[Warning: This trailer and article contain SPOILERS for Arrow season 4.]
The CW's breakout superhero show Arrow, the first in what has now become a small collection of DC Comics-based series, is currently on break after a dramatic midseason finale that left the life of Oliver Queen's fiancée and vigilante activities coordinator Felicity Smoak hanging in the balance. The episode, which followed a crossover event with Arrow's sister show The Flash, saw the enmity between the Green Arrow and villain Damien Darhk intensify as Oliver publicly exposed Damien as the leader of the Ghosts, and Damien hit back.
Oliver has unfortunately had a lot of experience of losing people close to him, but the new trailer for the second half of Arrow season 4 reveals that Felicity isn't killed by the hail of bullets - at least, not right away. One scene shows Thea telling Oliver that Felicity is "out of surgery," but that someone (her doctor, presumably) "didn't say what was wrong." Between that and the shot of Felicity's mother crying with Oliver in the hospital, it seems as though her road to recovery may be complicated - if she recovers at all.
The big hook for Arrow season 4 is the question of whose body was in the grave that Oliver Queen and Barry Allen were standing in front of in the season premiere. The show's executive producers have promised that this death is not a fake-out, though when the episode aired they still weren't entirely sure whose name would end up on the gravestone (the cast were similarly in the dark). Oliver is seen at the grave again in this trailer, and every clue seems to point to Felicity being the one who dies. Of course, the fact that the show is pushing that idea likely means that it's actually someone else.
Based on this trailer, it seems as though revenge for the attack on Felicity will be the primary motivation for the Green Arrow's vendetta against Darhk in the latter half of the season. It's a very functional plot device, but killing or maiming a superhero's love interest as a motivator for revenge has been done so many times in comic books that it's become a much-criticized trope called 'fridging'. Hopefully Arrow will manage to put an original spin on it, especially since Felicity is such a well-loved character.
One currently popular fan theory is that Arrow season 4 could actually turn Felicity into a version of the DC Comics hero Oracle, the identity adopted by Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl after an attack by the Joker leaves her confined to a wheelchair. Oracle is a computer expert and information broker who uses her technology skills to assist other heroes, so Felicity is most of the way there already.
Although Arrow was the first DC show to debut on The CW, The Flash has had consistently higher ratings since it arrived on the scene last year. Arrow and The Flash benefit from being part of a shared universe, with crossover episodes providing a ratings boost for both of them, but Arrow also needs to earn its place on peoples' weekly viewing schedules. The former half of season 4 has set up a lot of major plot points, so hopefully the latter half will pay them off in a satisfying way.
The Flash will return on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, while Arrow will return on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 and Legends of Tomorrow will see its series premiere on Thursday, January 21, 2016.
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