Like it, hate it, be indifferent to it. One thing that can’t be argued is that Arrow was the solid foundation for a successful Superhero Universe on the #CW and can be partly credited for an explosion in DC properties on TV.
But it hasn’t been all great, Season 3 and Season 4 had to deal with a lot of negative criticism from fans and Critics. This disappointment of fans especially with Season 4 is still being felt by the drop off in ratings for Arrow in Season 5 with many fans just giving up on the show.
"There’s a lull in any relationship, where you have a come-to-Jesus moment, and that happened to me in Season 4," he explained. "We are a street-level crime-fighting show. We’re at our best when we’re focused on those things." – Stephen Amell
The producers and writers of the show have acknowledged this fan reaction with the promise of a Season 5 that would go back to basics, end the five-year long storyline on a positive note and put the show back on track for coming Seasons. Leading actor Stephen Amell himself has said that this year is a crossroad for Arrow.
"We’re either going to do what we do and do it well, or it’s the last year. If we find the magic formula — which is not magic, it’s just hard work and playing to your strengths — then the show could go on for a really long time. I do really believe that this season is sort of a throw-down-the-gauntlet year for us, where we’re either going to do what we do and do it well or it’s the last year." – Stephen Amell
The worst case scenario for the show besides just being bad is that it gets good again but nobody is watching or giving feedback to them, so this article will look at the elements of Season 5 so far and look at the good and bad of it. We’re six episodes into Arrow Season 5 which is a fair amount of content to start judging if they have been succeeding in finding the magic formula or if this Season is heading down to the shows cancellation.
Is The Show More Faithful To The Character Of Green Arrow?
Right away here will be a disappointment for fans of the Green Arrow comics. The show has embraced more elements from the comics with trick arrows going to the level of a Parachute – Arrow. It also is trying to adapt the Oliver Queen as Major storyline and we’re seeing more of the womanizer Oliver Queen comic fans enjoy.
But on a fundamental level, he still acts especially as Green Arrow more like Batman than Green Arrow, this especially can be seen when he trains the new team. There are glimpses of the Green Arrow comic fans want but at this point, the viewer should accept that the best we’re getting is the character we saw in the finale of Season 2. That’s as Green Arrow as it seems we get. The Green Arrow from the comics just had a fundamentally different reaction to the island and just likes to joke over his pain. His attitude and core character post island is just very different to Arrow Oliver Queen
His idea of justice in the comics isn’t a crusade, that’s Batman. But Arrow just set up this Green Arrow as a crusader motivated by his father's last words. The Green Arrow in the show isn’t the comic character and maybe nobody should expect him to be at this point. If that’s the deal breaker for you, nothing has dramatically changed in that department.
What’s The Status Of Olicity?
While there is the vocal minority of the Olicity fandom that likes to say how it’s the heart of the show - the correlation between the quality drop off in Season 3 and 4 can be connected with the focus and the pursued of the Olicity storyline. Now if you belong to the people who couldn’t stand Olicity or just got annoyed with the focus on it, you’re in luck. The relationship is over and while they obviously have to acknowledge it - their relationship as a whole feels more like their relationship from Season 2. A little bit of chemistry but they’re mainly just friends and Felicity is the tech support. There isn’t any, will they won’t they in their relationship anymore and both characters have moved on in the romance department.
Felicity is dating a Detective and Oliver is comic accurately trying to bang a reporter which is a terrible choice as the Mayor and that’s what Green Arrow is all about when he isn’t with Black Canary (or sometimes even when he is with her).
The Flashbacks Are Working?
It’s universally agreed on that the flashbacks haven’t been working since Season 2, even the producers have acknowledged it and promised that after Season 5 the flashbacks would be done. But it has to be said that the flashbacks this year are interesting with a focus on Oliver’s time as a member of the Bratva (Russian mafia) a story fans wanted to learn about since Season 1.
Seeing Oliver dealing with the Mafia and their Brotherhood while trying to train his new team is working both from a narrative structure and by just being entertaining, especially with everyone's favorite Russian Anatoly back.
Is The New Team Arrow Any Good? (Supporting Cast)
One of the most important aspects of a show like Arrow that for better of the worst is becoming more and more a team based show is if the team is enjoyable to watch and is well written.
When you look at the current team separately the only two coming out strong are Diggle and Wild Dog, who is easily the best addition to the cast and deservedly got the most spotlight so far. His anti-authority attitude clashes naturally with Oliver’s training and leads to some well-written growth. Diggle got also his own little storyline and is back to being the wisdom of the team, his writing as a whole for him is a big improvement and is reminiscent of the well written Diggle from Season 1 and 2. Also, the new helmet is so much better.
The rest of the team is quite honestly lack luster so far. Curtis had an entire Season of build up but his motivation to become a hero was that he got robbed and being punched in the face, maybe they thought killing his husband as motivation would have been comic accurate but would have invited comparisons with Ray Palmer’s motivation. Still it feels weird as motivation for risking your life. The best thing about him is his face mask which is showing to the skill of the costume department for pulling such a thing off.
Artemis so far seems to be only there to fulfill the female vigilante quota and only in the most recent episode has gotten some sort of character. On the other hand, Ragman feels quite out of place as a magical character that seems to be only there to remind Felicity of the fact that she had to change the course of a nuclear missile to a small town, killing everyone in it except Ragman. (that's from Season 4 btw)
While half of the team is pretty weak so far when looked at separately. When they’re together in scenes they have pretty good chemistry and balance each other. Some of the best scenes on the show right now are when the new team is talking about Oliver and the mission. Especially since they just found out that Green Arrow and the serial killer "The Hood" are one and the same, leading to quite a lot of tension. After all you would want to know if you worked for not just a killer but someone with a kill list, right?
There is also a little side story going on with Thea who has retired from the vigilante business and is trying to help Quentin Lance with his alcoholism. He has gone back to drinking after Laurel’s death an was fired from the department. Now he is working with Thea for Oliver as the Mayor.
Is Prometheus A Good Villain?
While the opinion on if Ras Al Ghul was represented well is here and there. Most people agree that Damian Dahrk was a letdown. So what’s going on with Prometheus? A quite infamous Justice League villain who did incredible damage to the Green Arrow family in the Comics, and was executed by Green Arrow himself. Well, he mostly has been appearing at the end of the episodes with an ominous messages. The show seems to be taking a page from its first Season and the Flash by having a mysterious villain who the audience can theorize over – which creates more buzz for the show. Sadly nobody is really talking much about him because the Comic community jumped off the show, the main group who does the theories on Youtube and in comment sections.
His plot has really started with episode six and the reveal that he is killing people who are on Oliver’s old killing list. Basically saying that if Oliver is hunting him down for being a Serial Killer he should go after himself for being the same. So this is already a step up. A villain with a personal connection to Green Arrow on some level and who wants to point out his hypocrisy. He goes so far that his weapons are made out of old arrows Oliver left on crime scenes. Showing how obsessed this villain is. The jury is still out on him but the little that has been shown of him points at someone who could maybe dethrone Deathstroke as the best villain on the show.
So far this Season is a lot more Season 1 and 2 and thankfully very little Season 3 and 4 when it comes to quality. It feels like this should have been the direction Arrow should have gone down immediately after Season 3. Season 4 almost feel like a fever dream next to it. Now it’s far from perfect and has a way to go to get the majority of the audience really excited again, but if what you read here intrigued you or sounds like it’s back on track you should give it a watch.
Because if it’s back on course for you. Now is the time to support it and show them this is the right direction to go in for the rest of the Season and future Seasons. (If it's not cancelled)