Cue the badass Blake Neely soundtrack! It’s time for the season premiere of Arrow!
Welcome back, Arrowheads! It’s great to be here! All right, if you missed last season’s finale, here’s the skinny: While still grieving the loss of the Black Canary, Team Arrow was finally able to rally the town and defeat Damian Darhk and his cronies. But victory came at a price, as all but Oliver and Felicity left Star City to lead normal lives. And just to make things extra interesting, Ollie was elected mayor. Now, let’s see how the Emerald Archer fares without his army of vigilantes!
We open at a town function for which Mayor Queen is (naturally) late. Thea covers for Oliver, as he defends the town (with obvious help from Felicity) as the Green Arrow, stopping Lonnie Machin, yet again, from blowing up the city. It seems that Oliver has somewhat of a groupie, as a man in a hockey mask tries to help. Oliver tells him to stay out of his way and shoots him in the leg for good measure. Sound familiar? (*cough* Roy Harper *cough*)
At the city function, Oliver makes a speech, calling out the corruption within the police department. Thea tells him that putting blame on the cops, rather than taking responsibility for the city’s crime, makes him look like he’s half-assing his role as mayor. Oliver tells her that his focus has to be on the Green Arrow because he’s flying solo. Unfortunately, Thea is still unwilling to don that red suit anytime soon.
Which brings us to our first flashback of the season. Oliver finds himself in Russia, where he’s fighting (and killing) for sport in order to gain contact with a man named Mr. Kovar. When he tries to collect his winnings, he’s kidnapped by a group called Bratva.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Felicity and Curtis urge Oliver to let his groupie, Code Name: Wild Dog, as well as Evelyn Sharp join the team. Though Ollie is still convinced that the team will return, Felicity isn’t as optimistic.
Meanwhile, the corruption within SCPD is revealed when a group of officers attempts to rob and frame a group of criminals. Before they can collect their “earnings,” however, a man shows up and tells them that he’ll be running the show from now on. His goons kill all but the lead detective, who the man beats to death.
At the scene of the crime, the cops identify the man as Tobias Church, a criminal wanted nationwide for similarly gruesome crimes. Angered at the corruption within their department, two detectives muse about the loss of Detective Lance, who always kept his department in line.
Overhearing this as the Green Arrow, Oliver pays Lance a visit. Unfortunately, after having broken up with Donna, Lance is off the wagon. Oliver urges him to get himself together and attend the ceremony being held in Laurel’s honor. Lance says that he would only embarrass her memory.
Back in Russia, Oliver finds himself strapped to a chair. Apparently, Bratva is angry that Ollie killed their best fighter. When the ringleader toys with Oliver’s notebook (you know, the special kill list one), Oliver tells him that he’s waiting until he’s ready to fulfill his father’s mission. Unfortunately, the man puts a gun to his head and tells him that he’ll be dead before he’s ready.
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity fills Oliver in on Church’s past. Again, she urges Oliver to expand the team, telling him that the old team is not coming back. When Oliver leaves for City Hall, Felicity sends Curtis to check out Wild Dog to make sure he’s not crazy.
Elsewhere, Church is organizing a trap to draw out the Green Arrow. As Oliver gives his speech honoring Laurel, unveiling a statue of the Black Canary, Church and his cronies show up, killing civilians and kidnapping Ollie and three other politicians.
In the Arrow Cave, the team (and Thea) tries to track Oliver. Felicity asks Thea if she’s willing to help as Speedy, but she’s still reluctant. Meanwhile, Oliver tells Church that the Green Arrow is “tied up” and won’t be coming to help (I see what you did there, Ollie!). Oliver urges Church to let the others go, but he refuses. Oliver calls Church stupid, angering him enough to earn isolation (which, I suspect, was his mission all along).
In another flashback, Oliver’s execution is interrupted when everyone’s favorite Russian ally shows up to help Oliver. Anatoly teaches Ollie how to dislocate his thumbs in order to escape being tied to a chair. Oliver tells Anatoly that he’s in Russia to kill Constantine Kovar.
