Arrow was one of my favorite shows, once upon a time, but as, unfortunately, with most Greg Berlanti shows, they just don’t last long at their prime and Arrow is no exception. Of course, I’ve complained about all of his shows, from Supergirl to Blindspot, but it really hurts to see Arrow fall so far.
Season 4 was one of the worst and we were all hoping that the showrunners could pull it out for season 5. So I guess all that’s left to do is see if they succeeded. So away we go.
Oliver forms a new team of vigilantes to fight the evils of Star City, but when one of his own turns out to be his worst enemy, can Green Arrow save the day, or are they all doomed?
I really think that they tried too hard this year, adding far too many characters that there simply wasn’t adequate screen time for. Some of them were decent, but there just wasn’t enough space for everyone’s backstory and character arcs. And frankly, I don’t think all of the characters were necessary. You had Wild Dog, with his story about losing his daughter, you had Mr. Terrific, with his story about losing his husband, you had Ragman, who hated Felicity for sending the nuke into his home town, but none of these stories really mattered in the end. I didn’t care about any of them all that much and I absolutely didn’t care about their personal tragedies. This being CW, it’s all about the drama but drama can get overwhelming in what’s supposed to be a comic book show. It should be about action, but the action suffers when everyone is having emotional breakdowns.
The addition of Prometheus as the main villain really didn’t give us anything spectacular either, after all, he was kind of a cheap version of Malcolm Merlyn at the beginning and he never really seemed to be that special. Just finding out that he was part of Oliver’s mayoral team didn’t really matter and by the end of the season, my wife and I both wanted him dead. He was obnoxious more than terrifying. And one of the things that I really used to love is having comic characters showing up on TV. Adrian Chase was Vigilante in the comics, and I loved me some Vigilante back in the 80s. This isn’t Vigilante. If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.
Besides, the whole point of Prometheus trying to get Oliver to admit that he likes killing seems more than a little bit silly. Of course Oliver likes killing. That doesn’t make him a psycho, it makes him a hero. He kills when necessary, which is a whole lot more realistic than some of the other DC heroes. So what?
Honestly, the lack of any long-term planning in Berlanti’s series is a constant issue. You get season-long arcs but nothing that really goes longer than that and I think it needs to. They need to plan longer than 22 episodes at a time.
One good thing is that those stupid island flashbacks are gone, I think they went completely off the reservation by having Oliver Queen, International Man of Mystery. It makes no sense. Sure, it explains how he got to be such a good fighter, but as with so many shows out there, it was just going bigger and louder for the sake of going bigger and louder, not because it’s good for the story.
Now it was great to see Deathstroke come back at the end, he’s been the best villain in the show to date, not because he’s super-competent, but because his competence makes sense, unlike a lot of others who just have script immunity and are 3 pages ahead of the hero because they’re written that way. We got the best parts of the series in one place and that was fantastic.
Unfortunately, we also got things like Malcolm Merlyn back and he’s vastly outstayed his welcome. Yes, he supposedly dies in the end, but this is the time-traveling DCTVU were nobody is ever really dead. As much as I like John Barrowman, he needs to go away forever.
All in all, Arrow needs to revert to a much smaller show like it started out. We don’t need Team Arrow. We need Green Arrow and a small support staff. It needs to cut down on the mindless melodrama. It needs to think farther ahead. If it could do at least some of those things, it would be a great show again and that’s what we need. A great show. It really isn’t that hard. I have no idea why every Greg Berlanti show falls apart but they all seem to. It really is pretty sad.