Before I begin this review I just want to note how much I loved the spoiler free hiatus, I feel like I’m walking into season seven with my eyes closed, and that’s a feeling I haven’t had since I watched season one.
Season six probably wouldn’t make my top four favourite seasons of Arrow, however, I think it ended on a very brave (and pretty breathtaking) note for a show that revolves around the secret identity of its protagonist. And because of that I found myself becoming impatient waiting for season seven! The mystery season we know barely anything about… until now.
And considering how meaty this episode was, make yourself comfortable- this is gonna be a lengthy review!
Season seven opens like every other season of Arrow, with a guy in a green hood running through the woods. In all previous episodes, it’s been Oliver, but in the premiere, it’s William. This could be foreshadowing for William’s character, I’m hopeful that it is after seeing the full episode. William is running away from Diaz, and is protected by Felicity. The opening is a recurring nightmare that Oliver seems to be having regularly whilst on prison.
We find Oliver imprisoned, and a shadow of his normal heroic self, which is a role he is obviously struggling with. He is attempting to be as alone as a man possibly can be while imprisoned, pining over a photograph of William and Felicity, and counting down days on the wall. He is approached by an inmate called Stanley who is admittedly a “Huge fan” of Oliver’s work as the Green Arrow. I feel like this character is going to be an integral part of the prison arc, and since he revealed that he is in prison for committing a murder that he did not commit, I hope we get some backstory for his character. It’s not long before old enemies catch up with Oliver, which isn’t surprising since he put a lot of his new housemates in jail. It’s good to see Cody Rhodes back as Derek Sampson, joined by bronze tiger and Danny Brickwell, completing a group of adversaries that grind against Oliver to try and make him fight back, which he refuses to do for the sake of his family. It’s interesting to see this hero we all admire because of his passion for justice, become someone who lets a guy get beat up just for sitting with him, and to see him walk away from villains , and bullies, and refuse to fight them-it was tense, and you could see how much Oliver was restraining himself and how much he is struggling to be a “good inmate”, because ultimately, it makes him feel like a bad person, and it’s against everything he stands for.
We also see how the team is coping without Oliver on the outside which is interesting because it’s rare we have seen these guys doing anything besides being superheroes.
Diggle is the middle man between Oliver and his family, who are in witness protection. Diggle, like the viewers is worried about what prison is doing to Oliver.
Dinah is the new captain of the SCPD, and is dealing with the backlash of a “New Green Arrow” who is fighting crimes and seemingly crossing off the names of bad guys in star city, which was a wonderful callback to season one! Whilst Dinah is fighting against vigilantes, Rene is training kids self defence and realising that vigilantes are what give the kids in the glades hope. When one of his trainees gets in trouble and René goes to help him, the mystery archer strikes and saves them, gaining René as a supporter and causing friction between him and Dinah. When Dinah does almost capture the mystery man, Rene helps him escape causing Dinah to present him with an ultimatum. I don’t really like Dinah’s character so far this season. I think her threat to René was uncalled for. She has been a Vigilante for a long time, and was also in love with one, who she lost, and she friends with many… so I think she should know by now, that if a masked guy comes along who fights bad guys and delivers them to the police, and who saves her friends- then he is probably someone to form an alliance with, but instead she tries to capture and imprison him, and anyone who stands in her way.
Felicity is in witness protection with William, struggling to be a mother to a teenager she has known for just over a year. She is working as a barista and clearly hating it. She has gone from hero to zero and is struggling with being in hiding, and seemingly feeling rather helpless. When Diaz finds Felicity we see an incredible parallel fight scene where Felicity holds her own against Diaz, which was refreshing to see. Felicity has been a member of the team since season one so it was about time she had a fight scene! I imagine this season is interesting for Emily since she is stepping into a role that is entirely different from what she is accustomed to, and she has done a great job in this episode of showing a side to Felicity that we haven’t seen before, an independent Felicity, and the only Team she is interested in during the pilot is her family, Oliver and Will. Whilst Felicity is battling Diaz, we see “THE” shower scene that Amell has been teasing on twitter during hiatus as a parallel fight scene, and the bathroom scene was all it was hyped up to be, gritty, shirtless, hand to hand combat which ends with a defeated Oliver being informed by an inmate that Diaz has killed Felicity.
Oliver is then visited by Felicity in prison. This scene showcased some excellent acting from both Stephen and Emily. Oliver feels powerless as he sees his wife beaten on the other side of the prison glass and tries to order her to get back into witness protection, Felicity explains that it’s not who she is, and that she has got William protected and she will not hide anymore, she will fight back- inspiring Oliver to do the same. In prison Oliver collects his copy of “The Count Of Monte Cristo” (which is an interesting book choice that I feel might be hinting at the direction the season is going in) and he uses it as a weapon to beat the crap out of Brickwell, then uses a weight to beat the guy who said Felicity was dead. A moment of triumph, a genius fight scene that I felt was not hyped enough! (Probably because Amell was fully clothed during the entire scene!)
In a callback to season one we see Felicity explain to William that she is sending him away until they have caught Diaz, and she hands him the Arrowhead that Oliver gave to Thea in season one, and Thea gave to Felicity before she went Lazarus put hunting.
During the episode we a side story of a young man who travels to Lian Yu in search of somebody, he comes across Robert Queen’s grave. He is then captured by a salt and pepper haired Roy Harper who asked the man what he is doing on Lian Yu. The Man tells Roy that his father is Oliver Queen and produces the Arrowhead Felicity gave to him.
A jaw dropping ending to a spectacular premiere. I have so many questions I need to know the answers to, Such as- Has future William found time travel and is he the mystery archer? And is that why he did the running scene at the beginning of the episode?
I honestly think it was a tremendous premiere- it set season seven up really well and set each character on an individual path which will be interesting to see develop as we rarely see these characters acting alone- the lack of a team will give us a chance to explore different sides of characters which was demonstrated with Felicity in this episode.
I’m super excited for this season, I can feel shadows of season one, and I LOVE season one. I think the new show-runner has added old elements to a new aspect of a seven year old show and the result was simply incredible!
I can’t wait for next week, and I can’t promise shorter reviews!