Arrow, we need to talk. Season 5 just isn't working. I used to plan my week around new episodes of Arrow and now watching it feels like a chore. Arrow Season 5 is falling flat and the dismal ratings for its first 5 episodes only prove it.
It would be easy to blame the loss of major character Laurel Lance, or perhaps the break-up of the show's mega-ship Olicity. But the reasons behind Arrow's steep decline and loss of interest are much more complex than any of that. Arrow's Season 5 has all but abandoned the audience that pushed the show to over three million viewers an episode and helped launched two successful spin-offs by regressing into repetitive plot lines and deleting four years of growth among the core characters. In short — Season 5 just feels lazy and Arrow fans aren't buying it.
So what exactly isn't working on Arrow Season 5 and how can it be fixed to keep the show alive? Let's take a look.
Repeating Season One
Wait. Are you telling me that we are on Arrow Season 5 and not Season 1? Could have fooled me. Oliver is back to being a broody and bratty lone ranger — suddenly going on murderous rampages after four years of, you know, not killing. What would Tommy think? Just as in Season 1, the gratuitous action is overshadowing the plot. Stop trying to make Season 1 happen. It's not going to happen.
How To Fix It: To fix Arrow Season 5 the writers need to own the stories they have told on Arrow for the previous four seasons. After Season 1 was received with mixed reviews and low ratings the show moved forward with some rewiring for Season 2, such as Felicity being added as a regular and Oliver evolving into a hero by renouncing his murderous ways.
In Season 3 he learned how to become a team player and be Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow at the same time by letting loved ones in. Important characters like Laurel Lance, Tommy Merlin, and his mother Moira Queen died to bring Oliver and Arrow to the end of Season 4. So how could it possibly serve the show to pretend it all never happened? It can't.
Felicity Smoak's New Boyfriend
Felicity Smoak's new boyfriend on Arrow is huge problem. Where did he come from? Who is he? There is too much mystery behind Detective Billy Malone on Arrow — and it isn't the good kind. Not to mention how his character's presence is having a majorly negative effect on Arrow resident IT girl. Felicity's induction as a regular on Arrow filled the looming void of a strong female presence on the show, thus introducing the audience to an independent smart female they could actually get behind.
And now Arrow is trying to tell us she's the town harlot who merely weeks after ending her engagement to the man she loves sleeps with her new boyfriend to make up for a missed dinner date? That is simply not the Felicity Smoak fans have come to know and love.
How To Fix It: The only plausible reason that the writers would have Felicity in an intimate relationship so suddenly is to give them leave to have Oliver Queen do the same. However it's a disservice to Felicity Smoak and her fans to take away her self-respect just to make Oliver more likable when he reverts to his playboy ways. Let her be single. Let her have a job. Let her be the pillar of team Arrow she's always been. She'll be okay — which is something the writers should know because they wrote her that way.
It's hard enough Arrow is awkwardly ignoring the relationship they built between Oliver and Felicity over the past four seasons, let's not make it harder by destroying Felicity to prop up her male counterpart.
More Arrow Season 5 on Movie Pilot:
- Can Felicity Smoak's New Boyfriend Be Trusted?
- Could Roy Harper be Prometheus?
- Arrow Season 5: Episode 5 'Human Target' Recap
Sidelining The Main Cast For New Characters
One of the most confusing things about Season 5 is how Thea Queen suddenly became so utterly pointless. Her transition into Speedy was one of the better parts of Seasons 3 and 4, and when it finally happened, it felt earned. Cut to Season 5, which has seen her do absolutely nothing of importance or speak more than four words. Not to mention Diggle, who is also suffering from "Felicity Smoak" syndrome by behaving nothing like the character that helped build Team Arrow. At least that's what I gather from the two lines he gets each episode.
How To Fix It: Fixing Diggle and Thea's importance on Arrow starts with honoring their character's journeys the past four years, not ignoring them. They need to be given compelling storylines that make sense based on where they were left in Season 4. There are a lot of new characters in Arrow Season 5 — but not one should take priority over the characters that the audience has become invested in-such as Diggle and Thea. Artemis, Wild Dog, and the others should be integrated into the already developed plots surrounding the main cast. Not the opposite. Quality over quantity, people.
Can Arrow Season 5 Be Saved?
The season is just six episodes in, leaving plenty of time for Arrow to redeem itself and reclaim viewers. It just needs to get back to what works instead of forcing what doesn't. Black Canary fans will soon see Laurel Lance's return, Emily Bett Rickards confirmed Olicity isn't done for good, and the huge DCTV crossover between The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow is just around the bend. If the writers can switch gears and restore focus on the core cast while balancing action and drama as they manage to do in the other DCTV shows, Arrow Season 5 can still be one of its best.
Arrow Season 5, Episode 6 "So It Begins" airs Wednesday, November 9 at 8/7c!
What do you think is and isn't working in Arrow Season 5?