Arrow “Green Arrow” Review (Season 4, Episode 1)

The philosopher Lao Tzu once said that he who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened. Judging from much of what happened in the Arrow season premiere, it looks like Olivier is on a quest for enlightenment. And it also appears he’s got a very long road ahead of him. This season premiere had a lot of heavy lifting to do. Last season was uneven at best. There were some things I liked about last season, but as a whole I wasn’t particularly impressed. However, if Arrow pays off on the storylines they set up in this premiere, I will be a happy camper. This episode was pretty much about getting Oliver back into the game and introducing Damien Dark.

Last season saw the death of The Arrow and Oliver taking off to parts unknown with Felicity. When you’ve gone through everything Oliver went through last year, it’s crucial to give your mind, body, and spirit time and space to recover. One of the many things that happened to Oliver was he spent so much time perfecting being The Arrow that he forgot how to be Oliver Queen. Taking time away gave him an opportunity to rediscover Oliver, and it was important that he do so. Balance is very important in life, and Oliver definitely didn’t have any balance. That’s part of the reason both Slade Wilson and Ras al Gul were able to get inside Oliver’s head. By allowing himself to rediscover who he is without The Arrow, he can begin to come to terms with himself and put himself back together stronger. However, hiding out in suburbia because you’re afraid to face the consequences of your decisions doesn’t actually help you. Whatever else Oliver may have called it, he was definitely hiding. He made some hard choices in order to take Ras al Gul down, and the consequences of those choices are hurting Oliver in ways I don’t think he imagined they would. His best friend despises him; his team doesn’t want to follow him anymore; and his city is in shambles. Leaving Starling City to get away from all of that is not only understandable, it was, for a time a least, necessary. But staying away out of guilt or shame isn’t going to help him or his friends work through everything that happened to them last year.

The last year was tough on Oliver, but it was tough on the rest of his team too. Not only did they have to mourn his death. They also had to watch as their friend appeared to ally himself with one of their most lethal enemies. They were kept completely in the dark and were powerless to stop much of what was happening around them. Then on top of that, they realized that Oliver had lied to and manipulated them in his quest to take down Ras. Needless to say, they were none too happy with Oliver by the end of the season. Dig especially was angry because of that whole Oliver kidnapping his wife thing. But Lila pointed out something to Dig that I don’t thing Dig actually considered. Oliver was at war. Once Ras set his sights on Oliver, Oliver was engaged in a war whether he liked it or not. He did what he felt he had to do in order to keep his friends and family safe. I’m not saying I agree with Oliver’s choices, but I can certainly understand where he was coming from. And it appears Lila does too. I mean, who wouldn’t go to extremes in order to protect those that they love? Oliver’s dangerous game ended with him taking down Ras, but it wasn’t without massive casualties. Namely Oliver’s relationship with Dig and his identity as The Arrow. As to the latter, in his statement to the people of Starling City Oliver admitted that The Arrow was too tarnished to be the hero the city wanted. He was the hero the city needed at the time, but I agree that The Arrow never could have been the symbol of hope that the city needs now. The Green Arrow has an opportunity to not only give the people hope but also remind them they are not alone in their fight to save their city. However, Oliver’s relationship with Dig is going to take a bit more work.

Trust is a very delicate animal. Once it’s broken, it’s hardly ever able to be repaired. It takes time, effort, and love to even begin to rebuild trust. It also takes two people who are willing to put in that time, effort, and love. It just doesn’t look like Dig is there yet. Oliver was very lucky to have Dig and I think he knows that. Dig isn’t just a trained soldier who can handle himself. He’s also a good man who tries to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. He’s helped steer Oliver toward the hero’s path almost from the beginning, and truth be told, Oliver would have been dead so many times if not for Dig’s intervention. I think Oliver knew when he took Lila that Dig was going to be furious, but I don’t think he counted on just how completely it would break his relationship with Dig. When Dig and Oliver first started their journey together, Dig wasn’t married and he wasn’t a father. He could throw himself in front of danger without being overly concerned if something happened to him because he didn’t have anyone at home depending on him. He also didn’t have two people that he values more than life itself to worry about. He does now, and Oliver put those two people in jeopardy. Honestly, I don’t know how much real danger they were in because Oliver would never have hurt either of them, but it’s the principle of the thing. Dig believes that Oliver’s actions demonstrate Oliver’s lack of trust, but it’s more than that. Oliver was afraid. Slade Wilson took almost everything from him, and then right on the heels of those losses, Ras shows up wanting to take what’s left. Oliver was just plain old scared and he reacted in the way most people do when they’re scared. I’m actually kind of glad that Dig didn’t immediately forgive Oliver because he’s done that way too often in the past. Oliver needs to understand that he cannot continue treating the people who love him the way he has been. It’s not right to make decisions for other people without giving them the chance to have any input and that’s exactly what Oliver did. Not just to Dig but to everyone else too. I have faith that Dig and Oliver will work through this, but like I said, it’s going to take effort, time, and love.

As I said, this was a solid season opener. Damien Dark looks like he’s going to be a pretty awesome baddie. It looks like he’s even worse than Slade and Ras, and that’s saying something. I’ve always loved Neal McDonough in bad guy roles, so I’m really looking forward to watching what he does with this character. I’m not too happy about the road Captain Lance is walking right now. He started working with Ras last season and he’s working with Damien this season. He keeps blaming Oliver for all of the horrible things happening in the city, but perhaps he should be taking a look in the mirror. Thea also looks like she’s suffering some repercussions from being brought back from the dead. She’s definitely out of control, but here’s hoping she’ll let Oliver help her before it’s too late. I also hope the powers that be will write her more consistently this season than they wrote her last season. Her storyline has potential, but not if they don’t figure out how to write the character in a more coherent way. This entire season has some pretty good potential. Fingers crossed they don’t squander it. So what did y’all think of the Arrow season premiere?