Arrow was once the jewel in The CW’s crown until the show spawned The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The once untouchable superhero drama was a dark and thrilling watch that was a weekly ‘must-see’. Personally I loved it for the first three seasons then the show hit a remarkable rough patch in season 4 with the introduction of Big Bad Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). The show moved out of reality into the realm of supernatural, forced in part by the other shows in the Arrowverse, and it’s not something that sat comfortably with critics or fans.
Season 4 culminated in a terrible season finale (so bad it may go down as one of the worst season finales of all time) so expectations for season 5 were pretty low. With audiences quickly abandoning the show, it feels like Arrow’s days may be numbered and to the credit of the show’s writers, it seems like they may suspect the same as season 5 is a reboot of sorts.
Having pleased and pissed off fans in equal measure by devoting so much time to Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) relationship with Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), the writers have put the attention back on the crime fighting this season. Oliver and Felicity aren’t together when the season premieres and instead they work together to assemble a new team following the decisions of Thea (Willa Holland) and Diggle (David Ramsey) to pursue different interests at the end of season 4.
No sooner has a new team been assembled with a variety of rough and ready characters, including Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) and Curtis (Echo Kellum), Oliver is faced with finding out the identity of a new villain known as Prometheus. At the same time he has to get to grips with his new role as Mayor of the city and he soon finds out that the two aren’t a perfect marriage.
Season 5 of Arrow promises to be the last to use the split narrative device that has been a staple since season 1. I for one will be very glad of that as the flashbacks in season 5 are among the worst the show has done. They are so dull and take up far too much time. I understand they are trying to tie up Oliver’s backstory but they just aren’t necessary any more at this point.
The central arc of the season is strong. Prometheus is a worthy adversary for Oliver, even if the reveal of his identity isn’t particularly surprising. It’s a lot of fun watching Oliver trying to whip his new team into shape and there are a few surprises over the course of the season including the return of some familiar faces. The season finale leaves everything in the air and is the biggest hint yet that the writers know they need to shake the show up significantly if they want to get another season after the sixth.
Special features on the Blu-ray release include a look at the crossover event with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash and Supergirl, four featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Arrow goes some way to rectifying the mess that was season 4 with its fifth season. It’s still not of the same quality its first three seasons were but it’s a big step in the right direction. The season does enough to tie up the original Oliver Queen arc and I’m excited to see where it’s going to go after the game changing season finale. I still have faith that Arrow could deliver another stellar season when it returns next month based on season 5 being better than I expected it would be.
Cast: Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne, Echo Kellum, Rick Gonzalez, Juliana Harkavy Certificate: 15 Duration: 1184 mins Released By: Warner Bros Release Date: 18th September 2017