This season’s action-packed Arrow premiere find’s Oliver dealing with the cliff-hanger that we were left with at the end of Season 5, the explosion on Lian Yu. This keeps it moving at a fast pace, but means we have to wait for at least another week to learn more about a few key developments — like the fate of Malcolm Merlyn, Olicity’s relationship, and a personality for little William.
It feels like every other scene in this episode is a fight or an explosion as the entire episode was full of brawls, although the best has to be the fight between Dinah and evil Laurel. Their dialogue leaves something to be desired, but I’m hoping that these two will square off many more times to come as it seems that they have got a lot of unfinished business.
We learn that Diggle, Rene, and Curtis made it off the island totally fine very early in the episode. It takes a little longer for us to see Felicity, but it seems pretty obvious that Samantha will be the one who dies well before that’s confirmed. The big holdout is Thea, and we don’t find out that she is alive until the end of the episode where we see her in the hospital.
Malcolm Merlyn actor confirmed that he is not going to appear on the show this season, so he is most probably dead. Secondly, we’re glad for the showrunner’s sake that Thea is alive, because the fandom could not take another badass woman from this show being killed off.
Everyone is a little bit tensed after what they had to go through, each in their own way. We see Diggle miss a shot and become gun-shy for the first time and he seems to have lost his aim, and this was later confirmed when we see him nursing a physical wound to match his mental one. Quentin, meanwhile, is struggling with his sobriety in light of believing he killed Black Siren which he still thinks is his daughter back on Lian Yu. Oliver’s son William is missing his mother and is haunted by his father, even when he stands right in front of him. Oliver also seems to be struggling with this situation and being a father as William blames him for the death of his mother.
On the positive side, Rene seems to have grown more confident and capable in his role at City Hall in Thea’s absence. His character development was a highlight of last season, and with his affectionate moment with Oliver after getting his second chance at a custody hearing for his daughter, it seems like Rene is continuing on the path of personal growth in this season as well.
Oliver and Felicity’s relationship seems uncertain, which is realistic, given that their moment of connection came in the midst of a life-and-death situation. Almost no time was spent on Olicity aside from one very brief, delightfully awkward conversation which was a necessity of playing catch-up on the events of Lian Yu while setting up several season-long arcs between all those explosions and fights throughout the episode.
We keep expecting Quentin to be on the taken off the show somehow since they don’t seem to know what to do with him, but offering paternal advice to Oliver was a nice moment, and Quentin and Dinah’s friendship worked here as both are teammates and potential father/daughter surrogates.
The big thing happened at the end of the episode where we see Oliver being unmasked, though it did feel like it came out of nowhere because ultimately the secret identity plot has been played out for any and all possible narrative interest. Well, we’ve seen him unmasked before and then wriggle out of it, but this time it seems to be for real.
Oliver found his way out of being identified would enrage fans. Not to mention, the theme of Oliver having to square his two identities, and whether that’s even possible now, as it had become more prominent in the last season and was addressed directly in this episode by Slade. What better way would be there to explore those themes than by having Oliver actually rectify those two identities publicly, once and for all?
Like any good premiere, we’re left with a whole host of questions to unravel for the entire season. Who was the person that rescued Black Siren from Lian Yu? What will she do with the T-Sphere she stole from the Arrowcave? What will Thea’s fate? How will Oliver’s life change now that he’s been unmasked and how will he deal with it? There is a lot in store for us this season and all in all it was a good explosive premiere.