The strange thing with Arrow is that although it is the flagship Berlanti-verse show, ever since The Flash started two years ago it hasn’t felt like it. Increasingly it’s been overshadowed by its younger sibling, so it felt like Season Five really had something to prove, especially with the youngest daughter taking flight on the same channel this year.
So does it deliver? Well, yes and no.
Those familiar with the other three shows will know that it is by no means the worst of the outputs. It gives us solid characters and a decent-ish representation (until the tail end of Season Four it was one of very few ensemble shows to have a ratio of male to female leads with more of the latter – two men to three women), which is only set to get better in other areas in Season Five.
This year sees Oliver (Stephen Amell) placed as Mayor of Star City, his team has dispersed and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) are trying to convince him that five months is long enough for him to be basically going it alone. Having unveiled a (moderately terrible-looking, if we’re honest) commemorative statue of the late-Black Canary/Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) we can’t help but wonder how long it will be until the general public start adding two and two together and finally making four. But this is the world of superheroes, just because Oliver has been accused countless times of being the Green Arrow doesn’t mean it will ever stick…
While the premiere doesn’t see fit to introduce us to new members of the new team, the returning faces are welcome. Quentin’s (Paul Blackthorne) return (sadly without Donna (Charlotte Ross)) and his newfound involvement in Team Arrow is the show’s answer to a belligerent Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Echo Kellum has also returned with a shiny new promotion to Regular Member Of The Cast and his presence is always welcome.
There’s something about the episode that feels a little… flat. While we are probably supposed to care more about the interrupted memorial for Laurel, when they return to the ceremony you’ve already forgotten that it had been. Seeing Thea (Willa Holland) back in her Speedy costume is also probably meant to have more gravitas to it, but we simply haven’t had enough time to miss it for it to feel like it really matters, even if she walks away again afterwards. Even the new bad guys feel familiar and uninteresting.
The highlight of the episode has clearly got to go to Oliver’s straight delivery of “He’s tied up” re: the Green Arrow not coming to his rescue. There are also a number of brilliant fight sequences to get the blood flowing. Arrow knows what it does best, and it’s utilising the physical skills of its cast.
It’s hard to really put a finger on really what we want from Arrow to fill us with the same feeling as both The Flash and Supergirl have of late, maybe we’ve just grown tired of the dark and gloomy and not really being able to see what’s going on because it’s literally dark. Whatever it is, we hope it returns to the former glory it had before its limelight was stolen by its younger siblings.