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Arrow Season 4: You Have Failed This Series

Has Arrow lost its point? Is it time to BOW out? Are you tired of Oliver Queen’s latest ARCHERY-nemesis? Does Laurel donning the Black Canary costume still make you QUIVER? Ok, ok I’ll stop with the bow and arrow puns as I’m sure by now they’re MISSING THE TARGET… sorry couldn’t resist.

I am of course referring to the fourth season of Arrow and my desire to see one of my favourite programmes on TV in recent years, return to the dizzying heights it experienced in Seasons One and Two. Now I don’t want go off into a fevered, bloodlust rant here but narratively, Arrow does not seem to be going anywhere at present. In the UK we are officially half way through the fourth season and I must admit, I’m praying for someone to release Deathstroke from Lian Yu, who by my standards is currently the best big bad the series has birthed.

Let’s start with Damien Darhk, a villain who seemed to be crowbarred into the end of Season Three by the writers to set up the fourth season’s lead antagonist. As a matter of fact, if I’m being honest, he seems to be our only bad guy at the moment… Sorry Calculator you don’t seem to be ADDING much to the narrative either, rather SUBTRACTING from it in fact. Darhk is unconvincing as a villain and to make matters worse, as they often do in both DC and Marvel TV shows, they try to fall back on making a character more interesting by bestowing upon their lead antagonist a set of omnipotent abilities or superhuman attributes. This I feel is intended to make up for the lazy writing of some characters (COUGH) Vandal Savage (COUGH). And when we do get a bad guy of an exciting calibre not seen before in any incarnation… Batman’s roster is once again pillaged.

Talking of Batman and crowbars, I haven’t seen one so evidently swung since the Joker did so with Jason Todd as with Oliver’s return to Lian Yu. Dear God the flashbacks! Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels their inclusion is utterly worthless. Every time I hear the swooshing noise that indicates a flashback is looming, I almost want to stage a comeback of my own e.g. revisiting Season One and Two. I mean come on, how many detours did Oliver make before returning home? The guy should have been writing a travel blog at the rate he is going and I certainly hope he’s collecting his Air Miles.

It seems the current scriptwriters at present have the mystical touch of Darhk, namely killing anything they come into contact with. As if Damien Darhk wasn’t bad enough, we have to deal with the THEA-trics of the show and the effects of the Lazarus pit upon Oliver’s sister. Let’s be honest, she’s no Roy just as Laurel is no Sarah. Don’t even get me started on Vixen’s lazy debut/ explanation as to how she knows Oliver. Oh you met during some “CRAZY THING LAST YEAR?” Please, keep it to yourselves, I don’t think I could take another diversionary flashback.

However, there’s still Diggle right? Now before I continue, I’d just like to note for the record how much I love Diggle’s character and his essential role serving as the ying to Oliver’s yang. That aside, if I bumped into him in a dark alleyway at present I’d probably ask him for directions to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. I’m not saying we have to hood him up and squeeze him into the spandex but it would be a start, anything’s better than biker chic meets Judge Dredd.

I suppose my biggest issue is that I just don’t feel invested in the plot or the characters. Series One and Two had me on the edge of my seat, Series Three excited me as we were getting one of my favourite villains ever in Ras Al Ghul. And Series Four? The ultimate test of this was when Felicity was shot and consequently paralysed. Now in the UK, this was the final episode before the mid-season break. I was so unimpressed by the first half of the season that by the time it returned I’d generally forgotten about Felicity’s predicament.

This plot line was made all the more lame by the future Mr Terrific A.K.A. Curtis Holt at present, coming up with a cure for paralysis!!! I mean if he is such a miracle worker why haven’t they got him on scriptwriting duties? I bet Oracle can’t wait to be written into the series (yet another potential Batman Plunder) or for that matter, any other character in a wheelchair, Diggle already knows where to find Professor Xavier! I mean what is Holt’s next trick going to be, turning water into wine? One thing’s for sure, it won’t be walking on water as Barry has already done that one in The Flash this season.

Ironically, the most on point bit of dialogue in this whole season thus far actually came via Eminem’s older stunt double, Damien Darhk. In the episode entitled “Son Burn” (dear God even the episode names are awful) after Oliver loses to Darhk for the 87th time, Darhk openly mocks Oliver and his repetitive/ goldfish memory when it comes to taking him on in hand to hand combat. As he comments on his tale of the tape, “You lose, rinse, repeat.” And that ladies and gentlemen, for me, sums of Season Four thus far, except its not Oliver and his gang that lose, its us, the fans. We tune in, lose interest, then tune in again with the hope it will improve to be let down again and then? Well we rinse, repeat and tune in next week.

So what do you think of Arrow Season Four? Should it be resurrected via Lazarus Pit for Season Five or should it add another feather to its bow? Let me know in the comments below or on our Twitter page.

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Jake Barber

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