It's that time of the year yet again where I take a look at the most mixed THING I ever review: Arrow. This time we'll be focusing on Season 3 and if you're not familiar with these particular reviews, basically I take an in depth look at the entire season with spoilers and I gives the Pros and Cons. So once again, this is spoiler filled so if you have not seen Season 3 of CW's Arrow, I suggest you click away.
Before I begin, I guess I should give a quick recap of my thoughts on the other two seasons.
Season 1: Decent starter, a little too much soap opera stuff, the side characters were pretty rough to get through, the action was cool, decent villain, and overall just an Okay season. However the first two episodes were HORRIBLE.
Season 2: It was definitely an improvement, there were more likable characters, a great villain, cool stories, amazing action, and a few changes that had me smiling. However some characters still had horrid writing and direction, some deviation from the source material bothered me, and the ending made me facepalm. Overall, a solid 7/10.
And now we come to Season 3, the season that took me months to finish. Why? Because this was by far the weakest season of them all. Were there things that I enjoyed? Yes but this time, the cons outweigh the pros big time. In fact if Season 4 wasn't looking so awesome, it would have been my final season. Like always let's start with the Pros.
Arrow AKA Oliver Queen
Just like in my previous reviews, Stephen Amell does a great job as this character in terms of both physically building himself for the role and acting. I enjoyed his growing joking side, his action, and his overall arc. I did have a few gripes but I will get into that later.
This character is slowly turning into my favorite character on the show: loyal, smart, likable, and a kick-ass fighter. First off, it was great to see him and Lyla finally tie the knot. It was a genuinely nice scene with some good comedy thrown in. My favorite episode with him has to be the one where he and Lyla have to lead the Suicide Squad once again with Deadshot and newbie villain: Cupid. While that episode featured something that I hate, it was still a great one. I love his story with his wife and daughter, making him the ONLY superhero who isn't a broken mess. I cannot wait to see him get a suit in Season 4 as the hero Guardian (from the comic-con picture, it looks like Guardian) and new leader of the team.
Ray Palmer AKA The A.T.O.M.
From the moment this character was introduced, the Season became SOOOO much better. He's funny, he's awkward, he's a genius, he can be a major badass, and he's very likable. I know people are whining and moping about his suit not being the one from the comics. Personally, I think he looks fine. I don't think he looks like a clone of Iron Man, he looks like a man in a cool exo-suit. Also just want to point out that if they tried giving him THIS suit:
It would be very very stupid. Like Ravager from Season 2 kind of stupid. I liked him every time he came on, I liked his relationship with Felicity, my favorite episode with him is the one where Team Arrow teams up with him to take down a Metahuman in Starling City. Brandon Routh does a great job with the character and I can't wait to see him become a lead character in Legends of Tomorrow.
Felicity Smoak...For The Most Part
Ah the fan favorite and always lovable tech nerd played by Emily Bett Rickards. Ever since she became a major character, I've been happy with her. She's quirky, silly, lovable, loyal, and she may be an Oracle clone but I still love her. Although the writers made a few errors with her this season which I will get into later.
Maseo, Tatsu, and Akio
At first, I wasn't liking the flashbacks at all. Found them to be kinda pointless padding but as the season went on I slowly started to love these three characters. I felt sorry for all of them, especially Tatsu. However they were also pretty cool during action scenes, they were really good actors, and their story is quite sad. However when Tatsu becomes the hero Katana, I won't deny that I was grinning like the Joker...except I wasn't scary.
Roy Harper AKA Arsenal
Roy Harper is not only one of my favorite characters in the show but all of DC Comics so it was great seeing his origin in Season 2 and now a full on hero in Season 3. They got his attitude, loyalty, and humor down to a T and I think that Colton Haynes is the perfect choice for the character......but then the writers just had to SCREW IT UP! Again I'll get to it later.
The Death of Sara
I don't have to say anymore. She's dead. Thank god. CEEEEELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!
Good feelings are gone...
