Well, “Arrow” season four has come and gone and let’s face it: The season finale stunk on ice. Even “The Flash” season finale, which didn’t progress our characters very much, was still so much better than “Arrow’s” finale which, from beginning to end, was a sloppy, silly, stupid, plot hole filled mess. Once upon a time, “Arrow” was the big gun in the CW action universe, but now it’s lagging behind. The goofy “Legends of Tomorrow” is assembling the mythical “Justice Society of America,” while “Supergirl” is set to join her DC super pals on the CW Network very soon.
If “Arrow” doesn’t pick up its game, it’s going to be the show that’s wading in tepid water, while the other action series’ are aiming for bigger ambitions and outside the box storytelling. Here are five ways “Arrow” can be fixed to get back to when it was an entertaining crime thriller about a vigilante seeking redemption.
5. Out with the Old Villains, In with some New Ones
Enough with Malcolm Merlyn, and all the other creaky and old villains of the past, it’s boring. Malcolm had his time in the spotlight, was head of “The League of Assassins” for a while, and is now just a one handed nuisance constantly switching teams to accommodate the storyline for that season. Plus he keeps consistently insisting that he is looking out for Thea and wants what’s best for her, but is still making her life a living hell. Malcolm keeps breaking in to the Arrow headquarters, gives an antagonistic monologue, and pisses some people off only to make a morally ambiguous decision by the end of the season.
Seriously, it’s enough. It’s time for “Arrow” to either re-invent some long gestating villains from DC’s universe, or begin inventing villains that can make Arrow’s life a living hell. And enough world domination and mass destruction, Arrow is not that kind of hero. He’s a street level vigilante, so let’s bring back a more down to Earth villain.
4. Stop Building up Villains for Nothing
Every time the series builds up a new villain, they do nothing but knock them down in the cheesiest and anti-climactic matter. It’s bad enough DC has hobbled the show by limiting what kind of villains they can use, but the show keeps building up these massive monsters, only to have them die in the lamest manner. The last villain Damian Darhk was a tough bastard who is ultimately defeated by Oliver’s hope and being stabbed in the gut at point blank range. I haven’t been intimidated by a villain since Slade stood in the center of Oliver’s mansion.
3. Improve the Choreography!
Right now the show’s choreography is waned and it’s literally nothing but a lot of running, shooting, running, shooting, running, dodging, shooting, and rolling around. Occasionally Oliver, Thea, or Diggle will get in to a hand to hand battle with one of the baddies or their thugs, but there is an obvious avoidance of eliciting martial arts sequences, to the point where we didn’t even see the much anticipated fight between Diggle and his evil brother. At least in the early seasons, “Arrow” strived to deliver the goods with sweeping fights and combat. Now it’s almost nothing.
2. Less Felicity, Please
This is supposed to be “Arrow” about Oliver Queen. Oliver’s only surviving relative is Thea Queen, a young warrior brought back from the dead thanks to the Lazarus Pit who is now Arrow’s sidekick and even she doesn’t get as much screen time as Felicity. Felicity went from the adorably geeky sidekick to Oliver Queen, to a massive deus ex machina and plot device who is given almost as much screen time as the titular hero.
Rather than seeing Oliver and his team trying to take down Damian, we’re instead reduced to seeing Felicity deal with her own problems, which includes her divorced parents bickering with each other. Felicity was charming when she had limited screen time, but now she’s been given way too much importance. In the finale when she assured Oliver she was sticking by him, I was more disappointed than hopeful.
1. Stop the Damn Flashbacks
Even the producers have admitted the flashbacks suck, make no sense, and drive the momentum of the show down. And they have no intention of stopping them any time soon. And they don’t care that fans of the show are annoyed about that fact, either. This season’s series of flashbacks had almost no parallels to the central premise, and was so boring. I didn’t care about the cave expedition, Oliver’s tangling with an African warlord, and his adventure with a Latin slave who become hungry with power, blah blah blah.
The flashbacks bring the show’s momentum to a painfully screeching halt, and at this point is nothing but padding to keep the show’s seasons going as long as possible. How many silly adventures did Oliver go through during the years he was away from Central City, anyway? The writers don’t seem interested in changing the formula, which is a shame. When the show is exciting it can really be an engrossing crime thriller. The flashbacks are a big chink in the show’s strong armor.