Arrow’s fifth season was a return to form for the show in most regards. It sits comfortably as not as good as Seasons 1 and 2, but far better than Season 3 and 4. It also ties up the flashbacks and has a grand finale involving many returning characters from the show…
Oliver is distracted from his new duties as mayor due to continuing as Green Arrow alone, his old team members having gone their separate ways. He is encouraged by Felicity to build a new team by recruiting the amateur vigilantes now working in Star City, eventually spurred on by the arrival of crime kingpin Tobias Church. Tobias, however, would be the least of Oliver’s worries this year…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
“What do you mean? I never said we should get back together… I mean, we need to stretch that out for at least another season or two…”
Oliver Queen / Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) – Oliver attempts to handle being mayor and the Green Arrow at the same time, and despite reuniting with old allies and making new ones, he finds himself overran with drug smugglers, murdering vigilantes (that aren’t him or a new ally of his) and a psychopath from his past. Good times!
Felicity Smoak / Overwatch (Emily Rickards) – After having ended things with Oliver in the last season, Felicity is happy with her new boyfriend while still helping Oliver with his Green Arrow work. This happiness will of course continue on throughout the whole series, with nothing traumatic or unpleasant happening to her at all…
John Diggle / Spartan (David Ramsey) – John starts the series back in the Army, but is betrayed, sent to prison, freed and back as a vigilante in record time. Since then he has settled back into his old life, wife and son in tow (it’s now a son due to The Flash, long story…)
Thea Queen (Willa Holland) – Oliver’s sister and chief-of-staff, Thea has quit the vigilante business and is even more convinced to do so when she sees Oliver has gone back to killing people again. This, of course, doesn’t last, but it never completely goes away either…
Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) – After the death of his second daughter, who this time isn’t going to magically come back from the dead, Quentin slips back into alcholism. He does eventually get saved by Thea and Oliver and ends up as Deputy Mayor, so there is a redemptive story for ya!
Curtis Holt / Mister Terrific (Echo Kellum) – Funny nerdy character to take some of the pressure off of Felicity, I guess. He wants to be a vigilante too, but isn’t great at fighting. His attempts to do so results in him losing his husband Paul, who doesn’t wish to see him get hurt. Oh well, at least he’s still making nerdy references and stuff straight afterwards, don’t let life get you down and all that…
Rene Ramirez / Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) – Violent vigilante who eventually gets recruited into Team Arrow. Luckily for him Oliver / Green Arrow is back to killing again, so Rene can go on missions and gun people down with automatic handguns and stuff. Handy!
Dinah Drake / Black Canary (Julia Harkavy) – The second Black Canary is actually a meta-human with the same ability as the original had with the help of the canary cry device. She doesn’t get up to much, but is pleasant enough.
Adrian Chase / Prometheus (Josh Segarra) – Psychopath who is obsessed with mentally breaking Oliver Queen, the man who killed his father. He starts off as his district attorney before slowly doing his very best to destroy the man.
Rory Regan / Ragman (Joe Dinicol) – Sole survivor of Havenrock’s nuking from the previous season, he uses a magical set of old Jewish rags to great effect. He manages to come to terms with the fact Felicity was technically the one responsible for nuking his town and killing all he held dear. Good for him.
Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig) – Daughter of the demon appears in the flashback arc as an ally, and in the present day as a enemy, thanks to Oliver killing her father a few seasons back… Good for her.
Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren) – Evil Russian, as is mandatory if you have Dolph Lundgren as a villain. He appears in the flashback arc as the final villain Oliver faces before returning to the mainland.
Anatoli Knyazev (David Nykl) – Friendly Russian mob member, if such a think exists, that helps Oliver out in the past and present during the season.
and many more!
Well, technically he’s the bad, at least in the confines of the show, and a very good bad he is too!