Just like Seasons 1 and 2, the action scenes have always been well shot and choreographed. Funny how a show manages to be better than three multi million dollar blockbuster movies. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, NOLAN! From Arrow and Arsenal taking out thugs to Oliver fighting Ra's Al Ghul on top of a mountain, I always look forward to their great action scenes.
Malcolm Merlyn AKA Dark Archer
John Barrowman has always been one of those actors that I find underrated and like I said, I thought he was a great villain in Season 1. Here it was very interesting to see him as an anti-hero. Most of the season he is still a villain but in the later half he becomes said anti-hero and not only was he really engaging but there are times where I started to see pieces of a good man inside him. However just like Roy, they messed it up in the end.
The Minor Villains
Cupid, Deathbolt, and Komodo. All these villains who I thought were going to be stupid (because of Ravager from Season 2) actually ended up being pretty decent. Most surprising villain to me was Carrie Cutter AKA Cupid who I was certain was going to be the most annoying villain ever was actually really cool. Funny how the small villains were more engaging than the main villain.
The Crossover Episode
Just like with the Flash's episode, the crossover episode is AWESOME! In the Flash, they fought each other (and that had me cheering) which was amazing but here they are teaming up to take down Captain Boomerang. HELL YES! The banter, the fighting, the entire episode was just awesome and was probably my favorite episode this season.
The Final Two Episodes
For the most part, most of the good episodes were the more episodic ones whereas the episodes about the main story were boring and angering. However that changed the final episodes of the season...which I won't deny were pretty amazing. Still had flaws with them but I still thought they were great. Great timing, they kept me on the edge, cool action scenes, and some characters went through cool changes...whereas some didn't. Like I said earlier, Katana was awesome to see, having Oliver back on the good side made me happy, and Felicity in the A.T.O.M. armor was AWESOME! Although just like last season, the ending made me facepalm.
That's about all I could find in terms of Pros so....oh boy here comes the rough part.
Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins
You know who I'm tried of DC using constantly now? Ra's Al Ghul. Yeah he's a great villain but by god, give him like a ten year break please! Yeah as if Arrow wasn't TOO obvious of a Batman wannabe for you, they shoved Ra's Al Ghul in like Venom from the Spider-Man 3. I would have been fine with Ra's being in the show if they did something new with him but no, they rehashed the exact same plot as done in Batman books: The Lazarus Pit has stopped working on Ra's so he asks the most skilled warrior to take his place as leader of the League of Assassins. Replace Batman with Arrow and you got the exact same story and it SUUUUCKED.
First off, you expect me to believe that Arrow is even close to the same level of skill as Batman...no. Just no. Second, stop trying to be Batman writers. Green Arrow is his own character and you are constantly screwing it up by doing these Batman stories. Third, you wasted a chance to introduce Batman into this mythos. I don't know what your problem with Batman is, you seem to like him since you turned Arrow into his clone. But you have the League of Assassins, the people who Batman keeps constant tabs on because of his experience with them. And you mean to tell me that when they have frequent visits to Starling City and they plan to destroy it with a bio-weapon, there is not ONE appearance of Batman? Hell I would have accepted if Ra's said, "I once offered this position to another man...but he defied me." Easy enough. And the Flash has proven that Batman DOES exist in this universe so I have to ask: WHERE IS HE?!?
Back to Ra's Al Ghul, I think the actor really did try his best but the writing turned Ra's into one of the most boring and uninteresting villains EVER! Hell Cupid was a more interesting villain than him. All he did was give these really monotone speeches and say the same five things over and over and over to the point where I could tell the writers didn't even try. Oh and they had the balls...to kill off Ra's Al Ghul.
So...they killed one of DC's biggest villains and REPLACED him with Malcolm Merlyn. SO MUCH STUPID! So now not only are you saying that Arrow is as skilled as Batman but you say that its okay for him to break the no killing rule which he established so clearly in Season 2. Not only that but Batman will not be fighting Ra's Al Ghul ever again. AAAAAARGH! I'll give credit to Season 2, they kept Deathstroke alive and put him in prison. Why not put Ra's in that same prison? Oh yeah because this season was written by idiots.
