Written by Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
When we last left Arrow things seemed to be tied up in a pretty little bow for Oliver, he and Felicity drove off into the sunset to live out their days off the crime fighting grid. That is exactly where things pick up. Oliver and Felicity are enjoying their new domesticated life, brunches with friends and Felicity running essentially two companies. Things seem to be going well. However seeing as this is a show about the Arrow it obviously can't be the end of his journey, he hasn't even upgraded to “Green Arrow” yet! Besides how boring would a season of “Arrow: The Retirement Years” be? Thankfully that's not really the case.
The action starts back up pretty quickly with the rest of Team Arrow comprised of Diggle in a new Magneto-esque mask, Laurel as Canary and Thea as the new Red Arrow on the case. They are in a high speed chase against a group known as Ghosts who are a very well orgainized and quite menacing group of thieves as far as bad guys go. They have been stealing better and better weapons and armor from increasingly high profile companies. As such, when the team goes to take them down, they are severely out gunned and have to fall back and regroup. Cut to the police station with Captain Lance and other police officials gathered around to talk about exactly what they need to do to stop these criminals. Suddenly a man, played by the great Neal McDonough, introduces himself as the leader of the Ghosts and that he intends to (like all of the Arrow villains it seems) put the city out of its misery instead of what the city normally does which is slap on a new coat of paint and call it fixed. It's a really cool introduction to someone who really makes his presence known and feared through the episode.
While all this is going on Oliver is determined to stay out of it, he has more important things on his mind., popping the question to Felicity. This leads to some of humor the show's been missing as of late. I, like Justin Prince who reviewed this show previously before I offered to take over, echo the sentiment that Oliver was becoming just too cold and unlikable and the show as a whole was just too serious bordering on almost soap opera level drama at times. Thankfully by the looks of it Arrow is going in a much more balanced and lighter tone. Perhaps with the introduction of The Flash and how well received that show has been, it gave the show runners a bit of clarity as to just how dark they had gone and managed to pull themselves back to having a bit more fun and energy while maintaining the overall more serious tone compared to The Flash.
Another thing I noticed that I liked was how its had a rotating crew. We keep Oliver (but not dressed as Arrow) as a leader, and Diggle as the back up cover guy and now we have both Canary and Red Arrow together as their own awesome tag team girl duo to fight along side them. I usually don't notice that kind of thing but its cool to see some ladies stepping up, including Felicity being the whip smart guide to help all of them save the day. It's a group I hope lasts for a while because its a new and interesting dynamic to have.
As for the flashback sequences, they are kept to the minimum on this episode. we see The Arrow five years ago, fighting what turns out to be a murder on a rooftop. During the fight, he falls into some electrical wires below and is captured by Amanda Waller. He is taken to a bar, where after some discussion is drugged and finds himself on a plane with a job to do. He is released out of said plane and sent to none of there than... the island! And that's it for this episode. So i guess that will once again be the place we see during his flashbacks this season, more likely half a season I'm betting because they have kind of done the island to death at this point I would think.
Overall I like where the series is going now. We have a new bad guy that seems truly threatening. Team Arrow continues to evolve. Not much in the flashbacks to judge yet but there are a few surprises that have me hopeful that this season will be an interesting one and continue the lighter tone that make comic book shows fun.