In "Candidate," 'Arrow' Is Still Grim as Hell

And where is Oliver's deep voice?

The CW Networks

Going into the fourth season, the producers of Arrow were adamant about the show’s lighter tone. It stems from Oliver’s newfound optimism, his affirmation of his destiny and place in life. Things aren’t going that well for him, but in the four years he’s been back things have never been better.

He’s got his health, a great woman, a sweet new costume, his social life could use some repairing but Diggle and Thea are alive and more than capable of protecting themselves. So yeah, he’s pretty A-OK.

But the show isn’t. If anything, it’s far darker than it has ever been.

Damien Darhk lives up to his name, casting a shadow equal to that of Ra’s Al Ghul. He’s not as mystical or enigmatic, but he’s certainly far crazier. He’s got a crazy idea of order in chaos, similar to Ra’s, but there’s something really sinister in Damien. Ra wanted to destroy Starling City out of altruism. Damien wants to raze Star City all the way to the ground to be reborn into something new. They sound very similar, but Damien’s severity is a few degrees harsher than Ra’s.

Furthermore, Damien’s infiltration into Star City’s police force through Captain Lance does not bode well, particularly for Lance. It’s a freight train headed for disaster.

Speaking of heading towards disasters, Felicity is still expected to eat it soon. It’s six months away, but that’s just six months of anxiety.

Closing last night’s Arrow and capping off their descent into madness was the creepy, shrunken corpse of Sara that Laurel and Thea dug up (strangely without much effort). When you dig up a corpse, of course it’s supposed to be nasty, but holy shit was it eerie. Sara wasn’t rotting, but her shrunken figure and white make-up were not the closing image you want to hold on to for a week.

I thought Arrow was supposed to be lighter? Oliver as the Green Arrow certainly is, having ditched his Batman-deep voice tech into his own natural voice — which, wouldn’t that compromise his identity? It’s a poorly kept secret now that even Lance knows who he is. Oliver is supposed to be famous. I think I’d know if Channing Tatum became a vigilante just by hearing him talk.

There are still a few bright spots. Oliver is cracking a few more quips, and Curtis Holt, introduced this week, is Felicity, but a dude. More Felicities are always a good, fun thing. And the resurrection of Sara means we’ll see the brief return of Constantine, who always has a few one-liners up his sleeve.

Still, it’d be nice to not end Arrow with the image of a creepy-ass corpse staying in my head for a solid week.