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‘Arrow’ Season 5: The Good, The Not Good, and The “Really?”

Arrow season six is almost here, and with a new season looming, I took the time to look back on season five. Without the mysticism and the uncharacteristic life decisions made (you know which decisions I’m talking about), season five emphasized what worked for the flagship DCTV show.

Of course, it wasn’t all perfect. Because what show really is perfect all of the time?

So, here it goes. My look back on the good, the not good, and the “really?” of Arrow season five.

The Good

Prometheus

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One of the highlights this season was the build-up, reveal, and the downfall of the big bad, Prometheus. Josh Segarra played the role masterfully, balancing the vengeful sociopath we saw later in the season with the cool, calm, and friendly person we saw in 5A. Watching Chase’s twisted game play out was nerve-wracking to watch, making me want to know how it all unfolded. One big difference between Prometheus and Damien Darhk was that he never felt like he overstayed his welcome. Up to the very last scene of the finale, it felt like we were right there with Oliver, ten steps behind. Segarra’s chemistry with the cast was refreshing to see, and the way he played off of Stephen Amell was fantastic.

Stephen Amell’s Performance

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I’ve said it in my ranking of my top 5 episodes of season 5, but it bears repeating: Stephen Amell’s performance throughout the season has been great “Kapiushon” was a highlight this season as we see the painful character work done so heartbreakingly well, as Chase breaks Oliver down throughout the hour.

100th episode also stood out, from him seeing Oliver and Felicity in the bunker for the first time in the hour, to saying goodbye to his parents again, the emotion and the show of growth through was satisfying to watch. That growth played through right until the very final scene. Here’s hoping we see more of that next season.

Felicity and Helix

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The build-up was slow at the start for Felicity’s arc but was a refreshing change of dynamic once it took off. With Helix, we got to see Felicity be the one to change and grow a bit, away from the team. She had to figure out where she drew the line of morality to get things done as she went down her own dark path to get revenge for those that were hurt.

Felicity was the one, for so long, who would try to reel the team back in with either her words of wisdom or tough love (when Digg wasn’t around to talk sense into them). So, it was great seeing Oliver, Diggle, Curtis, and Rory trying to get through to her throughout the back half of the season.

Of course, the writers left the Helix story open. And with Elena’s appearance in the season six trailer and the fact that we have yet to see Cayden James, I’m looking forward to seeing how it will continue to unfurl and what the consequences are of the Helix arc for Felicity.

OTA Reuniting

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Original Team Arrow aka OTA saw varying degrees of separation through the season which proved to offer varying degrees of pain for fans of the trio. But when they reunited, it was wonderful to see. From helping Digg get out of jail and tracking down General Walker, to seeing the guys try to reach Felicity or seeing Digg and Felicity trying to get to Oliver, it highlighted one of my favorite aspects of the show in general.

Their moments together were often one of the highpoints of episodes, from seeing Oliver articulate the consensus that the three of them make each other better in “Bratva” to seeing Diggle come in with the save in “Underneath” getting his two best friends and partners out of the bunker.

The New Additions

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Admittedly, I was initially a little wary of the new additions because I wasn’t entirely sure how they would be written into the existing stories. I’m so glad that I worried for nothing. With the addition of Rick Gonzalez, Juliana Harkavy, and Joe DiNicol, we were able to see a different team dynamic on Team Arrow. We also got to see OTA each work through issues, confide in, and advise them in ways that we weren’t able to before.

Each newbie had their own compelling origin stories to bring to the show and seeing those stories fleshed out (for the most part) was nice to see. There was also an even balance struck between their arcs and the arcs of existing characters on the show, with even some aspects tying in seamlessly, like Rory’s Ragman origins with Felicity’s Havenrock arc.

The Not Good

Susan Williams

Where to start? If the writers wanted a viable love interest, they should not have introduced an ethically questionable journalist that spent her first appearance taking advantage of Oliver’s sister. I had questions about the execution of this story as we got to the tail-end of it because it felt like it brought out this weird uncharacteristic behavior in Oliver. I mean, asking his ex-fiancee for help reconciling with his current love interest, who was investigating him, was strange. Not to mention, she spent the rest of her time trying to take him down. I’m not sure where the writers thought viewers were going to side in that situation.

 “Spectre of the Gun”

I had high hopes for the episode. But the hour quickly devolved into something that didn’t really feel like it accomplished or addressed anything. It didn’t work with the characters’ backgrounds, the ensuing story, and the characters’ responses. 

It was disappointing to see that the writers made that choice to have her silent on a subject that she should feel strongly about, considering that she was shot and subsequently paralyzed. To see her quiet and unwilling to engage with the issue of gun control and gun violence was infuriating. Pair that with the fact that gun violence is almost at the center of the show’s action scenes. 

The “Really?”

Thea’s disappearances throughout the season. It was so strange to see nothing come of any of her storylines and feel like she was moved down to recurring. It felt like there was so much story we could have seen unfold for Thea, especially with what happened to her with Darhk and Alex. The closest we got was her and Oliver dealing with Robert’s secrets.

Then there were ramifications of Flashpoint somehow only affecting Digg and Lyla. It was one of those head-scratching moments to see Baby Sara erased. Out of all of the possible side effects of Barry’s poor decisions, they had to pick baby Sara. Such a strange choice.

And there you have it. Just in time see what happens when Arrow returns Thursday at 9 p.m. on the CW!

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