‘Arrow’ Season 4 Premiere Roundtable: Discussing ‘Green Arrow’

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Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of Arrow and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down the season 4 premiere, titled “Green Arrow,” where we see Oliver Queen don a new attitude, a new suit, and a new name worthy of protecting Star City.

What did you think of the season premiere overall?

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Alyssa: As far as Arrow season premieres go, “Green Arrow” was the series’ best. It had the challenge of beginning a new chapter, so to speak, where we met an entirely different Oliver Queen after five blissful months away from Starling City. You might’ve thought the show had gone soft and all. Oh, you couldn’t be more wrong. The premiere delivered an hour of action, thrill, heart, and shockers that left me speechless and incoherent for a while. As if Arrow wasn’t already killing it in the first 50 minutes of the episode, the last 10 minutes really drove it home. There were several reveals that were physically painful, and I was not prepared to face that final scene. It was so unlike anything Arrow has done before on the show which made it so incredibly impactful and raw. The premiere did what a premiere should do and more. It sent up what this season will be about, which is family and battling Darhk forces, as well as introducing a new tone. While Arrow will always be Arrow with its darkness, there’s definitely a lightness to the show that wasn’t present last season.

Lizzie: I loved it. I think it was very successful on a couple of things, the first and foremost being the rebranding of Arrow. Oliver Queen in the first three seasons of this show was not a hero; he was just a man trying to do something good while battling his inner demons. That’s not the Oliver Queen of today, not the Oliver Queen of Season 4. We’ve just met the Green Arrow, and the Green Arrow is a whole different monster. (Not that Stephen Amell should ever be referred to as a monster). I think the premiere established a lighter Oliver really well, and also, presented the team and the dynamics between the team in a very successful and compelling way. Also, wow villain. And wow twists.

Beth: So stoked for the new season because of the premiere. I went from elation at how domestic Oliver and Felicity were from the beginning to excited seeing them being sucked back into the conflict with Star City police and bad guys and frustrated that the effort to be something more, make more of themselves and the city remains such a painful path.

We immediately met our big bad for the season in the premiere. What are your thoughts on Damien Darhk?

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Alyssa: The fact that Damien Darhk, the season’s central villain, was introduced in the season premiere is something that speaks volumes. Arrow has never done that with its big bads in the past, and it just shows how important Darhk is this season. I believe he’s the most terrifying foe that Oliver will face, as he brings a sense of composure, mysticism, and the fact that he’s pure evil. Arrow has had some pretty great villains, with Slade Wilson being my favorite to date, but in just one episode, Darhk is already the most terrifying villain that I’ve ever seen on Arrow. He is exactly what we were promised Ra’s al Ghul would be last season but somehow even better. Plus, Neal McDonough is so brilliantly chilling as Darhk that he truly terrifies me to my core, and I’ll be crying into my pillow for the next 22 episodes for sure.

Lizzie: Damien Darhk is everything I wanted Ra’s to be. I’m already scared of him, and it’s been one episode. And it’s not even the whole mysticism or whatever thing that scares me. Damien as a person scares me, plain and simple. I had to go grab an extra blanket to burrow under yesterday, as I watched the show (as ineffective as blankets would be at saving me from him), because, yeah, Neal McDonough was working it. As far as villains go, Arrow seems to have hit it out of the park this time.

Beth: He’s the devil, right?! Satan incarnate. Felicity will find his weakness, because that’s what she’s good at doing – breaking down tech, making sense of unthinkably bizarre puzzles and dismantling the harmful parts. Damien Darhk is void of humanity so he falls under Felicity’s genius, right? Plus no one is hurting Oliver anymore on her watch!

What are your thoughts on this new Oliver Queen that we met in the premiere?

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Alyssa: For the past three seasons we’ve watched an emotionally distraught Oliver Queen struggle with the darkness that came from those hellish five years and from being the Vigilante/Hood/Arrow. It’s refreshing to see this lighter Oliver where he’s no longer blaming himself for all of the darkness that had surrounded him. I really enjoyed seeing an unburdened Oliver living in domestic life and seeing that once he returned to Star City he still maintained that lighter nature. Since this is the story of Oliver’s becoming the Green Arrow – not just the name, but the hero – this is a quality of his personality that is key in that. He can’t embrace that darkness that he did before if he hopes to inspire. While brooding Oliver is super-hot, carefree Oliver is sexy as hell.

Lizzie: Can we keep him? Forever? I thought I liked the Hood, and I thought I loved the Arrow, but it turns out I’m completely besotted with the Green Arrow. This is the Oliver Queen I’ve wanted to see for three years. Please, please don’t take him away from us.

Beth: He’s so delightfully sexy! Yeah… that’s it. Gimme… More.

We find Oliver and Felicity living in suburban bliss to start the season before they head back to Star City to help their friends. What are your thoughts on them as a couple moving forward this season?

