In which T&A revisit the Arrow series and see where we stand to start the new season.
Shawn: It's been awhile since you read our thoughts on the CW's DC Universe of shows. Truthfully, I was so disappointed through the whole Season Four of Arrow that I wasn't sure I was going to start the show back up for this current season. I was disinterested in the show from the initial episode of that season and only hate watched it because I was much more interested in the Universe as a whole. I've really enjoyed a majority of the past season of The Flash, I really liked the light action of Supergirl, and I even appreciated the Doctor Who aspects of Legends of Tomorrow. Out of loyalty to Oliver and his workout montages, I started this Season Five and here are a few thoughts.
The end of Team Arrow with the death of Laurel might have been the thing that saves the series for me. There was too much going on with all of them fighting the cadre of bad guys last season. I like watching Oliver go about the crime fighting alone or with one other person along. His costume looks closer to what we had before and that makes me happy.
Anyone who has paid attention knows that I have always hated the flashbacks. I thought maybe we were finally caught up to the start of the series. I am almost pained to say this - I didn't hate the Russian flashbacks. Maybe that it's closer to the Ollie that I loved over those first couple seasons.
I'm relieved as hell that we aren't stuck with Ollicity again. Oliver and Felicity had some great chemistry in this episode. They did the most realistic thing that people who have dated and slept with each other get to do when they are around each other after it's over - pretend it never happened. It almost felt again like the early days. The reveal that Felicity has a boyfriend was a huge sigh of relief for me. Keep him around just to stave off the threat of getting them back together.
I'm on the fence about the new bad guy. Tobias Church, you are no Damien Dahrk. Leaving the coins on victims' eyes is an interesting calling card but I don't get the significance in the long run. I don't understand the long game of this season yet. Church seems easy to defeat once we pull together Wild Dog and maybe get Diggle back.
Even more shocking that me actually liking the flashbacks - I don't hate Thea when she's being the super-organized political adviser. And Mayor Handsome needs quite a bit of help in that area.
The biggest turnaround for me is with Lance. I've been indifferent to his character in general. He has served a role that exists in every city in the DC Universe. He's the cop that wants to bring down the superhero and then reluctantly forms a series of temporary bonds with them to help solve cases. His falling off the wagon is perfectly logical and his return to possibly be the bridge between the SCPD and whatever the new Team Arrow becomes is intriguing and gives him a depth I hadn't noticed.
Overall, I give this a reserved thumbs up. I want this show to work again. For the first couple seasons it was one of my most favorite shows. I get my humor hero from The Flash and I get my larger-than-life hero from Supergirl and I get my group science-fiction heroes from Legends. I want this show to be my gritty, dirty, men with huge arms and no shirts, pulp stories show. I love the moral questions of Oliver killing people - that's going to be what keeps me going. Still room to improve but I'm encouraged.
Kim: We're going to agree on some things and disagree on others. This is the nature of our partnership. Let's start with agreements - Season 4 blew. I think it's always super dangerous to do two things in shows:
1) Have a baby
2) Get a long-awaited couple together
Thankfully, Dig and Lila having a baby had zero effect on the show overall. But Ollicity? Oh, hell no. These two were much better when they were just flirting and coming close to a kiss. I miss her always saying the most sexually inappropriate thing while not meaning to. It should be noted that about the time these two got together, we stopped being treated to our Ollie working out sans shirt. Don't they know that is what drew me in in the first place?
I, too, was grateful for Laurel's death. I simply didn't like her character. Didn't like her sister much either, so the departure of these two from the show made me happy. Come to think of it, I wasn't wild about Speedy either. I know what you're thinking - I just have a problem with female characters on this show. Not true. I do love Felicity and even the bits of Lila we get to see. The three overly pretty, perfect girls just didn't do it for me. For me, the pretty one should have always been Oliver. On this whole topic, I never believed in the Black Canary. I know why Sarah was such a bad ass. I know where Thea got her skills. But Laurel? She was always out of place and completely non-believable.
I also don't get Church being the new big bad for the entire season. I can see it for a couple of episodes, but not long term unless - they play him like they did Slade Wilson. Keep the recurring bad guy, but have a lot in between. This is what I think went wrong with Arrow after Season 3. We basically had an entire season focused on Dahrk, and it really got to be too much. There just wasn't enough variety for me and I really missed that.
Now, the flashbacks can just drop off the face of the Earth after this season. I mean, he'll have been back for five years at that point. Here's my problem with the flashbacks. When they related directly to the bad of the season, ie Slade Wilson, they were needed. I wanted to see how they got from A to B and they served a point. Having said that, I don't need to see all of the things Oliver did to get back home at this point. I get that we're going to see a connection between one of those Russians and the SCPD, as they focused pretty heavily on one of the dudes for all of three seconds. That being said, get to the point. We no longer need the background. It's superfluous and adds nothing to the show.
I don't like the good Captain. I mean, yes, it makes sense that he's fallen way off of the wagon, but how many times do we need to see drunk-turned-hero? He's already been down this road in this series and it's just tiring at this point. I'll wait around and see why we need him at all, and I hope it pays off.
Overall, I enjoyed the darker tone of the show. The lone-wolf I like. I don't like letting all of these people in on what's supposed to be his secret. I mean everyone knows you don't just let anyone join your squad and give them the keys to the city, and I'm irritated that throughout this entire series, that's exactly what has happened. I'm over it all ready. Take a lesson from Batman and keep that shit to yourself. (I got sidetracked...)
I like the tougher Oliver. Yes, he's going to need some help, but overall it should really just be what I used to love about this show - Ollie doing Ollie and wrapping up the crap in the city with just a little bit of help. And he needs to do more of it shirtless, or I'm going to lose interest rather quickly.