Back at HQ, Lance urges Thea to suit up and help her brother. Thea tells him that she finally feels like herself again, and she’s afraid to let that go. Lance tells her that while he understands better than anyone, they both have to get on with their lives, even if they’re not entirely sure what they want their lives to be.
Meanwhile, Oliver is being tortured by one of the crooked cops. Just like in the pilot episode (oh, the nostalgia!), Ollie discretely escapes from the chair and, for lack of a better term, kicks the cop’s ass. Unfortunately, the similarities between Season One and now don’t stop there, as Oliver kills the cop to protect this secret.
Thea shows up as Speedy and helps Oliver escape, vowing to return to help the other hostages. Back in the Arrow Cave, Oliver tries to find a way around the bomb that’s been set up at the warehouse. Thea is angry with Oliver for killing again, but he tells her that it’s necessary in order to save people. She tells him that if killing is back on the table, she wants nothing to do with it.
Felicity tells Oliver, yet again, that the team is never going to reconcile. Oliver says that he doesn’t want a new team, especially not a team of amateurs. She tells him to keep his promise to Laurel, but he’s still resistant.
In Russia, Anatoly asks Oliver why he wants to kill Kovar. Oliver tells him that he needs to keep a promise. Anatoly tells him that he needs to move forward and go home, but Oliver is stubborn. Anatoly agrees to help him but tells him that it’ll be incredibly dangerous.
Back in Star City, Curtis is on his way to find Wild Dog when he’s ambushed by a duo of thugs. Elsewhere, Oliver leaves a message for Dig, who is still overseas. Lance shows up, and Oliver tells him that they both need to move forward. Lance tells him that he can’t take on Church alone and offers him a team of uncorrupted officers to help take Church down. Oliver agrees, saying that it’s what Laurel would have wanted.
Finally, we get a glimpse at the promise Oliver made to Laurel in the hospital. She begs him not to let her be the last Canary, urging him to keep her legacy alive to help him. Oliver agrees. Back in the present, Oliver and his team of police infiltrate Church’s camp. Church tells the Green Arrow that he’ll let the hostages go after he kills the Arrow, but obviously no one is taking that deal.
Church activates the bomb, and the team has a matter of seconds to get the hostages out and escape. They manage to avoid being blown up but Oliver is unwilling to let Church escape. He tries, unsuccessfully, to take down his helicopter before ultimately being thrown off. (Side note: Who knew about those trusty parachute arrows?).
Later, as Mayor, Oliver honors the officers that helped the Green Arrow and forms an Anti-Crime Unit. Elsewhere, Church assembles all of the Green Arrow’s enemies, urging them to work together in order to take down the Archer.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Felicity tries again to convince Oliver to assemble the new team. This time, Oliver agrees and looks into Wild Dog, real name: Rene Ramirez. A beaten Curtis shows up and tells Oliver that he’ll help bring in Ramirez if Oliver agrees to recruit him, too. Of course, Oliver is onboard.
Back in Russia, Anatoly initiates Oliver into the Bratva organization, which proves to be a fairly deadly process. In the present, Oliver finally talks to Dig, asking if he thinks organizing a new team is a good idea. Sadly, Dig says that it is a good idea, and Oliver agrees that it’s time to move on. Dig asks if this includes his relationship with Felicity, and Oliver is unsure. Unfortunately for my poor Olicity heart, Felicity seems much less conflicted. Apparently, she’s dating someone new (I’ll spare you the expletives that I uttered at this revelation).
We end in an alley, where one of the task force cops is confronted by an archer dressed in all black. Though we don’t get a name, it’s clear that this archer is most certainly not the Green Arrow.
The DC shows seem to be heavy on the nostalgia this week, which has me stuck in my feels. This episode was pretty sad, reminding us of everything Oliver has lost in the past year. Despite the fun of reminiscing, though, I’m really hoping Season One Oliver is not about to make an appearance. Hopefully, this new team will set up back on the straight and narrow. On the bright side, I think I’m going to really enjoy this group of villains. It’ll be nice to return to the world of normal bad guys after two seasons of magic serums and cursed idols! In any case, I’m ready for what this season has to offer. Are you?
Until next week, Arrowheads, tweet us your reactions to tonight’s episode and any predictions you have for the season!