Five months have passed since Oliver Queen was revealed to the world as Green Arrow and imprisoned in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Now, as he tries to keep his head down earn time off of his sentence, the rest of Team Arrow must continue the mission to save Star City, despite crime boss Ricardo Diaz still being at large and the new city government being more concerned with stopping vigilantes than career criminals. And in the midst of all this, a new Green Arrow emerges...
Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie) and the novel The Count of Monte Cristo (parallels to Oliver's life, as it centers around a man who adopts a new identity to avenge himself on those responsible for ruining his former life and is unjustly imprisoned.)
Shouldn't Rene and Zoe be in Witness Protection as well? Rene's secret identity isn't really a secret anymore and while Felicity and William may be bigger targets, Diaz would probably go after them as well. (Then again, Rene isn't the type to abandon his neighborhood, as we see given his new job.)
Why, of all things, is Felicity working as a barista? Couldn't she find a tech job working from home that would pay better, take advantage of her talents and limit her exposure in public?
Ignoring how Black Siren shouldn't be able to convincingly masquerade as a lawyer, why on Earth would she be rehired to work for Star City's District Attorney's office? The real Laurel Lance was outed as the first Black Canary after her death and the new government of Star City is allegedly anti-vigilante to a fault. It seems strange then that they would let their DA's office be run by an ex-vigilante!
How does ARGUS let Diaz slip through their security AND let him get away?
There honestly isn't a bad one to be found here, but Emily Bett Rickards slays with the steel in her performance as she declares that she is going to start fighting back in the final scenes.
Most Improved: Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez. For some reason, Rene didn't grate on my nerves the way he usually did. I think it's because all of his macho posturing is gone. Rene had always been ready for a fight in the past but two years seem to have taught him what is worth fighting for and Gonzales perfectly captures Rene's realization of what a true warrior's role is. His interactions with Zoe and his students do more to humanize Rene in two minutes than every scene with the character to date.
The fifth segment fight-sequence which cuts between Oliver in the prison shower and Felicity fighting Diaz may be the best in the show's history.
The opening scene showing William running through the woods is a reference to the opening of the first episode.
Oliver Queen is imprisoned in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. In the original DC Comics universe, Slabside Penitentiary was the name of a maximum security prison for Metahumans, which first appeared in Green Lantern #51 (May 1994). It is nicknamed The Slab, because those who are sent there only leave it once they are "on the slab". (i.e. dead)
The new title card sequence shows a grey arrow with a sound of cell doors closing.
The town where Felicity and William now live is said to be named Hope Springs. In the DC Universe, Hope Springs is a small town in West Virigina, which first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 3 #1 (June 1990)
The coffee shop Felicity works at is named Radu's. Radu's was also the name of the Greenwich Village coffee shop which Green Lantern Kyle Rayner frequently hung out at and lived above. It was owned and operated by Radu Stancu - a Romanian immigrant and ex-soldier, who was also Kyle Rayner's landlord. In the DC Rebirth reality, Radu's now seems to be a popular chain of coffee shops, as Wally West was seen drinking coffee with his ex-girlfriend Magenta at a Radu's location in Keystone City.
Ben Turner (a.k.a. Bronze Tiger) was killed in Issue #12 of the Arrow: Season 2.5. This would seem to confirm that the Arrow comic books are not considered canon by the writers of the television show, or, at least, that the Suicide Squad story that included Bronze Tiger isn't. (Of course, it's entirely possible that one of Barry Allen's trips to the past changed the timeline so Bronze Tiger survived.)
The only book in Oliver's cell is a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The story centers upon a merchant sailor who is unjustly accused of treason and thrown into prison without trial. While there, he learns that he was framed by three men - a rival for the affections of his fiancee, a jealous co-worker an a corrupt judge. With the aid of another prisoner he escapes, claims a lost fortune and reinvents himself as The Counte of Monte Cristo before returning to France and engaging a quest for revenge that sees many people, guilty and innocent, harmed. Parallels can be drawn between Oliver's current situation (unjust imprisonment) and his life (a man becomes something else in a bid to fight the evil men who ruined his life and the lives of many other people.)
One of the names on the new Green Arrow's list is "Nicholas Ko-."This might be Nicholas Kotero, who was the first criminal Oliver Queen ever faced as Green Arrow in the post-Crisis era. Kotero was another castaway on the first island where Ollie was shipwrecked, who Oliver deduced was lying about his identity. Kotero revealed himself as a Ted Bundy-style serial-rapist/killer who had gotten lost at sea while fleeing prosecution. He would emerge years later after figuring out that Oliver Queen was Green Arrow, kill one of the ladies Oliver was dating at the time and force Oliver into another confrontational in Green Arrow Annual #7. Kotero would go on to become an enemy of the Connor Hawke Green Arrow, masterminding a scheme to start a new American Civil War along racial lines.
Oliver: I'm focusing on what I can control.
John: What's that?
Oliver: Keep my head down. Hopefully shorten my sentence.
John: That's smart. I think that's a good play. But I worry about the toll that's going to take on you, Oliver.
Oliver: Cuts heal, John.
John: Not physically, bro. Keeping passive? Not fighting back? Never been who you were.
Oliver: I've always done what I had to do. Right now? This is what I have to do.
Jason Stent: I want to talk to your captain!
(Dinah enters the room.)
Dinah: You sure about that? Because Officer Anastas is a lot more patient than I am.
Rene: Self defense isn't about being violent. It's about being focused and disciplined so you can protect yourself and the ones that you love.
