‘Arrow’ Season 5 Could Be Final Season

The superhero crime drama Arrow got off to a rocky start in its first season as the show struggled to find it’s legs until it’s fourteenth episode titled “The Odyssey” when (spoilers) Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) was finally brought into the fold after Oliver sought her help at Queen Consolidated after he was shot by his own Mother.

Felicity Smoak was only supposed to appear in one or two episodes originally, but the quirky tech genius struck a chord with the producers and fans alike. Considering the next few episodes were written, it wouldn’t be until the back half of the season when she would become part of what is now Team Arrow.

Originally Oliver embarked on his crusade against the criminal underworld of Star City on his own but quickly realized he wasn’t capable of cleansing the crime-ridden city on his own. After saving the life of his ex-military limo driver, John Diggle (David Ramsey), who was shot with a poison-laced bullet, Oliver had no choice but to reveal himself as the Star City vigilante. Together with Felicity and Diggle, Arrow found its core and elevated itself past what the producers had initially envisioned.

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Another major component of the show are the mysterious flashbacks chronicling a shipwrecked Oliver as he was marooned off the coast of China on the island of Lian Yu for five years prior to hitting the streets of Star(ling) City has a crime fighting hero. During his first year on Lian Yu, Oliver discovered an ARGUS backed military operation to shoot down a commercial airliner with the intention of assassinating a member of the Chinese Triad. Together with his new friend Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), a former member of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service who was betrayed by his partner Billy Wintergreen after joining ARGUS, the two managed to foil ARGUS’ plot and forged a friendship.

Arrow hit its peak in the second season when the newly formed Team Arrow had to take on a vengeful Slade Wilson in the present day as we saw the friendship between Oliver and Slade fall apart in the past after Oliver betrayed Slade to save the life of his friend Sara Lance, opting to sacrifice the life of Slade’s unrequited love Shado (Celina Jade). Since the end of the second season storyline, the show has struggled to launch a plot as compelling as that mostly due to the focus of the show shifting to serve as a breeding ground for other superhero shows such as The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.

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In an attempt to keep up with the superpowered heroics of the other shows, Arrow dove head first into mysticism in the fourth season and essentially abandoned the dark and mysterious criminal element from the show that made it good in the first place. Fans lashed back hard against what was easily the worst season yet. So far, the fifth season has attempted to get back to its roots, but once again struggles to find it’s footing with a mostly new cast along with the underwhelming big bad Prometheus, who’s identity we still aren’t sure of, preventing us from being able to invest in the storyline.

While promoting the upcoming 4-night mega-crossover event between ArrowThe FlashSupergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, Stephen Amell spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the future or possible conclusion of the series based on the turnout of the fifth season:

I do really believe that this season is sort of a throw-down-the-gauntlet year for us, where we’re either going to do what we do and do it well or it’s the last year. If we find that magic formula — which is not magic, it’s just hard work and playing to your strengths — then the show could go on for a really long time.

While I respect the hard work that producing a television series demands, it, unfortunately, doesn’t matter if the final product is as horrible as the last two seasons. The show’s ratings are too high to warrant cancellation, so if it does happen it will be the writers choice to wrap up the series rather continue down what has been an atrocious path. I yearn for the days of the heavily stylized early seasons featuring the badass Arrow as he traversed rooftops and ran down the sides of buildings searching for his former friend turned foe Slade Wilson.

So far I don’t have much hope for the series left after what has so far been a rollercoaster of a season turning in both good and bad episodes one week after the other.The show is still far from being back on track but the end wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of Green Arrow, though, as Arrow has spawned plenty of spin-offs for him to appear on.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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‘Arrow’: “So it Begins” Spoiler Review

Normally, the formulaic CW series Arrow withholds the season’s big bad of the year until the ninth episode but in an attempt to shake things up, season five of Arrow introduced this year’s big bad, Prometheus, in the closing of the premiere, however. The writers chose to sideline his character, using Tobias Church to stall things for a few episodes before the main arc began. “So it Begins” serves to begin that arc but ultimately fails to introduce a narrative that compels interest. It’s as if the writers expect the audience to care without actually giving a reason to do so.

The episode opens with Green Arrow and Diggle investigating a location recycled from a previous season. Remember the episode last year that began with Team Arrow beating down some of Damien Darhk’s goons? You know, when Green Arrow fired the cable Arrow and Black Canary used her Nightstick to zip line down to the ground? Yeah, same place. Anyways Green Arrow and Diggle find a ringing phone inside the building and triggering an explosion which ignites the words “So it Begins” on the ground.

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Prometheus proceeds to commit a series of murders in Star City. We only get to see one of them and I’m glad because the murder itself felt as if it was ripped straight out of an episode of Supernatural and placed into Arrow. It was dull and generic, but ultimately lead to one of this episodes only good moments when Felicity and Curtis used a “victimology algorithm” to discover the message buried in the names of the Prometheus’ recent victims. The names manage to spell out the names of victims from the list Oliver used in season one as he began his crusade against the criminal element in Star(ling) City. Rory has a great moment when he points out the true serial killer is actually Oliver himself.

Oliver abandoned the list long ago after he put his murderous ways behind him in an attempt to be something better at the beginning of season two. Oliver and Diggle have a great heart to heart that captures the brotherhood that made the show so excellent, to begin with. Diggle points out to Oliver just how far he’s come since he used the list but it seems Oliver is going to have to face the consequences of his actions before he can move forward.

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Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in Arrow. (The CW)

While Olicity is over, it seems to be resurrecting itself in the form of Oliver and Felicity going back and forth at each other over each of their new romantic interests. Clearly, the two aren’t done with each other and it is likely a matter of time before they end up back together. But whether they do or not, it’s obvious they both still have feelings for each other. While Oliver is using Susan Williams as a tool to move forward, Billy is just a distraction for Felicity, keeping her from facing the truth.

The flashbacks were better this episode and finally amounted to something as we were introduced to Dolph Lundgren as Konstantin Kovar, the big bad of this year’s flashback storyline. The show has lacked with its villains in both past and present-day storylines for the last two years so it’s great to see such a big actor in the mix. Stephen Amell has proven he can deliver an exceptional performance but only when an equally as talented actor is there to play opposite him so hopefully Lundgren, together with the element will help to elevate the flashback storyline to something worthwhile.

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Dolph Lundgren as Konstantin Kovar in Arrow. (The CW)

Last week we got to see some fantastic scenes between Diggle and Wild Dog. It seemed as if Diggle finally got through to Wild Dog but it doesn’t seem to have stuck. Wild Dog was just as immature and whiny as the rest of the new recruits this week. It’s tough to buy the group as formidable superheroes when they act like bratty children. Sure, it sucks to not be clued in on everything going on. But they need to know their role and understand they aren’t ready for everything Star City is going to throw at them.

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Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Echo Kellum as Mr.Terrific, Stephen Amell as Green Arrow, David Ramsey as Spartan, Madison McLaughlin as Artemis, and Joe Dinicol as Ragman in Arrow. (The CW)

The end of the episode seemed to give us a big reveal after Felicity managed to trace the allow in one of Prometheus’ ninja stars back to the used arrows Oliver has left at crime scenes for the past four years. The town drunk, Quentin Lance wakes up from his wasted slumber to discover a cut in his arm in the shape of Prometheus’ ninja stars, yet the star doesn’t have a single drop of blood on it. Are we supposed to now think Quentin is Prometheus? If so, just what exactly is in that whiskey? It just doesn’t seem plausible and feels like a major misdirect to me but let’s run through the list of possible evidence. Considering the ninja stars are made from Oliver’s arrows left at crime scenes, the killer would need access to the evidence lockup at SCPD, check. Does Quentin have the proper motivation to want Oliver dead? Absolutely. Along with the plenty of hints dropped in this episode pointing to Quentin’s absence from work that sync up with Prometheus’ crimes, plus showing up to work late after looking like he had a long night – after the same night we know Prometheus was on the streets it would suggest that he is indeed Prometheus. But it all seems too obvious which has me thinking this is one giant red herring. Also, for Quentin to be Prometheus, he would have had to underwent some serious training with the League of Assassins. Even with Laurels two years she spent training and fighting crime, she was never as skilled as Prometheus. Green Arrow also shot Prometheus in the back on the train and Quentin seemed to be fine after he woke up from laying on his back.

Overall, I thought this was a horrible episode that failed to spark interest while trying to set up the main arc of the season. Finally, Prometheus, as well as Konstantin Kovar have come into the picture but it all feels half-baked in order to keep dragging things out until we get to episode nine when the series is comfortable delving full into the main arc. This episode also featured an action scene that was total nonsense when panic erupted at a market in Star City. If I wasn’t committed to writing reviews for this season I would probably be done with the show at this point.

5.0 – FAIL

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‘Arrow’: “So It Begins” Extended Preview

Next week on Arrow, Prometheus sends a message to Team Arrow as he committs a series of murders in Star City. Will Prometheus’ motivations finally be revealed?

Next week on Arrow, Prometheus sends a message to Team Arrow as he committs a series of murders in Star City. Will Prometheus’ motivations finally be revealed?

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

SINS OF THE FATHER — When Prometheus ups his killing spree, Oliver (Stephen Amell) searches for connections between the victims. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) discover the victims have a mysterious link to Oliver’s past and this new secret could upend his new team. Meanwhile, Thea (Willa Holland) has a heart-to-heart with Lance (Paul Blackthorne), and Felicity considers telling Malone (guest star Tyler Ritter) the truth about her work.

‘Arrow’: “Human Target” Spoiler Review

The fifth episode of season five titled “Human Target” gets off to a clunky start but quickly finds its footing, resulting in the strongest episode of the season thus far. I found myself giggling at the goofball criminals hunted by Team Arrow 2.0 in the opening scene. It’s just hard to take these extras seriously with their corny costume design and oversized ball caps.

Once past the intro things quickly got moving in the right direction as Diggle met the new recruits for the first time. The producers teased Diggle not taking a liking to the new team but as we saw he was quite welcoming although reasonably weary for their safety. Oliver’s newfound optimistic attitude was refreshing and seemed to be for the benefit of the new team as much as it was for himself. The end of his relationship with Felicity cut him deeply but it’s good to see he is finally moving forward. More on that later.

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Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt, Joe Dinicol as Rory Regan, and Madison Mclaughlin as Evelyn Sharp in Arrow. (The CW)

Tobias Church finally revealed his big plan and considering that, his demise at the end of the episode should have come as no surprise. His plan to consolidate all of the drug trafficking through the port was a smart one being that it would cement his hold on the drug trade in Star City but he was foolish to think he was going to get away with it with the Green Arrow in town. Church was over confident as all he brought to the fight against the emerald archer was his brawling skills and a pair of brass knuckles. I’m actually surprised he lasted this long. At this point his character’s inclusion feels more like a buffer to hold back from Prometheus becoming a major player in the series. Now with him out of the picture, Prometheus will finally make his presence known. Killing Tobias Church and the entire police convoy helped us to see just how much of a formidable villain he will be but the writers have still yet given us a reason to be interested in his character. The mystery of who he is just isn’t enough to get invested in the storyline.

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Chadwick Boseman as Tobias Church in Arrow. (The CW)

Wild Dog and Diggle absolutely stole the show tonight. David Ramsey turned in his best performance in the series to date as John Diggle and the chemistry he had with Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog was fantastic. Oliver has struggled to break through to Rene and tonight showed us he just isn’t the guy to train him. Rene is a (dishonorably discharged) soldier and it’s going to take another soldier to show him the way of vigilantism.

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Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog in Arrow. (The CW)

Wil Traval as Christopher Chance A.K.A. Human Target was great. The twist when Oliver was pronounced dead at the press conference after being shot on the stairs of City Hall left my jaw on the floor. While I’m familiar with Human Target becoming his clients to protect them, I definitely didn’t expect a Mission: Impossible type mask to come into the picture. It was a great reveal after a fantastic twist although once Chance removed the mask it looked nothing Oliver’s face. It left me cracking up because it didn’t even have any stubble on it. While I enjoyed Chance’s character, his inclusion in the flashback storyline in Russia felt a bit shoehorned in at the end. It was unnecessary, however. It will provide a great payoff when Susan Williams reveals the truth about Oliver’s time spent on Lian Yu, or rather lack thereof. But none of it will make sense it the writers don’t fully explain just how someone traced Chance back to Russia resulting in the discovery of the photo that was taken of Oliver at the bar.

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Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Wil Traval as Christopher Chance in Arrow. (The CW)

Now it’s time for Olicity so let’s just dig right into it. I was a big supporter of the relationship between Oliver and Felicity. Their relationship felt organic as it was born out of the natural chemistry between Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards. Their love for each other was involuntary and glaringly obvious. Maybe that’s why I was so baffled when Felicity took a left turn and turned into the attitude monster she is today. How Oliver could still have feelings for her is beyond me but I think tonight showed us that Felicity also still has feelings for Oliver. Billy is just a distraction to keep her from facing the truth. When she went to see Oliver at the end at City Hall, it was pretty obvious she was going to tell him she still had feelings for him. But Oliver hit her with the whole deserving to be happy and moving forward talk so she naturally she put her guard back up and agreed. This scene feels like a seed planted to bring the two back together by the end of the season. I say if you are going to do it, then just do it. But having the two at conflict for the sake of conflict can’t happen again. Relationship drama isn’t interesting. Take a note from The Flash and have them face these crime fighting experiences together and growing as a couple because of it just like Barry and Iris are now.

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Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak in Arrow. (The CW)

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. The showdown between Tobias Church and the criminal organizations of Star City against Team Arrow 2.0 made for an awesome climax. I really appreciated the way the final fight between Green Arrow and Tobias Church was shot wide so we could take in every kick and punch thrown in the fight. James Bamford crushed it with the stunt coordination. My only issue with the scene – which is a real nitpick – is that the stuntman for Chadwick Boseman was totally obvious but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the battle.

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Stephen Amell as Green Arrow in Arrow. (The CW)

“Human Target” helped to close the chapter of Tobias Church and gave us Wild Dog’s first turning point as he put his guilt behind him and stepped up to the plate thanks to Diggle’s fantastic mentorship. Team Arrow 2.0 is starting to shape up and I’m excited to see their development moving forward. Prometheus is starting to make a name for himself but we need to know who he is to get invested in him. I hope this isn’t a rehash of the “Who is Zoom?” mystery from the second season of The Flash because not knowing someone’s true identity doesn’t allow for a compelling or transformative experience. Imagine if we didn’t know Deathstroke was Slade Wilson until the finale of Season two?

7.9 – GOOD

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‘Arrow’: “Penance” Spoiler Review

So far, season five of Arrow has been a bit of a hit or miss as it struggles to find its way with a mostly new cast. Considering last week’s fantastic entry to the series, it should come as no surprise that this episode was, unfortunately, mediocre, full of implausibility and conflict that didn’t add up to anything.

So far, season five of Arrow has been a bit of a hit or miss as it struggles to find its way with a mostly new cast. Considering last week’s fantastic entry to the series, it should come as no surprise that this episode was, unfortunately, mediocre, full of implausibility and conflict that didn’t add up to anything.

The episode opens with Team Arrow 2.0 in the midst of a training exercise as they attempt to stop petty criminal sporting a cheesy gold chain from committing a burglary. The scene does nothing but shows us that the trainees have not made any progress in their training from last week. At this point, the only members with a fighting chance are Wild Dog and Ragman. Evelyn and Curtis are going to get themselves killed if they don’t start improving fast. They are both sloppy and it’s impossible to buy them as formidable crime-fighting vigilantes.

While I’m not a big fan of Ragman’s look, Joe Dinicol’s performance at Rory is fantastic. Unfortunately, most of his scenes were bogged down by Emily Bett Rickard’s insipid performance. She just can’t play the emotion needed to bring the scene to life. Her acting feels contrived as she lacks conviction in almost all of her scenes. Even Rickard’s doesn’t seem to be on the side of her character when she’s arguing with Oliver for the sake of conflict. She really has no business telling Oliver or Lyla what decision to make and her attitude makes it extremely irritating. I used to be a huge fan of her character in the first and second season. I was even a fan of Olicity. But at this point, scenes with Felicity are tiresome and make me yearn for her exit from the show.

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Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak in Arrow. (The CW)

The flashbacks continue to slug along in Russia as we get four quick scenes dispersed sparingly throughout the episode. I would say that they were pointless and really amounted to nothing if it wasn’t for the fact that it was Oliver’s was finally accepted into the Bratva, something I thought actually happened when he passed the test last week. But no, we had to go through another few quick scenes to get us there. The problem with the flashbacks are consistent with the last two seasons. They feel generic and uninspired. You can tell it’s a chore for the producers to fit the flashback storyline into the script and the budget. They are just trying to skirt by with a serviceable storyline until it catches up to the first season and they are no more.

Tobias Church had the only clever storyline of the episode as he staged a burglary to smuggle in an explosive device into the evidence lock-up at the police station. Unfortunately, it all collapsed on itself as his motives were never clearly explained. I have no idea what he was trying to achieve. And did anyone see that goon in the sunglasses? Seriously, the costume design for criminals has always been whack on Arrow but this episode took it to all new heights. At least the ones who were wearing hats had hats that actually fit and weren’t cocked to the side like goofballs in previous seasons.

