Well, that was certainly interesting, and probably the fastest I’ve ever taken in the entirety of a show’s season (generally not much of a binge-watcher). I’d have to say, though, for this, binge-watching may very well have been the exact way to go about it. But where do we start? Obviously, this contains unmarked spoilers for the entire show. Arrow is, primarily, a character-based show with subplots related to each of them, so why don’t we take a look at them? In fact, let’s take a look at the character who has the most bearing on the overall plot: the villain, Damien Darhk. Yeah, that’s his actual name. I know. With the H and everything. Sometimes we have to take what we can get. Damien Darhk is, quite possibly, the best arc villain this show has ever had, if only because of the charisma that Neal McDonough brings to the role. He’s powerful, interesting, ties into multiple plotlines, and his mere reactions to the things that happen around him are some of the only true laughs that this season brings — it’s pretty light on comedy ever since Felicity was demoted to… whatever the hell she is. Which I guess is also something I should probably talk about. Last we saw Felicity and Oliver, they were driving off into the sunset, having confessed their undying love for one another and choosing to flee this world of violence and mayhem for a beautiful suburban paradise. You can guess how long that lasts, but what I didn’t guess was exactly how long the writers would try to milk their doomed relationship for drama. For the first damn near half of the season I was almost convinced that their “undying love” would survive the season, because no obstacle really seemed like it should be sufficient to split the two of them up while also keeping both Felicity and Ollie in character. Eventually they went “eh, fuck it” and decided to make Felicity a totally hateful harpy who quickly dropped from being my second favorite character on the show to my most despised (now that Laurel’s dead, anyway — yay!). Felicity ends up as desperate for a reason to break up with Ollie as the writers are, and it really starts to show in the way that she’s portrayed. Fortunately, she’s more or less replaced with one of the best things this season has to offer — Mr. Terrific. Okay, so he technically isn’t Mr. Terrific, he’s just Curtis Holt. I wanna lead off reaaaally quick by saying, yes, they made him gay. Yes, the original comic character isn’t gay. No, this doesn’t mean he’s “ruined” — Arrow has, from the get-go, been a show that rebuilds its source characters from the ground up, from turning Black Canary into an alcoholic lawyer, to turning Count Vertigo into a kooky drug-dealer, to completely transforming Anarky into a discount version of the Joker. (Weirdly, Nyssa al-Ghul is very similar to Talia while getting an obligatory name-lift. Huh.) All things considered, Curtis is probably closer to his comics counterpart than most of the cast of the show, and most importantly, he’s fucking awesome, bringing a dose of levity that this dark, dismal season so desperately needs with his nerd culture shout-outs and exuberantly adorkable behavior. And when I say this season is dark, I mean that literally. Ish. This season has a major focus on the dichotomy of light and darkness, specifically that within Oliver Queen himself. I still have yet to decide whether that level of focus makes the season narratively tight or genuinely exhaustive — we hear the actual word “darkness” ad nauseum, not even counting tossing in the amount of times the characters talk about Darhk without giggling even once (come on guys, not even once?). Overall it does keep things feeling contained, but this season could have used a little breathing room — it features almost no side villains and the main arc of the show literally begins with the first episode, rather than giving us a while to chew on the new order of things like past seasons have. Speaking of other things that happen the first episode, this season has something very neat that it introduces right away, and that’s the funeral scene with Oliver and Barry. Instantly we’re hit with the knowledge that someone important dies later on in the season, and then proceeds to fake us out like crazy — first Felicity is shot and nearly dies, becoming paralyzed for about twenty minutes instead, so we learn it isn’t her. When Laurel Lance is then later stabbed, we hear that she, too, will be okay. The mindfuckery continues, though, when just as we let go of our collectively held breath she gets an embolism and fucking croaks. To be honest, I’m kinda glad to see her go. She hasn’t really contributed anything of worth to the show in quite some while, and I’m perfectly content to sacrifice her life in order to get a few more fucking