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.
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.
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 Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, 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.