Arrow is dead. Long live the Green Arrow.
Yes, along with a shiny new title card, Oliver Queen took on a new moniker as he found the siren call of saving Star City too alluring to keep him away from home. And with the new, immediate threat of Damien Darhk, it’s not a moment too soon.
“Green Arrow” has a lot of ground to cover, tracing the ways Team Arrow has changed since the climactic fallout of season 3 and sowing the seeds of that team coming back together, if not to be the same as it once was, then to be something better. The road there will be a tough one, however, and “Green Arrow” makes no effort to hide the trials and tribulations that await, including an episode-ending tease promising devastation in the months to come.
But that graveside scene is set months in the future. Let’s first focus on the present (and the show’s new flashback plans) because you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. (Unless you’re on The Flash, then time travel and alternate realities makes that less true. That’s a discussion for another recap, though.)
“Green Arrow” opens up on a relatively familiar image: Oliver sprinting through the brush, donning a green hood (this one attached to a sweatshirt. And as he leaves the greenery around him, he bursts out onto…a suburban road? Yes, Ollie has been domesticated, living a docile life with the love of his life, Felicity. (It is absolutely wonderful to see Emily Bett Rickards smiling so often during this episode. After a dark season for Felicity, she deserves to be actually happy about things.)
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Life in this little corner of the world is bright, cheerful, and free of assassins, the only real threat being Felicity’s cooking. I don’t think I could have ever imagined the Oliver of seasons’ past unironically saying, “I have to get some stuff from the farmers market for brunch tomorrow,” yet here he is, doing just that, free to spend his time not traipsing around a city looking for criminals to stop.
So in his stead, Diggle, now with some headgear of his own, Laurel as the Canary, and Thea as Speedy (she’d prefer Red Arrow, of course) are keeping Star City safe. (ASIDE: I totally understand what Ray Palmer wanted to do with the renaming last year, but wouldn’t having to dismantle, repaint, or alter every piece of iconography with “Starling” written on it been just a bit of an extraneous cost? END ASIDE)
Specifically, “Green Arrow” shows them fighting off a group, which has become known in Star City as the Ghosts, as they’re hijacking a truck. While everyone is more than up to the task, the Ghosts come with so much firepower and backup that the heroes are forced to retreat.
And the man behind the Ghosts, Damien Darhk, isn’t content to operate in the shadows. Neal McDonough’s big bad reveals himself within minutes of the episode’s start. Arrow is not looking to gradually introduce the team or the viewers to this year’s big threat. He comes out swinging, cocky, and confident as he barges in on a private meeting held among the few remaining leaders in Star. He’s first revealed in reflection — surrounded by the dark reflection of the table in the room, his surprisingly serene and even happy visage looms large over his audience. He has one simple request of them: Let Star City die, because only in death can something new grow. He suggests they all say goodbye to the crumbling husk of a city they’re clinging to and prepare for what’s to come.
NEXT: What’s to come? More murder, of course.