After a rough couple of days, let’s hope Arrow can be a balm for our weary souls. Nothing like the story of a billionaire who inherited his wealth and decides to take the fate of his surroundings into his own hands…ah, fuck.
1. A new color scheme needed
OK, this is an annoying feature of the show, but must be a truly terrifying reality for the citizens of Star City: how can they possibly tell, at first glance, if the fella in a hood coming towards them is vigilante hero Green Arrow, mystical vigilante Ragman, or supervillain Prometheus? I made this image to highlight just how similar their costumes are – imagine walking home in the dark and seeing one of these three in your neighborhood: how do you not shit your pants in fear?
Is one of the weird Flashpoint lingering effects a ban on all not off-green leather? Is that why Thea hung up her costume, because wearing red leather is now illegal?
2. The list! Season 1!
One of the observations I made when binge-watching the first season was that Arrow was essentially a really dark version of My Name is Earl: both shows involved a less than brilliant guy working his way down a list to ‘make things right.’ Eventually, the show moved away from that idea, and the list went away for a long time. Seeing it pop back up here was actually a really interesting tactic. It both grounds this season in something longtime fans can remember, and it gives newer fans a connection to the earlier seasons.
Look, the first season was far from great. It was about as standard a vigilante procedural as you could get, but it had a few elements that were really successful, and allowed the show to grow into what we have today.
The list is also a perfect tool for the show to use against Oliver. If you remove the list from the context – it was given to him by his father before his dad killed himself (to allow Oliver to survive when they were stuck on a life raft together), and it was a list of people who had ‘failed Star(ling) City’ – it is absolutely a supervillain’s manifesto. Hell, even in context, it is a bit of a supervillain’s manifesto.
Now that I’m thinking about it, this season feels a lot like Season 1 for a few other reasons, too: an increased Quentin presence, Felicity and Oliver not being romantically involved, and, most similarly, it involves vigilantes figuring their shit out in front of us. The last few seasons have involved, more or less, the world’s most well trained martial artists fighting the world’s most powerful mage. This season, we see people falling down, making mistakes, and discerning whether or not this is even the best way to go about solving their problems.
To quote Guiseppe Verdi, “Let us return to old times and that will be progress.” Instead of chasing even bigger bads, by grounding the show in the reality of Season 1, it can begin the process of elevating Arrow back to its previous heights.
For an eighties kid like me, Dolph Lundgren is a quintessential tough guy: Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, He-Man in Masters of the Universe, and Frank Castle in The Punisher. His icy presence and dead-eyed stare is shorthand for ‘don’t fuck with this guy,’ so seeing him pop up on Arrow as a Russian baddie is pretty perfect.
Of course, this would require, in some small way, for me to care about the flashbacks which, though improved from last season, are still more or less wastes of time. Hell, I’d rather see more of the planning for the fake city music festival than see Ollie in that greasy wig get insulted by Russian mobsters for no real reason. But if I have to watch the flashbacks, there are worse people to make me watch than
Ivan He-Man Frank Dolph.
4. The rookies’ clubhouse
The show has done a nice job giving the new vigilantes some camaraderie, and having them bond over Oliver’s past makes a lot of sense. Imagine if your boss was revealed to be a former serial killer – you’d be pretty freaked out, right? The show is also doubling down on shit like Ragman being a weirdo and Evelyn being seriously damaged (and 17, somehow), which makes them more than simple pawns in Oliver’s big plan.Continued below
While we are talking about the rookies, the show needs to do a few things to maximize each of them, and they wouldn’t be hard to do:
– for Curtis, give him the T-spheres. These were introduced last season. Have him take a serious beating and realize that he needs a weapon, and then he can retrofit his T-spheres. Right now, he’s sort of just running around in a as-yet-unexplained T-mask without a real skill or weapon.
– for Rene, let his experience in Church’s custody fuel his rage – make him vicious. For a guy named Wild Dog, he’s pretty restrained most of the time.
– for Evelyn, having her struggle with her youth and the loss of her parents would go a long way to making her interesting.
– for Rory, keep doing what you’re doing. He makes moonshine and is wrapped in ancient rags. That’s good enough for me.
5. Let’s guess who Prometheus is!
So, it’s not Quentin, even though some people may have taken that from the weird teaser at the end of the episode. But it does appear to be someone with ties to the first season. Having Malcolm Merlyn get a new arm seems outside of the show’s wheelhouse, and they have no problem bringing in Merlyn now and then anyway, so why waste the reveal on him?
I have three guesses, presented in order of likelihood:
A random guy whose family was killed in the Reckoning – he’s blaming Oliver for not saving his family, and is out for revenge.
Laurel, back from the dead – physically, it doesn’t appear to be a woman under the hood, but it would be a twist that would get people talking, and a fun way to bring Katie Cassidy back to the show. If she was possessed, brainwashed, or changed by her resurrection, she could be a formidable foe.
Tommy Merlyn – Ollie’s best friend, Laurel’s ex-boyfriend, and Thea’s half-brother. He’s been dead since the end of Season 1, but we all know that’s not a real impediment for this show. It would give drama to the reveal that literally no other character could, and it would have him follow in his father’s evil archer footsteps.
Who do you think it is? Let me know in the comments!