So I watched the Arrow mid-season finale last night, “What We Leave Behind.” And I must say, I was quite impressed and excited. I stopped watching and reviewing Arrow a long time ago. I reviewed “Invasion!” because it was a part of the crossover, and I thought I was done.
They’ve brought Arrow back from the watery TV grave that it was floating in. But how did it get to that grave, and how did they revive it?
It’s called ARROW. Who’s the Star?
That would be Oliver. Oliver Queen. Y’know, the man in the intro that recounts his five years in Hell. Every week. And he also recounts how, when he returned home, he burned with desire to save his city. And why? Because he found out that his father (and eventually his mother) was part and parcel of sponsoring that corruption. He felt compelled, after he’d learned how to survive and fight, to make a difference. His father sacrificed his life right in front of him, to propel Oliver forward. And it created such pain inside of him, that he could no longer be the man he was. And he was determined to neutralize or eliminate everyone and everything that, in his own trademark line, “have failed this city.”
All of that is just awesome beyond belief. It is an incredible setup. And that’s the show we fell in love with.
However somewhere along the way, the writers felt like the show needed to be about Olicity. The relationship between Oliver and Felicity. And then last year they decided it need to be about Felicity. And her awful cougar mother.And the show became Felicity & Friends. Sometimes guest starring Oliver. Oh and yeah we don’t need that whole Black Canary thing. Y’know, the woman that Oliver has been identified with in the comics for decades. Because of this show, you can no longer talk about Oliver Queen without talking about Felicity. And that role is supposed to be filled by Dinah Lance.
Fortunately they have now rectified that. Oliver Queen, the man who started out telling his story, is doing so again. And let me say once and for all, for the record: Felicity Smoak works best as a supporting character. Period. She’s great quippy comic relief [IN SMALL DOSES], and she supports Oliver well with her technical expertise. She’s great with the geek humor, as evidenced in the scenes she had with Cisco during the Invasion. But beyond any of those roles, she’s not an “Overlord.” She’s overkill. Every. single. Time. Even Stephen Amell himself recognized this. He says that the Black Canary character is indispensable to Green Arrow lore. Watch his video HERE.
The point is, she’s a bit character that turned into a supporting character. Fine. But leave her there.
Can this man fight or not?
We met Oliver and he was a force of nature. He’d be honed by training and the primal need to survive. But when he shows up in costume inside of Star(ling) City, he takes no prisoners. In that first season, he left a trail of corpses all along the way. He’s struggled throughout the course of the series to decide if killing was the right way to go. But regardless of that decision, the man knew how to fight.
Last season he lost almost every fight he was in. And he had to ask Felicity for permission to pee or else he couldn’t think for himself. He become a joke in combat.
That original man, an actual man with a backbone, is back. A man that can think on his feet and make his own decisions. Which makes sense for a man that was hardened by horrific experiences. This is the Oliver that the audience wants to see. A man gripped by purpose that has nothing but contempt for the criminals that are poisoning his city. For all of you that say that Green Arrow was too much like Batman, I’ve got news for you: Green Arrow was specifically created to be a lighter version of Batman. That’s why they’re so similar. This is why I keep telling people: read some comics. That’s not an “angry fanboy” mantra. That’s something that will help you as an audience member increase your depth of enjoyment. It will enhance your entertainment value. That’s why I put links to comics in all my posts. They can only make your experience better.
Playing with more Chess Pieces
Regardless of how you feel about Oliver’s supporting crew (I personally am not a fan), they do accomplish one important thing: they give the main protagonist something to play off of. Diggle is a steadfast character, and we have had Felicity overload. It was time for Oliver to show different sides of himself by seeing different sides of himself. His insecurity, his rebellion, his passion, his dedication to a cause. All of those traits are personified in his proteges. Nothing helps a person grow better than his personal reflections in other people. Oliver is always racked with guilt. Guilt always keeps a person stuck on dead center. But mentoring forces you to come out of yourself, and get your head out of your own guilt prison. Then maybe you can realize that we’re all human, and nobody hits the bullseye every time. Not even the Emerald Archer.
A real Villain
What do I mean by “a real villain?” I mean that everybody needs a “Hush.” A villain that knows you better than you know yourself. A villain that can match you blow for blow and keeps swinging. A villain that knows what makes you tick. Prometheus has all of that and more. He’s mysterious, he’s powerful, he’s dangerous, and he has ninja powers. It’s those kinds of things that ratchets up the tension in a story. The last time we felt that was with Malcolm in season 1. Then he became quite the joke when it was revealed that he was Thea’s father. His sole motivation as a character seemed to revolve around Thea, and he stopped being menacing. He just became over dramatic and corny, and seriously who believes him as the Demon’s Head? Yeah no. Oliver is back to facing the kind of foe that pushes him. And that’s what this show, and every good story needs.
It occurs to me, with Flashpoint changes in play, who Prometheus could be. I completely reject that it’s a Claybourne, that is a red herring. Many fans think it’s Tommy. But you know who it also could be….?
As of last night, Laurel is back. But we don’t know which Laurel, that’s the thing. We’ll have to wait to January 24th, 2017 to find out, but that cliffhanger was awesome. So we’ve got four choices:
- This is Black Siren, the evil Laurel from Earth 2
- This is Earth 1 Laurel brought back to life because of Barry’s timeline reset
- The original Earth1 Laurel faked her own death
- This is a Dominator Clone based on what they saw in Oliver’s dream
Holy crap! Each choice is intense. And will be fun to watch if written intelligently. More importantly though, again, this is Oliver’s show. We want to see how Oliver’s going to deal with the betrayal of Evelyn. How will Oliver react when Prometheus’ true identity is revealed? Because many fans think that he’s actually Tommy. Most likely brought back by Barry’s timeline choice again. And when we find out which version of Laurel this is, what will that mean? Will she be Black Canary again? Will they be a couple again? And will Oliver stay true to himself and his mission in the face of all of this? Has he learned anything from all that he’s been through?
My interest in this show has been renewed. I’m hoping that the Oliver Queen we end up with by series end is a good reflection of Oliver from the comics. There’s a reason that Green Arrow has been around so long. If Arrow gives us that man, it will create fans for life.