A rare piece containing spoilers. Be warned! I’ve left the first paragraph spoiler free just in case.
At the weekend I met Stephen Amell (yes I’m bragging. It’s my site!). It was awesome, I got a cool photo, and it has led to me watching way too many videos of him working out. That in turn led to me watching clips from the first two seasons of the show, when it seemed to take any chance it could to show him with no shirt on. The fifth season of Arrow might not go back to the days of constant topless workouts, Oliver’s voice overs and a serious amount of dead bodies but it does tie into them well.
I’ll cut to the Adrian Chase. Arrow Season 5 is the best the show has been since Season 2. With the hope that things will continue to improve I can identify things I wasn’t so keen on but not let them bother me too much.
There are two major positives. The first is how the show has managed to tie up the flashback years. The process of each year ‘on the island’ reflecting a year in the present started of well but really screwed things up the past couple of seasons. Fortunately it has finished on a high note. I love seeing Anatoly, whilst Lundgren’s Kovar was a worthy adversary. It only really became apparent to me that Oliver has been at all this for a decade when he was preparing himself for rescue. That he was on adventures right up until his ‘return’ shines a very different light on the first season and puts a nice bow on things. It’s time to consign them to the past and look forward.
The second positive is the classic ‘only as good as the villain’ thing. Prometheus was a good villain before his (rather surprising) reveal as Adrian Chase, when he became great. His entire demeanor was so…smug. I loved to hate him! His theme music was pretty awesome too. Sure he could match Oliver in a fight, but he was always so far ahead. Team Arrow constantly had to sprint just to be behind by a few steps. He was a true threat, with even his death leading to a lot of questions. I got a strong American Psycho vibe from Josh Segarra and I dug it. I dug it a lot.
I like the new team too. Mr Terrific is awkwardly funny whilst Wild Dog has built up a great chemistry with Lance (did you know Paul Blackthorne was English!? His accent is amazing!). I must admit I didn’t really see the point of Ragman, and Evelyn wasn’t up to much either. You could come in at the halfway point, barely see them and not miss anything. Dinah could be good but didn’t get a lot to do; I’m not sure why they were in such a rush to replace Laurel, and finding someone with the same ability seemed too much of a coincidence. Does the team need trimming down? I think so, especially if we’re going back to Olicity.
I’ve no real beef with Olicity. In fact I’ve hope they’ve both grown enough for them not to run into the same problems. Everything is out in the open now. Ollie’s love of killing. William. She knows it all now so just get on with it!
23 episodes proves to be a problem across all the CW shows. Too many episodes where not much happens. You could probably lose six or seven and not miss anything. There is a solution though, and it’s already being used by Shield and Gotham. Mini arcs! Split the season up into several stories that come together. It keeps our interest and allows the focus to shift onto different characters throughout the season. Take note CW!
Season 5 has been a big improvement. The villain wasn’t trying to destroy Star City, he was after Oliver. That personal angle, as well as a great performance from Segarra, really elevated things this year. Amell stepped up to match it too, with his admission of enjoying killing and the response to Chase after rescuing William amazingly powerful. If they can keep all this mind, trim away some of the cast, and keep the focus without too much filler, season 6 could be another strong one.