Arrow Season: 03

Last season ‘Arrow’ had easily one of the best seasons of a TV show I’ve seen as there wasn’t a stinker in the bunch. Going into Season 3 it was already facing an uphill battle as it was trying to match the excellence of its predecessor and stave off competition from a slew of new comic book based shows.

In the end, Season 3 didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It wasn’t the frequent trainwreck that was ‘Gotham’ and wasn’t as inconsistent as ‘Agents of SHIELD,’ but this season never reached that next level that developed so organically in Season 2. 

By the far the biggest problem was the writers’ insistence on trying to make Olicity happen. Oliver and Felicity worked so well the first two seasons because they were friends/partners and nothing more beyond the random ogling Felicity would do when Oliver would work out. The writers seemed to get this wasn’t the best pairing as they scrapped the budding romance early on and had Ray Palmer arrive as her new love interest. Ray was a much better boyfriend for Felicity — he trusted her and was open in sharing every aspect of his life — something Felicity would never get from Oliver. But the writers went too far into fan service and eventually brought Olicity together. Putting the co-workers together never works out and I’m worried it’s going to make Olicity even more obnoxious next season.

arrow-public-enemy-ras-al-ghul-drops-the-bombshellThe biggest storyline of the season — Sara’s murder — was shocking and led to some great intrigue the first half of the year with several red herrings before the revelation that Thea did it under the influence of Merlyn. Whether putting everything in motion so he could succeed Ra’s al Ghul as the leader of the League of Assassins is up for debate, but I’ll just give him credit for it. My big concern was the quick death do-over with Sara being resurrected for ‘Legends of Tomorrow.’ Her death marked such a pivotal moment in the show for everyone and now it’s erased.

With Sara dead surprisingly Laurel became the show’s most interesting character as she tried to follow in her sister’s footsteps to become Black Canary. Thankfully her learning curve was steep and she’s still learning how to be a vigilante.

Oliver had a rocky season storyline wise as for every great moment — the mountaintop duel with Ra’s, trying to evade Capt. Lance and the police and his eventual acceptance of his role as Ra’s successor — he was saying goodbye to the team every other week. Stephen Amell shined regardless, but the writing was too inconsistent for Arrow/Oliver. Thankfully, Oliver’s machinations led to some believable strain in his relationship with Diggle and with Roy gone, Thea will now continue as Speedy. Arrow - Al Sah-Him - Arrow as Al Sah-Him

The show perhaps veered a bit too far into Batman territory with Arrow more or less subbing for The Dark Knight, but it was fun watching Arrow face off with Ra’s. Ray’s superpowered turn as A.T.O.M. was a lot of fun and the crossovers with ‘The Flash’ cast was consistently excellent.

Of the three seasons, this was the weakest yet it also had some of the series’ best moments. The weepy emotional back and forth and serious tone hurt a little compared to how ‘The Flash’ balanced fun and high-stakes drama so well in its debut season, but I’m still eagerly anticipating next season and what will develop with the characters.

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7 thoughts on “Arrow Season: 03

  1. I can’t disagree with anything you said. Sara + Oliver was one of the best relationships that I’ve ever seen. Two vigilantes on equal footing in terms of physical and emotional strength that have shared past trauma together but differ in their violent ideologies. It pains me to wonder how amazing that would’ve been. We could’ve finally had a tv couple who kick ass together and relationship problems that would be on a totally different scale than ‘will they won’t they’ BS that The CW is known for.

    Having said that, I get why Sara’s death was done for the story to progress, and it was interesting. But I agree with you that her coming back undermines it all. Especially given that the Lazarus Pit was suspected as the reason for Oliver’s return in the mid season finale and the makers nixed that repeatedly scoffing at it. But lo & behold it’s already been used twice now. So… a little cheated I feel.

    Obliquity needs to die. At this point I think I’d be completely fine if they killed off Felicity altogether, because any other emotional end to their relationship will keep the back and forth alive, never fully writing that relationship away.

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    1. Thanks Shah. I kinda feel like you with Felicity, which I would never have thought after the first two seasons. Now she’s gone from being valued team member to emotional anchor. She was much more of a fully developed character when she was with Ray and not just pining after Oliver.
      After Thea, I was really hoping the Lazarus Pit would be given a break for five more seasons so deaths matter on ‘Arrow’ otherwise why wouldn’t Oliver bring back Moira, Shado and Tommy too?

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      1. 1. Over stuff story line.
        2. Ray palmer back pilot for a whole season.
        3. Weak villian motive and development wise
        4. Who done it, Sara mystery
        5. Oliver surviving that fall and stab by sheer will.
        6. Not knowing what to do with Malcom.

        All WAY bigger issues than Olicity.

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      2. What did you consider overstuffed? Felt like there were two big storylines – Sara’s death and Ra’s wanting Oliver to be his successor.
        Where did you find Ra’s motive weak?
        The Sara mystery was one of my favorite aspects of the season.
        Merlyn was the one character who it felt like they knew exactly what they were doing all along. His end game was to have Ra’s or Oliver killed and takeover the League.

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      3. Slippery slope this re-incarnation. At least they could`ve had Oliver think about it, and show R`as dismiss it with some exposition about there being a certain length of time where someone can`t be brought back.

        For all we know Sara was made alive immediately after her death and she`s been chilling somewhere else all these months.

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  2. Great analysis of S3 of Arrow, I think I could have dealt with the uneven writing and suspension of belief with some of the plot points, but Olicity was so bad and so obnoxious it ruined the whole season for me. Oliver and every other character on the show was diminished just to force Olicity into almost every story arc.

    The final straw was when Ra’s gave Felicity that horrible speech about Oliver, that scene should have had Ra’s slice off her head for her attitude alone.

    If S4 starts off the same way S3 ended, I am done with the show.

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    1. Thanks! This season had some other problems, but forcing that kept derailing so much of the positives from other characters and subplots.
      I did find it weird that he kept allowing her to mouth off to him like that without any repercussions.

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