Arrow Season Five

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Season five of Arrow is off to a very promising start. The show really needs to rebound from a very messy and disappointing season four.  The fourth season started off well with the introduction of Damien Darhk and ended with Team Arrow splintering after fighting off world-wide nuclear destruction. Just saying that latter part in regard to Arrow sounds rather silly, nuclear missiles and world-wide destruction?!?  What happened to the gritty street level Arrow of a few seasons ago?

Below are some of my thoughts on the early goings of season five. Beware there are some spoilers included.

Three episodes into Season Five and thus far I am quite satisfied. Some of the issues from season four seem to have been corrected. The show has returned to fighting crime on the streets of Star City. The action sequences, once among the best on television, are great again. As season four progressed the action become more and more lackluster, almost an afterthought. At times the action sequences looked like a bunch of grownups play fighting. And the final confrontation between Arrow and Damien Darhk was really rather lame and anticlimactic .

One of the shows most important characters since season one has been Thea Queen/Speedy. Last season there was far too much focus on her. As Speedy she never looked good in her mask. Willa Holland, the actress that portrays Thea, had a great stunt double. However Willa, as Speedy, was never really all that convincing to me as a warrior or a superhero. On the personal side, all of the over the top angst and drama surrounding the character grew old a long time ago. This season she is in a great place serving as Oliver’s chief of staff. For now she has retired as Speedy, a very good thing in my opinion.

Curtis Holt, one of the show’s recent additions, was on the verge of becoming the Jar Jar Binks of television. At times during season four he felt like a silly and unnecessary addition to the show. So far I am enjoying his slightly more serious demeanor as he prepares to join Team Arrow. However, if he left the show I would not miss the character at all. It would seem that he is here to stay, for now anyway. It appears to me that the show’s writers felt the need for a lighthearted and slightly airheaded character to replace Felicity Smoak. Felicity is still a huge part of the show, however her recent story arcs have turned her in a much more serious direction. The thing about Felicity is that when she was acting as comedic relief her character was far from annoying.  I wish that I could say the same about Curtis.

Speaking of Felicity Smoak, it is beyond me as to what the writers are thinking. They spent the latter half of season four turning Felicity, one of the most likable characters on television, into someone rather unlikable. So far in season five the ire that she displayed in season four is now replaced by criticism and sarcasm that she directs toward Olivier/Green Arrow.  There are occasional flashes of the old Felicity, in part due to her new SCPD boyfriend.  Let’s see how long this new relationship lasts.

Oliver’s flashback storylines have been a part of he show’s framework since the beginning.  The flashbacks serving to show us the events that transformed playboy Oliver Green into Arrow.  Seasons one through three told engrossing story’s about his time on the island, as well as In Hong Kong.  At this point I really would not miss Oliver’s flashback storylines. Last seasons flashbacks started off interesting, but became rather pointless as the season progressed. This season’s new flashback storyline is far more compelling and relevant, but I am not sure how much longer they can continue this aspect of the show.

An extremely pleasant surprise with the new season is a separate storyline for John Diggle. Diggle, like Thea, has been an important character on the show since the beginning. After leaving Team Arrow at the end of last season I was not sure if we would see him again. But this season introduces a new storyline for Diggle that looks to intersect with Green Arrow’s story arc. I would love to see him rejoin Team Arrow, along with the new recruits.

The other new additions to Team Arrow, along with Curtis, are Wildcat, the new Canary and the incredibly cool Ragman. Seeing Ragman was a nice surprise. A minor character in the comics, he makes a surprisingly smooth transition from the comic page to the television screen. I am not sure if he will be a permanent addition to Team Arrow, but I do want to see more of this character.

When Arrow first premiered in 2012 it quickly became one of my favorite shows on television. However the quality of the show has diminished as Team Arrow grew bigger and bigger. The bigger team brought less focus on Oliver/ Arrow, less compelling storylines for the supporting cast and a lighter tone to the show. With shows like The Flash and Supergirl the growing supporting casts have not lessened the quality of the storylines. Nor have they taken anyway the focus from the show’s main character. At times in season four Arrow felt like a co-star on his own show. The expanded supporting casts on The Flash and Supergirl made the shows better. I am hopeful that Arrow can follow suit, so far that seems to be the case in the early going of Season Five.

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