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Chadwick Boseman as Tobias Church in Arrow. (The CW)

Adrian Chase’s viewpoint that vigilantes are a superficial solution and that if it takes them to solve the city’s problems the criminal justice department isn’t doing their jobs well is accurate, however. His turning point felt organic after he was rescued by the rookie superheroes of Star City, making him realize the ones who wear a mask can be an effective force for good in a crime-ridden and corrupt city such as theirs. While I still can’t buy him as a future crime fighter, the motivations are most certainly falling into place.

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Joe Dinicol as Ragman, Echo Kellum as Mr. Terrific, Madison Mclaughlin as Artemis, and Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog in Arrow. (The CW)

The prison break was fun but a bit underwhelming. There just wasn’t enough action and Oliver sneaking in through the laundry was totally silly. The immature and unprofessional prison guard didn’t help either. But it did bring us a fantastic scene between Oliver and Diggle that reminded me of the brotherhood that the two share that made this show so excellent in the first place. Diggle still has a lot of healing to do after murdering his brother, but it seems Oliver – as his new brother – got through to him, making him realize he can still find redemption resuming his crusade as Spartan. Unfortunately, the silliness reached an all-time high when Lyla flew a military cargo plane over the prison and extracted the two from the prison yard much like skyhook program used by Batman in The Dark Knight when Batman extracted Lao from China. Considering the show’s budget, I think they reached a little too far with that one.

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David Ramsey as John Diggle and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Arrow. (The CW)

Ultimately, this episode got the job done breaking Diggle out of prison and getting him one step closer to returning to Team Arrow. His presence in the Arrow cave is sorely needed especially given all the new mentees Oliver has taken on in his struggle to keep Star City safe. Episodes like this only highlight why 23 episodes per season are far too many. As we see with shorter seasons, they allow for a tighter more compelling and engaging narrative that doesn’t feel like it wasted our time, which is exactly how this episode made me feel.

6.5 – WASTE OF TIME

‘Arrow’: “Penance” Extended Preview

The next episode of Arrow will see how Oliver reacts to learning Diggle is now in prison after he was framed by his corrupt commanding officer for the murder of several officers from his unit when he discovered the CO was going to secure the triggers from Darmien Darhk’s nukes for himself in order to sell to the highest bidder.

The next episode of Arrow will see how Oliver reacts to learning Diggle is now in prison after he was framed by his corrupt commanding officer for the murder of several officers from his unit when he discovered the CO was going to secure the triggers from Darmien Darhk’s nukes for himself in order to sell to the highest bidder.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

OLIVER STEPS IN FOR DIGGLE — Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Lyla (guest star Audrey Marie Anderson) team up on a secret mission for Diggle (David Ramsey). Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) finds out and disapproves of the plan and opts to stay behind. When Tobias Church (guest star Chad L. Coleman) launches a deadly assault against the city, Felicity must decide if she wants to send the recruits out sans the Green Arrow. Dermott Downs directed the episode written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Oscar Balderrama (#504). Original airdate 10/26/2016.

‘Arrow’: Marc Guggenheim Talks Diggle’s Redemption

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Marc Guggenheim discussed how this storyline will ultimately lead to Diggle’s return to Team Arrow.

At the end of the fourth season of Arrow, John Diggle (David Ramsey) left Team Arrow and reenlisted in the military in order to seek redemption for the murder of his brother (Eugene Byrd).

Unfortunately, things aren’t quite working out for Diggle. The end of the second episode saw Diggle framed for the murder of several comrades by his commanding officer after his unit was sent to extract the triggers from the nuclear weapons launched by Damien Darhk (Neal Mcdonough). The events of Genesis day have left some in fear of metahumans and those who can harness mystical powers. Rather than neutralizing the triggers, the corrupt CO opted to steal the triggers for himself to offer to the highest bidder — leaving Diggle to face a court marshall.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Marc Guggenheim discussed how this storyline will ultimately lead to Diggle’s return to Team Arrow.

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to say that there is going to come a point where we bring Diggle back into the fold — that’s just inevitable. And this is sort of, believe it or not, the first move in that direction. 

As an Arrow fan, this comes as no great surprise. We all know it’s only a matter of time before Diggle returns to Star City and is back out on the streets supporting Oliver in his crusade, especially after it was already revealed his helmet was going to receive an upgrade this season. Now that his faith in the military has been shaken, it will be interesting to see how that impacts Diggle’s mentality and the effect it will have on him as he returns to the crime-ridden Star City only to learn that Oliver has begun killing again.

To hear what else Marc had to say including the long-term plan for how this storyline will play out over the course of the season check out the interview below.

Arrow airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

SOURCE: EW