I absolutely loved this episode, and at the same time I absolutely hated this episode. At least I have strong feelings about it.
Seriously though, spoilers ahead!
Sara's dead, and I mean really really dead. Three in the gut and a fall to her death. The way it was shot left nothing to the imagination, we saw her body. That's awfully brutal for a fan favorite character. I spent all last season (or at least most of it) hoping they weren't going to do exactly what they just did... damn it.
I think what really got to me was how it was set up. Sara came back, she was a little conflicted but happily reunited with her sister. That hug was satisfying. I should've seen her death coming because it was almost too good to be true. Laurel has grown quite a bit in a short amount of time, and her relationship with Sara was just starting to be healthy. Of course one of them had to die.
At least we might see Sara again in flashbacks, because that is a possibility on this show. I do wonder who killed her, and I bet a good portion of the season will be devoted to that mystery. Or they might wrap it up in the next episode. One thing is for sure, she knew who her killer was. That leaves the list fairly narrow as far as characters we already know. Unless it is someone we have yet to meet.
Not only that, but there were strong hints that Quentin isn't long for this world either. Of course that might've just been an episode-long misdirect. Still, it's pretty depressing foreshadowing, especially since he is now a Captain and officially called off the Arrow task-force. It's such a lovely turn around from his season one fixation on the Arrow that it cannot possibly last.
Next of course is the incredibly frustrating progress with Oliver and Felicity. They had basically one real kiss and the romance is over. What were the writers doing? Just packing up all the leftover strings from season 2 in the first hour of the season? Sigh. I'm actually still on the fence about the whole Olicity ship anyway, so maybe this is for the best.
Okay, I'm done with the rant. Because beyond those few major things I disliked, the rest was a lot of fun. I really like the idea of Count Vertigo being a mantle that anyone could conceivably take up. That leaves it open until the perfect actor fills the role. Plus Oliver isn't really killing any more, so we might see our current version come back (even though I'm not sure how much I like Stormare's take on the villain). As far as villain plots go, it was very cliche, complete with a ticking time bomb.
At least Ray Palmer didn't feel too forced. I give a lot of credit to Brandon Routh for taking what is a kind of annoying character and giving him a lot of charm. He seems to fit into the world rather well and he has chemistry with Felicity. Given the track record with people taking over Queen Consolidated I hope Ray is going to be a good guy for once.
That really leaves the Diggle sub-plot, which I found both mildly frustrating and delightful. I love that Oliver and Diggle aren't at odds going forward, and I like that Diggle feels that Oliver was right about things changing because of his daughter. Yet at the same time it was a bit easy. I don't mind the occasionally manufactured drama, but this felt a little awkward to me.
Hey, no Island for awhile. Shifting the action to Hong Kong and adding some new continuing players (including Amanda Waller), as well as changing the pace a bit feels like the right move. Oliver's constant escapes and the threats against him were fun to watch. He is definitely not the guy that washed up on Lian Yu two years earlier. I also really like that the flashbacks are still set five years before the current action. It keeps things kind of stabilized, although I wonder what will happen at the end of season 5? Will the flashbacks stop?
Comic Book Bits:
Okay, so spoilers... Ray Palmer should be a good guy. He's a classic DC comics hero that debuted during the Silver age in 1961. His superhero name is 'The Atom' and his powers are really freaking cool. He can literally alter his own atoms, which allows him to change his size and mass. Whether those powers come into play on the show is unknown. What I do know is he has just as long a history and as large a rogues gallery as Green Arrow. So it is very likely whatever the Arrow PTB's have in mind, it's going to be important to the growing mythology of the show.
The two new characters introduced in the flashbacks (Maseo and Tatsu) also have some major comic book connections and history, but I'm not going to get into that yet. Mostly because the nature of their story might be spoilery.
Thea was mentioned, so she's keeping in contact at least. Although I bet she lied about where she actually is.
Roy's new costume is actually cooler than Oliver's. He is also being treated as an equal, not a sidekick, so is he officially Arsenal now?
Ray's dream of reinventing Starling City is very cool. He wants to re-brand it Star City (which is the name of Green Arrow's home in the comics).
The title card has a new Arrowhead.
We got the start of the scene with Barry Allen, which continued in The Flash premiere.
Felicity: "Copy that, or is it 'roger'? I never know the difference. John, there's an illegal shipment of RPG's headed your way."
Diggle: "Roger, I'm on it."
Felicity: "So it is 'roger'."
Felicity: "I'm gonna head out too. I have to pull an early shift at work today, which may or may not be the most depressing thing I've ever said."
Diggle: "I'm gonna roll out too. Lyla has me trying to build the bassinet from hell."
Oliver: "My last girlfriend, she's in the League of Assassins. My girlfriend before that shot my girlfriend before that... it's... I'm not... not exactly a catch at the moment."
Oliver: "Hey, how was work?"
Felicity: "It is not work. It is a soul crushing exercise in misery that offers health and dental."
Felicity: "I don't wanna read... too much into this... but are you asking me out on a date? Like an actual date... like the date... date?"
Oliver: "Sure... I mean the implication being with dinner that you..."
Felicity: "Usually I'm the one talking in sentence fragments."
Felicity: "Oh, you are going to get me so incredibly fired."
Oliver: "Do you like Italian?"
Oliver: "For tonight? You like Italian right, everyone likes Italian?"
Felicity: "Oliver, you're in the middle of a high speed chase."
Oliver: "I'm multitasking."
Lyla: "I feel like an M1A1."
Diggle: "It's a tank, think a big big tank."
Lyla: "You look a little scared."
Diggle: "Honey, please. I've thrown down with the Taliban, Malcolm Merlyn, and a host of Mirakuru powered human weapons. I'm terrified."
Ray: "You know how I know a guy that would be interested in hiring someone with your expertise?" (Points to himself) "Yeah, turns out I could really use it. Seems somebody hacked my cell phone, and my laptop, and my desktop."
Felicity: "Gee, that's too bad."
Ray: "All my data's been replaced by audio files of porcupine flatulence. So I was hoping that whoever did it, might be willing to undo it if I apologize for misleading them in any way."
Felicity: "That would probably work, unless of course you did all that to steal that person's friend's company, in which case I would suggest getting used to the sound of spiky rodents farting."
I'm having some trouble getting over Sara's death and the quick and over lack of whirlwind romance between Oliver and Felicity. Still, this was a decent premiere.
3 out of 4 Arrows to the gut
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.