Warning: The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s Arrow Season 4 premiere.
It seems you can go home again, and Oliver did that in more ways than one — not all of it willingly — in Arrow‘s Season 4 premiere.
While he and girlfriend Felicity were lured back to Star City in the present day, Flashback Oliver was captured by Amanda Waller in Coast City and sent back to a familiar terrain to assess a threat: Lian Yu!
Back in Star City, Damien Darhk’s reign of terror unveiled a surprising (but reluctant?) alliance between the new Big Bad and Captain Lance.
But the biggest shock came at the close of the season opener, which found Oliver getting a visit from The Flash‘s Barry Allen as the former vigilante stood over a grave six months later (in show time, per the producers), vowing to “kill him.” (I guess we know whether they’re dressed for a funeral or wedding now.) The reveal came after present day Oliver had broadcast a message to the city’s citizens as Green Arrow, proclaiming about finding light in the darkness.
RIP, WHOEVER YOU ARE | Somebody is definitely dead — “It’s not a fake-out,” Guggenheim confirms, while keeping mum on whether the producers know who is in that cemetery plot — and he or she will stay that way, despite the existence of Nanda Parbat’s magical hot tub. “We want to bring stakes back to the show, and so, we’ll be finding a way to handle the Lazarus Pit… in a new, inventive way that I can’t reveal,” Mericle shares. “But it’ll be cool.” Adds Guggenheim: “It’ll feel organic and very earned. It’s actually very elegant.”
BACK TO THE ISLAND | Proving Lian Yu might really be Fantasy Island — “We’ve always said that there’s actually a hotel on the other side of the island they don’t know about,” Guggenheim jokes — Oliver will meet and “fall in love with” Elysia Rotaru’s character on the isle. “He’s also going to encounter a lot of magic and mysticism,” Mericle adds. “That is going to inform what he is dealing with in Star City in the present day with Damien Darhk.”
A DARHK ALLIANCE | Even though Lance agreed to work for Damien, “you’ll see later in the season that he did not know what he was necessarily signing up for,” Mericle previews. “We’re going to play it really as a crisis for Lance in terms of why he chose to do it and what it means for him. He’s always been the moral center of the show and someone who’s lorded his morality over Oliver’s. When this all comes to a head, it’s going to be very interesting to see how those two characters work it out.”
PUT A RING ON IT | While Oliver’s proposal got interrupted by Thea and Laurel’s arrival, his desire to pop the question to Felicity is significant — as is his hiding the ring once they return to Star City. While breaking the premiere, executive producer Greg Berlanti planted the seed by saying, “‘I wish there was some way we could dramatize where their relationship was,'” Guggenheim recounts. “Wendy and I were like, ‘Well…’ When we threw it out, I don’t think either one of us really thought Greg would go for it. Greg was like, ‘That’s awesome! Totally do that!’
“It does dramatize, in a very clear way, not only where they are,” Guggenheim continues, “but when Oliver hides the ring, essentially, we’re also dramatizing the fact that, OK, he’s with Felicity, they’re together, but things are not the same as they were back in Ivy Town.”
SECRET KEEPERS | Dig’s decision to keep his knowledge of H.I.V.E. and its connection to Andy’s death from the team is “tied to his inability to make any headway,” Mericle explains. “It’s his brother’s murder that he’s been trying to solve, and the fact that he himself has been unable to get anywhere has made him feel slightly ashamed. Also, he’s run into so many dead ends. There hasn’t been anywhere for him to go until now. He will eventually talk about it, but up until this point, there hasn’t been a lot of reason to do so.” Meanwhile, it’s not lost on the producers that the show’s most upright citizens, Dig and Lance, are both keeping major secrets. “It’s cool to see Oliver finally have a little moral high ground to stand on, and it’s also interesting to see both of those characters go to a dark place,” Mericle says. “They’ve both been through a lot of things, but we haven’t really seen Dig have to, for lack of a better term, dig deep to find out what he’s capable of in the name of finding out about his brother. It’s a cool thing to take these characters on this journey and see where they end up and to really challenge them in that way.”
FULL THROTTLE THEA | After getting a little taste of the Lazarus Pit’s side effects in the season opener, Thea’s restraint-free behavior will be explored more heavily in upcoming episodes. “We’re going to acknowledge very directly, ‘Like, wait a second, she went into the Lazarus Pit back in Episode 320. It’s been six months. Why is it only showing up now?'” Guggenheim promises.
Arrow fans, what did you think of the Season 4 premiere? Who’s your pick for the death? (My money’s on Lance, with Lyla — but please, dear God, don’t let it be her — in second place.)