HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Arrow: The Complete Fourth Season
HTS Overall Score:83
“You have failed this city”! Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. Sadly I didn’t get to review season 4 of “Arrow” when it aired about 3 months ago due to a miscommunication, but after a weeklong binge of superhero shoes I’m about to unleash some good old WB superhero reviews on you all. I was a big fan of “Arrow” when it came out. The show was refreshing and fun and Oliver Queen was one MEAN guy! However, the show really hit its stride in the second season and propelled it to the top as one of my favorite superhero seasons of all time. Deathstroke was an amazing villain and while he was not the joking Oliver Queen of the animated comics and shows, it was a wildly entertaining ride. Season 3 kind of dipped pretty badly with the introduction of Ras al Ghul and the very choppy back and forth between good episodes and wince worthy ones throughout the season. This 4th season started out REALLY well and for the first half of the show I was hugely impressed. Unfortunately the second half lost steam around the midpoint of the show and it started to flounder a little bit, ending up the show with a sizzle instead of a bang.
Sorry, some minor spoilers for season 3 have to be used to explain where we’re at right now, but I’ll keep them brief. Last time we left off Ras al Ghul was dead and so was the Arrow. Or at least that’s what the public thinks. Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) have slipped out of Starling city and have made a life for themselves as NORMAL people, leaving Diggle (David Ramsey), Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Thea to keep the criminals at bay. Well, that was obviously not going to last and it takes an ancient enemy to come to Starling City for Ollie to don the hood once more and become The GREEN Arrow finally. Ras al Ghul’s old team mate (remember the one he didn’t kill when he should have) is back. Damien Dahrk (hammed up gloriously by Neal McDonough) has come to pull a Ras a Ghul on Starling City. That is, completely destroy the place. Instead of coming with assassins and blowing up the place, Damien is much more insidious. Bringing with him a host of mindless soldiers called “ghosts” he causes havoc until the people are ready for a savior, and then swoops in for the kill.
Naturally the Green Arrow is not about to let this happen and swoops in to do battle. Only problem is, Damien Dahrk is not JUST an ex League of Assassins member. He’s also wielding unearthly magical powers, making him a very formidable enemy. The season is littered with all sorts of subplots, one of the main ones being the horribly done romance between Oliver and Felicity. Last we left them they were hopelessly in love, but Ollie’s tendency to keep things from those he loves in order to protect him soon sours their relationship and we have a whole season with the two of them fighting and making up, fighting and making up to deal with. Then there’s the constant flashbacks to the island which have REALLY worn out their welcome (although the creators have said there will be no more flashbacks in season 6 due to the show catching up to where Oliver came back in season 1, thus no more timeline for them to go back TO).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=85394[/img]The good is really good in this season. Oliver is not exactly the joke meister that he was in the comics, but really Batman knockoff here with his personality. However, with no Batman in the DC TV universe it fills a gap quite nicely and does it well. Stephen Amell OBVIOUSLY loves playing the Green Arrow and it shows in his character. He’s totally absorbed into the character of Ollie/Arrow and is just having a blast. Felicity is still gorgeous as ever and cute as a button. Same with Diggle. He’s a great foil to Oliver and his being so completely opposite actually fuels some of the conflict that happens in the show (especially in regards to trust issues). There’s also a couple of really fun episodes where we get a crossover with “The Flash” in a 2 parter that sets up the creation of a THIRD DC show, “Legends of Tomorrow” (which also brings back Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) for a brief bit).
The loss of steam comes in the last half of the season where the writers seem to struggle to find a path for all of the characters. Felicity and Ollie’s annoying romance is one thing, but there are several sub plots in the film that really are there to set up other things, as well as mark off check boxes in the characters history. We bring back Sarah from the dead using the Lazarus pit so she can go on to “Legends of Tomorrow”, as well as Thea’s backstory with Malcolm Merlin (John Barrowman, who is magnificent as always) that drags on and a shocking twist with Laurel that really isn’t that shocking once you realize that it was pretty much set up from the beginning. The finale was the only REALLY disappointing episode due to the fact that Damien Dahrk was so incredibly amazing and incredibly evil that his final plan just seems a bit too “really? That’s what he was going for?” for audiences to accept. Which is sad because Neal McDonough was incredible as the famous leader of HIVE.
The episode rundown:
Legends of Today (The Flash; 1st part of 2-hour crossover event)
Legends of Yesterday (Arrow; 2nd part of 2-hour crossover event)
Sins of the Father
Code of Silence
Beacon of Hope
Lost in the Flood
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=85402[/img]Warner has done a fantastic job with their latest TV encodes, and the fourth season of “Arrow” is pretty much par for the course. The series tends to be a bathed in darkness most of the time, with our heroes pulling the Batman method of crime fighting at night. Black levels are deep and inky, but show of PLENTY of fine detail. I never noticed any washed out, greying blacks, or any major artifaciting in the dark. The natural banding that happens in these dark sequences are still there occasionally, but it's never distracting or overly egregious. Colors lean very heavily towards blacks and greens, with some splashes of red and blues from speedy's (used to be Roy's) costume and the more traditional clothing of bystanders and felicity. "Arrow" has always looked really amazing on disc, and this season is no different. Unlike a few of the other WB shows that came out in the same time frame, "Arrow" was still given a solid 4 discs to be spread out over and given a nice healthy bitrate to keep the image looking fantastic.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=85410[/img]“Arrow” has always had FANTASTIC audio and while season 3 had a strange anomaly that I picked up on MULTIPLE systems, “Season 4” appears to be back to normal with a near reference quality audio experience. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is incredibly aggressive as Ollie and crew battle it out with Damien Dahrk’s forces of evil. LFE is throbbing and deep, with incredible energy in the battles, while the surrounds get a hefty workout with the sound of arrows whistling by overhead and bullets bouncing off of metal walls and containers at every turn. The front soundstage is vivid and wildly entertaining, with great dialog up front in the center and good imaging with the constantly shifting sound stage. I’ve always been partial to the way “Arrow” and “Flash” have sounded, and season 4 continues to impress.
• Star Crossed Hawks featurette
• Star Crossed Hawks: The Hunt for Vandal Savage featurette
• Smooth Criminal: The Damien Darhk Story featurette
• Arrow: 2015 Comic-Con Panel
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
“Arrow: The Complete Fourth Season” is just a hair better than the disappointing season three. Instead of starting off really weak and ending rather decently, the 4th season does the exact opposite. Starts off with a band and then fizzles a bit in the latter half. However, hope is back again, as I’ve been keeping up with season 5 and it is a DISTINCT change in quality for the better. That being said, even weak “Arrow” is still fun. Just not up to the epic levels that were seasons 1 and 2. Audio and video are great as always and the extras are solid enough. Fans of the show will definitely want to continue on and will really like the first half of the season. But be prepared, there are some pretty big changes on the horizon as season 5 is shaking things up quite a bit, and much to my delight. A bit wonky at times, but still a blast to watch. Recommended.
Starring: Steve Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey
Created by: Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Portuguese, Spanish DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 1056 minutes
Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD August 30nd, 2016
Buy Arrow: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray on Amazon
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