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.
The 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.
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.