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What happened in Arrow season 7 premiere? Who’s the new Green Arrow?

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The seventh season opener of Arrow introduced a number of major changes to the show, and one tantalizing new mystery.

Following the apocalyptic events of the show’s sixth season finale, Arrow’s status quo was left radically altered. Oliver (Stephen Amell), his secret identity exposed, was sent to prison for his actions as the Green Arrow. And to keep the government from prosecuting them, the rest of Team Arrow was forced into early retirement. And most devastatingly, the sixth season’s Big Bad, psychotic gangster Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), was free and eager to brutalism his enemy’s loved ones. And much the show’s credit, many of those changes look to be permanent.

By the end of the season premiere, Team Arrow was left in much the same place they were last season. There obviously won’t be any contrived shortcuts back to the old status quo. Moreover, a few new wrinkles have been introduced that suggests a break with the show’s traditional mode of storytelling. Instead of trying to figure out who the new villain is, this season’s arc looks to revolve around the identity of its new titular hero. For a series this late in its run, making so many changes is a bold choice. But judging by the quality of this episode, it was a good one.

“You have failed this city”

“Inmate 4587” began with an introduction to Oliver’s nightmarish new reality. By day, he’s stuck in a brutal maximum security prison with several supervillains he’s put behind bars. By night, he dreams of Diaz murdering his family. Diggle (David Ramsey) made an exposition rich prison visit and revealed that in the five months Oliver had been in prison, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and William (Jack Moore) went into witness protection and Diaz fled the city. In Star City, an unknown individual wearing a Green Arrow costume captured a man named Jason Stent and left him at SCPD HQ.

Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), now a Captain in the SCPD, was forced to release Stent due to a lack of evidence. While trying to save a young student from some gunrunners, Rene, now a self-defense instructor, was saved by the new Green Arrow. Back in Slabside Prison, Samson (Cody Runnels) and Brick (Vinnie Jones) demanded Oliver joined their gang after he unintentionally got their friend Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) put in solitary. Felicity, now working as a barista named Erin, was unsettled after seeing a news report about the new Arrow. Meanwhile, a mysterious man made his way to a post-bombing Lian Yu.

Because he’s been in the role for so long, it’s easy to forget how good Stephen Amell can be. While it would be easy for him to play Oliver the same way regardless of setting, he keeps striving to bring new dimensions to the character. In tonight’s episode, Amell showed off of the character was like at his most desperate and powerless. Even without the masculine suffering beard, Amell’s performance made it clear this was Oliver at his lowest, trying to maintain a sense of self in a place designed to erase that quality. While this version of the character probably won’t be around for the entire season, I’m intrigued to see what he does next.

 “Oliver asked us to carry on”

With intel provided by new ARGUS R&D director Curtis (Echo Kellum), Dinah launched a sting operation to catch the new vigilante with Stent as bait. However, she wasn’t able to make the collar because Rene, back in his Wild Dog digs, helped “Green Arrow” escape. Diaz launched a two-prong assault on Oliver; he sent a gang of inmates to kill Oliver in the showers while attacking Felicity and William at home. Miraculously, everyone survived. Felicity visited Oliver and told him that ARGUS warded off Diaz and that she was returning to Star City to finally bring in the notorious gangster.

In Lian Yu, the mysterious man found a disheveled Roy (Colton Haynes). In Star City, Dinah told Rene that if he returned to being Wild Dog, she would arrest him. Felicity sent William to a boarding school in Massachusetts to protect him. The new Green Arrow revealed he had a hit list just like Oliver did in season one. In the Slab, Oliver defiantly attacked his tormentors. Back in Lian Yu, The mysterious man revealed he was a grown-up William and that all the Lian Yu scenes in the episode were taking place in the future.

Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR

While the acting and action sequences in this episode were really strong, it’s plotting was a bit shakier. Though an explanation was provided, it’s weird that Dinah has taken a hard anti-vigilante stance. She took up the hero game specifically to solve problems law enforcement couldn’t. Having her completely shifting philosophies in between seasons felt a little forced. Similarly, Felicity’s decision to ditch William and come home to “fight back” felt off. Sending William away as opposed to keeping him secure in a fortified bunker seems contrived. Especially since the tactic prove ineffective the last time a maniac went hunting for Oliver’s family.

“You should have killed me”

On the other hand, Arrow’s season premiere did introduce two very intriguing new mysteries. The first is the true identity of the new Green Arrow. When I first saw the trailers for the season, I assumed it was Roy under the hood. But this episode complicated matters. For one thing, I can’t see Roy taking up the mantle without telling Diggle or Oliver. The other likely suspect is Diggle, but that seems unlikely given his position with ARGUS and his feelings about the role given what happened last season. That said, the new Arrow’s familiar armaments, tactics and signature phrase suggest they know Oliver and company quite well.

To that point, there’s a good chance the faux-Green Arrow is actually the adult William. Although Arrow is the most grounded of the four Arrowverse shows, time travel exists in universe. It could be that, sometime in the future, things get really bad in Star City. Like multiple fatalities in Team Arrow bad. And that William, eager to set things right, tracked down Roy to train him and subsequently traveled back in time to change the past. My feeling is that’s probably what’s going on because otherwise Arrow’s timeline won’t align with the rest of the Arrowverse and that seems like a needless complication.

Whatever ends up happening, “Inmate 4587” succeeded in getting me back into Arrow. After the mixed bag that was season six, I wasn’t sure if the show was worth keeping up with. But I’m very interested in seeing how this season resolves the questions raised in this episode. Not only what’s going on with the new Green Arrow and the flash-forward timeline but with Team Arrow. I’m interested to see what lengths Felicity will go to take down Diaz. And how Dinah, Curtis and Diggle will react to Rene’s tentative return to vigilantism.  This season premiere needed to justify the aging superhero dramas existence, and it did that and more.

Who do you think is under the new Green Arrow’s hood?

Arrow airs on The CW Mondays at 8 pm.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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