‘Arrow’: Three Reasons Why Season 4’s New Direction Breathes Fresh Life Into The Series [Spoilers]

[Beware, if you haven’t seen the first episode of Arrow season 4, as there are major spoilers ahead.]

Arrow premiered its fourth season last night and it marks a strong departure from the deep darkness of the heavy third season.

Arrow’s got a new name, a new costume, a steady love interest and a team that needs his help, but not necessarily his leadership, and with all this newness comes a different tone. A tone more like its fellow CW Network DC show, The Flash.

In the season 4 trailer, Oliver (Stephen Amell), as the Green Arrow, renews his vow to fight for the city and we meet Damien Dahrk, a deliciously evil villain.

How exactly are things changing in the Arrow universe?

Arrow’s Embracing Mysticism And Gets A Visit From John Constantine.

The flashbacks are back and this time they’ll find Oliver returning to Lian Yu. In an interview with Variety, Arrow‘s showrunners Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle talked about the premiere. Mericle let a little slip about what Oliver will find on the island this time.

“He’s going to encounter who we hope is a love interest, a woman that he is going to fall in love with, and he’s also going to encounter a lot of magic and mysticism on the show and that is going to inform what he is dealing with in Star City in present day with Damien Darhk.”

While Marc Guggenheim went into more depth about Constantine appearing in Arrow’s world that we can look forward to in the fifth episode of the season.

“I can tell you it’s really cool. We’ve got all the props, we got all the original costumes, we got the original Matt Ryan. For us, when we finished watching the first cut of it, we were like, ‘You know what, this feels like a legitimate crossover.’ It feels like [Arrow] crossed over with the other show.”

Matt Ryan as 'Constantine' and Stephen Amell as 'Arrow'

Arrow Has Taken Its Time To Earn This Directional Shift And Introduce The Green Arrow

The first season of Arrow was all about setting up a world where a rich, pampered playboy becomes a lone dark, vengeful vigilante. And the last two seasons were about him paying the consequences for being so quick to deal out death and judgment while also trying to manage all the people who were joining him in fighting the criminals of Starling City. But now Oliver/Arrow is having to deal with a whole new dynamic.

Last season Team Arrow was pretty lost without the titular hero but now that time has past and Diggle (David Ramsey), Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Thea (Willa Holland) have had to work together, they’ve reached a cohesive unit that doesn’t rely on Oliver. Mericle clarifies Arrow’s new role.

“It’s going to be more democratic, for sure. Oliver can’t walk away and then come back and expect that Digg and Laurel and Thea have not found a new dynamic and a new way of working and they’re all very capable. It’s a very different way of doing the show and it puts Oliver in a different position vis-à-vis the team, which we found interesting.”

Oliver’s change of temperament is put to the test when he realizes that Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), the woman who’d urged him to give up being Arrow and run away from it all, has been lying to him and doing work for Team Arrow on the side. The old Oliver would have walked away and been grumpy while brooding darkly in a corner but this Oliver doesn’t care that she lied to him, he just wants her to admit that she isn’t choosing crime fighting over being with him, which of course, she does.

It’s all very fresh and believable for all the Arrow characters to behave the way they do now because Guggenheim and Mericle have taken the time to build up to where they now stand.

How long will this new, more relaxed Oliver last?

Arrow May Have A Lighter Tone But It Can Still Embrace A Little Darkness

The ending to the season 4 premiere was like a punch to the gut. Oliver had to put asking Felicity to marry him on hold now that they’re back in Star City, but the team’s back together and he’s embraced his new suit and the Green Arrow name. Then we flash forward six months and Oliver’s standing in front of a grave, which we never get to see the name on, and he’s joined by Barry Allen (Grant Gustin).

We have a key character’s death on the horizon — a death they seem to be wanting us to believe is Felicity with Barry’s appearance and the fact that Oliver sheds a tear. But no one in the know is talking so it could really be any of the members of Team Arrow.

It could very well be a well thought out ploy to add tension to every upcoming episode until it’s revealed.

Take another look at the final scene of the Arrow premiere below.

Next week’s Arrow, “The Candidate,” focuses on the Queens vowing to protect an old family friend, Star Trek‘s Jeri Ryan, who’s decided to run for mayor and Thea having to deal with what coming back to life through the Lazarus Pit does to her. Take a look at the promo below.

[Image courtesy The CW Network via Geek Nation]