Arrow Says Goodbye Darkness, Hello Darhk

As Season Four of Arrow commences, Starling City has seen better days. Damien Darhk’s ghosts fill the streets, buildings crumble, and “the new tourism program” cannot manage to bring in the holiday seekers. Contrast the darkness of Star City with whatever Pleasantville Oliver and Felicity are playing house in. They bask in the sunshine and drink mimosas while their comrades back in Star City spend their time battling Darhk’s stormtroopers. Dig carries a chip on his shoulder worthy of his physique and Laurel works really hard to be Black Canary. Only adrenaline-junkie Thea appears to be having any fun. Oliver’s proposal soufflé falls flat when Thea and Laurel show up with a plea for the Arrow’s help. Felicity and Oliver return to piece the city and Team Arrow back together one hero at a time.

http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy
http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy

Last we saw Oliver and Felicity, they were jetting down the coastline ready for a long vacation. After they returned from their summer travels, the duo settled down and he spent a few months mastering the art of the omelet. For Oliver, domestic life fits like a cozy green sweatshirt that he reluctantly leaves behind when Thea and Laurel come calling.

Meanwhile, Felicity spent her time in the cul-de-sac yearning for a keyboard and a greater sense of purpose.  She helped the team from afar without Oliver’s knowledge. The idea that Felicity would lie to Oliver about her involvement with the team and that he would believe for a second that his love alone could satisfy his genius-girlfriend feels like a stretch. Of course talk of slow-cookers makes her eyes glaze over. Oliver wants to stay away from Star City, but Felicity knows that he needs a larger purpose as much as she does. She convinces him to return to crime fighting and tosses in a new Arrow suit to sweeten the deal.

http://screenrant.com/arrow-season-4-premiere-images/
http://screenrant.com/arrow-season-4-premiere-images/

Diggle neglected to hang the “Welcome Home Oliver” banner in the lair. He cannot forgive Oliver for kidnapping Lyla, though she has. Lyla reminds John that he serves as Oliver’s conscience – “If Oliver Queen always made the right choice, he wouldn’t need you.” The two men are more than friends; they are brothers. Dig replaced Andy, the brother he lost to H.I.V.E., with Oliver. That is why Oliver’s crime against Lyla cut so deep. Dig cannot let his anger go and he shows its magnitude by throwing Oliver’s biggest fear in his face, “You don’t trust, you don’t love.” It does not matter that Dig’s assertion is untrue. This big brother knows exactly what to say to hurt Oliver, almost as much as Oliver hurt Dig when he kidnapped Lyla. Fortunately, Dig puts his love for the city ahead of his anger and later steps up to save Oliver from a lethal beating by a well-dressed Darhk.

http://screenrant.com/arrow-season-4-premiere-images/
http://screenrant.com/arrow-season-4-premiere-images/

By the look of Darhk’s suits, this season’s mayhem is sponsored by Tom Ford. Neil McDonough’s Damien Darhk glides into meetings uninvited and delivers speeches straight out of Ra’s al Guhl’s playbook. Dying cities beg to be “put down” and Darhk is just the man for the job. To prove he means business, Darhk knocks off city leaders one by one. In a V for Vendetta move, Darhk loads Star City’s new high speed train with explosives and sends it speeding toward the train station. Oliver cannot stop the train, so he opts to blow it up in what amounts to a terrible waste of energy-efficient mass transportation. Darhk exudes a whole new level of evil for Arrow. Dum Dum Dugan would not approve.

http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/
http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/
http://screenrant.com/arrow-season-4-premiere-images/
http://screenrant.com/arrow-season-4-premiere-images/

In other news, Lance and Laurel appear to have patched things up, though the revelation of Captain Lance as Darhk’s secret conspirator suggests that all is not well for her father. Laurel’s big-sister relationship with Thea sets up a brother-sister relationship for Oliver and Laurel by extension.  In completely unrelated flashbacks, Oliver tangles with Amanda Waller, parachutes into Lian Yu, and does his best Andy Warhol impression wearing a wig the prop master found by the side of the road.

http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy
http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy
B945H6 Andy Warhol, artist, portrait, himself, white background
B945H6 Andy Warhol, artist, portrait, himself, white background, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

As the episode comes to a close, Oliver broadcasts a noble if corny speech to all of Star City in which he puts “that monster” the Arrow behind him and re-names himself the Green Arrow. It looks like Oliver can be a hero without the darkness, especially with Felicity by his side. Their happiness, however, appears too good to last. His plans to offer her Moira’s engagement ring and their decision to move into a loft paid for with Malcolm Merlyn’s money are harbingers of doom. The flash forward, complete with an appearance by Flash, does not surprise. We watch as Oliver sheds a lone tear over a fresh grave that can only be Felicity’s.

http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy
http://screencapped.net/tv/arrow by Peggy

I suppose I should be outraged over Felicity Smoak’s impending demise. Instead, I fear that Arrow will introduce time travel and alternate universes, obstacles that keep me from writing about The Flash. As for Emily Bett Rickards, she isn’t going anywhere. Oliver might withstand the loss of Felicity, but Arrow won’t. I’m putting my money on a late spring wedding – Green Arrow mints and chocolate soufflés all around. Until then, buckle up. It’s going to be a fast and rocky ride.

