Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing Netflix catch-up and Arrowverse catch-up. The shows have included The Rain (great), Dark (so-so), Lost in Space (fun), Supergirl Season 3 (really enjoyable) and The Flash Season 4 (a joy).
This week I’m back in the Arrowverse, getting up-to-date with Arrow Season 6. This is the season where Team Arrow fall-out with each other (again); where Roy returns (briefly); and where the show finally abandons the use of flashbacks – breaking a storytelling format that has dated back to the first season.
At time of writing, I’m roughly four episodes from the end of Season Six and I have to say… I’m bored. Seriously bored.
I feel kind of a traitor for saying this, but this season has just been incredibly slow. In fact, I’ve really struggled to get through the episodes.
The boredom has nothing to do with the cast – I think they are great as usual. It also has nothing to do with the stunts or the action sequences – they are often the highlight of each episode. The problem is the writing.
Six years in and we’re still getting the obligatory ‘Oliver falls out with Diggle/Felicity/Team Arrow’* for a few episodes, to create some tension in the story (*please delete as applicable). But this does not cause any tension as it happens ALL THE TIME.
How many times does Team Arrow need to fall out, make up, then fall out again? It’s happened so many times this season I can’t keep up with who is in the team and who isn’t?!
We’ve also reached a point where nothing seems to be happening. OK, so that’s not entirely true, the story is moving along, but it feels as if it’s severely lacking any direction.
Last week, I praised The Flash for introducing a really great villain in The Thinker – a character who really provided a challenge for Team Flash to overcome. Sadly, this season of Arrow has suffered from a succession of rubbish villains and that’s become very noticeable.
I appreciate that Arrow is the more grounded entry in the Arrowverse (if that’s possible), but that doesn’t mean it has to be so pedestrian with its villains. Gangsters in suits – the theme this year – just hasn’t cut it and I don’t feel like there’s any real threat.
Based on this most recent season I’ve had to question if this is a show for me anymore. I kind of feel like I’m only watching out of loyalty to the Arrowverse as a whole and that’s not the sign of great TV.
Moving into Season Seven, Arrow is getting a new showrunner, so I’m not giving up on Ollie and Co. just yet. As mentioned above, the cast are all fine, so I just think that some tweaks and a shake-up is all that’s needed.
As for highlights this season, well they’ve been a little thin on the ground. However, the Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Earth X was a joy to watch and Fundamentals – an episode which saw Oliver whacked out on Vertigo – was pretty good.
But, yeah, that’s all I have.
I like Arrow, I understand it’s importance in the Arrowverse and I really like the characters, but this season something has just not worked for me and I wonder if other fans are feeling this way?
Arrow Season Six is currently available to watch on catch-up via Sky.
I’ve now finished the season, having watched the final four episodes: Shifting Allegiances, Docket No. 11-19-41-73, The Ties That Bind and Life Sentence. Wow – things picked up SIGNIFICANTLY with the last four episodes.
I still stand by what I said above, but with the last four episodes Season 6 suddenly got a much needed shot of energy and became the Arrow that I’ve missed. Everything that happened to get these four episodes up to this level, THIS is what the show needs to do next year.