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Alyssa: Much like Oliver and Felicity are living in domestic bliss, I feel like I’m living in shipper bliss because of these two. It’s incredible to see how far these two have come since season one and to see how much of an impact they’ve both had in each other’s lives. One of the storylines we’ll see this season is how Oliver and Felicity are a team within a team – we’ll see them being a team in their professional and personal lives. The fact that we got to see these two in a relationship, living together, having instances where the topic of children is brought up, and that Oliver was going to propose to Felicity before the superhero life beckoned, it made me emotional. I’ve never seen Oliver Queen so happy, and it truly makes my heart swell with love. This is someone who deserves all the happiness his heart desires, and he’s found it with this adorable blonde with a penchant for quirky one-liners. This is Oliver’s story to becoming the Green Arrow, and if there was anything that I learned from the premiere (that I already knew but had reaffirmed) it was that there is no Green Arrow without Felicity Smoak.

Lizzie: For a moment there, at the beginning of the episode, I even jokingly said that Season 3 was worth it if we meant we got to see this. Because this is what the Green Arrow needs to be a hero. This is what Arrow, the TV show needs to be something other than an hour that fills our angst quota for the week. We fall in love with characters, yes, and those characters need to evolve. We don’t want to be seeing the same character for 10 seasons. Oliver Queen has changed. Felicity Smoak has also changed. And in season 5, I get the sense we’ll continue to see them evolve, this time together.

Beth: They are so freaking cute! Omigosh… could they be the more perfect example of domesticity with a bit of a superhero activity on the side. Of course, ups and downs happen even when you don’t fight crime in a green leather suit but their bond has already been tested. The writers should recognize that and I certainly hope they respect it.

Time does not heal all wounds for Diggle. What do you think about the rift between Oliver and Diggle that will carry on this season?

    

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Alyssa: Oliver and Diggle are one of my favorite relationships on Arrow, and it pained me to watch the rift between them grow. My heart actually hurts. Diggle’s feelings toward Oliver have not gotten any better when we begin the season, and he makes that blatantly clear. While Oliver is prepared to earn back Diggle’s respect, Diggle isn’t too forgiving. Dig, you have to be open to forgiving Oliver if you ever want to. I admit, there were times where I was a little agitated at Diggle. Sure, he has valid reason to be angry, but there comes a point where you need to open your mind up to forgiveness. Of course it’s not going to be instantaneous. Oliver is going to need to earn his respect back. But Diggle has got to let him. And quite frankly, some of the things Diggle said to Oliver were terrible and not true, especially when he told him he was incapable of love. Diggle knows that that’s a lie; he’s witnessed it firsthand. Through the first three seasons, Oliver and Diggle have always relied on each other so this is really the first season where they don’t have that anymore. Will they get it back eventually? Sure, but it’s one of those storylines that’s going to dictate this season. The theme, after all, is family, and Oliver and Diggle are brothers despite the hardships they face.

Lizzie: I was so annoyed by Diggle this episode, and I’m never annoyed by Diggle. Not because he’s wrong, mind you, he’s got good reasons to be mad at Oliver. I’m upset because this Diggle was purposefully out to hurt Oliver. And Oliver, for all his mistakes, never set out to hurt Diggle. No, Oliver wanted to keep Diggle safe. He screwed up, yes, but he did it out of good intentions. Diggle was just being petty and cruel. He was hitting Oliver right where it hurt. And I think part of it was mad at Oliver, yes, and the other part was that he was mad at everyone else for not being mad at Oliver. Lyla, Felicity, Thea, Laurel, no one seems to hold Oliver accountable for his actions, so, in a way, I think Diggle feels that falls to him. And so he reacted much more strongly than he should have.

Also, because I can’t NOT mention this, the path of bitterness that Diggle is on is lined with IRONY. Diggle is mad at Oliver for lying to him. For not trusting him enough. I guess, in his mind, that justifies doing the same thing, but I can guarantee it’s going to come back to bite him in the ass.

Beth: Geesh, how mean can you be, Diggle? While he has a right to be hurt, his anger got the best of him in this episode. For the two of them to work through this rough patch, Oliver and Diggle might actually have to talk it out, even maybe a few fists get thrown; but it doesn’t seem like a rift that will heal with time.

In the flashbacks, we see that Amanda Waller has Oliver returned to Lian Yu. Any guesses as to what lies in store on the island this season?

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Alyssa: As far as season four flashback destinations were concerned, I was convinced it was going to Russia and the Bratva. So the return to the island, while inevitable, was a nice shocker before a series of other shocks that felt like repeated blows to the stomach. As far as what might happen with the flashbacks this season, we know that Oliver is going to faceoff with the Shadowspire organization and that mysticism will play a heavy role, which lends knowledge to Oliver’s present-day awareness of what Damien Darhk brings to the table. Since we’re in season four, I believe we’re going to flashback Oliver descend further into darkness and become more recognizable as that man from the pilot.

