“Felicity Smoak, you have failed this omelet.”
Well, raise your hand if you were absolutely floored by the new Oliver Queen on Arrow! This was a different man than we ever thought we’d see on The CW’s comic book drama. When season four picks up, five months after the season three finale, he’s cooking, as in like, MasterChef level dishes, he runs … for fun, he gets tattoos removed, he goes to farmers markets, makes brunch, loves small talk with the neighbors and even plans on proposing (!) to Felicity.
Meanwhile, back in Star City, things aren’t going as well for Team Arrow, which is now just Laurel, Thea and Diggle. Thea is enjoying herself a little too much, but her smile is quickly wiped away when the “ghosts,” aka the men who have been terrorizing Star City all summer long, make another victory and steal a cache of weapons out from under their noses. These attacks have left people afraid to leave their homes, and some are even evacuating the city, since it has essentially become a war zone. Laurel and Thea know they need to reach out to Oliver for help, but Diggle is still carrying a grudge against him, and refuses.
In city hall, a mysterious man interrupts Lance’s meeting with the council currently running the city instead of a mayor (because we all know how running for mayor of this city turn out). Meet Damien Dahrk, season four’s Big Bad. He essentially just wanted to introduce himself and declare his villainous plan, which is to let the city die, so it can be reborn. The next day, all of the city’s leadership, the District Attorney, Head of Emergency Services and the City Comptroller all are murdered, and Lance gets shot in the arm before Laurel intervenes to save him. Those attacks convince Laurel and Thea to go to Ivy Town to get Oliver themselves, interrupting his planned proposal to Felicity.
Oliver begrudgingly comes back to Star City with Felicity in tow, where Dig is less than enthused to see him. But when Felicity figures out that the ghosts stole cluster bombs, almost nuclear-level explosives, they realize the situation is more dire than they thought, and the time for arguing is over.
While the team tries to figure out where the ghosts are going to use the stolen cluster bombs, Oliver realizes that Felicity has been working for the team behind his back the entire time they were away. She confesses to him that she couldn’t give up saving the city like he could. She was bored with “domestic suburban bliss,” but Oliver is disappointed that the entire time they were supposed to be away together, part of her was still back in Star City. And just like that, Olicity has their first fight!
After Felicity finds where the ghosts are storing the stolen weapons, Team Arrow suits up – except for Oliver, who refuses to put on the new suit Cisco made for him, instead opting for a ski mask. The team finds Damien Dahrk and his army at an abandoned warehouse, and they watch Damien kill a man with “the manipulation of primordial energy” — magical powers. They take out some of Dahrk’s men, successfully learning that they’re going to target the newly-reopened Star City high-speed train station with the bombs.
Oliver isn’t as surprised as the rest of the team about seeing mystical powers in action, because, as he mysteriously non-explains, he’s “seen things that can’t be explained by science.” He’s also the only one worried about how vicious Thea has gotten while fighting. But his worries about his sister take the backseat when they figure out the ghosts are bringing the cluster bombs into the new train station during its grand opening via a high speed train from Central City. Team Arrow suits up again, and this time, Oliver suits up too in his brand new uniform. How good is it to see him back in green leather?!
While Team Arrow evacuates the train station, Oliver confronts Damien on the train, and Damien introduces himself, finally clueing Oliver in to the severity of the situation, since Ra’s al Ghul told Oliver all about Damien last season. But as Damien starts to kill Oliver with his mystical powers (after stopping his arrows in midair, whoa!), Diggle saves him in the knick of time, and they jump off the train and blow it up before it can reach the station.
Back in Team Arrow’s new lair, Oliver tells the team he’s sticking around because Damien Dahrk is behind all the new attacks. When he tells the team that Damien has a “hive” of operatives, Diggle realizes it’s the same HIVE that killed his brother, but he doesn’t tell the team what he knows. He does, however, help Oliver film a video introducing himself as the Green Arrow, a symbol of hope that the Arrow never was, and they broadcast it to all of Star City. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Green Arrow to the stage!
The hour didn’t end without a few shocking reveals, however. Turns out, Laurel didn’t save her father from getting killed by HIVE agents … because Lance has been working with Damien all along! He tells Damien he didn’t sign up for everything that’s happening, but Damien apparently is holding something over Lance’s head. He orders Lance to tell him everything he knows about the Green Arrow, and suddenly, things just became a lot more dangerous for all of Team Arrow.
But that wasn’t even the most shocking scene from the premiere. The end of the episode flashed forward to six months later, with Oliver standing at a fresh grave wearing a black suit, with Barry Allen walking up, apologizing for “missing the funeral.” We don’t see the name the on the gravestone, and we don’t learn who is in the grave, but we do learn that Oliver blames that death on Damien. He vows to kill Damien for bringing this darkness into their lives.
As for the flashback storyline this season, while it starts out in Coast City, it takes a shocking turn halfway through the episode. After Amanda Waller finds Oliver continuing his vigilante hobby in Coast City, she intervenes and brings him to a bar for a heart-to-heart. (Who else caught that easter egg nod to Hal Jordan?)
Amanda tells Oliver that he has to lean into his darkness, because running from it will only make things worse. She wants him to embrace it and let it run its course, because “sometimes the only way out is through.” Of course, she tells him this after drugging him, and then ships him back to Lian Yu, where he is thrown out of a plane with a parachute and told to take care of the “problem” currently on the island. His mission: infiltrate the area, assess the situation and report back. You can take the man off the island, but you can’t take the island out of the man, huh?
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
What did you think of the game-changing season four premiere, Arrow fans? Why do you think Lance is working for Damien? Who is in the grave? What’s awaiting Oliver on Lian Yu? Will Diggle ever forgive Oliver?! Hit the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts now!
Images: The CW