With the fourth season of The CW’s Arrow, Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen faces new, powerful threats both in and out of the famed hood. And as ever, Ollie is joined by a whole host of familiar faces as the stake of, not just Star City, but the world as a whole hangs in the balance.
Following the idyllic ending of Arrow’s third season, the opening to Season 4 is a refreshingly unique one for the ever-grizzled Oliver. Instead of the usual Ollie, we see one who is seemingly living out his ‘happy ever after’ alongside the love of his life, Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). But as with any good hero who has left the tights in their rearview mirror, a new threat appears on the horizon and forces Oliver to once more pick up his trusty bow and arrow. The only thing is, with the moniker of the Arrow having been put to rest in the previous season, now it’s time for Oliver Queen to take on the moniker we’d all been waiting for. Enter, the Green Arrow.
As for the new threat in all of this, that’d be Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), a villain who has comic book roots but who was spruced up for Arrow. Intent on world decimation, the magically-enhanced Darhk and his team of ‘Ghosts’ offer an entirely new, unrelenting threat for the Emerald Archer to deal with. Elsewhere, this season’s ‘flashback’ element sees Ollie’s past again centred around the desolate island of Lian Yu, this time with Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola) proving to be the main obstacle in Oliver saving the day and getting off the island. What would Reiter’s M.O. be, you may ask? Why, he’d be desperately seeking a magical totem… which just so happens to conveniently tie-in with the ‘present day’ part of the season, where Damien Darhk relies on said totem to fuel his own powers.
Arrow’s fourth season is bit of a mixed bag, if we’re being totally honest. This particular writer will always, always, always look to see the greatness in The CW’s Stephen Amell-starrer, but there’s no denying that parts of Season 4 just fell flat, particularly the flashback parts of the season (well, bar a fantastic cameo from a chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking, paranormal-driven DC name). As for the present day element of the show, that fares much better, with McDonough’s Darhk proving to be a scene-stealer who often feels like a genuinely huge threat that is simply too much for Team Arrow to stop. It also helps that McDonough is on fantastic form, equally as charming as he is terrifying. Opposite this new foe, Stephen Amell again shows just how the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow character is like a second skin to him these days, with it now impossible to see anyone else ever picking up the bow. As for the rest of the show’s main players, they all deliver when needed, although special mention has to go to Willa Holland’s Thea Queen, with that character being given far more too sink her teeth into here, and Holland responding by giving us a far more enjoyable, intriguing, multi-layered version of Thea than we’ve seen to date. Sadly, though, and we really don't know how to say this... but the Felicity character takes a massive hit during Season 4, unfortunately becoming far too annoying, bitchy, and just plain 'out of character' from what we've become accustomed to with this long-time fan-favourite. Out of all of Arrow's characters, bar the fate of a certain someone (no spoilers from us), Felicity Smoak is the one who leaves Season 4 the most damaged and in need of some desperate DIY from the writers ahead of the show's fifth season.
Despite some of its flaws and dragged-out flashback moments, though, this most recent season of Arrow has some truly monumental moments dotted throughout it’s twenty-three-episode run; there’s new heroes and villains brought in to the fray (with a battle between Green Arrow and Falk Hentschel’s Hawkman being something that will put a grin on the face of many longtime DC fans); familiar faces get a superhero upgrade; all bets are off on just who will make it out of the season alive; and then there’s an absolutely epic and game-changing crossover adventure with The Flash.
Additionally, this release also features some vastly enjoyable bonus content, in particular the featurettes that give viewers some more background on the origins of Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Vandal Savage, not to mention getting the chance to see Stephen Amell debut his new Green Arrow outfit in the flesh at San Diego Comic-Con.
All in all, Arrow has still again yet to fully reach the highs that its second season gave us, but Season 4, whilst flawed at times, has moments of brilliance that will leave your jaw agape as the ante is upped once more for the Master Bowman and his cohorts.
Special Features: Four featurettes / Crossover event with The Flash / Unaired scenes / Gag reel
ARROW – SEASON 4 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: STEPHEN AMELL, EMILY BETT RICKARDS, NEAL MCDONOUGH, DAVID RAMSEY, WILLA HOLLAND, PAUL BLACKTHORNE KATIE CASSIDY, JOHN BARROWMAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW