This season of Arrow has seen some vast improvements, continued growth in some areas, some things I am still on the fence about, some things that I simply don’t care about and a few awesome surprises.
Let’s get to it.
In the vast improvement area we have Damien Darhk the villain Ra’s Al Ghul should’ve been but wasn’t. He’s charming, funny, has absolutely no qualms killing anyone and everyone and brutally efficient in his plans. Speaking of his plan; the very smart explanation of exactly why he’s in Star City, which seems to be the unluckiest place to live outside of Metropolis and anywhere an Avenger is, shows that the writers realize that the Arrowverse has become too insular. Star City is just a piece of a larger plan and like Ozymandias before him he’s smart of enough to have already set everything in motion, all the collateral damage he’s causing? Window dressing. It’s brilliant.
The continued growth of Thea and Laurel is satisfying and well earned. For reasons passing all understanding these two characters receive a lot of fandom hatred that is unjustified as both the characters and the actresses are fantastic. Thea, a young woman who lost her brother and father in one moment and was left with a distant and manipulative mother, has grown into a confident, intelligent strategist who’s also a fighting machine. Watching her become a hero and equal to her brother and Laurel has been a treat, even if her presence means Malcolm is still lurking around.
As for Laurel, she was already a hero, though many people don’t seem to realize it. When the show started this was a character who was betrayed on every level by every single person in her life: her boyfriend was cheating on her, with her sister, who was doing it with the full consent and awareness of her mother. When the Queen’s Gambit went down her father decided that having one still living child wasn’t enough and climbed into a bottle. Instead of lashing out as any sane person would, Laurel instead not only channeled her anger into helping others but stuck around to take care of both families that were devastated by Oliver and Sara’s disgusting behavior.
Watching her slowly become the Black Canary over the course of the last four years, as I’m convinced that the first five years of this show are Laurel’s island which will hopefully lead to BOP, has been a satisfying journey. As has her giving some much needed real talk to Oliver and Quentin. The only missteps with her character was her need to bring Sara back and even that was organic based on who Laurel is and her relationships with Thea and Sara.
Malcolm’s continued presence, which at least has been tempered by Nyssa’s destruction of the Lazarus Pit, is bothersome as is everyone’s reaction to it or lack thereof. I’m hoping the back end of the season resolves this by bringing Nyssa back to Star City and back into play.
My other issue is the Oliver & Felicity relationship. The show has made it really hard to root for them, separately or together. Oliver continues to be a judgmental, secret keeper, whose growth, up until the last four episodes has been mostly told to us but not shown. Felicity, on the other hand, hasn’t changed at all from the previous seasons and it’s this, combined with her undeserved CEO position at Palmer Tech, which she’s run into the ground, and the lack of anyone calling her on her entitled and irresponsible behavior that makes them together unpleasant to watch. The characters bring out the worst in each other and after the events of the midseason finale I foresee even more angst on the horizon.
The show has also suffered from the hamfisted set up for Legends Of Tomorrow. Sara’s resurrection was unnecessary and unneeded. The fact that it continues Arrow’s sad history of whitewashing characters of color from the comics to bring back an actress of limited range at best just adds insult to injury. Ray’s storyline only emphasized that his very presence was nothing more than a prop for the Oliver and Felicity storyline and friggin’ Ray Palmer deserves better than that. As for the Hawks and Vandal Savage, the less said about that the better.
However this season also brought back to us John Constantine and that? That was worth the price of admission alone. Matt Ryan is Constantine. He’s everything we ever wanted and more and if The CW is smart they’ll resurrect his show and pair it with Supernatural, especially as both are part of the DC Comics Universe.
I can honestly say I’m looking forward to the second half of the season something I didn’t think was possible when this season began.
I give this season 3 out of 5 Exploding Arrows.