I’ll be honest. I’m about an arrow’s width away from dropping Arrow completely. The CW’s once-flagship DC comics drama started off pretty cheesy but then just kept getting better, culminating in a fantastic second season (which also gave us The Flash). The third season was a lot more uneven with some total dud moments mixed with some awesomeness, and also setting up the fun Legends of Tomorrow spinoff. However, it ended so poorly that I started considering that maybe Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen and his crew of masked vigilantes wasn’t worth my time anymore. But I gave it another go… and totally regretted it. Season 4 was a sloppy, hackneyed mess which not even a deliciously scenery chewing Neal McDonough could rescue.
I’m most definitely not alone in my distaste for season 4, as criticism has been rife online. But people are still watching though – maybe like me they were still hopeful, or maybe they were just hate-watching? – so a fifth season was almost assured. And during the show’s Comic-Con panel this weekend past, we got our first look at that fifth season, and it looks… better?
Firstly, the fight choreography and cinematography already seems much better than the laughable amateur hour we got subjected to on season 4 (try to watch the final fight between Green and Damien Darkh and not cringe at what are supposed to be too highly trained killers engaging in a sloppy fist fight that would be more at home in a drunken bar brawl).
Secondly, that seemingly super-strong homeless person at 1:25 mark is actually Ragman, a classic supernatural DC Comics character. It was announced during Comic-Con that the character will be debuting in the second episode of the new season, played by Blindspot alum Joe Dinicol. Ragman is notable for being a Jewish superhero, who wears the mystical (and tattered) suit of souls, which allows him to draw on the strength and abilities of the souls of his enemies which he has trapped inside it.
Thirdly, Am I the only that thinks there was some kind of meta-commentary at the start there? Like they show the events of the much maligned fourth season and then have Oliver’s voiceover saying “I know you wouldn’t approve of what I did. I know it’s not what you would have wanted.” Even Felicity gets in on the meta-action by declaring that “You have been waiting for things to get back to the way they were… they’re not”. Is it just me seeing this connection?
Either way, things are heading into a new direction as we have a bunch of new young vigilantes for Oliver to train in the form of tech genius Curtis Holt (who appears to be the TV version of Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt), fake Black Canary Evelyn Sharp, and sometime hero Renee Ramirez aka Wild Dog. The latter clearly have a connection to Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance aka Black Canary, who was killed during season 4 – Evelyn impersonated her after her death, and Renee trained her to fight when she was just starting out as her superhero alter-ego. It could be that bringing them into the fold has something to do with Oliver and co, dealing with Laurel’s death.
Not that they may have to deal for much longer, as it’s been revealed that Cassidy has signed a new deal with the CW that stretches across all the network’s superhero shows, i.e. Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. The latter show is stuffed full of time travel, and has already shown how going back into the past can “revive” a central character that had died on the show – in this case Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold who sacrificed himself to save his team in the show’s season finale – so this could easily be a way to get around that whole pesky death thing.
However she comes back, you won’t have to wait long to see Cassidy on your screen again, as Amell confirmed that the character will be seen in Arrow‘s season 5 premiere as we find out just what she made Oliver promise to do before her death.
“It’s something that’s going to have a lasting impact not just in our season premiere, but over the next couple seasons of the show. It’s going to be critical to whatever the legacy of our show is.”
Something that won’t have a last impact though are the show’s flashbacks, which may have been a staple tool to explaining what Oliver was up in the four years he was missing, but just like most things in season 4, devolved into clumsy mess that just dragged down the entire story. And according Amell, we’ll be rid of them soon.
“This is probably the last year of the flashbacks, which means that we have a lot to accomplish. Which means that the impetus and the through line of the flashbacks will, I think, have a lot more urgency to them.”
Damn it. I’m watching this show again, aren’t I?
Arrow season 5 will premier on The CW on October 5, 2016.
Last Updated: July 25, 2016