Lizzie: I’m usually not the biggest fan of flashbacks, but I’ll take Oliver going dark on the Island over Hong Kong every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Though, really, at this point you have to wonder: How many people did this supposedly inhabited island actually hold? How is Oliver going to go dark AND find a girl on this place (AGAIN)? I don’t know, but considering Waller is involved, I’m guessing this place is once again the base of operations for something bad and Waller needs Oliver to go undercover evil. It’s a nice contrast to smiley Oliver back in the present.

Beth: Prison camp for thugs? Amanda Waller doesn’t like to get her hands dirty.

We saw a huge betrayal in the premiere from one of the unlikeliest of people. What are your thoughts on the shocker that Quentin Lance is working with Damien Darhk and why do you think he agreed to it?

    

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Alyssa: If you would’ve told me that Quentin Lance would betray us all and work for Damien Darhk, I’d have told you you’re crazy. But alas, good old Lance has been working with Darhk and H.I.V.E. for the past few months. Doing what? Probably helping Darhk infiltrate the city or feeding him information. As for why Lance agreed to work for Darhk, perhaps initially he wasn’t aware of his true intentions or maybe Darhk threatened the life of someone he cared about, Laurel or his ex-wife Dinah, perhaps? While Lance is working with Darhk, I don’t believe that he’s doing it with ill intentions. He clearly was not okay with Darhk’s slaughtering of innocent people. But then again, Lance has no idea just what a despicable human being Darhk is. And I have a feeling he’s going to find out the hard way just how evil Darhk is.

Lizzie: To say I was shocked would be an understatement, so well done Arrow. Quentin has always been the moral compass of the series, and now, with no moral compass to speak of, well, it seems like this show can/will go to hell in a hand-basket. Which it’s why it’s time for Oliver to step it up.

On the Lance side, I’m very happy for him. This at least gives him something to do. Paul Blacktorne is more than capable of playing conflicted Lance, and hey, even if, as I think, he agreed with this because his whole rage over Sara is still clouding his judgment, in the end, he’s going to have to find his own path, just like the rest of the team.

Beth: Quentin Lance, how can you be so idiotic, blinded by your pain – loss – feelings of betrayal – which justified in regards to Laurel, but Oliver was not the one who made the call not to tell you about Sarah. Right?! And Laurel is your daughter, who you love and you’re just being ridiculous. REEEEEDICULOUS!!!

Whose name is on that gravestone? Theories now!

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Alyssa: Is anyone else still reeling from that final scene in the cemetery? Because I’m still incoherent because of it. The previous shock involving Quentin had barely sunk in and then we get a shot of a depressed Oliver in a cemetery crying over someone’s grave six months in the future. From what I gather, someone that Oliver cares about was killed at the hands of Damien Darhk, and Oliver believes it’s his responsibility to kill Darhk. It’s so obvious that the producers want us to believe it is Felicity’s name on that gravestone, but it’s not. Clearly, it’s not. It’s an obvious misdirect. There’s no way in hell Oliver would be that calm and feel like it’s his responsibility if that was Felicity. Oliver wouldn’t be able to function. My bet is it’s one of the Lances: Quentin or Laurel, but I’m leaning more toward Quentin. With Quentin’s affiliation with Darhk and how he’s beginning to see Darhk for who he is, it’s very possible that Quentin dies protecting Oliver or Team Arrow. But it could also be Laurel seeing as she’s been spending a lot of time over at Legends of Tomorrow. This is definitely a mystery that will be teased and speculated throughout the season.

Lizzie: I’ve got two theories, though there’s more than two people who are possible. The only ones I’m sure are NOT dead are Thea and Felicity. Yeah, no way Oliver’s all like, it’s not my fault, but it’s my responsibility if Thea or Felicity die. Also, no way Barry shows up all casual and like I’m sorry I missed the funeral if it’s Felicity. So cross those two off the list. Diggle doesn’t seem likely either, but there’s no specific reason to cross him off other than a gut feeling. It seems more likely that it’s either Laurel or Lance, and of those two, Quentin makes much more sense. Especially because the words Oliver uses in that scene are a play on the exact same thing Quentin told him at the beginning of the episode. Also, it fits with Oliver’s reaction.

One last guess, though, because …well, if it’s not Quentin, I can see it being Baby Mamma. I don’t especially like this idea, but it’s not out of the question.

Beth: Quentin Lance: Beloved Father, Officer of Justice

Quentin Lance’s storyline will blow it out of the water, but it’s going to be so explosive and someone’s going to get burned. He won’t let anyone but himself suffer the consequences. Such a damn shame.

Join us next week for another Fangirlish Roundtable discussion!

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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