Friday, 30 October 2015

Arrow 4x01 and 4x02 Review

So I totally meant to have these up earlier and separately but unfortunately job searching and personal commitments got in the way, as they always do. Nonetheless, here are my reviews for the first two episodes of the new season of DC's Arrow.

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October means that Team Arrow is back in action, but after the events in Nanda Parbat and Starling City at the end of the last season, where do we go from here?

To the countryside it seems, the episode starting with Oliver running through a suburban neighbourhood to the house where he and Felicity now live. Lamenting over her cooking skills, Felicity reminds Oliver that they have guests coming. It seems Ollie really meant it when he said he was giving up the Arrow mantle, and it turns out he even has plans to propose!

But the happiness doesn't last long. New villain Damien Dhark has been terrorising newly renamed Star City, causing Laurel and Thea to come for Oliver's help. When Felicity reveals she's been helping the team behind Oliver's back, Ollie agrees to stay. Clearly Ollicity has a way to go before their happy ending!

Diggle isn't the only one unimpressed by this choice however. Captain Lance continues to believe Oliver can't change, while Thea is hiding some deep rooted anger caused by the Lazarus Pit. Much angst abounds.

As far as season openers go, this wasn't Arrow's best, but I still really enjoyed it. It was a great introduction to Dhark and had one or two 'What the hell?' moments. I loved Oliver and Felicity's continued chemistry and the line 'Felicity Smoak, you have failed this omelette' was one of the funniest the show has had. Perhaps they're learning a little from Flash? I was also truly intrigued by Thea's outpouring of anger, especially towards Oliver himself. That said, a few of the scenes fell flat, specifically revolving around Diggle's continued anger towards Oliver. The fact of the matter is Oliver did what he had to do to get Ra's to trust him, so that he could save the entire city. Having worked with Amanda Waller, Diggle should understand that. Oliver did not, and would not have, let any harm come to Lila.

The final five minutes clawed back some points for Team Arrow though. I'd noticed Grant Gustin labelled as a guest star at the beginning of the episode and had been expecting him to show up for 35 minutes. So by the last scene I was asking 'Where's Flash?'. What I didn't expect was a graveyard scene titled 6 months later to appear, depicting Barry arriving to see an angry, distraught Oliver beside a fresh grave. Clearly one of our beloved characters is going to meet their maker but the question is 'who?'. Only time - and the rest of the season - will tell.

Going into episode two, I was disappointed to find Dhark taking a back seat as the series villain, allowing 'monster of the week' lackies to take their turns in trying to kill Team Arrow. This week's lackie, so unimpressive that I can't even remember his name, brought the episode down a few pegs. Flash uses the same 'monster of the week' format but maybe by now I'm so intrigued by and invested in the idea of meta-humans that a plain-jane lackie just isn't going to cut it for me with regards to excitement levels.

That said, the main characters are the stars of the show and they did not disappoint. Thea's unresolved anger continued to be an issue in the field and led to a fist fight between her and Oliver, while Diggle - when not pointlessly still being angry at Oliver - dug further into his brother's murder. The highlight for me though was Laurel, who seemed unusually interested in what Oliver had to say about the Lazarus Pit.

We were also given a secondary storyline which involved

Flash forward to the end of the episode and we're given some clear direction as to where this season is headed. Oliver makes the decision to run for Mayor while - more importantly - Laurel and Thea sneak off to Nanda Parbat to try and help the latter's bloodlust. That's not Laurel's only intention however, the episode ending with her digging up Sara's grave. It's pretty clear over the next few episodes that we're going to find out how the White Canary ends up in Legends of Tomorrow; something I am very excited to see.

Extra points also for Felicity being a kick-ass CEO.

Both episodes get a 3.5 star rating.

Did you watch the episodes? Have any thoughts? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!

Holly @TheArtsShelf

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