‘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’: “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” 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’: “A Matter of Trust” Spoiler Review

A matter of trust is a return to form for the series. After last week I was starting to lose faith again but this episode is a step back in the right direction.

A matter of trust is a return to form for the series. After last week I was starting to lose faith again but this episode is a step back in the right direction. Things get started with the Green Arrow back on the rooftops of Star City hunting down a drug dealer who sells “Stardust”— the latest designer drug in circulation on the streets which makes Vertigo look like child’s play. It was a good action scene that got the episode started in the right way to get us interested. I really appreciate when the score kicks in ramping up to the main title card.

The recruits are still in training and continue to prove they still have a long way to go. It’s good to see them getting some experience, even if they are making some pretty bad mistakes. Wild Dog is reckless and shortsighted but after his screw up when he killed (or so he thought he killed) the Stardust supplier, Derek Sampson (Cody Rhodes) — who the District Attorney was working on flipping — he was able to see the error in his ways and was better for it.

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

Echo Kellum was hilarious this episode as Curtis Holt/Mr. Fantastic. We even got the backstory for the inspiration behind his super persona. Echo has really started to come into his own on the show. As far as I’m concerned he needs to put Felicity in the backseat and take over for the comic relief full time. He needs to toughen up quickly though otherwise, he’s going to get himself killed.

Ragman was a big surprise for me this week. I absolutely hated him in the previous episode. I think his costume looks like something he pulled out of the trash and I can’t understand a word he says with his mask on, but as Rory Regan, he was actually pretty good. Definitely one of the most reasonable personalities bouncing around the training facility. Felicity coming clean about her decision to redirect one of the missiles on Genesis day to Havenrock — sacrificing thousands in order to save millions — was a good surprise. It’s not often I find myself happy with Felicity these days but telling Rory the truth showed growth and maturity on her part. Let’s just hope she doesn’t scold Oliver in front of his subordinates again (so inappropriate).

It’s not all positive for the recruits, though. Evelyn Sharp wasn’t bad but she has a long, long way to go. While she had an awesome moment jumping off the wall onto the stairs and taking down a goon, most of her action was pretty sloppy. I just don’t buy her as a crime fighter yet. Her young age doesn’t help very much either.

Continuing with the negative, the flashbacks are still pretty half-baked. If the last we saw from them wasn’t what seemed to be the final test in Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva, they would have been totally worthless in this episode. But I guess anything is better than chopping up a scene and doling beat after beat in flashback after flashback throughout the episode like the past two seasons.

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

Diggles’s storyline was a major improvement from last week. He’s now in jail and working through his demons. Literally. When it was revealed his cellmate Deadshot was a figment of his own imagination I was shocked. I was really excited thinking Floyd Lawton was back after the big wigs at D.C. wrongly forced the producers to exit the character from the show because of the Suicide Squad film. Will Smith was an alright Deadshot but he wasn’t able to bring the depth to the character that makes you care about him while still being a really bad guy like Michael Rowe is able to.

Now for Stardust. Everybody give Cody Rhodes a round of applause. The former WWE superstar obviously cut his acting teeth in the ring over the last ten years but never has he been involved in a Hollywood production. I thought his performance in this episode bested Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Tobias Church in this season so far. The action was great and exceeded my expectations for the rematch I had hoped to see between Amell and Rhodes in the ring. It’s a shame the producers didn’t cast him as something more than a throwaway villain. But death isn’t enough to stop some people in the Arrowverse from returning so I have hope a couple of sliced tendons won’t be enough to keep Derek Sampson down.

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Cody Rhodes as Derek Sampson in Arrow. (The CW)

Overall, I think Gregory Smith did a fantastic job directing this episode. Smith directed season three’s episode titled “Nanda Parbat”, one of my favorite episodes in the series to date (just before things went completely off the rails). Smith fell in love with the show in it’s early days and was definitely the right guy to help steer it back to how great the show used to be. Arrow still has a long way to go but this episode had the style and tone that made the show great but also felt fresh as it balanced Oliver as the Mayor while he also continued to train the new recruits.

Quick Thoughts:

-The new D.A. is totally sketchy and I don’t trust him, however. I do appreciate his sense of urgency.

-Quentin is definitely still drinking.

-Shut up Felicity. Just shut up.

-Hey, wait. We didn’t actually see anyone under the effects of Stardust…

8.0 – GOOD

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‘Arrow’: “The Recruits” Review

In the second episode of season five, Oliver begins to train his recruits for Team Arrow 2.0. The episode is a mixed bag but ultimately a step backwards for the series.

In the second episode of season five, Oliver begins to train the new recruits for Team Arrow 2.0. The episode is a mixed bag but ultimately a step backward for the series.

Things kick off with Rene Ramirez A.K.A. Wild Dog chasing down a clumsy goober of a criminal. Unfortunately, Rene proves himself to be just as clumsy as he trips over a ledge — falling off of a building himself and nearly dying. Lucky for him, Green Arrow was there to catch his fall. Maybe he should give his leg some more time to heal before he’s out traversing rooftops in Star City again.

He does deserve some credit though. He doesn’t give up and that’s exactly what gets him an invitation to train with the Green Arrow.

We get to see Oliver in action as the Mayor again. It’s good to see Oliver isn’t skipping out on important meetings like he did with Queen Consolidated, ultimately costing him the company. He still doesn’t like doing press but who can blame him? What matters here is that the writers aren’t breezing over this aspect of the show. The scene in which Oliver acquires the funding for his free medical event was thin but it still felt complete. Even if it did move at the break neck pace this show is notorious for.

The first training scene proved just how much Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn have to learn. None of them were taking it seriously. Oliver had to explain to them crime fighting isn’t a game and used Laurel as an example. It was a bit ironic as he expressed the same sentiment when Laurel hit the streets as the Black Canary in an attempt to honor the life of her sister, Sara.

Surprisingly, the flashbacks were actually decent this episode. Even though they didn’t cover much, they didn’t feel half baked like they normally do. Maybe it was because the point of them was actually relevant to the training taking place in the present day storyline. In the next step of his initiation into the Bratva, Oliver had to learn to work together with the rest of the Bratva’s tryouts in order to get past some baddies and ring a bell. Oliver used this same exercise with Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn in order to teach them the only way to win is through teamwork.

It was a good lesson to teach but Oliver didn’t go about it the right way. But the bigger issue was Felicity as she undermined his authority in front of the recruits rendering his leadership completely ineffective. Oliver needed her feedback but the way she approached the issue was inappropriate. Maybe Oliver should pull her aside and give her some feedback as well.

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The episode begins to lose itself once it gets to the free medical event. First Oliver enters dressed in a suit and tie and then moments later appears in full Green Arrow gear just as a Ragman crashes the event and goes WWE on the CEO of Amertek.

After Rene gets a piece of the cloth from Ragman’s costume, Felicity goes to the Star City police department where we discover her new boyfriend is actually working as a detective. Okay… no one cares. Moving on.

Ragman wants revenge for the nuclear missile that destroyed his city, killing his family on Genesis Day. While his motives were there, the problem was the exposition got muddled by the show’s breakneck pace along with the awful voice modulation used for Ragman. Oliver has a conversation with him about the choices he’s made. The writers tried to make it something meaningful as Oliver convinces Ragman to honor the legacy of his dead father just like Oliver wants to do for himself. He even extends his hand to Ragman, offering him a place on the new team. But god no, please no. I just couldn’t understand a damn thing he was saying and by the time it was over I didn’t care. For me, Ragman is nothing more than a throwaway villain I want to forget about by tomorrow.

Diggle’s storyline this week is a bit unremarkable. He is off on assignment to secure a nuclear weapon but instead he’s taken captive by his unit after he discovers they are corrupt when they try to steal the weapon for themselves. It’s understandable people would be afraid of metahumans or evil men with mystical powers but ultimately the storyline doesn’t deliver and is extraneous the to rest of the episode’s plot. Maybe next week Diggle will reach out to Oliver for help or the weapon they have will become part of the main plot.

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Overall, the episode was not satisfying. The villain was weak and his motives were unclear until it was too late and now we are supposed to accept him as a new member of Team Arrow? Last week things seemed like they were getting back on track but this episode indicates otherwise. If the writers want to make Arrow a hit show again they need to focus back on what made the show great to begin with. Long gone are the days of Arrow traversing the rooftops of Star City with his brother Diggle taking down drug dealers and crime bosses — and thwarting terrorist attacks. The show has unfortunately become a victim of its own success after it lost focus when it became a breeding ground for other superheroes. At this point I have little hope the Arrow we all came to know and love will ever return.

6.3 – OKAY

‘Arrow’: “The Recruits” Clip

The CW has released a clip showing Oliver put the hurt on the new recruits as they fail their first test.

Team Arrow 2.0  is beginning to assemble but it looks like they have a long way to go. Ahead of tonight’s episode of Arrow, The CW has released a clip showing Oliver put the hurt on the new recruits as they fail their first test.

Star City is too crime ridden for one man to take it all on himself so Oliver has recruited Curtis Holt, Rene Ramirez and Evelyn Sharp to join his crusade.

Arrow has gotten a lot of flack for the last two seasons as it strayed away from its roots and took on a lighter tone but things seem to be getting back to normal as the style of season one was back in the premiere and seems to be so in tonights episode as well.

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