stupendous performances out of Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne, who should seriously be coaching the rest of the cast at this point because holy shit he’s amazing). Diggle is… well, he sure still is Diggle. Yeahp, still looking for his brother. At least he does find him this time, and then it’s all about Andy still, marking four full seasons where an entire character has been dedicated to a single uninteresting side-plot that involves no other main characters. At least he finally did get some closure, so maybe the whole thing can take a fucking rest, but who knows. Next season he’ll probably be dealing with getting haunted by the ghost of Andy. I mean… fuck. Shit, nobody at CW read this! I don’t wanna give them any ideas. Malcolm remains the character who would create the most immediate good from having his fucking head cut off but, nope, he’s still alive so he can act creepy around Thea (who ALSO still exists) and dance around Oliver being about as threatening as a twelve-year-old going “I’m not touching yoooou” and somehow never earning himself an arrow through his dick. Getting his hand cut off held him back slightly less than Felicity having her spine destroyed did (so not at all), letting us all continue to bask in his mild annoyance as he lends himself to absolutely nothing besides a short, single-episode sub-plot with Nyssa and the League of Assassins. Speaking of Nyssa, what the fuck writers, you have like, an awesome character and you’re just not using her at all. Make Nyssa an official part of the team already! Even a loosely-affiliated offshoot! With the Lazarus Pit gone and the League disbanded, she’s just awkwardly looming around asking people if they want sandwiches, it’s really a shameful waste of a fantastically complex and likeable character. Then again, there are going to be some upheavals in the next season, so maybe some things will change around? Musical compound bows? That’d be nice. Do that. I scratch what I said about nobody from CW reading this. Read this part and ignore the ghost-Andy part, please. As for the actual Blu-Ray itself, one particularly helpful and kind-hearted thing stands out in the fact that the tie-in Flash episodes are included, allowing you to actually see everything that happens with the characters rather than trying to fill in the blanks by yourself. It might sound like a small thing, but as someone who isn’t caught up with Flash and isn’t watching the shows simultaneously as they’re released, this was an extremely welcome addition to the four-disc set. Ultimately, this season is good — maybe not great as far as Arrow goes, but they’re doing a good job bringing in older or outside characters and creating something that’s really starting to feel like… y’know, a universe. A hell of a lot better than the DCEU, anyway, not that that’s saying much, but it’s cool to see outside characters pop up from past seasons or even from different shows…. …Or even different networks. I’m looking at you, Constantine, you beautiful fuck. <3 I’ve never been one for wrap-ups, but overall, as much bitching and nitpicking as I’ve done with the individual pieces of the season, it still remains an entertaining nod at the DC universe with tidy storytelling and some cool characters, not to mention the neverending hurricane of references to stuff in the comics that I never tire of. By the way, if you’re quick, in episode 2 there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of a man in a pilot’s jacket that says “Jordan” on the chest. If you don’t know who that is, you don’t deserve to be told. So definitely check this out if you’re interested in intravenously injecting an entire season of Arrow directly into your veins, and doubly check it out if you haven’t been keeping up with Flash and don’t wanna miss anything. It’s a good season, all in all. See larger image Arrow: Season 4 [Blu-ray] Arrow: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray+ UltraViolet) After defeating his most formidable foe to date and riding off into the sunset with longtime flame Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen (aka The Arrow) left Starling City with the hopes of beginning a new life. But will Oliver ever truly be able to leave behind his past as the Arrow, and, if so, what becomes of the team he has worked so hard to assemble? Will military vet John Diggle, Oliver’s sister Thea Queen, and lawyer-turned-vigilante Laurel Lance be left to continue Oliver’s crusade without him? And with Malcolm Merlyn having ascended to the top of the League of Assassins as the new Ra’s al Ghul, is anyone really safe? The action-packed series continues with new villains, new heroes and new challenges! New From: $18.99 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.