*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
I will go ahead and say it, Arrow was one of my favorite shows on television. The character of Oliver Queen has always been played so well by Stephen Amell, who continues to portray the character of Green Arrow to the ‘T’. The CW, known for its teenage dramas, continues to support an adult, mature comic book show with so much effort. Unfortunately, despite two strong seasons, the show faltered heavily in the third season. Despite bringing a well known villain into the mix, the show just couldn’t get a stable foot and introduced far too many characters. Ultimately, the season was a large disappointment and ended with a crushing season finale. Season Four promised a hopeful season four, with a better story and more fleshed out villain. What we got? Ehhhh.
The season starts off with Oliver enjoying his life away from fighting crime with his girlfriend, Felicity. Finally, the show creators were smart enough to put the love birds together and not toy with them too much (in the beginning, at least). Things of course fall apart, forcing Oliver to come back to Star City and fight against a new, evil task force, The Ghosts. The Ghosts are been directed by evil mastermind, Damien Darhk (Neal McDonnell). Darhk’s plans take long to divulge into, but eventually, his plans are revealed to crush the population and start over with his own form of Noah’s Ark. It is up to Green Arrow, and his team, to of course stop the villain to not only keep the city safe, but the world.
Season Four of Arrow is an improvement to season three. That being said, it isn’t saying a whole lot. Damien Darhk is far more fleshed out than Ra’s Al Ghul is. Despite his plans never really coming to fruition, or being well thought out, he does actually have a plan (with motives). Not only that, but the character does a great deal of damage that makes our heroes vulnerable. Unfortunately, the stretched out season cannot support Darhk’s plans, and quickly, episodes of filler come in. This is one of the few problems with Arrow, is wasting time on unimportant information such as the flashbacks. Yes, flashbacks continue, and while in prior seasons they made sense, they drag here. One of the subplots in the flashback literally carries for about 8 episodes.
Acting wise, this might be the strongest season. Featuring fantastic performances by the cast all-around. The cast, despite featuring a mini-overhaul still feels crowded. Not enough time was spent on characters, creating their arcs or even finishing ones they start. Often times the show would bounce around, completely missing out on chances to divulge character details that would make sense in that moment. Not a whole lot of the plot felt connected to the character’s actions or emotions.
The Flash and Arrow share similarities in cast ensembles. The show thrives off having all these characters interact off each other. Unfortunately, Arrow has been bloated with too many characters, that have become undeveloped or uninteresting. Furthermore, the show has continued to go away from the main protagonist himself, and build off what has made the character great. Stephen Amell is a great actor (at least on television) but the characterization of Green Arrow has continued to be a bit ‘off’. While the character is seen as a bit of a Robin Hood, he is witty, a socialist and a bit more full of life than the writers continue to portray him.
Arrow, when it is on fire, is on fire. The show can be truly entertaining, featuring plenty of action spectacles. Arrow has continued to bring in many fantastic stunt coordinators to direct episodes, and this has made for some great action pieces. Sometimes they don’t always work, and come off a bit bland. That being said, those that work feature great stunt work, and wide camera shots to really hone in the action.
Tonally, the show needs a change and soon. It has become a bit overbearing on drama. Sure, the show doesn’t need to feature a glee attitude accompanied by many of the Marvel Universe, but still. Many of the plot lines are becoming far too heavy handed, and not entertaining enough to support what is necessarily going on. The show really needs an upbeat change to turn things around.
It is time to face the facts that Arrow isn’t what it used to be. Season one really set the foundation for the character, and season two blew that up with some great moments. The wheels turned a bit on season three, and things continue to be rattled. The show needs a major change, in either tone or set up completely. While it does continue to be entertaining, it is showing severe problems going into its fifth season.
THREE out of FIVE