When season four of The CW’s Arrow concluded, I was disappointed, to say the least. The show was running off the rails, complete with saving the world from a nuclear holocaust and flashbacks that seemed utterly pointless. Arrow started the DCTV universe and as other shows like Legends and Flash gained momentum, Arrow stalled.
This brings us to the premiere of season five. Leading up to this episode, we had been hearing that this season would be a return to form for Arrow, even comparing it to The Wire. This season would focus on what brought audiences into the show in the first place, one man taking on the duty of defending his city.
“Legacy” opens with Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) coming to terms with the fact that his Arrow crew is no longer. John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Thea Queen/Speedy (Willa Holland) are not fighting. Thea is still playing a critical role, working for Oliver now that he has become mayor of Star City. This fraction within the team allows for new characters to take on bigger roles and bring fresh life into the series.
Echo Kellum (Curtis Holt) is one of the potential new team members for Oliver and he brings a lightness and sense of humor to his role. Brightening up what has been a traditionally dark series. Arrow needed new characters and a brighter tone in order to avoid falling into the same pitfalls that have taken place in previous seasons.
Speaking of new characters, Chad L. Coleman (Tobias Church) brings a different infectious energy to the show as our new “big bad.” He brings a street-villain, gritty vibe to the show, once again returning Arrow to its original roots. Which it so desperately needed.
The action and fight choreography has been a standout for Arrow and this season looks like it won’t disappoint. The fight sequences have become more complex and visually intriguing.
While the fighting and new characters are the standout moments of this opening episode, the subtlety and emotional moments bring the show back to a grounded place. After all, we need to be invested into these characters once again. Paul Blackthorne proves that he is one of the best actors within the DCTV universe as he continues to mourn the loss of Laurel Lance. The key to a strong superhero show is remembering that these superheroes are also human.
This episode felt like a return to season one and two, in which Arrow was above the rest of superhero shows on TV and in this case, going back to basics is just what was needed. Now if only we could get rid of those flashbacks…
If you haven’t been giving Arrow a shot…it might be time to return to Star City.