Previously on Arrow
Arrow is back for another season, and, like Diggle, I’m feeling a sense of deja vu. Oliver is ignoring Felicity and Thea’s good advice, Lance is off the wagon, there is a stereotypical angry black man committing crime and another evil archer on the loose. The flashbacks have bad lighting (green this time) and a terrible wig, Diggle is underutilized, Oliver is killing people again, and we have seen all of this before. With Oliver now mayor, Olicity broken up, Diggle deployed, and Thea hanging up her red leather, I had hoped that season 5 might shake things up a little, but it seems we’ll once again be retreading tired story beats.
Thea’s at her best when she has a job to do, whether it be running Verdant, Oliver’s campaign, or in her current job as his Chief of Staff. Watching her competently organize events, schmooze with constituents, and cover for her absentee brother really shows that Star City elected the wrong Queen.
It’s early in the season so I won’t get my hopes up yet, but it was promising that the premiere had no mention of any of the magic that bogged down last season. Arrow has always been the most gritty and grounded of the DC TV stable, and it is at its best when they stick to those roots and leave the mystical to their more colourful counterparts.
I loathe to admit it, but the flashbacks this season may not be the worst thing in the world, which is about as high praise as this overdone framing device will ever get from me.
Why does the police department need to have an ‘Anti-Crime Initiative’? Isn’t being anti-crime the entire point of cops?
It probably goes without saying, but, kids, if you’re watching at home, no matter how high tech it is for the love of god don’t shoot a bomb with a bow and arrow!! Also, on the subject of arrows that probably seemed cooler in a comic book, is Oliver’s parachute arrow the stupidest gadget ever utilized on this show?
I know I should be used to Oliver being a jerk and a hypocrite by now, but wasn’t shooting that helpful fellow vigilante in the leg a bit much? That said, Curtis’ face after finding out what Oliver did may have been the highlight of the episode.
When the show introduced a new detective working with the chief of police I felt my spidey senses tingling, because on the CW where there is a conventionally attractive white man there is a storyline (in my notes I referred to him as Officer Blandy McWhiteBoy), and I was unfortunately proven right at the end of the episode when he was revealed to be Felicity’s new boyfriend. I had hoped that Felicity’s storyline this season might revolve around her coming to terms with the fact that she dropped a nuclear bomb on a city at the end of last season and killed tens of thousands of people, but I guess it was foolish to hope for her storyline to be about her and not about the men in her life.
On the subject of powerful female characters whose storylines revolve around men, Laurel is gone but not forgotten, with Oliver dedicating what is possibly the most hideous statue ever made to her memory. He also dedicates his newfound return to killing to her, despite it going against everything she had fought for when she was alive. I guess it’s the thought that counts?
The premiere was a mixed bag. With fewer storylines and characters involved it felt more streamlined than the bloated mess of season 4, and the Bratva storyline is a vast improvement on the last lot of flashbacks from the island (although watching paint dry would probably be preferable to re-watching those). On the other hand, watching Oliver struggling with whether or not to kill for what feels like the hundredth time is just one of the many repetitive plots showcased this episode. The writers need to learn to get back to basics without just repeating what we’ve seen season after season.