After what seemed like a two season trek through the basement of the CW Arrowverse, the OG Arrow returned to the top (or, at least near the peak of the precipice) of this TV multiverse of superhero shows. A new, more grounded villain, the return of some familiar (and sorely missed) faces, and the ultimate demise of the TV relationship version of chlamydia, “Olicity,”…we think. Season 5 was not perfect, but it was a step back in the right direction, and one hell of a ride…
The “Season’s End” articles are a look back at the season that was, focusing on what worked and what did not. At the conclusion of the piece, we’ll take a glance at some of the questions posed in the season finale in relation to Season 6. Are we ready? I know I am, and since I’m writing this article, that is what’s most important. I’m important. Sometimes.
(Side Note: the headers for each section are actual mental quotes…from my brain… during Season 5, that directly relate to the topic at hand. I probably didn’t need to tell you that. You’re not dumb. But I believe in being thorough.)
**Spoilers Follow for Season 5 of Arrow**
courtesy of thegameofnerds.com
“I genuinely believed that performance”: Arrow actor and real life superhero (you saw his stint on Ninja Warrior?! Jeez!) Stephen Amell has not received many accolades for his acting chops, with critics tending to focus on his stunt work and physical prowess in the role of Oliver Queen (again…Ninja Warrior…Holy…). I tended to lean that way as well, never referring to Amell as an actor that was lacking in any specific skill, but more, one that would never be up for an Emmy. The critics became harsher as the Arrowverse added heavy hitting actors in Grant Gustin & Melissa Benoist, 2 actors that can “act the s—” out of any scene (is that a real phrase? It is now. Patented.). Season 5 though, saw Amell come into his own not only as the character of Oliver Queen, but as an actor who can carry the gravitas of an emotionally heavy scene. One scene in particular stands out in my mind: Three quarters of the way through the season, Adrian Chase captures Oliver to essentially play head games with him, torturing and tormenting him at every turn. When finally Oliver breaks down, screaming in Chase’s face that he liked killing criminals, I stood up and clapped alone in my living room. No, I didn’t. Does anyone you know actually do that? If so, get them psychiatric help. But I was blown away by the performance. Season 5 might not be the best season of Arrow we’ve ever seen, but I truly believe it was the best acting from our beloved star.
“Yo, that dude scares the bejesus out of me!” & “Wait…I didn’t see that coming…huh…”: After a couple of seasons dancing with the supernatural, Arrow returned to a gritty, more down to earth feel for the season at hand. That extended to their season 5 “Big Bad,” Prometheus, aka Adrian Chase. Josh Segarra played a character for half the season that seemed a true and trusted confidant of Team Oliver, and spent the 2nd half convincing every viewer that he was a deranged, unstable killer, unwilling to let anyone stand in his way (don’t agree? He killed his wife in front of Oliver, because he was so dedicated to his crusade.) Hats off and a round of applause to him, because with no disrespect to Matthew Nable & Neal McDonough (who played Ra’s Al Ghul & Damien Darhk, respectively in the 2 previous seasons), Segarra’s villain was the first antagonist since Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson in Season 2 to truly captivate me while on screen.
Highlight within a Highlight: The Adrian Chase as Prometheus twist was not one I saw coming. All signs were pointed to The Vigilante, since that just so happens to be the Adrian Chase character of the comics. Kudos to the writers for such a well done slight of hand (Who says “kudos”? God, I’m a loser, how do I have a wife?)
courtesy of comicbookmovie.com
“Mother f-ing Deathstroke!”: Speaking of memorable villains, my personal highlight of the entire season came in the final 50+ minutes. Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, is arguably the greatest villain Oliver has ever faced on Arrow, and we got to witness a team-up between the former friends turned nemeses. The mirakuru has since worn off, so we get a Slade Wilson that is of (semi) sound mind, but still possessing of the deadly skills belonging to the Universe’s most dangerous assassin. In an episode that had an awful lot of memorable characters in it, Bennett’s Deathstroke again stole the show, presenting what a Wilson lead Suicide Squad would look like, all the while causing fans to clamor for a Deathstroke spin-off.
“Oh Nice! No flips…”: Arrow has long been known for its choreographed stunt work and fight scenes, but many in the fandom have felt that the direction of most of these fight scenes had grown stale. While the season’s fight scenes still paled in comparison to those we’ve seen on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD the last couple of seasons (you stopped watching? Start watching, again. Trust me.) or even the season finale of Supergirl (battle between the Supers? Yes, please!), the bookend episodes of Season 5 in Oliver Queen’s quest for redemption showed a renewed interest in visually stunning stunt and camera work. I’m hoping Season 6 continues the trend, putting Arrow back on the top rung of the CW Super-shows.
“Dammit, why do I like you now!?”: I’m going to be completely open, honest and respectful with all of you, because that’s what we do in this “safe space” called the internet (lololol jk, trolls be everywhere), but I genuinely did not enjoy the character of Rene Ramirez, aka Wild Dog, played by Rick Gonzalez. I didn’t see the need for him, another hot headed, do nothing player on a team of misfits. Yet, as time went on, we learned his back story, and I began to not only enjoy the back handed compliments and double fisted automatic weapon fire of Rene, but I began to really appreciate the portrayal by talented young actor Gonzalez. I’m hoping WD makes it off the island, because I’m intrigued at the continuation of his story, both as a member of Team Arrow, and the ongoing saga of his relationship with his estranged daughter.
