– by David Kozlowski

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Arrow.

I’ve been with Arrow since the very start; through the good, the bad, and Season 4 too. Arrow has (arbuably) returned to form in Season 5, yet it has still failed to fix its most glaring narrative flaw: Arrow has too-long lived in the Batman’s shadow. However, after the revelations expressed in last week’s pivotal “Kapiushon” episode, the series might finally be establishing itself as something truly different — whether that’s good or bad depends entirely upon where it goes from here. 

The strongest argument against Arrow having a distinct identity, beyond anything but a poor-man’s Batman, has resided in the forced duality of Oliver Queen and Green Arrow, played by Stephen Amell. Similiar to the Wayne/Bat paradox, we’ve endured four and half seasons of the same tired, clichéd premise that these are somehow separate characters, each following differents paths, but united by shared a resolve to bring justice to Star City. 

Last week, under severe torture and duress, Queen admitted to uber-villain Adrian Chase/Prometheus, played by Josh Segarra, that he doesn’t kill for vengeance or justice, instead he kills because he wants to, because he likes it. Queen acknowledged that he is the monster under the hood, a secret he’s buried and kept hidden from everyone all of these years… and it breaks him.

At the end of the episode, Queen returns to the Arrow Cave, drops his quiver, and quits; well, until next week, obviously. 

The preview trailer below, for next week’s “Disbanded,” initiates the final act of Season 5. Unfortunately, the trailer suggests yet another dubious attempt by Queen to solve the Prometheus problem on his own. Queen appears to push the team away, while separetely cutting a deal with the Braatva to kill Chase. We’ve seen this dog before.    

The promo sets up anther inevitable “I was wrong” speech by Queen, after Arrow and the team undoubtedly reunite in the epilogue. However, the writers this season have deftly subverted audience expectations with many interesting twists and turns. With five episodes remaining, there’s still plenty of room for surprising pivots, reveals, and reversals. 

Thus far, Arrow has proven itself worthy of a Season 6, but there’s still work to do ensuring that Season 5 ends on a high, like those its freshman and sophomore efforts, rather than backsliding into the lows of its junior and senior years. 

Arrow Episode 18, “Disbanded,” airs on the CW on Wednesday 29 March 2017.

Has Arrow truly established itself as something else? Let us know in the comments down below!

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.