Seven episodes in and Arrow is really struggling to hit form this season. Draw back your bow unfortunately feels another dud and it’s not on its own this season, joining the likes of The Calm, Corto Maltese and Guilty.
Down with this ship
Do I have a problem with Ollicity especially? No. Do I have a problem with those who want Ollicity to happen? No. Do I have a problem with its execution? Yes. That’s where it’s really faltering. It feels like it is being forced and shoved down the viewer’s throat. In ‘The Calm’ it took up far too much story. I don’t think there’s any coincidence that the strongest episode of the season, ‘The Magician’ had no Felicity in it. It’s a storyline which feels as if it’s going nowhere. The theme this season was identity – can Oliver be the Arrow and himself? But at the moment it feels as if it’s a case of can he be with Felicity or not? I think this is the route the writers have taken to illustrate Oliver’s identity crisis but it’s really just something I’m not taking to.
One of the big issues with its execution is that it just feels like a soap opera or even a teen drama at times. Firstly, Oliver walked in on Ray and Felicity just as they start kissing – talk about clichéd. Oliver is seemingly moping about not being able to be with her, even though it was entirely his decision in the first place. If we’re going back to theme of identity, if Oliver can be himself and the Arrow – it seems he’s bloody miserable if he’s just the Arrow. So he might as well be Oliver Queen too. But anyway, it just feels strange on Arrow. To give it some credit, I think Amell and Rickards are doing reasonably well with the material they’ve been given. But tonight, it just really didn’t work. It was boring and it really seems like it’s heading nowhere really. If he’s never going to be with her, drop it because what purpose does it actually serve? If he is, then get a move on with it. He’s never been good at opening up so please Dig, just kidnap them both and lock them in a room with a Michael Buble CD, champagne, low lit lights, a box of chocolates and a bouquet of roses.
Cupid was a plot device in the end, basically giving Oliver the chance to make a speech that Felicity would obviously overhear where he confesses he loves her but can’t be with her. But anyway, to be fair to Amy Gumenick she was excellent I thought. She really pulled off that insanity certainly needed for Cupid and credit to her to that. I’m sure we’ll see her again at some point and hopefully on that occasion she can get a better story, rather than serving only as a plot device for Ollicity.
A sluggish start
There is absolutely no momentum so far this season, it just feels as if it’s going nowhere. It’s really lacking a direction and just trundling along, whereas last year things hit us with ferocious intensity. Brother Blood’s experiments were already established, Malcolm was alive, it was revealed he was Thea’s dad, we’d met the League of Assassins, we’d met Sara – it just was a fantastic few opening episodes. Whereas this season, the Magician is the only one that I’d go back and rewatch so far. The rest have been just above, or below average. It feels as if the show doesn’t know where it’s going and it desperately needs to get to its mid-season finale to hopefully establish the end game to the season, for the intensity to pick up and for it to propel itself out of the rut it’s currently stuck in.
Where I think the show has lost out is losing Manu Bennett and Caity Lotz. The flashbacks have been boring this year, they’ve been really dull and uneventful. There’s no direction to them. Bennett and Lotz as Slade and Sara were both really strong presences and I do feel they’re missed. Slade and Sara were interesting characters. I’m not a big fan of the way Laurel’s transformation is taking shape so far, Sara was an excellent Canary and there’s a lot to live up to there. And as for Slade, well, he was just awesome. Absolutely awesome. In the flashbacks, we obviously had Slade and Sara there, Shado too, they’ve just really degenerated in quality so far. Whereas the Island centric episodes were excellent in seasons 1 and 2, I have next to no optimism for the Hong Kong centric edition this year. But fingers crossed, they’ll find their feet.
And to cap the sluggish start to the season, let me just say that Thea’s new DJ love interest ranks as the worst character on this show. Ever. Just wow. And his scene of magically getting everyone to the dance floor, probably the worst scene I’ve seen on this show too. I’m not even going to talk about that storyline, they were simply minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Malcolm, take being an over protective dad to a new level and put an arrow in him. Please.
So, there’s work to be done for Arrow. It’s been a really underwhelming start to this third season and if they don’t manage to strike a winning formula in the Flash crossover coming up or that mid-season finale, a tub of Prozac may be handy when listening to our mid-season review podcast. So far, it’s not going to be a happy one.