her again until needed). In my book, she is no longer a main character on this show.
- So Black Siren stole one of Curtis’s T-Sphere prototypes and seems to be working for the man who helicoptered into Lian Yu and saved her from the rubble. Any ideas on who this man might be, and what he wants to use the T-Sphere for? Could this be the mystery villain played by Michael Emerson this season?
- They hinted about a new DA to replace Chase, and I wonder if this could be a new important character this season, especially since the DA’s of ‘Arrow’ seasons past have played such integral roles. Especially now that Ollie’s secret identity is out, this new DA could lead the charge against the Mayor for being a vigilante.
- Since Slade warned Oliver about not being able to be a vigilante and a father, I cannot help but wonder if he was the one who leaked the picture of Oliver as the Green Arrow to the press… I know he seemed to be Oliver’s ally now, but let’s not forget, he was a major villain once, and they make a point of not saying how the media got ahold of that picture.
- Maybe I’m the only one who cares, but did Evelyn make it off the island alive? When last we saw her she was locked up in a cage after trying to kill Team Arrow…
I am exceptionally happy to finally have the storyline of Oliver’s secret identity being revealed back in the mix, and I hope this time they do not write it off so easily. It would make for a very interesting twist to the show to have Oliver’s dual identity be known to the city at large and see him make it work, and is definitely a great launching point for the next chapter of ‘Arrow’ now that we are no longer telling the origin story of Oliver’s transformation into the Green Arrow (and amen to no more Oliver flashbacks!). I just hope they manage to keep all these threads alive and interesting as the season progresses, and I hope to see a lot more Slade Wilson as his uneasy friendship with Oliver is a very interesting new dynamic on the show, and I really like that character. See you back here next week for the second episode!