6 Comments »

  1. I’m so happy to have Arrow back and to read your posts again. I was wondering…who do you think is in the grave? I actually think Felicity is a red herring. My bet is not any of the main characters but rather the new Mayoral candidate who is a family friend of Oliver and Thea. Since, I believe this character was a close friend of Moira we could see her play a mother role to both Queens but especially Oliver. We also have no idea when the funeral happens but my bet is near the end of the season. This would give them enough time to make her a close enough person to Oliver that he would actually be heart broken to lose her. It could be like losing his mother all over again. The reason I don’t think it is Felicity is because there is no way that Barry would miss her funeral…EVER. Just my thoughts.

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    • Hello Andy:

      It is good to be back! I really enjoyed the first episode. I think this is going to be a great season. I don’t think Felicity is going to die, but there is a chance that her death might be a ruse. I read that Guggenheim confirmed that this death is real. I remain skeptical about that. In think it makes sense for the writers to lead us to believe that the death is real and then play with a timeline or alternate realities. Maybe I have been watching too much Flash! I can’t imagine the show without Diggle or Felicity. Maybe it is finally time for Laurel to leave the show. Her character feels more redundant than ever now that Thea has suited up. You are probably right that a new character will die, though don’t know why Barry would attend that person’s funeral. I read Barry’s appearance at the grave site a little differently. I can only see him attending Felicity’s funeral and no one else’s. He is friendly with other people on the team, but not close to any of them. Maybe he was just there to support Oliver? I never thought the two of them were that close. Maybe they will become closer as the season progresses. I still see Felicity as the link between the two. I would hate to lose Captain Lance. I am tired of losing main characters. I am still not over Moira’s death! It is always good to chat Arrow with you!

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  2. Right now, the most innovative, non-cliche thing Arrow could do is allow Olicity to stay together and be happy and alive until Oliver turns 86. Breaking up the couple for angst and manpain is a cliche, killing off the love interest for angst and manpain is cliche… and they realized killing Sara for Laurel’s story was a big, big mistake, enough so that they’re bringing her back for a spin-off (via Laurel’s poor decision-making skills… I love Sara and can’t wait to see her, but Laurel’s self-absorption has reached a new low. Thea’s going Darth Willow because of the Lazarus Pit… well, hey that’s not too bad! Let’s dig up Sara’s rotting corpse and go to Nanda Parbat! Just in time for a Very Special Halloween episode!). Killing Felicity Smoak would be an even bigger mistake; killing her then getting Oliver and Laurel together is a guaranteed riot in the making.

    My money’s on Lance dying shortly after reconciling with Oliver and recognizing him for the hero he is. Both he and Barry aren’t choked up enough for it to be Felicity, Diggle and Thea would be absolute poor taste, and the only chance it could be Laurel is if the rumblings I’ve heard about Katie Cassidy wanting to move on to “more serious roles” are true.

    (Side note: watching The Flash alongside Arrow just points out how wonderfully integrated their ensemble is, and how Arrow’s ensemble… isn’t, and it’s still the same character sticking out like a sore thumb. This is why there’s such validity to claims that The Flash is superior to Arrow; with The Flash, they probably screen tested actors with Grant before hiring them… from what I’ve read, my production-level TV logic notes that Katie was The Name, a CW darling and the first person to sign on, and when they found Amell, they always say it was never a complication because he was THE GUY. When you watch them on screen together, the complete lack of chemistry indicates they never screen tested together or because Katie signed a contract first, they had to keep her and go with it. Without that contract they could have gone on to find an actress who actually fits the role of Dinah Laurel Lance and isn’t an embarrassment to the Black Canary. They realized their mistake by the time they were casting for The Flash, but if they’d had the balls to cut the cord and break the contract with Katie after Laurel was made irrelevant in season 2 – anything Laurel could do, Sara could do better – I don’t think we would have had the mostly terrible and absolutely uneven season 3 that we did).

    (and thus ends the editorializing).

    The only other person I who might be in the grave is Sandra Hawke; killing her would garner the appropriate amount of mourning and guilt without debilitating Oliver, and there would be lots of story in trying to figure out the superhero family thing alongside the blended family if Oliver gained custody of Connor.

    Five minutes in, Damian Darhk is already more menacing than Ra’s al Ghul was the entire season. He is the ultimate in Lawful Evil; he is rational and logical where Ra’s was all old world superstition. And my God, does he rock those suits.

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    • Hello Lex:

      Let’s see, where to begin. Thus far Arrow is doing a great job with the Olicity pairing. Felicity’s love for Oliver, and more importantly his love for her has allowed him to actually develop as a character. He has changed in a positive way. I am not sure he could have become Green Arrow without that catalyst.

      Neither Felicity nor Diggle could leave the show and have it stay in tact in their absence. Sandra Hawke is a good possibility. It would be cruel, however, to take another parent from another child. It is hard for me to connect to Sandra since we barely know her and we have not met Connor yet. Losing his mother and blaming his new father for her death would make for an interesting storyline. It reminds me of Angel.

      I agree that Arrow has not known what to do with Laurel from day one. At this point she does seem to be a casualty of Sara’s storyline and Cady Lotz’s spin-off.

      Yes, Darhk looks fabulous in those suits! Thank you for sharing your insights once again.

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      • Oh. Angel. Aside from being a Spike girl, it’s Joss who has made me so bitter about the killing-someone-just-when-they’re-happy thing. It’s slightly ironic that Laurel is now being sacrificed for Sara’s storyline, and because I usually am an emotional viewer (though your logic generally one of the things that calm me down) I have to admit to a slight feeling of schadenfreude at that.

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