Did Last Night’s Arrow Go Too Far? [SPOILERS]


Last night’s episode of Arrow delivered a major swerve, and some fans might be feeling that it’s a step too far, even for this show, which is no stranger to disjointed narratives. The longer a television show remains on the air, the greater the risk of repeating itself. Superhero series are obviously based on comic books, and comics are no strangers to recycling storylines. Green Arrow debuted in DC comics way back in 1941, and this particular character has redefined himself several times (including a dubious return from the dead).

Arrow is now in its sixth season, and it’s also working to redefine itself, in part by moving its characters forward; Oliver (Stephen Amell) is raising his son, Diggle (David Ramsey) is dealing with debilitating nerve damage, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Curtis are starting a joint business venture… and yet, there’s a massive sense of deja vu.

Related – Arrow: The Fallout…Or Lack Thereof

Already this season Oliver is back to lying (to his son), someone outed him as Green Arrow (again), and old allies are returning as adversaries (the Russian Braatva, again). Even as a long-time Arrow fan, I found these repetitive beats tiresome. Until everything changed — whether this change is for better or worse is up for debate. The gist: Oliver’s son is fearful of losing both parents — one of whom is a wanted vigilante — and becoming an orphan, which compels Oliver to delegate the Green Arrow mantle to Diggle.

EW caught up with Amell to discuss these events and how permanent they might be:

“I give [the mask] to Diggle; I don’t give it to him with a heavy heart, I give it to him with a full heart. I give it to him expecting him to be able to handle it. I like the idea that I give it to him because the city needs a Green Arrow, right? The Green Arrow can be more than one person. The Green Arrow is a symbol and his team is a symbol.”

The rub on this setup is two-fold. First, Diggle is keeping his injury a secret, which is already compromised his teammate’s safety — Conflict! Second, there’s no way anyone believes this is permanent, even if Amell says it is (he does); and there’s a bunch of promo material for the upcoming Arrowverse crossover, which clearly features Amell as Green Arrow — Clue!

Amell explains the impact of his decision (at least in the short-term):

“It’s been a very strange time for me on the show, because we’re talking about going on four episodes now where I’m really out of the mix, and that’s been challenging for me, because I prep myself to work all the time… So I like that he’s given the mantle to Diggle and that’s been the show since then. That, to me, is really cool.”

But then Amell kind of walks back his remarks:

“If he suits back up again, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden it goes back to the status quo… He’s out. He’s totally out. We have an instance where he has to hop back in, but it’s not in the capacity that people would expect him to. It’s in an episode called ‘Reversal.’ He does have to hop back in, but other than the occasional visit, he’s out.”

This isn’t the first time Oliver’s walked away from being Green Arrow, and it probably won’t be the last (The CW loves to extend its shows — Supernatural is hitting 13th season). However, even though I suspect many Arrow fans will be irked by this move, I think it sets up some great drama between Diggle and the team (Black Canary knows about his injury), plus we know that Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) is returning soon, and there are two more major villains planned for this season.

While I’m glad that Arrow is committed to street-level action and the show is pushing its characters in new directions, something just feels sloppy about the execution so far. We’re only two episodes into a 23-episode season, so it’s too soon to tell, but this is the kind of weak storytelling that can alienate fans. The clock is ticking CW!

Are you put off by Arrow‘s repeated plot points this season? Let us know in the comments down below!

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