INMATE # 4587
BY JUSTIN CARTER
The new season of Arrow kicks off with a montage showing Oliver acclimating to life in prison over the last five months. It seems like a good way to establish the status quo, showing his daily workouts, carving tallies on the wall, and all that. And yet, it doesn’t really feel live five months has passed since he went behind bars. The number of plans he’s screwed up in the near decade of being a superhero, coupled with the glares the inmates give him as he walks through the cafeteria, lend the impression he’s been there a few days at most.
A a small thing to complain about? Perhaps not. After all, If the show is going to make this plotline last until December — maybe longer, depending on what deal is struck to get him out of jail — it shouldn’t feel like he’s barely been in the prison. A prison that beyond holding three of his old enemies — Brick from season three, Cody Sampson from five, and Bronze Tiger from two — isn’t really doing anything different. The guards are sketchy, and there’s an inmate who takes a shine to Oliver almost immediately, but there’s not much to the prison storyline yet beyond showing how ripped Oliver is for prison and how easily he could probably murder everyone there with minimal effort.
The other members of Team Arrow, meanwhile, get to have debates about what it means to be a hero and if they should ignore the immunity Oliver secured for them to suit up again. They’re all trying to help the city in different ways, but Rene is the only one who’s really doing it on a personal level with a youth center for troubled teens in the Glades, so he decides to become Wild Dog again. The push/pull of conformity vs. giving into one’s own personal nature seems like it’ll be the running theme of this season, so it makes sense that those seeds are sown through conversations between Dinah and Rene.
A season of Arrow isn’t complete without some kind of mystery, and I don’t think it’s the one about who’s running around in the costume while Oliver’s in jail. Instead, it looks like it’ll be just what the hell happened to William, as the flashbacks to Lian Yu turn out to be flashforwards. Upon rewatching the episode, it becomes more clearer who he is with those earlier apparent flashbacks of him exploring the island, and underlines that whatever noble intentions Felicity had in sending him away in the present day likely did not go well for the Queen family. Like the flashbacks in earlier seasons, this has potential (in general, the flashbacks have always been hit or miss) but the addition of an older, seemingly grizzled Roy hanging with William on the island at least provides a deeper sense of legacy. If nothing else, the reveal that these are flash forwards proves that Arrow is still able to pull off some very clever storytelling when least expected, and that is something I will always be glad to see.
- I have no real evidence to support this, but I’m fairly certain that Diaz managed to find Felicity and William because of the guy who hit on her at her barista job.
- By that same token, I’m sure this inmate that’s imprinted himself onto Oliver is secretly a government agent making sure he’s staying on the straight. His dialogue is way too heavy handed for him not to be.
- If this new Green Arrow is not Roy, I have no clue who it could be to feel logical and a gut punch of a reveal.
- Arrow is on Monday nights now, which will take some time to get used to.