Everything Wrong with Arrow

Season 4 poster featuring the ArrowBefore I begin and the hate mail comes roaring in, let me say that I love Arrow. I am an Arrow fan! However, as a fan, I feel I can point out its flaws, and as a reviewer, I feel I can write about them. So lest anyone think I’m writing this article purely as a complainer to complain, know that I am someone who wants this show to continue to be great and be on television for a while longer.

If you’ve actually followed Arrow long term, I think we can all agree that the first two seasons were not only awesome but the best for the show. But since then, the rise of The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has arguably given Arrow a fight for its money. Throughout season 3 and what season 4 has offered thus far, I have noticed the show’s mistakes, some of which may cause it to depart earlier than we would like. What follows is what I believe would make the show go from good to great again.

WARNING: If you are not up the date on the show, spoilers do follow.

Black Canary

Anyone who knows anything about the Green Arrow character knows the importance of Black Canary in his universe, and thus we all saw her coming on the show. Now, the initial tease that the show offered regarding Black Canary was that of Sara (Caity Lotz), the sister of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), appearing in season 2 as a killer trained by the League of Assassins after seemingly dying years prior. Now, Caity Lotz mastered the Black Canary in both ability and look. She was a bad-ass. But then, after an awesome season, the writers decided the best move would be to kill the character and have Laurel take Sara’s place in her honor. Now, though Laurel is, by name, the rightful holder of the Black Canary identity in the comics, Katie Cassidy makes a subpar Black Canary. I’m not saying Cassidy is a bad actress—in fact, she makes a wonderful Laurel Lance—but compared to Caity Lotz, she doesn’t measure up. After much outcry by the fans, Sara was brought back to life via the Lazarus Pit and is now jumping through time on Legends of Tomorrow, but Arrow fans are still stuck with a Black Canary who sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison to her teammates.

Too Many Heroes

Team Arrow started with just Oliver Queen and his vendetta to save his city. Then, organically, John Diggle and Felicity Smoak were added and play proper roles on the team. Then, there was the introduction of Roy Harper and his Arsenal alter ego playing sidekick and protégé to Oliver Queen . . . and then everything went nuts. First, as referenced above, Sara died and Laurel took over as Black Canary. Then Roy was written off the show, leaving the sidekick role to be filled by Thea Queen as Speedy. Finally, Diggle took on his own alter ego as Spartan. What results is a cramped team of heroes that leaves some characters not getting the air time they deserve. Say what you want, but Diggle is the one character, other than Oliver, who should stay put. For some reason, he just fits, even though he was completely made up for the show. Though Thea is likable, I don’t know if I like her hero role, and I’ve already mentioned Laurel in detail.

As of now, audiences are awaiting the death of a character. We know it won’t be Oliver or Felicity, and based on the most recent episode of Legends, it won’t be Diggle either. So that leaves Thea and Laurel. If I were to guess, I would say that Thea will be the one to die. I say this because though the show is a loose interpretation of the comics, Oliver does not have sister, and Laurel plays a longtime love interest. If I had my way, I’d kill them both off and have Caity Lotz come back as a full-time Black Canary (two for one!). But we have to be realistic here. Knowing the writers, they will kill Detective Lance, leave both of the heroines, and continue to overpopulate the team.

Felicity and Oliver

I may be alone in this, but I hate the idea of Oliver and Felicity together. I love the Felicity character, but as a love interest, I believe it hurts the story. If I had my way, Oliver would continue to pine for either Sara, Laurel, or some other DC heroine destined to appear on the show. Recently, Felicity has seemingly left Oliver, and I hope it’s for good just so we can get back to a darker tone on the show again.

Villains

The main villains in seasons 3 and 4 have been underwhelming in comparison to their predecessors. I was not overly fond of Malcolm Merlyn surviving after season 1, but once I came to the conclusion that it would lead to an awesome showdown, I grew to be okay with it. I have already praised season 2, and a lot of that comes from the brilliant villain that was Slade Wilson—the standard to beat as things currently stand. If season 2 made a mistake, it was killing off Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau), who could’ve gone on to be a great antagonist on her own.

Then enter Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s is a legitimate villain in his own right, but his inclusion in the Arrowverse led the Arrow to be more of a poor man’s Batman than the legitimate character he is. If they had gone with just Nyssa, the daughter of Ra’s, things may have come off differently.

Now there is Damien Darhk. I have not been a fan of this arc at all. I’m aware this is a world where anything can happen, and a world with super abilities is awesome to watch, but for some reason—at least so far—magic has not been played off very well, and Darhk’s main source of defense has been magic. This has reminded me of Smallville season 4 and how utterly unbelievable I found it. On the other hand, Darhk has now been de-powered, and I fail to see how he’ll be a threat other than the fact he will be looking for revenge.

Promotional image for Arrow season four, featuring the protagonist against a stylized landscape

If you don’t agree with the problems I have pointed out, please comment to defend them. But I think we, as fans, can all agree that the show is not as great as it started out to be and could use some improvements. Perhaps my suggestions aren’t the way to go, but something must be done. As a wise man once told me, “All I’m saying is . . . I’m just saying.”

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