Now we get to the flagship show of the CW superhero group. The one that started it all and ties all things together (bar Supergirl, she’s still a bit of an outsider). The first two seasons of Arrow were fantastic, great story, brilliant characterisation and visuals. Arrow was supposed to be grounded in reality, the Batman Begins of the TV superhero world. So when Season 3 started to introduce mysticism things started to decline. The writes spent two seasons making you believe this vigilante could feasibly exist and then tainted it with things like resurrection. Season 4 only compounded this disappointment by ranking up the magic threat with Damian Darhk. I was torn between loving Neil McDonagh’s performance and hating the story. So Season 5 had a lot to make up for, did it achieve it?
Let’s start with the negatives. Too many episodes this season were focused around Felicity. I used to love her character but mainly when she was on the periphery and assisting Oliver with his mission. Ever since Olicity became a real thing and not just something birthed from the internet, Felicity’s role has been steadily growing. In season 5 it has reached a point that she is now the second main character of the show and even took the limelight on several occasions. Her HELIX story line was not interesting and was actually the least believable of the arcs in the season. I can get on board with Hacktivist organisations but they help her far too much with little in return and they prove on numerous occasions that they are far more capable than her so why was it so important to them to have her work with them? I can only hope they become a bigger presence in season 6 as their part of the season finished very quickly.
I am bored of them teasing Olicity. It was good when Oliver and Felicity were together, they were genuinely happy which is something Oliver deserved. When their relationship ended (which in my opinion Felicity being completely unreasonable, he was protecting his son from bad guys!!!) they settled into an uneasy alliance, working together but never really talking about anything. So when season 5 rocked up, we see Felicity dating a brand new character. She hadn’t told anyone about this and the relationship was apparently a lot more meaningful than first thought. So we get the sort of jealous Oliver and Felicity moving on until Prometheus tricks Oli into killing him. Then she resents him for a bit and changes her character completely by being the dark brooding vigilante that Oliver was in season 1! That was a terrible choice of character development, Felicity is supposed to be the only light in Oliver’s life, even if they aren’t together!!! But don’t worry this is all undone when the pair get trapped in the Arrow Cave for an ’emotional’ episode where they share their true feelings, ending with them seemingly back to dating again! The series ends with them having just shared a loving kiss!! WHAT WAS THE FUCKING POINT OF HER ARC?!?!?!! You can erase her story from this season and the second half of season 4 and nothing will have changed!!!!!
I’m going to move on before this turns into a ‘why I hate Felicity’s character arc’ post!! Let’s talk about the other new characters. None of the new recruits were interesting. I’m not including Curtis here as he was already technically part of the team and I love the fact he is gradually becoming the proper Mr Terrific from the comics! His outfit is very close and he has finally started using the T-spheres! If only he could hold his own on the street. Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin) just came across as a bitch, although I guess in hindsight she may have been trying to disrupt the team dynamic as part of her betrayal. She wasn’t interesting and her outfit with just eye grease as a disguise was rubbish. I did however like that she adopted the name Artemis as her codename, a nice nod to the Young Justice character.
Rene Ramierz aka Wild Dog had a lot of potential at the start as a representation of Oliver’s younger self. Quick to anger, headstrong and arrogant, gets himself into difficult situations and won’t let anyone get close. The episode where he gets tortured by Tobias Church into releasing Oliver’s identity was great. You could see the struggle and shame he felt which I thought he might use as motivation to prove himself. Instead the show forgot about this and carried on with him being an arrogant dick. He ignores orders and does whatever he wants which never worked out. I feel like the show tried to address this shallow character by giving us some of his back story about his drug addict wife and daughter and a developing relationship with Quentin Lance but he is just not a likeable character, even as a rogue. And why does he call everyone Hoss?!?!
Of the new recruits Ragman (Joe Dinicol) was the most interesting. Starting out as a bad guy trying to get revenge for the destruction of his home-town Havenrock, the place where Felicity sent the nuke last season. He had a magic suit which made him seemingly indestructible and proved to be very useful on several occasions, a larger back story was teased with this but we never got any more. Felicity’s confession shook him to the core but he pushed through it for the good of the group and the city but would have been so much better if this arc was continued. Even the fact that he was very religious made him more interesting. You don’t see many vigilante’s justifying their actions with religion (except maybe Azrael). Why the hell did he leave halfway through the season?! There didn’t seem to be any real reason and the team just accepted it, it was even worse than Roy Harper’s quick exit from the show. I sincerely hope he will return next year.