There are some great moves towards making the series feel fresh this season, most of all introducing some new members to “Team Arrow”. Admittedly Curtis, or Mr. Terrific, isn’t new and is a bit of a nerd cliché that Felicity already has covered, but he can still be funny, but Rene / Wild Dog is a good addition, though a little too close to Oliver in the self-loathing but getting better stake. Ragman was actually a really enjoyable character both in and out of the rags, and I was sad to see him leave the show half way. The new Black Canary is just… alright. Nothing wrong with her, nothing exciting about her (and a bit of a cop out). But in general, all these new characters and costumes going around made the show feel fresh, which is good.
Adrian Chase / Prometheus was a great lead villain, especially towards the last half when he went full psychopath and started playing horrible mind games. Hats off to Josh Segarra for really coming across as a crazy person who thinks he’s in the right. It all leads to a great final episode, complete with returning characters and a big cliffhanger. Great stuff.
Arrow’s contribution to the Invasion! crossover was great, it served as both a means to pull the plot along, and as a celebration of 100 episodes by having previous and current Arrow characters trapped in a false simulation world. In fact the whole season had a hint of wrapping things up and celebrating the history of the show, that episode, the finale having lots of returning characters, and the flashback arc lead straight into the opening scenes of the very first episode.
While Oliver doesn’t get to do anything new this season (see the Bad section), Felicity at least got to try and strike out of her own with dodgy hacker group Helix, which was a fun storyline to follow, and Jon Diggle and Quentin Lance got redemptive arcs as well. Seeing the latter two blend with the new characters, particularly Rene / Wild Dog, was a good storyline to follow. Quentin trying to reunite a reluctant Rene with his daughter was a touching story, given all Quentin has been through, daughter-wise…
Never bring a laptop to a gun fight, as the old phrase goes.
The flashback arc this season was based around Oliver living in Russia and working for the Bratva, then eventually deciding to get back to Lian Yu and stage his big return to Star City (or Starling City, at the time), though the Russian mobster he thought he had killed was waiting for him there. While it had some moments, it once again (well, I say once again but I haven’t reviewed the other seasons yet…) really cheapens the whole stranded thing, plus we see him put on a wig in order to look like he had been waiting there for five years, pretty sure people would notice at some point. I don’t know, I’m just not a fan of Oliver going on and off the island all the time during his “presumed dead” years… plus the story here wasn’t that interesting.
Oliver in general was a bit annoying this season. At several points Oliver does his usual “I don’t trust anyone / can’t trust anyone / I’ll do it alone” stuff that you would think by now he’d know better, and it lead to the equally been there, done that speeches from Felicity and John to bring him around again. Throw in the “will they, won’t they” stuff between himself and Felicity, which given we’ve seen them together already and they broke up for a pretty stupid reason, it adds up to an annoying season in that respect. As I said in the finale review, either do have them get together until the end, or have them stay together. Don’t tease it, do it, then try and tease it again. Doesn’t work a second time!
Tobias Church was actually a rather fun villain in the first third of the season, it’s a shame he was killed off. He could have been a good semi-recurring thorn in Team Arrow’s side. Ah well.
Episode 13, “Spectre of the Gun”, is all about gun laws, not just in subtle ways, but it actually has Rene and Curtis argue both sides of the point to each other in the show. It includes a nonsensical flashback for Rene, where he says that if he had his gun with him like he wanted he could have saved his wife from… a gun-toting drug dealer who broke into his house… completely ignoring that if there were tighter gun laws the drug dealer who broke in probably wouldn’t have one either… Made no sense! Anyway, I don’t mind writers putting political or current issue stuff in episodes, but be more subtle with it! Don’t literally write an episode that watches like a debate video.
How cheesy and great are those alien pods? Love it!
Season 5, as I put in the opening paragraph, is currently sitting in the middle overall for me, better than the last two seasons easily, but not as good as the first two. That being said, this season had a great lead villain, introduced some good new side characters, and finally ended and tied up all the flashback stuff that has become kind of annoying the last year or two. Looking forward to a fresh start in Season 6!