Arrow, You Have Failed This Viewer
I remember exactly where I was when I watched my first episode of Arrow. I was sitting in my dorm room and had some time before dinner. I had been hearing buzz about the show and decided to sit down and watch the first episode, I was blown away. For some reason Oliver chasing and doing parkour through the streets of Starling city was amazing to me, and that scene has never left my memory. I called my best friend and told him he needed to watch this show, it was the superhero show that we had been waiting for. Was it amazing, no, but it was fun. I counted the days in between episodes, I’d watch every preview as soon as they were released. I cried during the finale when they killed Tommy. I cheered when Oliver was kicking Merlin’s ass. They had a competent black partner who wasn’t a stereotype. They had a good Roy Harper. Even with all the hamfisted bullshit I still looked forward to it, because the action and the storylines and the characters let you overlook it. I was genuinely invested in this show. That’s why I’m so sad to see the show where it is today. I found myself invested, and now I regret ever doing so.
Admittedly the show was never perfect. There were always love triangles, bad dialogue, and plots that didn’t go anywhere. But you couldn’t look me in the face and say you weren’t having fun tuning in every week. It seemed like the show was moving in the direction to eventually give us the Green Arrow. So at this point 4 seasons in where is he? He goes by the name, yes but he is not the Green Arrow. Hell he’s not even the Ollie that we grew to love. That Ollie hasn’t returned since the end of Season 2.
The entire premise was to show the journey of becoming the superhero that we know. The Emerald Archer, the lefty with the quick wit, the guy who stuck up for the little guy. I was introduced to Oliver Queen through the cartoon show “Justice League Unlimited”. In the first episode he was recruited or rather forced into the league and the entire episode he was reluctant to even be there. He was supposed to be the character that kept the league grounded, not let them become too big for themselves. He was the guy that made sure the little guy was not stepped on. He wasn’t a knock off Batman, he was his own character with his own values. He was funny, he was fun, and he was a badass. I was only 11 at the time, and I wouldn’t get into comics for another 2-3 years so I had no knowledge on his background. I never found out too much of what he was besides the Green Arrow. I never knew Oliver Queen. Over the years I began to read and I discovered how much depth this character had.
He had character flaws, he wasn’t the best father, he was an adulterer, he messed up, but that’s why I liked him he was human. And that’s what “Arrow” initially showed, a damaged man, a flawed man who is trying to do the right thing. Partially out of obligation, but also because he knew it was the right thing to do.
I don’t think I noticed at first when it happened. I didn’t really pay attention to the writer swap at the beginning of season 3. The show runners went over to “The Flash”, and “Arrow” got somebody new. As I enjoyed “The Flash” I found my obsession with Arrow dying slowly. The first episode of season 3 killed off Sara Lance, which at the point of writing this does not matter(she’s currently alive on “Legend’s of Tomorrow”). So Sara’s dead and we are dealing with a big whodunit for most of the season. And I honestly couldn’t give less of a shit. I found myself watching because I would catch up on Flash and Arrow in the same day. That’s it. No other reason, just to kind of get my fix. As the season continued, the quality dropped. The inclusion of easter eggs and other DC characters didn’t help either. The show clearly missed the inclusion of Slade Wilson, and the new big bad was uncharismatic. How do you make Ra’s Al Ghul one of the best villains in the DC uncharismatic. The season was dull and they were clearly focusing on the budding romance between Oliver and Felicity. But I’ll touch on that in a second.
Over the course of the season we had a good part of the main cast ‘die’. But hey at least we got Wildcat, barely. As the season went on we had Oliver die, somehow brought back to life through tea and not the lazarus pit. Fucking tea. Unless I’m missing something that man should be very dead. Thea died, brought back to life by the lazarus pit. Ray died, he just shrunk but we all saw that coming. Roy died but it was a fakeout. And Sara came back in the fourth season. The thing about all of these deaths or temporary long sleeps is that they have no meaning. There is no sense of fear or danger, all of these people came back or went off somewhere. None of it matters. All the deaths before season 3 have mostly stuck, why couldn’t they keep it that way. They used death as a way to move the story along but all it did was make the story weaker.
Now the deaths in the show are not the main problem. The truth is comic books in general have a revolving door with death, so any character that dies will more than likely end up coming back. So who knows maybe Tommy or Moira will come back, but probably not.
It seems the problem that has always been there in “Arrow” is the slow decline in quality since Season 3 began. The love plots. Initially they were annoying, but we were able to overlook them and keep moving forward. It was fine, they were there we had our super-heroics it was fine. Like an uneasy agreement. But the heroics began to fall behind the love plots. The choreography is gone now, it mostly consists of dodging and punching. Why does no one shoot arrows anymore. There’s barely any more flipping with Roy gone, I miss that flipping bastard. Now the show has become less of an action-superhero show and more of a drama-soap opera.
I’m not going to blame outside influences, BUT it is inherently clear that the writers looked to outside forces on what to do with the show. A love plot that wasn’t upfront but a possibility was the pairing of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoake. Felicity was a supporting character, meant to be more of a one-off she was brought into the main cast. And at first she was likeable, enjoyable even. I honestly liked the dynamic that she brought to the Arrow Cave. It was fun, she was well written and she worked. Then it happened, they became a couple. The show changed its focus. It was trying to show a more upbeat happier Oliver, and you know how they did this. They had him say it over and over, but you can’t lie to me Stephen Amell with those beautiful baby blues we know you’re hurting.
This relationship has been the cause of either happiness or turmoil within the fanbase. Causing the groups to essentially go to war. This isn’t what you do to your fans. You write a good story, don’t let the fans push or pull you. And the writers deny that they are doing this, I don’t believe them. This show has been less about Green Arrow and more about his love life. And that’s it, hell right now he isn’t even a mayoral candidate anymore. He’s just Oliver Queen.
At the end of last season they had him quit being the Arrow to go be with the woman he loved. And guess what this same woman got bored, so back to the city. They didn’t even let the team of Diggle, Canary, and Speedy show any form of competency. It’s immediately “Hey we’re screwed, better call Ollie.” You have three very capable superheroes and they can’t get shit done.
I don’t recognize the show anymore, it’s different, it’s not fun anymore. It’s an obligation, it’s a reason I stepped back from a lot of the comicbooks I was reading. I fell out of love, I felt obliged to it. Then they put the final nail in my coffin.
They killed The Black Canary.
At the beginning of the season they had a teaser with an unmarked grave and Oliver standing in front of it. From the bat someone’s going to die, but at this point who gives a shit. They’ll be back. But here’s the thing, this time it’s for realsies guys. So let us kill Green Arrow’s equivalent of Lois Lane in order to hook him up with the supporting character. I’m all for telling your own stories but don’t spit in the fans face like that. They didn’t even let the character become fully realized before killing her. This is not only disrespectful to those who watch the show but to those who are fans of the character.