What to Expect From 'Arrow' Season 4

The brooding archer is going to smile for once.

The CW Networks

Throughout its third season, DC’s Arrow, the TV series based on its emerald archer superhero Green Arrow, was a Wednesday night buzzkill. Having the mystic cult leader Ra’s Al Ghul as the big bad plunged the show into emotional darkness, dealing with revenge, loss, ugly family politics, and brooding — lots and lots of brooding. As good as it often was, Arrow was a bit bleak and a tad unpleasant. Christopher Nolan could have walked on set and told everyone to lighten up.

With Ra’s Al Ghul vanquished and a new status quo in Arrow, what could fans expect in the fourth year of Oliver Queen’s crusade?

“The Arrow” is now the Green Arrow. Finally.

For three years, Arrow’s hero was not the Green Arrow he was supposed to be. Arrow’s Oliver Queen had more in common with Batman: a dark, no-nonsense, brooding warrior who relied on ruthless tactics and was armed with wealth to fund his efforts.

Going by just “The Arrow,” he was stripped of the hallmarks the Green Arrow is supposed to have, from his progressive politics to his wise-cracking humor. All gone.

But it was all part of his journey, a several-year buildup to the hero he’s meant to be. The journey is nearly complete, and Oliver Queen will finally be rocking the proper “Green Arrow” identity — and a new, greener costume — from here on.

Some goddamn fun, FINALLY.

Oliver Queen’s masked identity isn’t the only thing changing in Arrow, it’s Arrow itself. The show is now adopting a brighter, upbeat tone than before.

At Comic-Con, co-showrunner of Arrow Wendy Mericle described the first years of Arrow like a soldier coming back from war. But now that soldier has settled, and his outlook on life is a bit different.

From IGN:

“We never explicitly said PTSD but the implication certainly was there. In the pilot, he’s sleeping on the floor, he doesn’t have any appetite. This season, we’re going to see him in a very different place … He’s very happy where he is and that happiness and lightness and the new found faith in humanity that he has … is going to redefine how he approaches his mission and how he approaches his life in general…”

Diggle gets a costume. Finally?

Let’s be real: John Diggle is the real star of Arrow. And this season, the reluctant bodyguard-turned-best friend is now suiting up with a costume and identity of his own: The Guardian.

They fucked up. Because look at it.

Fans adore Diggle and have wanted him to adopt an identity and costume — preferably a green one — but this isn’t shaping up to be what anyone wanted. Maybe it’s just a bad photoshop job and it might look cooler in action, but for now Diggle’s budget Power Ranger isn’t inspiring confidence.

Sara Lance back. Finally!

Sara Lance, who donned the identity Black Canary, was unexpectedly killed at the end of last season’s premiere. It didn’t feel final, though, and thankfully it wasn’t: Sara will be resurrected to become the White Canary in Legends of Tomorrow, The CW’s January midseason replacement.

But who will be resurrecting her in Arrow is a story on its own.

CONSTANTINE BACK. But is it final?

DC’s occult detective John Constantine had his own show which premiered last year and was unceremoniously canceled. It was almost a given, as it languished on Friday nights on NBC despite a rabid following.

But Arrow has resurrected him for a one-time guest spot, and in turn Constantine will have to do some resurrecting on his own to bring Sara Lance back from the grave.

The guest appearance is expected to be a one-time deal, with little indicating it could ever happen again. But one time is better than never at all.

Finally, a new villain.

Arrow is going to welcome a new bad guy: Damien Darhk, who just sounds like a ray of sunshine.

The original inheritor to the title Ra’s Al Ghul, murmurs of Damien Darhk were heard in Arrow but now he’ll be in Star City (formerly Starling City, another relatively minor change) with actor Neal McDonough portraying the criminal overlord.

Arrow had teased and then dealt with Ra’s Al Ghul for what felt like forever, but the show is finally free of him and the omniscient League of Assassins. Damien won’t be a walk in the park for Oliver Queen either, but Neal McDonough is bound to bring energy where Matthew Nable’s Ra’s Al Ghul from last season was far more cold and and calculated.

And finally, a less shrill Felicity Smoak. FINALLY.

Neither the fans nor Emily Bett Rickards, the actress who plays the brainy, beautiful, and now CEO of Palmer Technologies Felicity Smoak, were accepting of Felicity’s sudden change into a crying shrill last season. The previously whip-smart and hysterical Felicity cried a lot over Oliver and Ray and Oliver and Ray and Oliver again before everyone just had enough.

In a brighter, happier Arrow, Felicity is returning to her upbeat disposition. Says Rickards to IGN:

“[Felicity] is reenergized and excited and in love … she’s not in that headspace where she’s upset or worried all the time. She’s happy. She’s enjoying life and she’s excited about whatever the future is going to bring.”

Arrow premieres its fourth season Oct. 7th on The CW.

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