Roy Harper Quitting
So...you took this character who you built up so well...and you got RID of him? So get a load of this crap: To keep Oliver from going to prison, Roy fakes that he is the Arrow so he is sent to prison where he fakes his death. After getting out, Roy packs up and leaves Starling City thus leaving Arsenal behind him. Excuse me I need to go and bleach my brain...
Every single thing I just talked about is wrong. The reason why I consider Arsenal to be such a fantastic character in the comics is that he grows up to become not just his own hero but he becomes a single father who I really got invested in. I would have loved to have seen that here! Have Thea dying after giving birth to a daughter named Lian Harper and so Roy has to deal with being a hero and raise a daughter at the same time. But no, just get rid of him all together and replace him with Thea. Oh yeah...
Thea Queen AKA...ugh...Speedy
That's right, that spoiled little brat is now a superhero. Next you'll be telling me that Laurel is the Black Canary...
You know writers, I always thought that Oliver nicknaming Thea as Speedy was to be a little nod to the comic readers as "We understand that its a very very very very very very VERY stupid name but we'll feature it just to tribute the original Roy Harper and we'll just call ours Arsenal." Which was fine. But then this happened. Remember when I said I had a few gripes with the finale? This was one of them. First off, she looks hilarious. By god, she's a skeleton with skin and I'm supposed to buy this five foot nothing girl as a superhero? At least Gal Gadot is tall for a woman so she fits the Wonder Woman stature and she built herself up. Here? Did she even try to build herself up? It was explained that she spent months training with Malcolm Merlyn but she looks no different than Season 2.
Okay even without the whole "Speedy" thing, I have never and still don't like Thea Queen. She's whiny, annoying, and unlikable. Let's not forget she has the same problem as Ra's Al Ghul, she has the same five to ten lines of dialogue which she repeats throughout the season: "I don't want to be hurt." "Stop lying to me." "I am leaving." "I blame you for this." "I hate you." "Don't ever speak to me again." And sometimes I even predicted what she was going to say and it was pretty laughable.
I will give credit for something at one point. One of my least favorite cliches is ANY movie is when a character figures out a secret about the main character and then they overreact and decide to hate said main character. And that was done...seven million times with Thea in the past two seasons. Well in Season 3, Oliver FINALLY tells Thea about him being the Arrow and what does she do? She accepts it and gives him a thug. THANK YOU WRITERS! You didn't go cliche about it. But they use the cliche later in the season...a lot but I still give credit where credit is due. Overall, I don't like Thea and I don't think I ever will.
Laurel Lance AKA The NOT Black Canary
.....No. No. Just no. You made me happy by killing off the character that was the bane of this show's existence. Don't make her sister the Black Canary, if you can call it that. I am so freaking confused as to what is going on in these people's heads when they write this crap.
"Let's see we have a skilled detective named Dinah Lance born with supersonic screams who lost her husband and her job, now she's trying to use her skills to help people.....Pfft. Throw that away, let's make her a student of Ra's Al Ghul who wears a stupid wig and uses little device to emit the Canary Cry AND THEN kill her off and make her alcoholic district attorney sister the Black Canary. It's only one of the greatest female heroes in the comics, no one will mind...right?" And before you all start jumping into the comments about Cisco building Laurel that collar. Yeah yeah, she has a color and when she hollers, she emits the canary cry. Good for you writers, you tried to backpedal but your damage is already done.
I know this is bias since I am a comic book fanatic but this is one of the few times where I have to say: this character is absolutely NOTHING like the source material so I cannot enjoy it. Even then, she's still horribly written. So you expect me to believe that this alcoholic lawyer becomes skilled enough to become a vigilante with just a few weeks of training with a boxer? HAHAHAHAHA! That's just laughably dumb. Plus just like Sara, the wig is so bad looking. I mean, you couldn't have the actress dye her hair bright blonde? Horrible direction or horrible writing, I've always hated this character.