(Jason Stent is lying on the ground, helpless as the new Green Arrow moves in.)
Jason Stent: Please! I'll give you anything!
New Green Arrow: I have what I came for. Jason Stent, you have failed this city!
Felicity: (To Oliver) I love you. And I will always, always wait for you. But I can't let what happened to William and I happen again. I can't. I have to fight back. You, of all people, understand that.
Another inmate named Stanley asks Oliver for protection. He refuses to give it.
Ben Turner (aka Bronze Tiger) was last seen in 216.
Danny "Brick" Brickman was last seen in 421.
Derek Sampson was last seen in 521.
The first target of the new Green Arrow is an arms dealer named Jason Stent.
Officer Nick Anastas is still dating Curtis Holt.
John Diggle has been visiting Oliver in prison once a week for the past five months.
William and Felicity are confirmed to be in Witness Protection.
Diggle is overseeing their security personally and has upped them to 24/7 surveillance since he last talked to Oliver a week earlier.
The FBI and ARGUS are still hunting for Diaz.
Felicity is working as a Barista at Baru's Coffee in a town called Hope Springs. She is using the name Erin.
Dinah Drake is now a Captain in the SCPD. She has quit being Black Canary.
Jason Stent has been accused of fraud, racketeering and embezzlement.
Rene is teaching self-defense classes at a community center in The Glades. He has quit being Wild Dog and his secret identity has been exposed to the world.
Brick, Bronze Tiger and Sampson have a side-hustle that requires three men. They try to pressure Ollie into replacing Bronze Tiger.
Rene witnesses the new Green Arrow taking down an illegal gun deal run by Freddie Medina.
Medina is later revealed to be working for Jason Stent
The customer Felicity helped with his programming asks her out. She turns him down, but doesn't explain that it's because she is married.
Black Siren is still impersonating Laurel Lance. She has become District Attorney of Star City.
All of Team Arrow gave up being vigilantes.
John Diggle has been using a lot of ARGUS resources to search for Diaz and gotten into trouble for doing so. He says that he wants to catch the new Green Arrow before the FBI thinks it is something Oliver planned in advance.
Curtis is now the head of Research and Development and ARGUS.
Curtis is able to track Jason Stent's dealings on the dark web and find out he is liquidating all of this inventory of weapons.
Oliver lets Brick and Sampson menace Stanley after Oliver refuses to work with them.
The SCPD tries to set a trap for the new Green Arrow at Jason Stent's arms deal.
The new Green Arrow uses a voice modulator to disguise his voice.
Rene, as Wild Dog, creates a distraction that helps the new Green Arrow escape the police.
Oliver is having a reoccurring nightmare of Felicity and William being hunted through the woods of Lian Yu by Diaz.
Diaz breaks into Felicity's home as Diaz has a gang jump Oliver in prison.
Diaz somehow escapes before ARGUS can move to capture him.
Oliver does not have at-will phone privileges.
Felicity sets William up at a private boarding school in Cambridge.
Felicity says she is getting out of witness protection because she is sick of hiding and not being able to protect herself.
Rene and several other small business owners in The Glades were mysteriously given money. The total of the donations equals the amount of money stolen from Jason Stent at the trap for Green Arrow.
Dinah reveals that she knows Rene helped the new Green Arrow escape, but agrees not to turn him in this time.
Thea gave Felicity the Hozen Oliver gave her in the first episode before she left town.
Felicity gives the Hozen to William.
Oliver starts a fight in the exercise yard, apparently having gotten sick of keeping his head down.
The new Green Arrow has a list of targets, similar to The List Oliver Queen used in Season One.
There are a series of scenes that show a young man paying a Chinese ship captain to take him to an island. After the young man finds the grave marker of Robert Queen, it is revealed the island is Lian Yu. The young man is then captured by a hooded figure, who threatens to kill him until the young man says his name is William Clayton and that he has the Queen Family Hozen. The hooded figure then reveals himself as an older Roy Harper. This reveals that the flash-backs are actually flash-forwards to 20 years in the future.
Slabside Maximum Security Prison.
Lian Yu - 2038
The Fridge Factor
Averted in the case of Felicity, whose attack at the hands of Diaz seems to be prompting her to take control of her own life and become a vigilante in her own right as opposed to being the damsel in distress whose only purpose in the show is giving Oliver angst over his inability to protect her.
The Winick Factor
Diaz is still the same invincible criminal mastermind who is somehow able to overcome the combined efforts of multiple police organizations and break into Felicity's home and evade capture with ease. He is less master criminal and more slasher-movie killer, only without Freddy Kruger's sense of humor.
The Bottom Line
A solid start for the season, despite many of the same old problems being there. Chief among these are the fact that Diaz can't be a convincing threat without a whole lot of plot convenience and the show's writers continuing to have to twist the laws of reality to justify Black Siren not having been sent to a secret ARGUS holding facility.
Ignoring the IWVS (Invincible Winick Villain Syndrome), the writing is greatly improved. New Team Arrow in particularly is much more likeable, with Curtis being allowed to be funny without it seeming in appropriate, Dinah being handled like a hardened professional and Rene acting like a father and a mentor without being a jackass.
The twist at the end with the revelation that we are seeing Flash-Forwards is something I don't think anyone saw coming, though this does explain the show-runners' statements that we would see Roy Harper have a role in the new season but that they wouldn't negate the wonderful send-off he and Thea Queen got last year. This still leaves us with the question of who the new Green Arrow is, but the season is still young...