When Arrow began its broadcast run in 2012, it was a new kind of superhero show. Sure, there’d been plenty of comic book shows before, including Smallville, Wonder Woman, and The Incredible Hulk. Unlike those series, it didn’t focus on a well-known superhero, like Superman. Instead, Arrow revolved around a character many never heard of. Meanwhile, it eschewed uplifting superheroics, preferring to keep its storytelling grounded in gritty reality.
Audiences embraced the show, which went on to become so successful that it launched a shared universe with three spin-offs and counting. However, all good things must come to an end, and that time has come for Arrow. Series star Stephen Amell announced that a truncated season 8 would be Arrow’s last. With the show’s end now in sight, we’re exploring some of the things we’ll miss about Arrow when it fights its last battle — and some of the things we won’t.
10 WON’T: OLIVER QUEEN
It’s hard to imagine it now, but before he got stranded on that desert island, Oliver Queen was a rich, carefree playboy. Since his return to Star City, he’s become increasingly serious. It’s understandable. He’s been at the forefront of a high stakes mission for years.
Yet, at the same time, Oliver’s grown increasingly self-righteous and closed off. In the process, he’s become a lot less nuanced and interesting than the title characters of the Arrow spinoffs The Flash and Supergirl. Oliver no longer appears to experience joy. Given that Arrow was already the bleakest series in the Arrowverse, the lack of light in the main character has made the rest of the show that much darker.
9 MISS: JOHN DIGGLE
John Diggle has always been one of Arrow’s most well-rounded and compelling characters. Despite getting stuck in some unfortunate storylines — like when he secretly took illicit drugs to heal an injury — Diggle has always been the heart of the show.
Even though he was Oliver’s partner in saving the city from the beginning, Diggle has never received as much screen time as he deserved. Now with the show ending, it seems unlikely that we’ll be getting a fully fleshed out Diggle-centric storyline in the final season. Still, we’ll miss the character when he’s gone, and hope we might see him on another Arrowverse show soon.
8 WON’T: REPETITIVE STORYTELLING
Oliver returned to Star City with the goal of ridding it of the criminals that were bringing the place down. Over the first couple of seasons, it seemed like he was making some progress. Meanwhile, his stance on how to go about saving the city evolved. He went from being comfortable with taking the lives of anyone who “failed this city,” to deciding that wasn’t the way a hero should operate.
Seven seasons in, though, Arrow has become repetitive. Every season there’s a big bad who comes to town to do bad things. And Team Arrow must give their all to stop them. Oliver’s season 7 stint in prison offered hope for something new. And for a while the plot was different than what we’d come to expect. But since Oliver was released, a new threat has arrived. And it’s a lot like the old threat. Zzzzzz…
7 MISS: DEEPER EXPLORATION OF ISSUES
Arrow is a show full of people who don’t really want to talk about their feelings. They’d rather punch and kick them away. While there have been storylines that have prompted deeper reflection on the characters in the past, there hasn’t been a lot of that in the last few seasons.
Yet, we want to delve deeper into these characters. How does Dinah feel about losing her meta powers? Has Oliver really overcome the trauma of his past? When will physical therapy become a necessity? With the show ending, we’ll miss witnessing the further development of these characters we’ve invested so much time in.
6 WON’T: UNCONVINCING PLOT TWISTS
Arrow has included several recent plot twists. While they were supposed to intrigue, they landed with a splat. (Caution, spoilers!) First, ARGUS decided to revive a version of the Suicide Squad, a plot that lasted all of two episodes. Then, Ricardo Diaz, a character who seemed to have nine lives, was randomly offed — we still don’t quite believe he’s gone for good. Next, the new Green Arrow in town turned out to be Oliver’s half-sister, Emiko, whom he knew nothing about. Oliver tried to bring her onto Team Arrow only to learn she’s a member of the criminal organization the team’s been trying to bring down. And the audience learned that Emiko’s not just a member of the organization, she’s the leader.
None of this has made much sense. Instead, it’s become increasingly difficult to follow the plot around each bend as the story becomes less and less plausible.
5 MISS: GREEN ARROW’S APPEARANCES IN CROSSOVERS
No matter how much Arrow itself has become a bit long in the tooth, it’s hard not to enjoy Green Arrow’s inclusion in the Arrowverse’s annual crossover events. Oliver’s interactions with the teams from The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow show a different side of the character and breathe life into him.
Fortunately, there’s hope that even if Arrow’s no longer on the air, the Green Arrow could return for the odd guest appearance or crossover. During a Facebook live session in the wake of the announcement of Arrow’s end, Stephen Amell teased, “Even when I’m done, I won’t be gone.” It’s hard to say how that might play out, but it does indicate we’ll see Oliver Queen in some capacity again.
4 WON’T: TERRIBLE VILLAINS
Arrow has had its share of compelling villains. First among these was Deathstroke, but Malcolm Merlyn and even Prometheus were worthy antagonists. Most recently, we’ve had to endure the exceedingly long reign of Ricardo Diaz. The show attempted on numerous occasions to convince us that Diaz was a criminal mastermind, but the character was hard to take seriously. Nonetheless, he just kept coming back, something that made him even more annoying. It was never especially clear what Diaz’s goals were or why he was so angry. Or why people were so scared of him.
Now it looks like Emiko will be the latest big bad. While her biological connection to Oliver makes that slightly more interesting, she‘s just as unconvincing as Diaz as a criminal mastermind.
3 MISS: FLASHFORWARDS
The seventh season of Arrow has spent a great deal of time in the Star City of 2040. Some older versions of the show’s main characters have played major roles in that storyline. However, the most intriguing part has been the introduction of new characters, including Oliver and Felicity’s daughter, Mia Smoak and Diggle’s adopted son, Connor Hawk.
The inclusion of this second generation of heroes has been fun to watch, as has the contrast between Mia and her half-brother William, who returned to Star City as an adult. The storyline is loaded with possibilities and we’d love to see where they go.
2 WON’T: OLICITY
When Oliver and Felicity first met, they had a spark that was undeniable. Felicity’s quirky genius bounced off Oliver’s noble hero in a way that made it impossible not to root for them. Yet in the show’s most recent seasons, the couple’s lost their luster.
Initially, the pair seemed like true equals who each brought something valuable into their relationship. Yet, especially after they got married, Oliver has become controlling and overly protective, and Felicity has become passive aggressive and deferential. It’s made them both far less likable characters and made their marriage seem like a drag instead of a fulfilling partnership.
1 MISS: DEATHSTROKE
Okay, okay, we know Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, hasn’t appeared on Arrow since season 6. That doesn’t mean we haven’t wanted to see him again ever since. Deathstroke was by far Arrow’s most exciting villain. A former mentor of Oliver’s driven mad by Mirakuru, a super-soldier serum, the character hit Oliver where it hurt as a bad guy. However, he’s also allied with Oliver in subsequent plot lines. Even when he’s on the right side of things, though, Wilson lives in a moral grey area that makes him fascinating.
We hope we’ll see the character again before Arrow comes to an end. However, once the show is done, we’ll miss anticipating his eventual return to check in with Oliver one more time.