Add On Highlight: Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt. Always a treat, always a scene stealer, underutilized in many ways. Echo Kellum can do no wrong in my book. (AND WHY DID WE GET LESS THAN A FULL SEASON OF BEN & KATE!? Ugh. I’ll never forgive you Fox!)
courtesy of denofgeek.com
“I swear to all things holy, if you kill them off………” This was my warning to the Arrow powers-that-be after the finale went dark. Last we see, Chase delivers on his promise, offing himself in the boat with Oliver and William (remember, Oliver had a son? Right, I didn’t care either), setting off a chain-reaction of explosives all over Lian Yu, SEEMINGLY killing off…well…f—ing everybody. All of Team Arrow is on that island (Diggle, Dinah, Felicity, Det. Lance, Thea, Rene, Curtis, Nyssa, Oliver’s baby mama) as well as every other character in the freakin episode (Slade, fake Laurel, Talia, Evelyn Sharp and a crap ton of assassins). Now, we know that not everyone is going to die. And we know that series regulars such as Diggle, Felicity, Det. Lance, etc will make it out alive. But if this is their way to kill of characters they don’t know what to do with/the grown up WB company won’t let them use, I’m going to round house kick my TV, or write a strongly worded letter to the CW authorities, because that s— is NOT okay. We already saw the incredibly under utilized Captain Boomerang blown to smitherines earlier in the episode, and that hurt my comic book loving heart, but if they do the same with Talia & Deathstroke, 2 villain/antiheroes that entire seasons (clearly) could be based around, I will seriously stop watching this show we refer to as Arrow.
OK, no I won’t. Who are we kidding? But yeah, I’ll complain that much more! (My wife will love that. Again, why did she marry me?)
Non-highlight within a Non-highlight: Malcolm Merlyn deserved a better fate. For a series regular who was often one of the most consistently awesome characters over Arrow’s 5 seasons, I felt the scene lacked the Je ne sais quoi it should’ve had. Sacrificing himself for Thea? Sure. But the scene was not emotionally draining and heart wrenching. It should’ve been. Malcolm Merlyn, and John Barrowman, deserved at least that much.
courtesy of theCW.com
“But it’s fake Laurel Lance…it’s Laurel Lance Lite…Laurel Lance with Splenda…” Ugggghhhhhhhh, I genuinely have no words for the continued plot line known as “Earth 2 Laurel Lance.” I was all for rehabilitating her, turning her into an ally of Team Arrow, but over (and over…and over…) she betrayed the members, aligning herself with Adrian Chase. Again, I reiterate, over and over. Yet Season 6 has already made her a season regular. I think I speak for everyone here (which, by the way, is just me in a Mr. Tire as I wait for them to finish the longest oil change in history) when I say “What is your end game here, Greg Berlanti & Co.?” I understand that bringing back Katie Cassidy as a variation of the dearly departed character in question is this season’s 2nd “We’re Sorry” for killing Laurel off in the first place, but the Laurel that Damian Darhk unceremoniously murdered near the conclusion of Season 4 was arguably the best version of the persona we had ever seen. So, I’m sorry, but I don’t want to see another version of a missing piece, passed off as a suitable replacement.
“If that wasn’t so hilarious, I’d be mad about it”: I loved the cuts between present day Oliver Queen running through the forests of Lian Yu, and the one about to be rescued 5 years prior. But, where in the s— did he get such a convincing wig and beard to put on before being “found??” I do understand that the writers had to make sense of Oliver’s appearance in the premiere episode, but I found it hilarious none the less. Also, I’m not sure it’s REALLY a “not highlight,” per se, I just needed to talk about it somewhere. Classic See Dubs.
courtesy of cinemablend.com
“Don’t you dare…don’t you f—ing dare!” I’m going to make this short, and very clear: If that kiss between Felicity and Oliver means anything more than, “Hey, we might die, so I don’t want to die without doing this one more time,” then I will legitimately lose my proverbial crap. Please God, please Allah, please Tom Cruise, do not make me endure Arrow‘s version of the Black Plague, Olicity, ever again.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Fans will be eagerly awaiting the Season 6 premiere, anxious to find out which of their favorite characters made it off of the island in one piece. Depending on what team members (and villains) come back, where does Team Arrow go from here? I’m very much intrigued at the fate of Oliver’s former flame, and William’s mother, Samantha. If Samantha is killed in the explosion, does that mean Oliver steps up to the plate and becomes the father that William has been missing all of these years? Another question remains: who will be the major arc villain for Season 6? My hopes were for Talia Al Ghul, seeing as the CW shows have a history of setting up their villains in the previous season (as the Flash did for Season 4 with multiple mentions of Clifford Devoe, aka The Thinker in this most recent season). Talia’s fate is still in the air, so the jury is currently out on who Oliver’s next antagonist will be. And where in the world does Earth 2 Laurel Lance fit into the plans of Season 6? And at this point, do I care? (sigh..I do…I think).
Season 5 of Arrow, in my very humbled opinion, returned the CW’s original superhero show to the top of the ranks (helped, obviously, by a Flash season many found to be average). The sky is the limit for Season 6, so I implore of you, Berlanti & Co., keep your eyes to the stars…and away from Oliver & Felicity.
What did you think of Arrow Season 5? How do you feel about the end of the flashbacks? Do you want to see Olicity return? (I’ll ignore you if you do) Leave me a comment below. We’ll talk.
Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time husband, full time father & full time superhero enthusiast. Follow him @Sweetest_Lou for a bunch of random ass tweeting and such.
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