Tonight was the Season 6 premiere of Arrow, the flagship show of The CW’s DC Universe. Season 5 of Arrow was by far one of the shows strongest with a deadly and vicious villain in Prometheus. A man who always seemed one step ahead of Oliver right until the very end. After the mess that was Season 4, the show smartly went back to basics, telling grounded, gritty stories (I feel like there’s a contingent that felt Season 3 was weak as well, which I don’t get because I thought it was great).
Anyway, this new season is a milestone for the show because they wrapped up the five years of flashbacks that showed us bratty, playboy Oliver Queen turned into the borderline psychopathic vigilante we see rescued in the Pilot. The show has come full circle. I’ve heard that the flashback won’t be gone completely. We may get flash forwards or flashbacks for other characters on the show. If this first episode is any indication, we should be in for another strong season of vigilante action from Arrow.
One of the big questions going into the premiere was: Who, if anyone, died in the explosion on Lian Yu in the Season 5 finale? I won’t spoil the answer here, I’ll just say you won’t be shedding any tears for the bombing victims. I suppose you could criticize the show for not making a risky choice by killing off a popular character, but I don’t really give a shit because I really like the characters who survived (2 of the survivors were spoiled over the summer when it was announced that Wild Dog and Dinah “Black Canary” Drake were being made series regulars). This episode saw the team facing down a familiar enemy and dropped a few clues at a larger game in play and we’ll have to see how this plays out.
The episode opens with a terrific action sequence that sets the tone for the quality of the episode going forward. Like the excellent VFX we see of The Flash, Arrow consistently has some of the best stunt work and fight choreography on TV. The opening action sequence and the highway fight that closes out the first act were big highlights. This is even more impressive when you consider that they only have a week to lock down these sequences for each episode. A show like Daredevil is shot more like a film which gives them more time to get stunt work and hand to hand combat down pat. So kudos to the Arrow stunt team once again.
DC comics fans like me always enjoy the cool Easter Eggs, big and small, on all of the CW DC shows. One of my personal favorites that we get to see throughout the episode are Curtis’ “T-Spheres”, the circular high tech drones that “Mr. Teriffic” uses for offense and defense in fights, data scanning, and hacking into other electronics (and it looks like they’ve received an upgrade this season).
The elephant in the room is that Oliver is a father, his adolescent son William living with him now. (This should be another big clue about who didn’t make it off the Lian Yu alive) It was nice to see Rosa, Oliver’s Russian nanny growing up who he had a special bond with, return to the show. I think this is the first time we’ve seen her since Season 1. Having her looking after William, much like she did for Oliver was a nice touch. I imagine being a Superhero/Mayor doesn’t leave a ton of Father/Son time available.
Characters like William can easily drag down a show like Arrow. The writers will have to be very careful how they use him. He’s only in a few scenes, but the sullen pre-teen act doesn’t help his cause. I can see myself wishing William will meet a tragic end in a short amount of time unless they do something unpredictable with him. If they do the whole “Father trying to win over the son he never knew he had shtick”, this isn’t gonna work. As of right now, my stance on William is that I hope he’ll be taken hostage by some psycho and join the long list of loved ones Oliver just couldn’t save.
(FUCK YOU, William! I don’t need you fuckin’ up my stories with your moody bullshit)
One very welcome return was Manu Bennet as Slade Wilson. It was great having him fight on Oliver’s side in the season finale last year and it looks like he’ll be sticking around for the foreseeable future. He was always one of the shows best characters, so it’s a real pleasure to see this “Not Bat Shit Crazy” version of Slade part of the series again.
(“Sure you killed my Mom and everything, but it’s all good Slade. You were on some hardcore drugs at the time.” Arrow: a show about forgiveness)
The episode ends on a pretty major cliffhanger which will have huge ramifications for the team and Oliver in particular. I’ve heard there will be multiple major villains this season including the great Micheal Emerson (Ben Linus from Lost). All in all this was a great season premiere that wrapped up the loose ends from last season’s finale and set up some interesting storylines for the season going forward. Unless some of the show’s minor issues turn into big problems, we should be in for another solid season of Arrow.
EPISODE SCORE: (with William) 8 out of 10
(without William) 9 out of 10
Thanks for reading!
(I don’t know why I put this here. What to you think of the outfit? Stupid? Cool? Let me know in the comments)