written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
After thwarting a large scale terror attack on Starling City, the Arrow has finally garnered the trust and respect of not just the city but also of the newly promoted Captain Lance, in effect disbanding the vigilante task force. Seems like everything has picked up a bit for Oliver Queen... well, aside from the fact he still doesn't have control of his family's company.
Still fighting crime and telling bad guys how much they failed the city, Team Arrow grew by one near the end of last season and after 5 months of training, Roy is primed to be a bow-and-arrow wielding partner to Ollie's Arrow. Throw into the mix Oliver and Felicity's burgeoning love affair, a whole host positive things begin happening for Oliver Queen... that is until a new baddie comes to Starling.
Werner Zytle (played by Peter Stormare) makes his Arrow debut, sporting drugged darts tipped with a modified version of The Count's Vertigo formula, this new member of the Arrow's rogues gallery will push Oliver in ways he hasn't been pushed since Slade. For the comic book initiated, you'll recognize the name as the identity of the true Count Vertigo (in the post-Flashpoint DCU). Whether the writers had planned this from the beginning or rather this is in response to the negative response to how Count Vertigo was originally presented on Arrow, it looks liked they are getting closer to the comic book roots of the Emerald Archer.
After an attempt on his life that resulted in Vertigo blowing up a restaurant and almost killing both Oliver and Felicity, Arrow begins his hunt for the baddie of the episode. Not just super-villains in his way, another new cast member stands in Oliver's way to reclaim his family's company. Brandon Routh, the boring Superman, steps into the boots of another DC main-stay as Dr. Ray Palmer makes his DC television universe debut, again for the comic book initiated... you'll also know Ray Palmer as the incredible shrinking super hero The Atom. It isn't clear whether or not Routh's Ray Palmer with go the route of tights and mask, but it's promising to see that more DC mainstays are making their way to what I feel is a better television universe than Marvel's (there I said it).
Back at the Arrow Cave, Ollie begins to question whether he should keep Diggle in the field, what with him expecting a baby girl soon.
The episode had a solid mix of action hood and mask moments as well as suit and tie moments. I'm a fan of the Oliver/Felicity pairing, and while as a comic book purist I'm still rooting for Ollie to end up with Laurel in the end, it was nice to see Oliver share his vulnerable side with another person. While the chapter of "the Island" came to a close, Oliver is now seen trying to escape Amanda "head of the Suicide Squad" Waller while being in captivity in Hong Kong. I love the new flashback setting and I'm glad that they are continuing to do the flashbacks, while I loved the island... it's nice to see "long-hair-don't-care" Ollie romp around a new locale.
This premiere episode ends on a VERY surprising note... with the death of an Arrow mainstay... wanna know who? You better watch... and keep your kleenex within arm's reach.