Before I go any further, I have to confess that Arrow is currently my favorite superhero show on television right now. I do not think it’s the best (that spot belongs to Daredevil), but I enjoy this one the most for multiple reasons. I love the cast, mainly Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen, I love the way they tell the stories, and I especially love how real the characters feel. The villains, for the most part, have been interesting and fun to watch in action. Then weaving in the present conflict with Oliver’s five years in Hell is a genius idea.
That being said, I’ll be the first to tell you that Arrow is not without its problems. Like any show, it is inevitable that there would be a few duds or lackluster decisions that really made me scratch my head a bit. Anybody who sat through Season 3 can definitely attest to that. We all have to be real about this.
Perhaps you’re still thinking that because of my love for the show, I may not be qualified to be able to point out things that are wrong with it. But that actually makes me more qualified. Because of my passion for all things Oliver Queen, I am fully engrossed in this world, and I do not see through rose-colored glasses. Arrow may be great, but I know that it could be better.
Here are fifteen things I found that bothers about the CW’s Arrow.
15. “Olicity” Drama
When the writers began to tease a relationship between Oliver and Felicity in Season 2, I, like many other fans, was chomping at the bit just waiting for it to happen. Then in Season 3, there was a lot of back and forth, but at the end, they finally got together. The Season 3 relationship between the two of them isn’t what bothered me- it’s actually what is happening currently with the show. As of the writing of this article, Felicity has just broken off her engagement to Oliver and sees no intention of making amends. Please explain to me, then, why you would spend an entire season establishing their relationship only to kick it to the curb? That upsets me like you would not believe.
14. Poor Character Arcs
For the most part, Arrow does this really well. Everybody has a decent character arc that really ends up paying off, and you see said character grow as the show progresses. However, there is typically one character each season that has a particularly poor character arc that just makes you more angry at them than anything else. Season one it was Thea; season two it was Laurel; season three it was Captain Lance – you get the point. It’s like the characters seem to progress backwards as opposed to becoming better people.
13. Uninspiring Plot Twists
Season three could’ve ended up being one of Arrow’s best seasons at the end of it all. Oliver Queen agreeing to go to the League of Assassins and become the next Ra’s al Ghul was amazing as far as the story goes. Then to see him return to Star City as a ruthless shell of a man was impressive. Then it all seemed to be bittersweet as it was revealed that he was simply faking it the entire time. Although it did give him the chance to stick it to Ra’s directly with that beautiful line, “My name is Oliver Queen!”
12. No More Deathstroke
Season two was Arrow’s best season for many reasons – the biggest being the villain. While I’m a huge fan of Damian Darhk, Slade Wilson still holds the top spot for me. He was compelling, yet terrifying. To see him slowly turn from Oliver’s best friend to his greatest foe was just beyond tragic. Luckily, we got a brief episode in season three where he got to show up again, but that’s the last we’ve ever seen of Deathstroke, and because the character is tied up in another DC project, we won’t be seeing him anymore. What a shame.
11. Sara’s Resurrection
After it was assumed that Sara Lance was dead, it was such a shock to discover in season two that she had apparently returned. We finally got a hint of that romantic duo of the Arrow and the Canary that the character is so famous for. Then after she was slain in season three, that really set a lot of events in motion that pushed the show forward in many different ways. Then in season four, they resurrected her again. Sure, it was a huge treat to see John Constantine, but the only reason Sara was brought back was to put her in Legends of Tomorrow, and that brings me to my next complaint.
10. Setting Up Other Shows
While I understand this makes the most sense as far as getting people aware of new shows like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, I think it hurts Arrow in the long run. Because they’re trying to set up this big universe through Arrow, more time is spent with other characters as opposed to the main plotline, and it really distracts from the main conflict. It’s nice to see all those characters on screen at the same time, but it really makes me miss the good old days of season one when all they had to do was focus on the Green Arrow himself.
9. Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul is the leader of a group known as The League of Assassins and is referred to as the Demon’s Head. Any person with aliases like that should be the most incredibly powerful, frightening, and sophisticated man on the entire planet. Unfortunately, Arrow’s version of Ra’s al Ghul failed to captivate audiences (myself included). He seemed relatively non-threatening, and apart from some moments where he shined, I was never one hundred percent sold on him as a villain.
8. Batman Similarities
Fighting Ra’s al Ghul. A cave of operation. A sidekick in red. Plenty of complicated relationships. A brooding hero. You’d think I was talking about Batman wouldn’t you? Well you’d be right, but if you said Oliver Queen, you’d also be right. While the similarities to the Dark Knight are definitely apparent, they never bothered me too much. That being said, they do exist and that ultimately hurts the show because it should spend more time finding its own legs. Green Arrow is a very interesting character with many unique storylines. It’s time the writers use them.
7. Oliver Queen’s Return
The midseason finale of season three was one of the most epic things that Arrow has offered. After a one-on-one duel with Ra’s al Ghul, Oliver Queen gets stabbed through the chest and thrown off the side of a mountain. Because he’s the main character, he obviously wasn’t dead; in fact, he was nursed back to health before returning to Star City. You’d think it would be one inspiring moment, right? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. There was never any buildup to the moment, and the cast didn’t seem as thrilled as you’d expect them to be. Top it off with Felicity being so out of character at his return, and it really didn’t do it for me.
6. Season 3
You all knew this was coming. Many of my complaints on this list center around season three. This is simply because season three wasn’t as good as the other two. They spent too much time on the “Olicity” relationship and too much time on Ray Palmer. Add Ra’s al Ghul’s underwhelming threats, and uninspiring plot twists and you have on overall dud. Now, that being said, I own season three and would still be more than happy to go back and watch it, but, it’s not as enjoyable as the first two seasons.
5. Forsaking the List
I keep talking about how great I thought season one was, and that’s simply because it was focused. They weren’t trying to setup anything else or introduce some crazy spin-off. It was all about Oliver’s return to Starling City and bringing down everybody on his father’s list. Then for some reason, after the first season, we never really see it again. I believe the show would benefit from going back to its roots. Perhaps season five will be more of a return to form, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
4. Cheesy Dialogue
As much as it pains me to say this, Arrow has some moments of really cheesy dialogue. Season four hasn’t been that bad in all honesty, but it still has its moments. The problem is that sometimes, Arrow takes itself too seriously, and this leads to some conversations that just feel awkward solely because of how they’re worded. It’s never to the degree of The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow, mind you, but it still exists nonetheless. Thankfully, the writers seem to be getting better at avoiding it.
3. Suicide Squad
When the Suicide Squad first debuted in season two, it was a really interesting concept. Deadshot, Shrapnel, and Bronze Tiger with the supervision of John Diggle was a team worth watching, with hints at an addition of Harley Quinn. However, the Squad had about one or two episodes, then were never heard from until season three. Then in season three, we only got Deadshot and Cupid, and that’s not much of a squad if you ask me. It seems they were attempting to distance themselves from the Suicide Squad movie, and it makes sense, but they can have two Flashes right? Why not two Suicide Squads?
2. No Justice League
They don’t have to call it the Justice League. Call it the “Friendship House” for all I care. It would be a no-brainer to bring Arrow, Flash, Supergirl (since she exists in the multiverse), and some B-list heroes together to have some kind of Justice League show. I would watch that and buy it on Blu-ray. What we have instead is Legends of Tomorrow, and I don’t hate the show, but I would much rather have some kind of Justice League. Maybe the effects budget won’t allow for it. It must have all gone to Gorilla Grodd.
1. Apprehending Damian Darhk
If there is one villain who could potentially be better than Deathstroke, it’s Malcolm Merlyn. However, Damian Darhk is definitely rising up those charts for me. From the beginning of the season, he was undoubtedly evil and seemed to love every minute of it. It was gloriously terrifying. Then a few episodes ago, with the help of Vixen, Team Arrow was able to destroy his source of magic powers and now he currently sits in jail. I would’ve much rather seen him still operating with HIVE, causing all kinds of trouble for Star City. Because as of right now, he’s lost a bit of his threat.