Arrow Review – S04 E01

Last season on “Arrow,” Ra’s al Ghul underwhelmed, in the form of an aging Australian by the name of Matt Nable. Other stuff happened too, but none of it really registered, thanks to the villain being so damn weak. This year, the denizens of the newly christened Star City will not have that same problem.

That’s because this year, the villain is Damien Darhk, as played by Neal McDonough. If you haven’t seen “Justified,” you need to change that immediately. Until you do, just know that McDonough played Robert Quarles, the villain of the third season. He’s incredible.

More than that, Neal McDonough is one of the best actors in the business. I was going to call him a character actor, but that label is essentially meaningless. So, I cut through that. He really is a great actor. He can do so much with his eyes, and voice.

Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk (© 2015 The CW)
Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk (© 2015 The CW)

If you need further proof, check out any of the following:

Band of Brothers
Walking Tall (FIGHT ME)
Captain America: The First Avenger

There are plenty of others, but those four are the best. He’s a very underrated actor, and I’m hyped that he’s going to be giving Oliver Queen a run for his money, week in and week out.

Anyhow, I should probably get into the episode. It began with Oliver and Felicity, living in a nice, big house, enjoying the suburban life. All the while, Diggle, Laurel, and Mia are being trounced by a crew of soldiers that the media has begun to call “ghosts,” for their ability to get in and out of locations, and not get captured. Long story short: they’re ninjas called The Hive.

With their backs against the wall, Laurel and Mia go to Oliver for help, interrupting him as he’s about to propose to Felicity.



It doesn’t take much before Oliver and Felicity agree to come back and help. Mostly, because Felicity is crazy bored with domestic life. Once back, Ollie gets into the thick of things, quickly running afoul of Quentin Lance, who is still pissed that Oliver never told him his daughter is dead. He’s using the “you brought all this darkness into our life” excuse for his rage, but that’s irrational, at best. A suit-up scene happens not long after, and it’s ridiculous.

Let’s move onto the main superhero plot of the episode – the Arrow crew finds out that the “ghosts” are planning to bomb a train station, right as the ceremonial first train arrives, on a new track that goes from Central City to Star City. It gives everyone an excuse to get in on the action, from Diggle in his dumb helmet, all the way to Thea, in her sweet costume (sorry Diggle, that helmet looks terrible).

Lookin' good, Dig! (© 2015 The CW)
Lookin’ good, Dig! (© 2015 The CW)

Things get very interesting when Oliver runs into Damien Darhk, and gets completely wrecked.

Can’t wait to see how Constantine gets mixed in. For those who don’t know, Matt Ryan, who played John Constantine on NBC’s “Constantine,” is going to bring his character over from the now cancelled series, and cameo in this season of “Arrow.”

Darkh has mystical powers. I bet, somehow, Oliver had a run-in with Constantine in the past, and he seeks him out for help in dealing with Damien. That’s what flashbacks are for, baby!




I need to discuss the big things with anyone who is willing (so please hit the comment section). First off, I am hyped as hell that Oliver has begun to call himself The Green Arrow. It’s about time. Get that Arrow shit out of my face.

On a much more serious note – at the end of the episode, the scene transitioned, and at the bottom, it read “Six Months Later.”

Then, we saw Oliver standing at a grave, clearly devastated. That’s when Barry Allen walks up, apologizing for “missing the funeral.” It’s clear that Oliver has lost somebody he loves, but we never see the name on the headstone. Who could it be? Felicity? Mia? John Diggle?

I don't want her to die, but she totally better die. (© 2015 The CW)
I don’t want her to die, but she totally better die. (© 2015 The CW)

Honestly, it better be Felicity. I like the character, but if they’re going to go this way, they need to lean into it. The only way for this angle to really work, is for the departed to be the person that Ollie cares for most. It can’t be Quentin Lance. Who cares? At this point, he’s been a prick for what feels like forever. I guess it could be Diggle, Mia, or Laurel, but that’d be lame. He’s lost them all before, whether physically (Mia), or emotionally (all three).

Take what matters most to the hero, and shake things up. It’ll be so intense. Please, people in charge – please don’t screw this up. I can get into a good death in the family angle. It’s the perfect way to change the status quo. It’ll shake our hero to his core.


“Arrow” had a solid season opener. Neal McDonough debuted as Damien Darhk. Diggle looks dumb in his crime fighting costume. The action was solid. Oh, and Constantine’s place is becoming clearer, given Darhk’s mystical power.

Hellblazer is coming through, and I’m absolutely hyped.



It wasn’t perfect, but it never bored, unlike a lot of the previous season. That’s a good thing. I’m hopeful for the current arc. Damien Darhk is a badass villain. It also looks like a beloved character is going to bite the dust, which is always cool. The following 20+ episodes are going to be very interesting.


Joseph Finnegan