Arrow: Inmate 4587 review S7 E1

It’s one episode so I don’t want to get too ridiculous, but if Inmate 4587 is any indication of the rest of Season 7, this might rival Season 2 and 5. This was easily the strongest Arrowverse premieres this season if not one of the upper tier Arrow episodes. Can it maintain this level of quality? There’s a precedence as Season 5 never let up. Maybe that can be the case here as well.

After watching this episode play out, I’m really hoping the Arrowverse crossover doesn’t force Oliver’s quick release from prison. There’s an interesting Hero’s Journey behind the bars that warrants a slow burn instead of restoring the status quo so Oliver can be suited up when teaming with Superman, Batwoman, Flash and Supergirl.

Oliver has spent months in prison, seemingly dreaming of Diaz killing Felicity every night. Just as bad, a trio of villains Oliver helped put behind bars Ben Turner (Michael Jai White), Brickwell (Vinnie Jones) and Derek Sampson (Cody Runnels) keeps harassing him. Also of note:  prison guard Yorke (Ryan Jefferson Booth) wasn’t the cliche mean-spirited abuser of power.

Oliver is keeping his head down and getting his swole on. He definitely isn’t trying to make waves or friends, particularly to the unassuming Stanley (Brendan Fletcher, Freddy vs Jason). Was anyone else getting a Primal Fear vibe from him, like he’s lying about not being a killer, or was that just me?

arrow-inmate-4587-felicity

On the outside, the former Team Arrow has settled into their new lives. Rene is teaching classes at a rundown community center. Dinah is the police captain and Laurel is the new DA with a zero tolerance for vigilantes. If I had one minor complaint it’s that the Arrowverse teams needs to talk more. It seemed weird that both Arrow and Supergirl are doing subplots where characters could be arrested if they return to vigilantism.

Diggle is a top ranking ARGUS leader and Curtis is the head of ARGUS R&D. Felicity and William are on a low key witness protection as Felicity added some pink highlights and a nose ring to maintain her cover as a barista.

But all is not well in Star City. Crime is on the rise in Green Arrow’s absence. I would have loved to heard some comments from people besides Rene’s students lamenting how bad crime has gotten. We always get the other side of how vigilantes are bad and awful for stopping murders and city destroying bad guys, but shouldn’t we see the downfall of their absence?

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Apparently someone is tired of the crime wave and is taking action with his Green Arrow starter kit. And a knack for doing needless flips…hmmn. Rene and Dinah are torn on this new vigilante. Dinah questions if siding with Arrow III doesn’t waste Oliver’s sacrifice while Rene argues they need to do something.

Their debate comes to a head when Arrow III corners a bootleg John Wick arms dealer and Wild Dog helps him escape from Dinah and the police. She let Rene slide one time, but the next time he’s going to join Oliver in prison.

Oliver makes what would seem to be a terrible move in general by showering with his back turned and gets jumped. Director James Bamford is always great at staging the fight scenes, but this one is even more impressive as he never draws attention that Oliver is fighting in the nude.

At the same time, this is no imaginary story as Diaz has found Felicity. For some reason she’s able to fight him off despite him going toe to toe with Oliver last season. Diaz finally gets the advantage but ARGUS arrives before he can kill her. Felicity visits Oliver and says she’s had enough of running and being afraid. She’s coming back to help catch Diaz and sending William to boarding school. That’s a perfect way to write off that drag to the main story. Or is he actually written off?

arrow-inmate-4587-vinnie jones, cody runnels and michael jai white

By the second ‘flashback,’ I kinda thought this mystery guy traveling to Lian Yu was a grown up William and was convinced when he lingered too long looking at Robert Queen’s grave site. What I didn’t expect was greying Roy on the island in the flash forward too.

It’s funny how that one reveal added another level to the mysterious archer. We knew Colton Haynes was returning this season, but I fully expected him to be featured in the current day storyline. While this doesn’t totally rule out Roy isn’t running around as Arrow III, it does make for an interesting curve ball.

Oliver has had enough of playing by the rules and proceeds to lay a massive beatdown on his bathroom attackers. This is more violent than we’ve seen Oliver in a long time. If he can’t be a hero in the streets, he will be in prison. Goodbye Inmate 4587, hello Green Arrow.

This was pretty much everything I wanted in the season premiere and Arrow quickly sold its new status quo and next great who’s under the hood mystery.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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