As a fan of Arrow, I’ll be the first person to tell you that it has seen some bad days. Both seasons 3 and 4 started off really well but fell flat after their respective mid-season finales. Because of this, the show essentially killed off a lot of its fan base and has struggled to try and win them back.
With season 5 just wrapping up and being made available on Netflix, we believe that the show has hit its stride again and is worth getting back into. Due to the nature of how the story progresses, you don’t even need to watch season 3 and 4 to get through season 5.
While it’s by no means a perfect product, Arrow gets pretty darn close during the latter half of season 5. For the first time in a while, people are excited by the show again and anxious to see what the writers come up with next when season 6 premieres in the fall. There are crazy plot threads to tie up and questions about what’s next for the Green Arrow and his team.
You might still not be convinced and that’s fine. However, let us give you our top 15 reasons you need to watch Arrow again.
15. FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
Let’s be real for a moment: Arrow, in its third and fourth seasons, had some pretty bad fight choreography (the standout example being the final fight between Oliver and Ra’s al Ghul). Thankfully, the writers heard the criticism and brought in the big guns for season 5. From the first episode, it was clear that the fight scenes were going to be well-shot and directed from start to finish.
As if that weren’t great enough, the fight scenes only got better as the season went on. They decided not to focus and fancy backflips and spins. Instead, all of the battles were raw, with people just trading blows until someone fell to the ground. It caused everything to feel much more intense right up to the end of the season. Heck, we say some of the fights even rival Daredevil.
I was among the people who didn’t like Prometheus at first glance. His costume seemed a bit silly and he looked more like another version of the Dark Archer than anything else. But, man, do I love it when I’m wrong. Prometheus was not only a compelling villain but easily the best that the show has had since Deathstroke.
I won’t spoil anything here, but his conflict with Oliver is so well-thought out that it constantly builds as the season progresses. When the final reveal happens, the tension rockets to a maximum so that you’re always on the edge of your seat. This is a villain who plans everything and laughs in Oliver’s face every time he can’t see it coming. The performance by the actor, who we won’t reveal as it’s a big spoiler, was also top notch.
Speaking of performances, that was another thing that season 5 accomplished in spades. Every character brought their “A” game to the table so that you could feel every emotion and identify with them through every situation, whether it be the newcomers or characters we’ve known for a while. Even Felicity had several standout moments where I sympathized with her.
In this aspect, props need to be given to both Stephen Amell and the man who plays Prometheus (dropping his name will spoil the reveal). Oliver Queen endured torture unlike anything he’s ever experienced and Stephen conveys it perfectly. Likewise, the Prometheus actor is sadistic and brilliant, in a manner that could rival even the Joker. Seeing these two alone on screen is worth going through the entire season.
12. NO OLICITY DRAMA
While I won’t say that season 4 was excellent, I genuinely feel that the two problems there stemmed from the flashbacks not being very exciting and the terrible Olicity drama. Apart from that, I felt that the season was fine. That being said, the writers of Arrow were determined not to fall into the same traps as before, and one step they took toward it was eliminating the Olicity drama altogether.
There were moments where their relationship is discussed, but it’s always in the context of the narrative and overstays stays its welcome. Furthermore, Felicity even gets another boyfriend, and instead of making it a source of conflict between her and Oliver, it’s used to further the story and give depth to multiple characters. No unnecessary plots are present here.
11. REAL CONSEQUENCES
One problem that I have with most superhero TV shows and movies these days is that there are no real consequences. Sure, there are elaborate set pieces with potential world-destroying outcomes, but it all seems to work out in the end. This was another area where Arrow defied expectations.
Throughout the season, the show felt extremely grounded and real. Every character’s actions had a consequence that changed their lives. Even Curtis had to make sacrifices in order to join Team Arrow. The entire theme of the season conveys that people pay recompense for their actions. Prometheus himself was a result of Oliver’s killing spree during season 1. Every character had something to lose by fighting alongside the Green Arrow and this led to them having to make difficult choices.
10. TIED UP THE FLASHBACKS
Ever since Arrow began, there have been the flashback scenes to show what he did for five years after being shipwrecked on Lian Yu. Because of this, season 5 had a big task ahead of it: to tie up the flashbacks while still making them relevant to what was transpiring in the present day.
The fact that the writers pulled this off is impressive in and of itself. They managed to take five years of Arrow history and bring it all to a head. We got to see Oliver become the killer he used to be in season 1 while still defending those he cares about. However, we also saw how that monster in the hood came to define the conflict that Oliver would face during the present day. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the show changes without flashbacks.
9. REMINISCENT OF SEASONS 1 AND 2
After seasons 1 & 2, Arrow took a bit of a shift tonally. It began to embrace the mystical elements of the Arrowverse and focus more on Oliver Queen’s happiness rather than his antics as a vigilante. While this isn’t bad conceptually, it provided a bit of a disconnect between the middle two seasons and the first two. Understanding this, the writers crafted season 5 as a return to the old formula.
