Created by: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, based on the DC comic Green Arrow. Starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Willa Holland, David Ramsey, Paul Blackthorne, Emily Bett Richards, Matt Nable, Brandon Routh, Colton Haynes, John Barrowman, Grant Gustin, Karl Yune, Katrina Law.
Ra’s al Ghul (Nable) is an insistent man. If he has decided that someone, say a green-clad vigilante from Starling City, will succeed him as the leader of the League of Assassins, then succeed him he will. His means of persuasion include treachery, murder and assault, and Oliver Queen (Amell) – not being the finest-tuned instrument in the orchestra – soon decides that al Ghul’s demands are rather reasonable after all.
What is that conflagration in yonder sky? It’s Arrow going off in explosive, many-hued fireworks of stupidity. The technical side of this show has been and remains top notch, its cinematography, special effects and action scenes almost always fine things to see, but the same care has never been taken with the scripts. As a consequence, the second half of season 3 is a wonder to behold, for all the wrong reasons.
Character motivation on Arrow has always been based on the “Why?” – “Because!” school of thought, with actions and decisions on the part of the characters never being even vaguely reminiscent of what a real person would do. People behave in ways that are as dramatic as possible, and this seems to be the sole basis for their reactions. This has, as I said, always been the case, but it has been exacerbated by the previously merely dimwitted plotlines going full retard.
I have no wish to spoil things too much, but Oliver has a cunning plan to neutralize the immense threat posed by this season’s antagonist. I know it’s cunning, because I’m sure my neighbour’s dog couldn’t have come up with something that clever. Almost sure. Luckily for Oliver, his new arch enemy isn’t likely to write any doctoral theses either, what with him being about as dense as your average brick. Oliver’s ally and would-be lover Felicity (Rickards) is supposedly a genius, but I get the distinct impression that she’s just living in a world where everyone is mentally challenged and that she, were she to travel to our world, would be of average intelligence at best.
And it’s not only the characters meandering around, drooling down their bibs. What about those increasingly irrelevant flashbacks to Oliver’s past? They are stretched out bits of desperate filler which could have been dealt with in five minutes rather than dragged out over an entire season. The actual season arc is a mess too, meticulously avoiding the temptation to ever make an iota of sense. Related to this arc is also something else I marvel at, namely how Oliver’s super power must be the ability to turn everyone he knows into a superhero or super villain. Not that one should think too deeply about a show that just makes it up as it goes along.
Are there any valid reasons for watching this failed haggis of a dish? Barely. There is the rather tasty whisky sauce magnanimously poured on Arrow by it oh so much better sister show The Flash in the form of lively crossovers and a shared universe. However, these occurrences really only go to show just how much better The Flash is. Amell gives a good performance in all this tripe, and there’s the new joy of Brandon Routh’s lovely and eccentric portrayal of Ray Palmer/The Atom. Furthermore, we finally see some interesting (if random) developments for ever-superfluous Thea (Holland).
The best thing that can be said for the third season is that it wraps up all its hopelessly entangled threads in a ball of yarn which is then tossed to one side, meaning that season 4 will begin with a more or less blank slate. Please, this time fill it with something more worthwhile than childlike scrawling.
Rating: 3 of 10.