Nyssa Raatko or Al Ghul
I won't deny that she started getting better in the later half of the season when she becomes friends with Laurel and teams up with Oliver. But I still think the writing of this character is pretty bad. And I don't know if its the actress or the direction but she is just...awkward most of the time. There is a scene where Laurel and Nyssa are talking in front of Sara's grave and I'm not joking when I say that I wanted to laugh and it was supposed to be a sad scene.
Felicity and Oliver's Annoying Moments
Like I said, I love these two but for this season, the writers decided to make them very annoying in a lot of spots. Let's start with Felicity since she had more annoying moments. Okay I get that she loves Oliver and all that but her naivety and her constant bickering got on my nerves. I don't think an episode went by where she didn't disagree with the team's decisions and when something bad happened, she just shut down and acted like everything was going to be okay. Oliver dies? "He's alive I know it." Oliver is indoctrinated into the League? "He's okay I know it." Oh and get used to this piece of dialogue, "You are suggesting that we trust him. You are not actually suggesting we do this." Like I said, they made her the rebel of the team this season. Oh and every single time Merlyn appeared, it was the same dialogue of her insulting him again and again.
And that's probably my biggest flaw with this season: the dialogue. The writers constantly repeat the same dialogue or just put out the most predictable of dialogue and it comes off as just lazy.
Oh and just when I thought the show was done with love triangles, Felicity has a relationship with both Ray and Oliver. Oh JOY! Luckily its not as bad as Seasons 1 and 2 but it's still annoying.
Next there is Oliver, who in my opinion became a cowardly punk this season. Many episodes show that he's awesome but then other show just how weak he is and how easy he is willing to give up. Things with the police go wrong? Turns himself in. Thea dies? Gives up and joins the League. He can't stop Ra's Al Ghul? He just kills him. He never comes up with a clever way of beating the league, he just constant surrenders like a coward. Then there is this problem: his team just mouths off to him every few seconds. Whereas the Green Arrow I know is a confident and smart individual who would have yelled at everybody saying something like,
"Enough! This isn't about me or any of us. This is about stopping a mad man from destroying Starling City." But no Oliver usually just lets everyone gets angry at him and he just stays silent whilst giving the most cryptic answers. USE YOUR WORDS!
When I said I wanted the show to be more comical and light-hearted, I didn't mean turn into freaking cartoon. Seriously, this character unbearably bad. She doesn't fit in the show, she's irritating, and serves no purpose to the plot.
Captain Lance's Hatred for Arrow
Hey! Remember that subplot from Season 1 where Quentin Lance is obsessed with taking down Arrow? Let's rehash the exact same thing in Season 3 and make no changes about it. Just because of a lie...ENOUGH WITH THIS CLICHE! This is what I meant, Laurel and Oliver keep it a secret that Sara is dead from Quentin (yeah because that won't go wrong) but soon enough he learns that it was Laurel pretending to be Sara so he freaks out and blah blah blah. Can't we just have supervillains and plots that are fun?
The Ending of the Finale
Just like Season 2, I liked the finale but the ending made me facepalm. NO! Facedesk! Multiple times. Ra's Al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn takes the mantle (ugh...) so the team can go back to their usual work right? Nope. Oliver and Felicity quit and leaving Starling City and Oliver says...
Yeah? You're happy Oliver? WELL I'M NOT! Why do superhero stuff insist on the heroes trying to retire? First Dark Knight Rises, Hellboy II, now Arrow? Guys, these character would NEVER retire this early into their careers. Oliver would be Green Arrow until he's in seventies. Luckily I know he'll be coming back in Season 4 with an improved suit, writers giving us a route more like the Flash, and ACTUAL Green Arrow.
Ray tests out the shrinking and "blows up." Setting up for Legends of Tomorrow (which I am hyped for) and thank god, this season is over.
This was definitely the weakest season, it was really bad. I give it a 4/10 or in my rating system a Solid Bronze.