Thursday, October 8, 2015

'Arrow' Season 4 premiere review

What has happened to Team Arrow?

(No, I didn't plan this introduction in conjunction with my review of the Season 2 premiere of "The Flash," but it's great when things work out. …)

In Star City, John Diggle is heading up Team Arrow 2.0 with Canary (Laurel Lance) and Red Arrow (Thea Queen). Digg is wearing a Magneto-like helmet in the field to obscure his identity, which doesn't look nearly as bad onscreen as it does in the promotional photo.

Elsewhere, Oliver Queen and Felicitiy Smoak are living in domestic bliss.

Queen might be enjoying cooking, but Felicity can't stand the yuppie, yawn-inducing lifestyle. It's only later she tells her live-in boyfriend she loves him and enjoys living with him, but their hum-drum life has been driving her bonkers for the last five months since we last saw them drive way into the sunset.

From here on out, there will be major spoilers. Be warned — and don't click the link unless you're ready for storyline material you don't want to know and/or you haven't seen Wednesday's premiere of Season 4. …

So when Laurel and Thea realize Team Arrow is in over its head tracking down a group of terrorist "ghosts" and come to Queen for his wisdom (without Diggle's knowledge), Felicity is more than happy to help them.

Queen? Not so much.

He's given up being Arrow (whom the public believes is dead), but Felicity convinces him there should be no second-guessing themselves when their friends need their help.

So that means Team Arrow is back together and all is right in Star City? Not even close — and what would "Arrow" be without tension between characters?

Digg still holds a grudge against Queen for kidnapping his wife and their baby last season when Queen was infiltrating Ra's al Ghul's army — without having told Team Arrow.

Needless to say, Digg and Queen's once super-strong dedication to each other will be put to the test this season. They will have to rebuild their trust in one another and the camaraderie they once had.

In Season 4, another ongoing issue will be Queen teaching his sister to use restraint in battle as Red Arrow. (Did you catch how Thea said she owed Laurel $50 over the time it would take for Queen to lecture her? Good stuff!)

I'd also like to see Laurel's Canary be a more refined fighter; in Season 3 she often was at best, awkward, if not a liability. That being said, it's a treat seeing Laurel being so confident and sure of herself otherwise.

With Arrow considered dead, Queen now dubs himself "the Green Arrow," a symbol for the sense of hope he wants to instill in Star City residents and a way from to keep the darkness out of his soul.

Remember: Starling City has been renamed Star City in honor of the supposedly late Ray Palmer's vision for Queen's hometown. But keep in mind that late last season Palmer came up with and perfected shrinking technology for his Atom armor. (So it's easy to guess how Palmer survives the devastating explosion in his lab.)

Then, there's this upcoming CW series called "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" in which actor Brandon Routh stars as Atom. So needless to say, there's no doubt Palmer/Atom will return to Star City soon.

Back to the Season 4 premiere of "Arrow": A surprising "What the —?!?" moment is learning Detective Quentin Lance is in cahoots with Damien Darhk (played by a menacing Neal McDonough, whom "Captain America" film fans might recognize better as the fun loving' Dum Dum Dugan, leader of the Howlin' Commandos) and his Hive.

There's obviously more to the Lance-Darhk team-up than meets the eye; I'm betting Lance has something up his sleeve that he hasn't told anyone about. … (Sound familiar?)

Keep in mind Deadshot made a vague reference to the Hive in an episode last season.

But the kicker to Wednesday's premiere was the "six months later" epilogue.

Whose fresh grave is that?  My gut instinct says Felicity gets killed during Season 4. Superheroes can't be happy in love, right?!? (I'd really hate to be right on that prediction! Emily Brett Rickards' character is such a breath of fresh air in what can be a somewhat dark and gloomy show.)

Or the grave could be Thea Queen's. Her recklessness and overeager "this is fun" approach to being Red Arrow might get her killed. Besides, Thea and Oliver Queen have lost a family member in nearly every season. But that would be one streak I'd be more than OK in breaking. …

Willa Holland and Stephen Amell connect quite well and make a believable sister and brother. Besides, I'd hate to see Oliver Queen lose his "Speedy."

Although killing off Thea/Red Arrow would mean Colton Hayes' Roy Harper could return to "Arrow" and take up the Red Arrow mantle and fight crime again in Star City alongside Green Arrow. This would reunite Queen with Harper, his original protege and the young man who gave Thea the Red Arrow costume that Harper wore as Arsenal.

This premiere has all the intensity I expect from "Arrow." The episode sets up many storyline possibilities, twists and turns and generates many questions — what I've seen in the series from the beginning. Grade: A

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