In Need of a Lazarus Pit
Where do I start? After coming off an incredible Season 2, Arrow comes back with this sub par season 3. There’s so much to talk about so let’s just split the season in two and start with the first half (A.K.A. what was good about the season.)
We left off in Season 2 awaiting one of the most powerful and terrifying villains in the DC Universe… Ra’s Al Ghul. I’m pretty sure every nerd went bonkers when they heard Ra’s Al Ghul would be the main villain for Arrow Season 3. Then we hear nothing about him until the fourth episode… which okay, that’s fine… Arrow usually takes its time to establish its season long villains. Then we get him in Episode 9 “The Climb”, the midseason finale. With all the mentioning of Ra’s in past episodes, the build up was high. The fight was great, and what? Ra’s Wins?! Awesome! True show of power, since he IS Ra’s Al Ghul and Oliver isn’t very handy with a sword. I’m very Okay with this. Can’t see where this goes from here.
Also noted that the beginning of the season wasted no time kicking things off, they killed Sara off in the very first episode. This added the “who dunnit?” mystery to the show. At one point you’re led to think it was Roy, or possibly someone else in Team Arrow, maybe even Oliver himself. Then later it was revealed Thea under Malcolm’s influence was the culprit (to which I said to my girlfriend right off the bat, Thea did it.) The mystery of who killed Sara was a good direction for the show. It kept us watching and kept us guessing who it could have possibly been. Although I did find that it was pretty obvious it was Thea, knowing she had been training with the enemy. Still I was okay with this, the show was still strong and connecting story the Ra’s and the League of Assassins.
The introduction of Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/The Atom was possibly the best thing to happen in Season 3. For those of you who don’t know, Brandon Routh played Superman in Superman Returns. I have a pretty good feeling they cast him simply for this reason, and they also made some very subtle jokes about it as well throughout the season. Routh did a really fantastic job as the Atom, provided some of the best acting on the show, and quickly became one of my favorite characters. not to mention his chemistry with the other actors fared really well too.
Laurel’s transformation into the Black Canary was a slow one and was done really well (although this happened in the 2nd half of the season.) I was afraid they would just throw her into the fight and have her just start kicking ass right off the bat. This didn’t happen (thank the lord.) Laurel took a beating for a while which is what I really wanted to see. You don’t become a superhero overnight.
Then we had the crossover with The Flash. All done really well, crossover episodes were awesome, especially if you watched both series. I’m glad CW made this happen and I look forward to them as they continue in future seasons.
Real quick I’m going to touch upon the flashbacks before I rip into everything that was wrong with the season. The flashbacks were boring and almost unneeded. Some of them were way too far-fetched. You’re going to tell me Oliver is going back to Starling City, to his best friend’s MASSIVE party, and no one there is going to recognize him?! Hoodie or not, that it stupid and terrible writing. I know they used the flashbacks to build Maseo and Tatsu’s characters, but I found myself just not caring when they came on. Now if we were to flashback to Season 1 and 2, there were some points where the flashbacks held my interest even more so than the actual present episode. In my opinion, they should have done away with Flashbacks after season 2. They started reaching with them and it didn’t feel very fulfilling after this season.
Ok, so midseason finale ends, Oliver is apparently dead, Team Arrow tries to go on without Oliver. My thoughts at the time “Overall a pretty strong first half, can’t wait to see what happens next.” Here is where the season really fell apart. Ready?
Begin angry rant.
Right into the 2nd half we have this weird Brick hostage storyline that makes absolutely no sense. Brick has 3 hostages, so he takes over the glades and the Starling City Police Dept. just lets it happen. They don’t try and go in to take brick out, they don’t call the National Guard, they basically don’t do a damn thing and just leave him alone, running amok in The Glades. Okay whatever, maybe I can look past this. Then we have the city brawl between Brick and his henchmen, and Team Arrow and their “Glades badasses.” Everyone has guns, but no one uses them, instead we get this shitty Braveheart type battle in the middle of the street. Wildcat shows up and does absolutely nothing as Brick hands him a can of whoop-ass. What happens to him after that? Who knows…. Oliver returns in the most anticlimactic way possible and despite suffering from being impaled only a few weeks prior, he’s able to help save the city and fly away via his grappling Arrow. I touched mainly upon this episode because of how utterly ridiculous this was.
Then, the rest of the season was just bad. Just plain bad. Bad writing, bad acting. Here and there we were treated to a pretty solid episode that would get our hopes up, only for them to be smashed to pieces the following week. It seemed like whoever was writing the show wrote themselves into a corner and just stayed there until that horrendous season finale we had. Let’s talk about Ra’s Al Ghul again for a moment.
Ra’s Al Ghul is supposed to be one of the most powerful men on the planet. He has an army of assassins at his disposal. NOTHING get’s by him, he’s all knowing and eternal. He even sets up a trap to see if there are any traitors in his midst. The trap works well and what does he find… ALL OF OLIVER’S FRIENDS. You’re telling me that he sets this trap up, captures all of Oliver’s friends, and STILL doesn’t know Oliver is behind it the entire time? Bullshit! Then we have Malcolm unofficially joining Team Arrow which is also dumb. He was responsible for the death Oliver’s love interest! Regardless of who I was up against, if someone had killed my girlfriend, there is no shot I would ever side with them regardless of the circumstances, again, dumb!
How about that heaping mound of poo of a finale they gave us? The show reached so much to attempt to pull everything together and it did not work at all. Since when was the virus transmitted through an infected’s blood? Also, Why hadn’t the infected just drop dead? Ra’s has been training his entire life in sword combat, yet Oliver’s month and a half of training with the league will ensure him victory? Oliver gets shot by .50 calibur bullets… good thing he was wearing that league armor that arrows and handgun rounds have been able to penetrate all season, right?
Felicity hops into the Atom suit and is able to save Oliver at the last second. Aside from the fact that she was able to operate the suit for the first time ever without problems, Ray Palmer is like 2 feet taller than Felicity, how the hell does it even fit her? Instead of that stupid shitty cop out, why not just have Felicity look after the nanobots and have Ray go and save Oliver. It makes way more fucking sense than having Felicity do it. Malcolm Merlyn as the new Ra’s Al Ghul? Megadumb! Oliver and Felicity ride off into the sunset? And then NOTHING looking forward to season 4, NOTHING!
Look, I’m all for the way Arrow does things where they end their seasons with a “case closed” kind of attitude, but this was awful. The only good thing we got in this episode was Thea as Speedy. It was an under performing finale and left a bad taste in most Arrow fan’s mouths. Oliver had gone so soft this season and spent too much time crying and bitching rather than going out, kicking ass, and getting the job done. There was no big season death like Tommy in Season One and Moira in Season Two (unless you count Sara in the premiere episode.) The 2nd half of the season just felt like a terrible fan fiction you find on Reddit. I can only pray Season 4 comes back stronger than this.