The best new character by far was Adrian Chase played by Josh Segarra. At first just the new DA of Star City, hard hitting and taking no shit from anyone. Suspicions started to form when he got very angry during suspect interviews and he was noticeably absent during important scenes that involved bad guys. The show made you think Chase was actually the gun-toting bad guy Vigilante which I liked, and reportedly Segara himself thought that’s who he was playing! But we were all wrong, Chase was Prometheus!! I thought it was a great twist and Prometheus was a brilliant villain. Mirroring Oliver in almost every way but going that extra mile to send a message. He didn’t want to kill Oliver, he wanted him to suffer and if nothing else, he achieved this goal by a mile!
Every time Oliver and co thought they had the upper hand, Chase would show he was always 10 steps ahead. Planning for everything and even when Oliver surprised him by using his wife to talk him down from his campaign, Chase shocked everyone (including me) by killing his wife!!! Destroying Oliver was his only concern. The only criticism I have is that his whole plan was a bit convoluted and relied on the Star City Police Force being useless (which they are most of the time). Chase should have been taken in for questioning after Team Arrow rescued Oliver’s reporter girlfriend but nothing happened!! Prometheus was violent, unforgiving and devilishly smart. Using the same training Oliver had from Talia Al Ghul was a great string to his bow (I’m sorry). Oliver’s torture episode was heartbreaking but incredible too. Maybe next season we will get a villain who doesn’t use a bow!
I wasn’t interested in the new Black Canary, who can’t be called Black Canary for most of the season out of respect for Laurel apparently. Being a meta and calling her Dinah Drake was a good nod to the comic persona of Black Canary but she was given very little development and I wasn’t drawn into her story at all. At one point I thought they might be teasing a relationship between her and Diggle especially considering his marital issues! John Diggle was boring as well, he was reduced to being a sad brute. Spending the beginning of the season guilty over killing his brother then just following Oliver around being the voice of reason. Come on John kick some ass!
What the hell was going on with Thea this season? Retiring from the team then from the Mayor’s office, donning the hood occasionally and returning briefly at the end of the season. Is there something going on in Willa Holland’s private life that kept her out of the show?
The crossover episode was my favourite of all four CW shows this season. It wasn’t an action heavy episode, it was emotional. We got to see Oliver living out his perfect life, how things would have been had the Queen’s Gambit not sunk. Getting married to Laurel, both parents alive, and happy. This episode really showed off Stephen Amell’s acting chops as he started to question his reality even though the illusion was better than real life. He really loved Laurel too, that came through in spades (which makes his reunion with Felicity all the more tasteless). Seeing Diggle as the Green Arrow and all the villains back for a big fight was great. It felt like an early Arrow episode where the main characters were finding themselves, only slightly tarnished by having Ray Palmer being absolutely useless without his suit. It was this episode that showed Oliver’s internal struggle, guilt and sadness over Laurel’s death more than any other. Good job guys!
So before we wrap up there were a few other things that jumped out at me. The Human Target episode surprised me. I genuinely thought they had killed Oliver off at one point and it’s always good seeing another comic character enter the show.
The flashbacks were boring. Seeing Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva was good but after that it was just a case of seeing him fighting faceless Russian goons in the midst of gang war which he single handedly stopped. Hopefully now that the flashbacks have caught up to season 1 we won’t get any more. But if we do they need to tie in closely to the present, not like they have for the last 3 years.
The finale was pretty good. Chase’s plan came to fruition as the whole of Team Arrow were taken to Lian-Yu forcing Oliver to recruit some allies to help him fight, Malcolm Merlyn, Nyssa Al Ghul and Slade Wilson. The fights were good if somewhat over choreographed but it was fantastic having Deathstroke back on the show, seemingly redeemed and not insane any more either! Oliver saving his son followed by Chase killing himself with the knowledge he won and causing the island to explode with Oliver’s friends on it was a great cliffhanger to end the show on.
What is Oliver going to do now? Will he have to become a proper parent to William? Did his friends make it off the island? Did all of them survive. I’m itching for next season. A vast improvement on season 4 there may be signs that Arrow is returning to previous form!
Arrow gets 8 beans on the Geekstalk!
What did you think of this season? Let us know in the comments.
Stay tuned for our Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Review.