This week’s episode of Arrow didn’t do it for me. The things that are working on this show right now were still working in this episode, and by that I mean Damien, but this week I saw too much of what isn’t working. By that I mean Olicity, the setup for Legends of Tomorrow, and the current flashback arc.
Focusing so much on getting Ray back made this feel a bit like the last episode with Sara. Devoting an entire episode to laying groundwork for a separate one comes off as something of a middle finger to the current audience.
I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure of everything happening on the island in flashbacks right now, but part of that is it’s not holding my interest. Clearly Ollie is being set up in this episode, but too much is happening off screen here, and beyond magic being tied to Damien and HIVE, it’s not clear what the connection is between past and present.
My big gripe with this episode was the focus on romantic relationships, particularly Oliver and Felicity’s. It’s not even necessarily how it was done, but It was given far too much screen time. In conjunction with the ending showing Lance and Mama Felicity meeting, it feels like Arrow is backsliding into what hurt it last season. If the show wants to keep its comic book audience, it has to be more than a story about whose hands are in whose cookie jar.
And Arrow started off so well. A lot of Arrow’s early success was because Flash bore the brunt of setting up Legends of Tomorrow and now it’s Arrow’s turn. Fortunately, laying the groundwork for the CW’s new show should cease to drain either Flash or Arrow by the mid-season finale. With Curtis Holt not turning into Mr. Terrific in the foreseeable future (we knew Ray was going Atom in less than a season), the major obstacle remaining for Arrow is the love rhombus. There’s more than one so should it be love rhombi?
Watch out, Arrow, love rhombi have sharp edges and you can get hurt. This may isolate me from a lot of Arrow fans, but I don’t care about Olicity. This relationship only exists because fans demanded it but I’m not sure it works. Well, at least it doesn’t work all the time. And when you have a Ray episode like “Lost Souls,” the show gets lost in Olicity. Again, this has a lot to do with Legends of Tomorrow: they had to squeeze in one last Ray episode. So maybe the show gets the gashes it earned from its love rhombi stitched up in a few weeks.
That still leaves us with the flashback and like I’ve said before, the further removed we are from Ollie’s time on the island, the harder it is to make flashbacks to the island work. I know it sounds like Jim and I are broken records, but every time Arrow improves these shortcomings, they go back to what doesn’t work.
It looks like we’ve moved on from Legends of Tomorrow and the next big Arrow-Flash crossover is upcoming. We should see another uptick in show quality over the next few weeks, so we can forgive “Lost Souls” for losing its way.
There were some Arrow Easter eggs and we have them in our Arrow secrets page. Here’s a link. Thanks for reading.