The season 6 opener reveals who survived  the explosion on Lian Yu to eat Big Belly Burger another day

By Chancellor Agard
October 13, 2017 at 12:00 AM EDT
Dean Buscher/The CW
Fall TV
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Welcome back to Arrow! As the episode title suggests, the season 6 premiere is mainly concerned with dealing with the fallout from that explosive finale and establishing the new status quo. Thus, the premiere might not be the most exciting episode, but director James Bamford’s kinetic direction makes the throat clearing and table setting more exciting and engaging than it would’ve been without it.

Let’s get down the question on all of our minds: Who survived the bomb? Well, almost everyone on Team Arrow, save Samantha. However, that doesn’t mean that Team Arrow left Lian Yu without scars. Thea, who was found by Slade, is still in a coma five months later. Quentin is drowning under the guilt of (a) having to kill Evil Laurel before she could kill Dinah shortly after the explosion on the island, and (b) lying to the rest of the team that he and Dinah found Evil Laurel dead beneath some rubble. Diggle, who got caught in the explosion, has a tremor in his arm that he’s hiding from the team (because that’s totally a good idea. Lying always works out for the best on this show). William is having nightmares and blames his mother’s death on Oliver, with whom he now lives because Samantha asked Oliver to raise him. Felicity, Rene, who has new armor, and Curtis are fine.

Season 5 was a big year for Oliver, who went through some growth and achieved a new level of mental clarity. When we meet up with him in the premiere, it’s clear that he has not recovered from everything that happened on Lian Yu, but he doesn’t spend the episode self-flagellating and brooding. He realizes he’s doing his best (his best is feeding William Big Belly Burger for dinner and showing up to take him to school some mornings).  The episode kicks off with an obviously awesome action sequence (boy, does Bamford know how direct action scenes!) that sees Green Arrow take down a mad-bomber type who threatens to blow up Star City with a missile. Luckily, Mr. Terrific’s T-Spheres are able to disarm the missile before it causes any real damage.

In the past five months, Dinah has been promoted to lieutenant — hence why she wasn’t out in the field with the rest of Team Arrow. When the bomber is brought into the station, she gets ready to interrogate, but gets called away when Quentin doesn’t show up for the a meeting about the police academy graduation. So she heads off and finds Quentin at a bar staring down shots he wants to take but knows he shouldn’t. Meanwhile back at the station, a guard brings the bomber a soda into which Alex drops a piece of C4 he had in his teeth, blowing a hole in the building that allows Black Siren and a bunch of goons to storm the place and kill and maim a few police officers.

Obviously, Oliver’s first question is: How the hell is Evil Laurel alive if Quentin and Dinah swear they saw her corpse under a bunch of rubble? Dinah sticks to the story; Quentin starts to cave but stops himself. Instead, he insists Oliver allow him to accompany the team when they find her, which they eventually do with ARGUS’ help.

Cue the Black Canary vs. Black Siren fight we’ve been waiting for. Dinah heads out into the field in her badass new costume and takes on her nemesis, who makes easy work of her and Quentin. Meanwhile, the rest of Team Arrow trade blows with Black Siren’s goons. Diggle tries to save Rene from one of the goons, but his hand starts trembling and he misses the shot. Rene falls off the bridge and crashes onto a car below, his lung collapsing in the process. (Recap continues on the next page)

You’d think Diggle would realize now’s the time to come clean to the team about his tremor, but he doesn’t, because no matter how much things change on Arrow, some things stay the same, like everyone’s first instinct being to lie to the people they’re fighting alongside. Both Dinah and Diggle opt to track Evil Laurel down instead of telling Oliver the truth. They head to Black Siren’s last known location, where they discover a map of City Hall, which is where the police academy graduation was moved to after the attack on the SCPD station.

Finally, Dinah and Quentin tell Oliver the truth about what happened to Laurel because they realize Laurel is trying get revenge on Quentin for leaving her for dead on the island. Now that they know Laurel’s plan, they come up with one of their own. Felicity and Curtis, both of whom are operating these super tiny bomb-detection devices, accompany Rene, Quentin (a.k.a. the bait), and Oliver to the graduation ceremony while Diggle hangs back in the lair to monitor communications.

Here’s where Bamford’s great direction really helps spice things up. A potentially boring scene in which Oliver gives another speech as mayor is elevated by being shot in one long take. Instead of focusing on Oliver, the camera follows Dinah as she moves around the room, checking in with the other teammates, and once the speech is done, it follows Oliver and Quentin out of the room, because it’s time for some Real Talk. Quentin admits to Oliver that he’s so torn up about leaving Earth-2 Laurel to die on Lian Yu because he realizes all of this “parallel Earth crap is crap.” That’s his daughter, no matter what anyone says. Sure, Oliver can’t relate to shooting his child, but he does know how it feels to have a very strained relationship with one, which he’s currently having with William. While I’m still on the fence about making William a permanent part of the show, I like that his inclusion has added a new layer to Oliver and Quentin’s relationship, which is one of the most complex on the show.

At this point, everyone’s concerned because no one has attacked the graduation yet. Well, that’s because the graduation wasn’t Black Siren’s target. While most of Team Arrow is at City Hall, Black Siren and her goons launch an assault on the Arrow Cave, where a stage-fright-ridden Diggle is waiting. His tremor returns right as one of the goons is about to finish him off, but luckily the cavalry arrives in time to lend him a hand. Black Siren and Black Canary go head to head again, and it ends in yet another stalemate as Black Siren and Alex manage to escape. “To be continued,” says Black Siren as she leaves.

On her way out, she comes face to face with Quentin and his gun; however, this time Quentin can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. Black Siren taunts him for it, revealing that she would’ve shot him and left him for dead on Lian Yu if their roles had been reversed. Oof, cold!

The next day, Oliver heads to the hospital to visit a recovering Rene, whom he gifts with a new custody hearing. Looks like Rene will get another shot at getting his daughter back! Then, he visits his comatose sister and runs into Slade, who drops by to thank Oliver for the information he gave him on his son. Slade is confident they’ll be happily united, but Oliver isn’t so sure given his recent struggles with William. Slade advises him to be patient and warns that one day he’ll have to choose between the person people need him to be and the father his son needs him to be. And that day may come sooner than he thinks…

That night, Oliver returns home and makes one more attempt to connect with William by apologizing for the role he played in his mother’s death. He also offers to let William stay up late to watch the game tomorrow night. And that’s what finally cracks William’s icy exterior. Unfortunately, this small victory is blunted by a new setback: The media has gotten hold of a photo that shows Oliver in costume and without his mask. His secret identity is not a secret anymore.

While “Fallout” definitely doesn’t rank among Arrow‘s best episodes, it still works for the most part. Arrow tends to struggle with season premieres because its finales, whether they’re good or not, do tend to be game-changers, which means the openers are tasked with explaining where things stand and can’t really dig into the meat of the new season. Season 5 was one of the show’s strongest outings, and the writing, direction, and performances in this episode give me confidence that the show can keep up the quality.

Wall of Weird:

  • The season premiere’s flashbacks reveal what happened right after the bomb went off.
  • One of flashback revealed that a suited man in helicopter is responsible for saving Evil Laurel from Lian Yu after Quentin shot her. In the present, we found out that Black Siren broke into the Arrow Cave to steal a T-Sphere prototype. Who is she working for? Sound off in the comments with your theories!

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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