This season of Arrow, Oliver Queen faces his greatest threat: Damien Darhk. A wielder of magic who’s so ruthless he’d destroy cities on his quest for more power.
The villain throughout this season is great, and it feels like the actor who plays him, Neal McDonough, is having the time of his life. It’s just as much fun watching him being evil and doing awful thing as the character seems to be just loving what he’s doing. I just wish I could say that about the rest of the season.
The major problem is that it’s just so frickin’ melancholy. It starts by cutting forward to a point in the future with Oliver mourning at someone’s grave. Something it keeps doing throughout the season as it keeps hinting that someone is going to die. Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but this series has a very bad habit of killing off my favorite characters. So if you like someone on this show, don’t get your hopes up that they’re going to stay alive. But you can also probably expect said dead person to come back in some way, even if it’s just them from another dimension for an episode or two, but still, dead but not gone seems to be the major rule of this show.
Outside of showing us an upcoming death constantly, Oliver spends an awful lot of time moping around in this season. So much so it seems to trickle out to every other character, even Damien Darhk a little bit. I mean, when Oliver’s mom died in the second season, we didn’t need the characters to mourn for her, and they hardly do from what I remember, though it is still sad. And that was a permanent death, something rare for any of these series. Here they have a cloud hanging over the whole season that just breaths depression, affecting every character to some degree, and this starts before anyone actually died! I know that Arrow has made a name for being the superhero show that’s darker with higher stakes than any of the other CW shows. I mean, you can pretty much expect at least one major character death per season.
Let’s consider Batman for a second. Batman, like Arrow, has no superpowers, is darker than most of the other comics in the DC universe, and you can expect the stakes to be higher. But Batman also has an iron will. He never gives up, even when he has to do something that seems impossible, like taking down Superman in the Dark Knight Returns or the Injustice series, he doesn’t quit. And one thing he never does is resort to hopelessness, and neither, as shown by this season, should Arrow. I know they’re obviously not the same person, but Arrow had a similar die-hard attitude in the first three seasons that he seems to drop out of here for a chance for him to be mopey and emotional so we can see a side of him, and pretty much every other character, that personally I could do without.
And then it brings it all back in the last few episodes when Darhk really raises the stakes and both Arrow and Oliver Queen have to be heroes to save their city. So, kind of a mixed bag, some of the best and the worst things I’ve seen in this show so far come from this season.
+5.5: I’m feeling fairly mixed right now
+1: Damien Darhk is just damn fun to watch
-2: why is it so damn melancholy throughout this season?
+1.5: really intense and exciting finale (too bad it takes so long to get there…)