“You and I, walk between two worlds. But we can only do that for so long.”

After Arrow Season 5 left us with the cliff-hanger to end all cliff-hangers, we expected Season 6 to come back with a bang – both literally and figuratively. However, ‘Fallout’ has left us wondering whether this premiere was all we hoped for.

There are spoilers ahead, but after Season 5’s explosion, it’s difficult to avoid them.

The explosion that rocked Lian Yu promised a world of hurt for Oliver (Stephen Amell) – and yet, it delivered surprisingly little, as this episode’s opening systematically ticks off the list of characters who survived the blast when we skip forward to five months after the events on Lian Yu. As expected, from The Flash’s spoiler, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) are both still with us – though you wouldn’t know it with the small amount of screen time each character gets. Felicity’s character is reduced once again, to simply the bringer of food, exposition and romance, and Curtis appears simply to flash some new gadgets at his teammates, before promptly disappearing again.

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Likewise, Rene a.k.a. Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), also takes a step back in this episode – we don’t even get the incredible Quentin/Rene dynamic we had last season – as he delves into the clerical side of his job. However, Season 6 brings with it a new costume for Wild Dog, more badass than his simple jersey/mask combo and more in line with the rest of Team Arrow’s dark attire. For this, we can forgive his lack of presence in this episode – but, don’t let it continue, Arrow writers.

Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) instead, teams up with fellow island survivor Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), as the two are bound with guilt over events on Lian Yu, surrounding Black Siren (Katie Cassidy). Still unable to separate this Laurel from his late daughter, Quentin is struggling with his sobriety in the wake of her teaming up with Prometheus and the actions he took against Black Siren after the island attack. Black Siren however, has teamed up with another mysterious bad guy, with an unclear motive, which first leads to the team to think the target is the police academy, leaving them open for attack at the Arrow Cave.

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John (David Ramsey) has also made it out alive, but not completely unharmed. The after-effects of the explosion have left Oliver’s right-hand man with an unsteady hand and an unwilling trigger finger. Possibly there is something more to John’s experience on Lian Yu than we know, as he was caught in the blast saving Felicity, and leaving him with a nasty scar on his chest. It’s an interest switch, putting John in this position, as he is usually the voice of wisdom for the other team members, and the one standing firm when others crumble around him – so giving us this more vulnerable side to John is a refreshing change.

Oliver is arguably in the worst shape, as he has more weight on his shoulders than ever before. Struggling with his new-found parenthood, the death of William’s mother has left Oliver alone with his son for the first time ever, having absolutely no idea what to do with him. Bringing on board his family’s former maid, Raisa, Oliver tries his hardest to be a good father, but instead seems to just drop in every so often between his Mayoral business and his vigilante nights. Understandably, William is not dealing with this change in his life well, his mother is dead and he is packed off to live with the father he didn’t know about before five months previous – but not only this, he is also living with the ‘bad man’ from his nightmares, who he believes is responsible for his mother’s untimely demise. And while trying to comfort his son, and give him a life that he can come to enjoy, Oliver is dealing with the toughest repercussion of the island’s explosion – Thea (Willa Holland). His sister’s life is in the balance, as Thea is hooked up to life support, her health seemingly unchanged in the last five months, she is the only other casualty of the blast, and another casualty of the scriptwriters – who, like last season, is looking at very little involvement in the story.

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The second-best thing to come out of this premiere is the fight choreography, going from strength to strength after last season. Team Arrow jump straight into the action, featuring Green Arrow leaping off a bridge to save his teammate, a Canary-on-Siren fight, and a lot more that proves Season 6 will be hitting new heights in action and pulling no punches when it comes to action.

The very best thing to come from ‘Fallout’ is the last moments, which rocks Oliver to his core and presents him with possibly his most testing moment in the entire run of Arrow. And it seems that next week’s episode will another revelation’s fallout.

VERDICT:

Season 6 has come back stronger than every season before it, putting our characters in new and unfamiliar territory as the explosion on Lian Yu leaves them all shaken. However, the writers of Arrow have really missed an opportunity, as the huge season finale promised a lot of losses for Oliver, but didn’t really live up to the destruction it implied. Though the shocking final minutes almost make up for it. Almost.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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