Oliver isn’t a murderer, but he’s a bit unhinged after battling Damien Darhk and losing Laurel. He’ll kill is he deems it necessary, and he’s not afraid to fight dirty. Even when he trains a new team, he’s as brutal and gruff as you’d expect from the first two seasons. The entire direction of the season feels more in line with Oliver’s early days as the Hood, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
8. DEATHSTROKE RETURNS
After season 2 ended, fans of the show were adamant that Deathstroke was the best villain of the series, hands down. While he does have some competition with Prometheus, Deathstroke has still been one of the most requested characters to return. Despite Manu Bennett being tied up with another show, the writers of “Arrow” convinced him to come back for the season finale.
I can’t say too much, but know that Deathstroke’s role is as awesome and important as you’d want it. He plays off of Oliver just as he did when they were on Lian Yu and the two made an excellent tag team once again. It was nice seeing Deathstroke and the Green Arrow work together to fight the various villains that Prometheus had in store.
7. THE NEW TEAM ARROW
When the first trailer for season 5 dropped, I was unsure how I felt about Oliver getting an entirely new team. Thankfully, these new recruits came together very well and ended up being compelling in the latter half of the season. Each one of them had their own purpose and arc. Yet, they still managed to encourage Oliver (in their own ways) as he battled his own demons.
Their costumes at first weren’t interesting, but they were given some upgrades later on that even made Curtis Holt look snazzy on the field. There were even some fascinating twists regarding these new recruits that would go on to shape how this new team played off of each other. Their brash and inexperienced nature meshed well with Oliver and Diggle’s years of experience.
6. AWESOME TRICK ARROWS
The Green Arrow is a character known for having all sorts of different arrows at his disposal. Despite the gritty tone that Arrow takes, the writers haven’t forgotten this aspect of the source material. Throughout season 5, they sprinkled all sorts of different arrows for Oliver to use while battling criminals.
Season 5 opens with Ollie using a few unique arrows while fighting bad guys. One particular fight saw him rescuing one of his new recruits by using a parachute arrow that pulled them into the air. While it’s definitely sad that the boxing glove arrow didn’t make a reappearance, it was still nice to see the writers acknowledge the ridiculousness of some of the Green Arrow’s equipment.
5. WELL-DIRECTED EPISODES
A great show isn’t simply a measure of breakneck action and interesting character studies. A show is reliant on a story that has to be told in each episode and woven through each character’s actions. There has to be a good director at the helm to tell the story effectively and that’s exactly what Arrow season 5 had going for it.
Not all of the episodes hit the mark of greatness, but a lot of them did. Most of the episodes had excellent pacing to the point that people started looking forward to the show again. The show was able to deal with emotional conflict, flashback scenes, and villain setup all in one fell swoop. It was a formula that would serve the season well as it progressed.
4. ENDS WITH A BANG
When people recall a list, typically they refer to those that appeared last. This is a phenomenon called the recency effect: something that bleeds over into TV shows. You could have the best series ever, but if your season finale is bad, it will taint the overall image of the season. It happened most frequently with Arrow season 4. Needless to say, the writers of the show needed to get season 5’s finale right.
I am extremely happy to say that they delivered. Not only did they bring back Deathstroke, but season 5 incorporated many characters from the show’s history. It was a celebration of Arrow as well as the spearhead of Oliver’s biggest conflict since season 2. Every moment was tension-filled to the point where audiences didn’t have time to take a breath. Then to top it all off, the season ended on a cliffhanger so intense that it will change the dynamic of Team Arrow going forward.
3. THE INVASION CROSSOVER
Since season 3, Arrow has had a yearly crossover with the other CW superhero shows. This year, it was a 4-way crossover between it, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Due to Barry messing with the timeline and creating Flashpoint, a race of aliens known as the Dominators decided to come to Earth and take it over. It was up to a massive team of heroes to then deal with the problem.
The result was an extremely entertaining crossover that felt like it was ripped straight out of the comics. It was every bit as crazy as a person could want, but still held enough emotional moments to bring viewers back to reality. Included in the crossover were some big Justice League teases as well as hints of what’s to come for the future of the Arrowverse.
2. DOWN WITH MAGIC
Starting with season 3, the writers of the Arrowverse used The Flash as a means of exploring the metahuman side of things while Arrow was used as a catalyst for the mystical side. However, as the show continued dealing with the magical arts, it began to lose its identity along the way. Arrow became less about Oliver dealing with the issues in Star City and more about him figuring out how to counteract magic.
Because of this, the writers did away with it altogether in season 5 (save for Ragman’s inclusion). This allowed them to purely focus on Oliver and how he tends to solve problems. It also led to some pretty excellent choreography (instead of Stephen Amell standing in a stiff position after Neal would raise his arm). Needless to say, the exclusion of magic allowed for a tighter story to be told.
1. OLLIE’S DOUBLE LIFE
Keeping a secret identity is tough work for a superhero, and it was something that Oliver Queen was willing to kill in order to keep. However, his double life became less of a focus for the show as it progressed, which in turn affected the tension in each season.
During season 5, however, the writers found a brilliant way to bring this aspect of Oliver’s life back to the forefront: making him the mayor of Star City. He had to go to big extremes in order to keep his identity as the Green Arrow a secret. In order to deal with this, he placed his team at useful spots in his office so that they could keep his secret and work together to stop the bad guys from Star City both in and out of costume.
Arrow season 6 will return in the Fall. Are you excited for it? Let us know in the comments!