Arrow: “What We Leave Behind”

arrowseason5

Jim’s Thoughts

I think Arrow’s midseason finale did a little better than Flash’s. That’s not saying as much as I would like for it to, but it’s about as positive a spin as I can put on it.

For the most part, my complaints are the usual. Felicity. She’s awful, and managing to get worse all the time. In fact, as a writer, I hereby invoke my write to make up words. I declare Felicity to be a verb meaning to annoy with an affectation of awkwardness meant to be seen as endearing. That’s what Felicity does. She felicities all over the episode. I was also particularly annoyed by her consternation that her detective boyfriend refused to take her non-policeman orders to not do police work. That was maddeningly arrogant of her.

This episode would have been better without the recruits, but that’s true of every episode this season. Wild Dog’s insistence on not following directions is a nuisance, and repetitive. Artemis betrayed Oliver. Okay, but who cares? Was I supposed to care? What’s Artemis’ real name again? Meh, never mind. I like Curtis, but his marriage hasn’t been given much screen time, and we’ve seen that ultimatum from loved ones before. Are we going to have to see this scene play out every time someone on the team has a significant other?

Felicity’s throwaway boyfriend was thrown away. Again, this lacks much of an impact, and I get the feeling its just another excuse to show Felicity crying. We need much, much less of Felicity, and that’s not going to happen, so I’m bummed.

The less said about Laurel showing up for the big reveal, the better. Kyle and I have already mentioned the problems with taking the stakes out of death. It’s possible that Laurel coming back is an hallucination, or something like that, but I’m afraid to hope. You may remember my feelings toward Laurel were only slightly more congenial than those toward Felicity.

The bulk of what’s wrong with this show this season is demonstrated in this episode. First, the show has no idea where the real emotional weight is. We’re supposed to care about love interests who rarely show up and are replaced like coffee filters. The CW has a bad habit of thinking peoples’ love lives are the most interesting part of their characters. Second, we’re hearing all the same arguments over again. Oliver is a killer. No he’s not. Oliver’s problems are his own fault. He needs to quit blaming himself. Oliver needs to let people in. No, he’s a lonewolf. They need to quit recycling the tension, to create compelling villains and let the tension come from that.

Here’s hoping things with Prometheus aren’t what they appear. If so, a promising villain is gutted, and the prospects for the back half of season 5 are limited.

Kyle’s Take

I’m not sure I agree that Arrow’s midseason finale outdid Flash’s midseason finale. To be fair this choice is like the ones I received as a kid of would you rather I kick you in the balls or punch you in the throat? Do I have a third option?

At least Barry remained consistent with his love for Iris and Flash refrained from dragging down more characters than the lead and Joe with love interests. Most folks on Arrow have a love interest who serve as a rudder for everything they do. I’m not down with love; it’s not interesting when it’s overdone.

I’m also unsure if Laurel’s return will serve as her reinstatement as the love of Ollie’s life. Anyone who has watched Arrow for the past 5 years, can’t believe that, and this type of storytelling leads me back to something I spoke of last week: landfill writing.

Arrow was fantastic a few seasons ago. Deathstroke gave Ollie a delicious archvillain, and Arrow was appointment television. Since Slade Wilson’s exit, we’ve been treated—if you can call it treated—to variations of the same garbage that never worked or has ceased to work (namely flashbacks). People coming back from the dead every other week, marginalized villains, teamwork and trust monologues, and throw away romances became the norm. What do you throw away? Garbage. Where does garbage end up? A landfill. Arrow continues to dump the same garbage into its storylines.

I have no hope that Prometheus will get fixed; the CW has a knack for gutting compelling villains. The only hope I have for Arrow this season is that Flashpoint resolves soon and bails out the show. That’s not the best prospect, but hey, I heard a rumor that the real Deathstroke could return. That could make things interesting.

That’s all we have for this week. Thanks for reading.

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