Arrow is back for its sixth season, fresh off an insane season finale, where much of the cast was feared dead. Because this is the CW, you know that’s not going to be the case, but the show does feel fundamentally different than it did at the end of last season. Keep reading for a full review, but beware of spoilers.
1. Body Count (Not the Ice-T group)
So, after the explosion on Lian-Yu, who is dead? Well, the only two we know for sure(ish) are Malcolm Merlyn, who was standing directly on top of a landmine, and Samantha, the mother of Ollie’s son. Thea is in a coma, Quentin is racked with guilt over shooting Black Siren, and Diggle is suffering from some serious PTSD. But overall, the crew hasn’t been changed all that much. Thea’s coma is the most serious blow to the status quo, but she’s disappeared from the show for months at a time before, so it isn’t as if this is an unprecedented move.
That said, unlike The Flash, which resolved every thread of its status quo-shaking season finale within an hour, Arrow‘s tone has really changed. Whether it is the presence of William, Ollie’s son, as a more featured character, or the rehabilitation of Slade Wilson, or the mystery of who saved Black Siren, or just the sense of relief that they survived that terrible trauma, the show seems to have a more serious tone than years past.
I try not to read too many of the news items about these shows over the summer so that there is some mystery about the shows when they return, and I have no idea who the big bad is going to be, but it is interesting to see Black Siren as such a prominent character. I know that Katie Cassidy has been upgraded to a series regular, so perhaps she’ll be the big bad, but she’s a really interesting choice to be the villain for a few reasons.
We also saw a lot of Alex Faust, seemingly not the same character as Felix Faust, but a goon with a C4 implant in his tooth. That’s dedication to breaking out of prison that I can get behind.
3. Unnecessary dialogue
This show has always been guilty of throwing far too much expository dialogue in any scene – there’s specifically a moment from a year or two ago when Diggle said something like “Well, I’ve got to go talk with my wife, Laila, who is running ARGUS now.” But this week, there were four or five moments in this episode where characters were running or walking fast, and trying to cram so much dialogue into the moment that it was rendered almost inaudible. Not only that, it was stuff like “how did they find us? What should we do?” Those are totally unnecessary sentences. If an intruder is breaking in, you don’t need to ask those questions, because the audience infers them.
My big advice for the show: say less, show more.
4. They need to rethink their whole thing
There were two things that happened this week that seemed to indicate that, perhaps, the team needs to rethink some shit. The first is that Ollie still has a strict ‘no-killing’ policy, but Quentin mowed down a ton of Black Siren’s goons on the bridge with seemingly no problem. Does Ollie’s rule only apply to him? Doesn’t he hold his team to the same standards?
The other is that they really need a new headquarters, as that one has now been trashed at least 750 times. Every villain seems to know where it is, and it is about as secure as a child’s bike lock. Find a new place to hang your shingle, Team Arrow.
5. Green Dadrow
The most compelling part of this episode was the Ollie/William stuff. The poor kid loses the only parent he’s ever known, blames his dad for it (rightly so), and now has to live in a new city with an entirely new group of people as his family. It’s a tough situation, and the show rightly treats it as such. Ollie is not a natural dad, but is really trying, and it is endearing to see Ollie try so hard.Continued below
William isn’t feeling it for most of the episode, but is eventually enticed to watch baseball with his dad, which made for a sweet moment. Of course, his dad was just unmasked (again) as the Green Arrow, so we’ll see if he keeps that date or not.
What did you think of the premiere? Let me know in the comments!