“Arrow” missed the target in Season 03.

CW’s “Arrow” S03 is over. “My name is Oliver Queen” was familiar intro into the series from the very beginning and at the end of the S03 it is also the title of the last episode. “Arrow” closed the full circle. Final episode of the third season could serve as the end of the series, but we already know that won’t be the case (it would be a nice end actually). Maybe it’s time for Oliver/Arrow to “become something else” once again? Perhaps. What I don’t understand is why? OK. Final episode of the season was a nice wrap-up, but in fact it was a mess. “My name is Oliver Queen” was a spoiler regarding everything that happened in the season, and watching the final episode of the season while, you already know how it will end kind a spoiled all the fun. Felicity/Oliver story-arc was repetitive and boring, and I had real trouble to find myself engaged in their story once again. It was nice to see new events which will set in motion S04, but one big question remains – in what capacity will Oliver Queen be in the fourth season?

FULL SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON AHEAD!

In season three we saw big showdown of Oliver and Ra’s Al Ghul. That awaited showdown, however, was considerably weaker in intensity and the dynamic than S02 with Deathstroke as the perfect villain. S02 contained the best episodes of the show so far, and there everything made perfect sense. Deathstroke was the villain with a clean motive to harm Oliver, his city and his family and he had an elaborate plan on how to do so. Ra’s Al Ghul lacked that complexity. Ra’s is originally a Batman villain, and he had personal issues with the pointy ears, mask which couldn’t be transformed into Queensworld.  The writers did their best, the actor was good choice too, but as I’m concerned story just didn’t work. The best episodes of the season were the crossovers with “The Flash” and the episodes which included Deathstroke or/and Deadshot. Deadshot’s death was something that had to happen in the wake of the new “Suicide Squad” film by David Ayer since (reportedly) producers wanted only one Deadshot in all DC universes.

That brings us to another huge problem of the DC TV. It looks as these shows are really an orphan in Warner Bros/DC world since they can’t grow and develop independently of their big, high-budget movie brothers. A few hints about Batman, few about Superman and now (in the last episode of “The Flash”) about Green Lantern just isn’t enough. Fans are raving through the internet, and there will be serious complains when/if another actor is cast as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in the DC Movieverse. I wonder if that’s the right path for DC Entertainment. Unconnected universes as opposed to connected Marvel? We’ll have to wait and see until the DC Cinematic Universe catches up with their Marvel competition, but for now these shows (“Arrow”, “Flash”, “Legends of Tomorrow”, and “Supergirl”) are suffering from the lack of direction and crippled storylines in which the heroes and villains alike can’t shine to their fullest extent. 

“Flash” could be the only exception to that, since his powers allow him to have multiple instances of himself in the multiple realities, and for all the other heroes such executive decision could make sense only if “Infinite Earths” are planned sometime in future. However, nothing points out to that direction yet. 

Season three of the “Arrow” (to come back to the subject) returned again to the bad habits of the S01. The characters were unconvincing, repetitive and their separate stories seemed unimportant in the bigger scheme of things. Felicity/Oliver romance was especially irritating. The season had its good moments when the writers weren’t concentrated on dilemmas Felicity vs. Oliver/Ray, Thea vs. Roy/Merlyn and finally Laurel vs. trust/dishonesty. That final dilemma is the most crucial for all three seasons of the “Arrow”. I’m getting tired of “I was trying to protect you” line almost as I am getting tired of “save my city”. The latter was so irritating that when I heard something similar in “Daredevil” it downplayed the series for me.

“The Flash” is the best from all DC superheroes and the writing, there should be something to hope for the “Arrow” in the future. Yes, I know that “Arrow” is supposed to be the darker show and I know its mood is different, but some rules of good storytelling apply to every show, regardless of the atmosphere. EVERY hero needs a good antagonist, strong opponent, rival, which will bring the best in him. That “Arrow” had in S02, and that changed for the worse in S03. Also, the team around the hero needs the space to shine for themselves, but not up to the point when you wish that some of them just die already (Laurel, constantly). Diggle and Felicity will have to find something to hang on to in the future, or their characters will become equally expendable. Felicity was my favorite character, but her empathy and weak characterization made me indifferent to anything that happens to her during the season 3. Felicity from the earlier seasons was cool and funny, this Felicity almost in every scene needed a handkerchief.

I’m hoping that now when all the secrets and all threads are revealed, “Arrow” will find much needed direction. The show needs a new, darker identity (see “Daredevil” example). 

The CW DC Universe is expanding. There is a rumor that even “Constantine” will join them. New, darker setting is ready. We’ll see if the CW is willing to go in that direction. “Supergirl” trailer doesn’t look good, “Legends of Tomorrow” does. “Flash” was one of the best new series of the year. “Arrow” declined in S03.

I won’t even mention flashbacks in the last few episodes. In contrast to genius usage of the flashbacks in S02 they were just lame.

With League of Assassins out of the picture, with inability to use Suicide Squad, and with most supporting storylines closed “Arrow” can start from scratch. Everything is out, there are no more secrets. 

Trust must be rebuilt. The show must go on. “Arrow” will never be the same again. He will change.

I sincerely hope, for the better.

Rating (S03): Charitable 6/10

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