Arrow: 6.01 Fallout
Season five of Arrow ended with one of the show's best episodes and a terrific cliffhanger in Lian Yu. The possible death of almost every major character as Prometheus detonated a series of bombs that devastated the island was a shocking hook for the sixth season and it has been quite a wait to see if it would be satisfyingly resolved. So did the appropriately titled Fallout deliver a decent pay off?
Sort off. In a theme common with a number of the returning DC shows this week (Barry's return in The Flash and the broken time fix in Legends of Tomorrow), the resolution to the almighty season finale cliffhanger was resolved a little too quickly, almost predictably in fact. Before the episode had even started I suspected that the season would pick up several months later and gradually reveal who survived.
Turns out, I was spot on as Arrow season six started with a bang five months later. Green Arrow (with a quickly revealed Spartan, Wild Dog (in new, cooler costume) and Mr Terrific) took down new villain Alex Faust (Dominic Bogart). The action was spectacular and Mr Terrific using his T-sphere to divert the missile heading for Star City was pretty cool and a great way to open the series.
It took a little longer to reveal Felicity's survival, who seems to be back in a relationship with Oliver (or at least embarking on one), while new series regular Dinah Drake / Black Canary (Juliana Harkavy) got to play detective, interrogating Faust before the equally surviving Black Siren turned up to wreak havoc as her army of goons rescued him and slaughtered every cop in their path. It was another great action set piece, followed quickly by the first of several Black Canary / Black Siren encounters on the road. While there weren't many answers this episode there was plenty of well choreographed action to keep the audience entertained.
Not that it was all fight and no drama. Oliver battled to connect with his son William, following the death of his mother Samantha, who was always going to be a casualty on the island. Thea's absence spoke volumes and made the death of someone important a worthy payoff of Prometheus's actions, only to be undermined when she was revealed to be in a coma at the end. Quasi ally Slade Wilson / Deathstroke was a welcome reveal though and I'm hoping we get more of Manu Bennett on the show this season after his search for his son inevitably fails.
Oh and there was Quentin too, who seems to have more lives than the rest of the cast put together. With Dinah now fulfilling the detective role on the show, it would have been fine for him to have died tragically, though at least there was some angst in the flashback reveal that he shot and supposedly killed the alternate Laurel Lance to save Dinah back on the island. It was all capped on the spectacular attack on the Arrow cave with another dazzling battle between Black Canary and Black Siren while Oliver and Diggle took on the rest of her goons. Escaping with one of Curtis's T-spheres can't be good and the mystery of who rescued her from Lian Yu is intriguing too.
The clever use of the show's flashbacks to tell the story of what happened when Lian Yu was devastated was a clever move, though I can't see it being maintained for a full season. What is clear is that the ramifications of what happened will have a huge impact on the sixth season, from Diggle's struggle to use his trademark gun to Oliver's new role as father to William. Capping the episode off with the public reveal that Oliver is the Green Arrow will add some new drama, though it feels like something we've seen many times before.
The sixth season opener of Arrow was certainly exciting filled with action and drama and Laurel Lance as a recurring villain is a good start. The lack of major character deaths does feel like a cheat (so far is it just the two al Ghul sisters that are unaccounted for, assuming Malcolm Merlyn is dead) and as sad as it would be, not killing Thea seemed like too much of a back track. But the cast seems stronger, particularly Juliana Harkavy and a more mature performance from Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez / Wild Dog and I am looking forward to see if the show can maintain the return to form that was last season.