Quick out of the gate, this episode established not only the new big bad, but also the new status quo. Which just so happens to include a brighter, more positive Oliver Queen.
I like this new direction for Oliver. He has finally become the Green Arrow, going so far as to announce it to the city. I wonder if people will buy the idea that this is a new guy, a vigilante taking up the mantle of the Arrow, but with a new agenda and modus operandi?
One thing is for sure, Quentin isn't thrilled by the prospect of Oliver and the Arrow returning to the newly dubbed Star City. I'm seriously troubled by the fact he is working for Damien Darhk, even if he doesn't have a lot of say in the matter. At least he didn't immediately jump at the opportunity to out Oliver. Probably because that would put Laurel in Darhk's cross-hairs.
Speaking of Laurel, she is obviously still growing into her role as Black Canary, but her fighting skills have most definitely improved. Thea has also grown, and looks great in her new costume, but her new aggressive tendencies cannot be a good sign. Are they a side effect of the Lazarus Pit? Or is it because of the pit crossed with exposure to whatever magic Darhk is using? Either way it is at least tackling the consequences of her experiences from last season.
Diggle is also coming into his own as both a leader and a new costumed hero. Even though his helmet is more like armor, he is pretty impressive with his gun fu. Is he dropping henchmen, though? I thought the team moved past that. There is also some movement on mending his relationship with Oliver as well, which is good because it was a mildly artificial break to begin with.
Unfortunately, it looks like we are going to lose a character soon. That tease at the end, pretty disturbing. It looked like it could be Felicity, but I think if it is her, Barry would've been much more upset than he seemed. So it probably has to be another character, someone that Oliver would grieve but Barry wouldn't be as upset about. And that is where my conjecture ends, because I don't want to be right about any guess, even though we do have a Lazarus Pit.
In the continuing saga of parallel story-lines, Oliver begins to truly embrace his inner darkness. Has a drink with Amanda Waller, who's pretty damn evil, and ends up back on Lian Yu. It is nice that the story has come around full circle. Since we are nearing the end of his five year journey on the island, I'm looking forward to seeing where his penultimate year takes him.
I liked that Lyla is already over the fact that Oliver kidnapped her. It clearly took the wind out of Diggle's outrage.
Ray Palmer has been memorialized, and the city renamed as per his dream. Unfortunately, it looks as if the city has fallen even farther into crime and poverty.
So what is up with the creepy altar that Darhk was praying to?
Laurel: "Speedy, behind you!"
Thea: "I thought I told you guys to call me Red Arrow."
Diggle: "A red arrow just means you can't make a left turn."
Oliver: "Felicity Smoak, you have failed this omelet."
This was a solid premiere, with a lot of cool potential ideas being thrown around. Introducing mysticism is a big thing for a show that has generally been more grounded in realism. I'm very optimistic this season will be a return to form, or hopefully an even better season then we've gotten before.
3 out of 4 Blood sacrifices to creepy altars
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed bird who nests inside a movie theater projector, and loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.