Arrow‘s third season has come and gone, and I think almost everyone (like 90% of viewers) can agree that this was the poorest season yet. But what exactly led to such a decline in quality this year? Take a look at the following six reasons Arrow‘s third season was terrible.
6. Oliver’s “Death”
Right before the mid-season break, we witnessed the “shocking” cliffhanger of Ra’s Al Ghul killing Oliver Queen in battle. The question is: was it really a shocker? I’m looking at this from two perspectives: as someone who has read the comics, and someone who hasn’t. If you’ve never read the comics, and you watched Oliver’s death, you still knew he was going to come back. It’s common sense. The show will not kill off the central character unless it’s the very last episode. If it was a season finale, then sure, it might have been more credible and we may have believed that this was the fate of Oliver Queen. Otherwise, it was just another “meh” moment.
Looking at it from the side of an avid comic reader, it definitely wasn’t a shocker that Ollie was coming back, mainly because Ra’s Al Ghul’s whole shtick is that he has access to the Lazarus Pit. But it was quite a surprise when we learned that Oliver was resurrected without the aid of the Pit at all. The sword just happened to miss any vital organs, and Ollie was back to fighting fit in a few weeks/months. What an anticlimactic resolution to a mid-season cliffhanger. If they were trying to just avoid the Lazarus Pit storyline altogether, then I’d be fine. But we actually see the Pit being used later on in the same season! Make up your mind, Arrow!
5. Removal of Key Characters
Not counting Ra’s Al Ghul, we lost two key characters in Season 3: Sara Lance and Roy Harper. Sara’s death was quite a shocker at the beginning of the season, but then we find out what exactly happened, and it was complete horse-s**t. Of all the ways for her character to be killed off, it was by a drugged Thea with a bow and arrow? Sara was trained by the League of Assassins and has proven herself an accomplished fighter time and time again, yet this is how she meets her end? It’s neat that this event acted as a catalyst to introduce Laurel as the new Black Canary, but it was a cop-out to kill off one of the most bad-ass characters on the show in such a menial way. Apparently, the writers agreed on this sentiment since they are reviving Sara in Legends of Tomorrow as White Canary.
Roy Harper’s departure wasn’t as disrespectful to the character, but it was still tragic. After posing as the Arrow and faking his death, he gets in his fancy car and drives away, only returning for one episode to bang Thea and to pass off his costume to her. While it’s awesome that his leaving meant the introduction of Speedy, I think it’s a shame that he had to leave so soon. He only just became the official Arsenal at the beginning of this same season, and now he’s already gone? You’d think he’d get an extra season to be there for Oliver, especially as Ollie was going through this struggle with Ra’s Al Ghul. I figured if anyone needed to save Oliver, it would’ve been Roy, the man who Oliver had saved numerous times in the past.
If/when he does come back, it better be with a robot arm and Cadmus Labs at his heels.
4. Lame Flashbacks
The flashbacks are an integral part of Arrow. A lot had happened to Oliver during those years on the island. In Seasons 1 and 2, we learned through the flashbacks how Oliver initially developed his fighting and archery skills. We also saw the development of one of his most intense vile enemies: Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke. Last season, the flashbacks added a lot to the story in the present, explaining Slade’s motivation and why he hates Oliver.
So where did Season 3 go wrong? Well, for one, Oliver wasn’t even on the island anymore. When the show first started, we assumed he had spent the five years isolated in that one location. Now we’re learning that he spent a year in Hong Kong, and that he actually made it back to Starling City for a couple nights! This segment made me so mad. At one point, he was literally twenty yards from his family. I had to stop and say to myself, “So he got to see his family while he was stranded. Awesome.” This takes away from the sympathy we feel for him in the first episode when we learn that he’s seeing his family for the first time in five years. Oops! Not the case!
Another issue with the flashbacks is that they’re probably not over. The last time we see Oliver during the flashbacks, he’s stowing away on a random Hong Kong cargo boat. I don’t think he’s heading back to the island just yet. With the show spending 50% of its time revolving around flashbacks, I think it’s safe to say that another adventure awaits Oliver between the time he gets on this boat, and when he’s finally discovered on the island.