With Arrow inspiring so many other comic book related shows, it effectively lost its audience around season 3 by trying to be more light hearted like The Flash. Forgetting that it was the show’s dark, edginess that fans loved and it just didn’t work. There were some frankly insulting moments from the writing team, still to this day I can’t believe that wheelchair walk out.
From the opening, this is the Arrow I wanted, Green Arrow fighting mano e mano with a villain, in this case “Anarchy” who was introduced last season. I love the shots of Ollie being brutally effective and dominating the exchange of blows, as retribution for how the fights where handled last season.
As the episode continues it’s made clear the show’s writers have been listening, and have tried to plant there feet back in season 1’s shoes. For example the interrogation scene being almost a direct lift of the pilot (I clapped like a seal on cocaine at that point). Other things like the choreography have shifted back to awesome town, one particular exchange with Oliver disarming then killing three men in quick succession stood out for me
I am also really thankful they have at last moved to Russia for the flashbacks, and brought back the CW wig to help differentiate between present and past more easily. It’s great to see them bringing back Anatoly, (an always welcome presence) who is now a little darker in his posing with Oliver. This is obviously to show strength in front of his men and also because he knows more of Ollie’s flashback villain than we do and knows to fear him.
The characters in the season so far have grown well, with Ollie having to balance his double life as the philanthropic city Mayor, to the work he does as Green arrow. We get to see some interesting corporate dealings and we also get to see a more grounded Green Arrow. As well we see he has started valuing others input, something The Hood from season 1 wouldn’t have done.
Quentin Lance was an interesting shift in gears to see Paul Blackthorne go through. He has a lot of material to play with this season after losing his Daughter and struggling with Alcoholism after managing his addiction for 4 seasons. It is heart breaking see, and Blackthorne conveys the pain believably and with his drinking problem the appropriate mixture of arrogance and shame.
The main crux of the start of season 5 is gathering a new team, Wild Dog, Evelyn Sharp, Ragman and of course Curtis Holt.
I am unsure of Wild dog being selected and immediately having his mask removed, part of the original charm to the character was the mystery of who is behind the mask. I assume this was dropped since Prometheus seems to be a mystery character and it would be over kill to have two this season.
Then we have Ragman. His links to the cast are a little awkward and the identity reveal came and dispelled the fear factor a bit prematurely. However from a special effects view point he is used very well and despite being a magical creation feels like he should be a part of the cast.
The remaining recruit, Evelyn Sharp just simply isn’t used enough to judge, but I look forward to seeing what the actress will do, particularly after she took up the reins of Canary last year.
How it looked
I must say it looks great, there has been more variety of shooting locations in these two episodes, than in the entire previous season and I am glad to see it. With Ollie as the Mayor, we should see the city grow and change, not just assume its three rooms and a police station. It feels like the city has really opened up. The special effects look better too; it had a few moments to be especially proud like the use of CGI, to help bring the parachute arrow to life. It also sounded great, the score was fantastic, particularly with the introduction to our new Archer, and it honestly gave me chills.
What stood out
The focus on Police corruption is also a favorite of mine; it makes sense for Green Arrow to be handling the street level issues. He isn’t The last Son of Krypton laying a smack down on a Thanagarian Snare Beast, he is handling issues we should be more aware and proactive about.
It’s much more interesting seeing him handling more relatable issues like poverty, healthcare, racism, drug-addiction, corporate greed, education and standing up for the little guy. With Ollie’s new role as Mayor he can in act things that benefit all of Star City.
Overall a great start to the Season and I look forward to seeing what happens next.