Arrow is back with season seven. The Green Arrow has publicly revealed his identity and Oliver finds himself in prison for the rest of his life. Meanwhile his friends and family are trying hard to move on with their lives, but the threat of Ricardo Diaz is still out there. “Inmate 4587” throws us right into the action – and no one has adapted to the loss of their captain.
Oliver endures prison as best as he can. He wakes every morning to the same nightmare of Diaz killing his family, before being greeted by the guard. He’s trying to keep his head down to possibly shorten his sentence but Oliver Queen never stays out of trouble for long. While almost making a friend in prison (an admirer of his asking for protection) he also runs into several old foes and they certainly remember that the Green Arrow ruined their lives.
Derek Sampson, Danny Brickwell and co are now looking for revenge, and have made it their mission to make Oliver’s time in prison as miserable as possible. In addition, the threat of Diaz and his goons continues to loom over Oliver. The only thing keeping him going is his family, and he always carries them with him in a picture.
Felicity and William, still under threat from Diaz, have moved to Hope Springs (how ironic) and taken on new identities. Felicity, now sporting pink highlights, moonlights as a barista and occasionally helping customers with their computer troubles. But their façade doesn’t hold up and Diaz eventually finds them and attacks. It is only through the help of ARGUS that Felicity and William survive.
A battered and bruised Felicity then tearfully reunites with Oliver in prison and tells him she won’t continue hiding. She wants to fight, to be able to defend herself when Diaz strikes next, because he will. Even though Oliver begs her to return to witness protection, she makes the decision to return to Star City, while sending William off to a boarding school in Cambridge.
Meanwhile, things have returned to (semi-) normal in Star City, at least until a new copycat of the Green Arrow arrives and goes after his own personal list of criminals – dismantling a new criminal’s (Stent) black market guns operation.
Black Siren, still posing as Earth-1 Laurel Lance announces that the man will be hunted like a criminal under the law and Dinah, now the SCPD captain agrees. René, however, sees the glimmer of hope the new vigilante brings to the city. The former Wild Dog is now teaching young teens from the glades, including his daughter, boxing, trying to prepare them for the dangers in the streets.
When the copycat Arrow interferes with a weapons sale Dinah is sure she is able to catch him, but Wild Dog helps the new vigilante to escape. He also uses the money from the busted weapons deal (in crypto-currency, Arrow goes with the trend thank you very much) to provide for smaller businesses in the Glades. Dinah lectures him and warns him to stay on the right side of the law or she will have to go after him.
Arrow also continues the tradition of throwing us into a different time line than the present as we see a young man arrive on Lian Yu by boat. He finds the grave of Robert Queen, before walking into a trap and finding himself in front of a masked vigilante.
The man holding him captive is none other than Roy Harper, donning his best red leathers. Just as he is about to get questioned, the young stranger pulls a very familiar arrow head. It is Oliver’s hozen, the one passed on to Thea in the pilot. The young man announces he is Oliver’s son – William Clayton. GASP.
After, after a long, dire summer, the series returned with a new showrunner – Beth Schwartz. If you thought that the show now would feel different from the last few seasons you would be absolutely right – the show feels like it did in season one or two, the best seasons, without a doubt. There’s excitement, there’s mystery, there’s danger, there’s kickass fight scenes. There is also emotions and the always-present theme of family.
More importantly, Arrow was able to completely take us by surprise. You’d be lying if you said you saw the final twist coming. Audiences were so used to flashbacks that considering them to be flash forwards wasn’t even an option. For once, it felt so very nice not to have all major plot points spoiled by promos or exclusive photos. (Here’s looking at you Guggenheim, for spoiling nearly all Tommy Merlyn moments before they happened.)
Judging by this first episode, Schwartz has taken a sinking ship and turned it into a lifeboat. Sure, it may be too early to predict what the rest of the season holds. For the first time in many moons, I am actually excited to see what the future holds. Well done, Arrow, for bringing back that fire that has been missing for years. (And the shirtless workout scenes).
Dinah: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, Mr. Stent. And in my experience, innocent men don’t typically show up bound and gagged at my doorstep without reason.
Catch Arrow Mondays at 8/7c
on The CW.