Arrow, ‘Inmate 4587’: Life in Jail Isn’t All French Novels and Nice Meals

Arrow, Season 7, Episode 1, “Inmate 4587”

Arrow has gone through a mini-reboot in the off-season. In the five months that have passed, Oliver has been in jail, Felicity’s in witness protection, Dinah got a promotion, Curtis gained a dental plan, Laurel is still awful, and Diaz is nowhere to be found. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:

What’s the scoop:  Ollie is in prison living a sort of Groundhog Day existence of trying to avoid trouble during daylight hours, and having visions of Diaz killing his family at night. He’s trying to keep a low profile but his identity as the Green Arrow, sketchy guards, and being surrounded by people he put in prison is making that difficult. We got glimpses of the status of Teams Arrow (old and new). Everything is low key until an unknown nutcase dressed in green, with a book of targets and a bow starts making life difficult for criminals in Star City.

Meanwhile in B-plot land: Felicity and William are in witness protection in an unnamed city. She has piercings, pink extensions, and a dead-end job as a barista. William is in a school he hates. Both are completely miserable. Then one morning, the previously MIA Diaz shows up in their tiny apartment for morning coffee, and to also kill the two people Ollie loves most in the world. Felicity puts up a fight before ARGUS scares Diaz away — off camera. Felicity is in mama bear mode now; Diaz is screwed.

Flash Forward?: Perhaps the biggest surprise in the episode is the return to the old flashback formula the show used for several seasons. We follow a young man who has no business going to Lian Yu on his way to Lian Yu. By all accounts, he comes from some means and is seeking out someone on the island. The stinger is that the flashback is actually a flash forward. The young man is a 20-something William, and the someone is Roy Harper.

Sex and the Olicity: It’s hard to have makeouts and sweet moments when one half of the couple is behind bars, and both parties are getting the hell beat out of them. But here we are; when Ollie isn’t sure if his family is dead or alive, a battered Felicity, fresh off her escape from Diaz, pays Ollie a visit. Oliver is both relieved and heartbroken at the sight of her, and the encounter goes downhill from there for him. It’s clear Olicity is still strong, though Felicity announces the aforementioned mama bear attitude, and her intention to take the fight to Diaz.

What about the action: For those who missed shots of Oliver working out, this episode was for you. With nothing much else to do, there’s not a surface in the prison that Ollie won’t push-up or pull-up on. Most of the action was just so-so, but a prison setting doesn’t have the same possibilities as an abandoned warehouse. The mystery Arrow wannabe must have an environmentalist streak in him, because he sure loves to pop lightbulbs. Most of the prison fight scenes were garden variety, but the prison shower battle was pretty inspired, and well-executed. It was also kind of cool to see Ollie go after his tormentors with some hardcover literary references and free weights.

What’s next: Dina and Rene are going to be at odds for a while, and Oliver is going to be king of the cell block by the next episode’s end. Also, did I mention that Diaz is screwed because he woke up the mama bear in Felicity?

Last impressions:  Like the previous two CW premieres, Arrow‘s season kickoff introduced enough interesting fodder to offer hope for a decent season. I’m still a little wary of the Diaz stuff; he was not an interesting villain when he was a mastermind, so I have my doubts now that he’s merely a psychopath looking to kill a woman and child. However, I do like that he’s being used as a vehicle to allow Felicity to be proactive, rather than relegating her to the sidelines to play the weeping damsel. I will go on the record, like I did with The Flash when Barry was imprisoned — Ollie in jail is going to get old fast. If he’s not sprung from prison by Episode 3, this season will be off on the wrong foot.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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