Arrow is one of my favorite shows on television. Especially season 2. But I was disappointed by season 3. And I couldn't put my finger on exactly why.
I recently re-watched the entire series. And I think I finally did. And though there is a lot of little things that bothered me, I narrowed it down to the three biggest things.
Here are my three reasons Arrow Season 3 didn't work
#1. The Villain
Don't get me wrong. Matt Nable was a wonderful Ra's Al Ghul. But he wasn't around enough. He was the big bad of season 3, and he was onscreen for a small portion of the first half of the season. He wasn't that big of a presence for most of the beginning. He wasn't that frightening for the majority of the year. I really didn't think he would hurt the team for no good reason.
And coming after Slade Wilson, a.k.a Deathstroke, that was a problem. Slade was around for almost every episode of the second season. Yes, most of it was in the flashbacks. But when he was onscreen, you just felt how angry he was at Oliver. You felt his hatred for Oliver. You just knew he was crazy. And he just had this way about him that made it believable when he made a threat. And it was heartbreaking when he came through with his promises.
Ra's was never any of that. Let's hope Damien Darhk is.
#2. The Flashbacks
One of the bigger parts of Arrow is their flashbacks. Through the first two seasons, the flashbacks were about the island. They told the story of Ollie and Slade and their growing rivalry. They mattered to not just the overall story, but also what was happening in the present day.
For season three, that changed. Ollie was in Hong Kong. He was working for A.R.G.U.S. He was being trained to be a killer by them. He met a man named Maseo and his wife Tatsu. And though all of this mattered eventually, it took too long.
The flashbacks made the show drag. They interrupted the action of the present day to tell a story that didn't matter. They felt like you could skip them and still not miss a thing. The flashbacks could have been told in half the time. And the left over time could have been spent on more important things.
#3. The Overall Feeling
The biggest reason I think the season disappointed. It felt like a season of transition. It felt like Arrow was becoming a different show. And that isn't a bad thing. It seems to be embracing it's comic book-yness and I can't wait for season 4. But season 3 suffered for it.
Season three was searching for itself. It was no longer the only DC superhero show on the CW. It had it's own spin-off, The Flash, to contend with. Heck, Ollie wasn't even the only hero in his own show. The addition of Ray Palmer, a.k.a the A.T.O.M, was a good thing and a bad thing. He was a nice foil for Ollie as well as a distraction for the show.
Palmer was their first attempt at the lighter tone of The Flash. You see throughout the season the struggle of tones. Do they want to continue their more serious ton? Or do they take on more of a lighter tone like its spin-off? This wasn't a question that they could answer last season. But, I got a feeling it is something that they will answer in this upcoming season.
So, what do you think? Agree with my reasons? Have some of your own? Let me know. Arrow returns for season 4 on the CW in October.