At the end of last season, Arrow had emerged triumphant over Ra’s Al Ghul, Merlyn took over with Arrow’s blessing, Palmer was apparently dead (giant explosion), Diggle was upset with Arrow putting his wife in danger and not trusting him, etc., and basically the band was ready for solo careers or something. The season ended with Felicity and Oliver driving off into a ocean sunset drive with Oliver saying he was happy.
The new season opens with Oliver and Felicity apparently in couple bliss, hanging out and being domestic. The scene is ridiculous as basically you find out they’ve been travelling all over, Felicity is bored with the lack of action, and Oliver is perfectly content doing basically nothing (which he used to do before the Arrow, but hard to believe now). Regardless, there’s trouble back in Star City, Damien Dark is wreaking havoc, and Speedy+Canary want the Arrow’s help. Of course they go back, not everyone (i.e. Diggle) is happy to see him, and oh yeah, Arrow was supposed to be Roy who supposedly died.
So they beat the bad guys, save the city, find out what Dark is really capable of (ooh, he’s into mystical stuff!) and then announce that Arrow is dead, but someone new (with a new snazzy suit) is ready to take up the mantle of Arrow’s legacy — Green Arrow.
I found the episode great for fight scenes, and really poor for the characters. Oliver happy in domestic bliss? Felicity has secretly been helping the Star City crew from various parts of the world without Oliver knowing? Dark is into, well, dark magic? Not a big fan of having the mystical added to the roster for Arrow, outside of the Lazarus Pit which is fine as a plot device I suppose. One of the best parts of the Batman and Arrow heritage is there is no superpower involved, it’s just a formidable fighter taking on the world with strength, agility, and really cool toys.
And honestly, I don’t care if Lance is piqued that Arrow is back, or Diggle still doesn’t trust him. Snooze-arama. Nor the drama in Ep 2 that Felicity has to be a big bad boss lady at Palmer Industries. Disappointing that Jeri Ryan’s character popped in for Ep 2 but that’s it. Oh, well, it can only go up, right?