After the end of last season, you may remember I said Arrow needed to win me back. Season 4 was outright bad, and not even Neal McDonough’s performance as Damien Darhk could salvage it. With that, I hoped season 5 would get off to a roaring start, and while it didn’t quite do that, the premiere did give us one of the more watchable episodes of Arrow in some time.
The weak parts of the episode are a lot of repeat offenders from last season. Detective Lance and his on/off relationship with Felicity’s mom isn’t interesting, and it’s spoiled the character so thoroughly I can’t even invest in his grief over his personal loss. There were also a lot of passing glances to Felicity and Ollie’s relationship, but these things weren’t given much focus, and that helped.
The flashback sequences, while not particularly bothersome, have lost their intrigue. I think that mechanic worked when it was Ollie and Slade on the island because we were seeing the evolution of their relationship, and Slade was the threat in present day Star City. I’ve recently heard rumors that the show will abandon the flashback story arcs after this season, and I have to say it’s a long overdue move.
The argument over whether or not Ollie should be killing has always irked me, because he’s found himself in situations where there just wasn’t a believable or practical alternative. Having Thea object so strongly feels a little like a contrivance, and I’m hoping the show doesn’t focus on it.
The other big story thread this week was about whether Ollie should recruit a new team. Personally, I like him working alone. I think it simplifies the story and it brings the show back to when it was much more successful, but we’ll see how long it lasts.
Again, this wasn’t the stroke of redemption I was hoping for, but if Arrow maintains this level of quality, it’ll be an enormous step forward.
Arrow set the bar limbo stick low last season. Jim and I bashed it most of the season—we could get away with that because we aren’t sponsored by any of the producers, TV networks, etc.—but it’s telling when some of those other sites that are paid by the networks to review their work said that the money wasn’t worth their integrity and gave Arrow episodes 2 out of 10 ratings. There were episodes at the end of last season that were pure Overwatch—I’m sorry, they were pure Uberdreck.
“Legacy” is to Arrow what Suicide Squad was to Batman v Superman. It’s bad, but at least it’s not that bad. I have hope that Arrow can move past all the things that didn’t work last season and find fertile ground this season. I don’t care about the Lance/Smoak relationship or the flashbacks—they haven’t been effective in seasons—but I had forgotten Ollie ended last season as Star City’s mayor. Arrow really wants to push our suspension of disbelief. How much free time does Ollie have to conduct Green Arrow duties if his day job is mayor of a city with a population of almost 3 million? (DC Wikia)
I agree with Jim that Ollie works best when he’s on his own, but I see him forming a team as soon as next week. Come on, the next episode’s named “The Recruits.” If you followed our Arrow Secrets page last season (I’ll have to start that up again this season), you’d know that Curtis Holt is supposed to become Mr. Terrific, so this has been a slow burn for over a year. I’m not convinced Arrow’s done with Laurel either. Flash has an issue with time jumps and Earth hops, but Arrow has problems with resurrections. The Lazarus Pit is destroyed—for some reason—but it’ll return or something will take its place.
Oddly enough, I could be okay with all of this (resurrections and a new team). I just want Arrow to work for it. I could even buy into Ollie moonlighting as Green Arrow, while serving as Star City’s mayor. I’d just like to see consequences. I’m not even sure what these consequences should be, but Arrow can’t be lazy and insist that Ollie can pull off both jobs at once with no hiccups.
“Legacy” was watchable. If Arrow can build off of its premiere, it could be on its way to win me back, but how much the show lags after the mid-season break—Arrow always has a mid-season slump—will prove whether or not it’s recaptured the magic.
Another season of Deathstroke couldn’t hurt either.