The Season 5 finale prompted me to go back and watch the Arrow Pilot to see how well the flashbacks dovetailed into the very first episode. Well a funny thing happened, once I watched the Pilot I got hooked and just kept on going, and just last night I finished the entirety of Season 1. I had not seen any of these episodes since 2013 and I thought I’d comment on season 1.
First and foremost it is my thorough conviction that the show in Season 1 was vastly superior to the show in its present form. I was knocking out 2 and sometimes 3 episodes in a single night. I’ve been pondering just what made it so compelling and here’s what I came up with:
A) The island flashbacks were just as good if not better than what was going on in Star City. In Season 1 I really wanted to know “Just what did go down on that island that forged the rather ‘soft’ Oliver into the Vigilante?” Also Slade Wilson and Shado were interesting characters in and of themselves.
By Season 5 the flashbacks had become an annoyance to me. Oliver seemed pretty much a Bad Ass by the time he got to Russia, so the flashback was just telling me a separate story of the already fully formed man he had become – which just broke up the current story rather than augmenting it.
My conclusion is going forward the PTB should just tell a linear story without the flashbacks. The flashbacks served a purpose, but they’ve run their course.
B) In Season 1 there was a true sense of mystery as to who all the players were and what their motives were. Could Diggle be counted on to keep Ollie’s secret? And later on the same question would be asked of Felicity. Oliver (and the audience) didn’t know just what Moira was up to and where her allegiances lay. Oliver had no idea Malcolm was the Black Archer – indeed at one point he actually works at cross purposes with Moira by saving Malcolm from her hired hitman. Likewise Malcolm didn’t know Oliver was the Vigilante until the second to last episode, and even exclaimed “Oh no!” when he unmasked Oliver. And of course there was Detective Quentin always at odds with the Vigilante.
By Season 5 it seemed that everyone knew who the Green Arrow was and even where his hangout was. All of Oliver’s friends were in on the secret, Detective Lance was a part of the “Arrow Gang”, Nyssa was in on the secret, and even Prometheus appeared to know more about Ollie than his friends did. This in my opinion greatly reduced the suspense in Season 5.
My conclusion is that the genie is out of the bottle on this one and there can be no going back to when Oliver had to lead a double life and constantly run the risk of being found out.
Not all shows Jump the Shark, and Arrow is still worth watching but for me it has degraded from the place it started out at. Heading into Season 6 I have hopes that the show can be revived to its former greatness, but I have to admit I will be surprised if it can be.
You had a great idea! I'm watching Season 1 now too.
Watching Season 5 almost felt like a chore. Watching season 1 again even though I've already seen it is really exciting.
There is the good mix between "family" and action.
Oliver is forced to lie to his family for "the greater good."
And forced to play a bumbling Oliver for the public.
Detective Lance is constantly dogging him.
The flashbacks are compelling. Oliver really is a completely different person and you have no clue how the Oliver of the past can become the Oliver of the present.
Oliver sets up his secret base and starts fighting crime himself. He is examining evidence and solving investigative problems. A big different from when Felicity does everything but punch people.
Oliver is also steps ahead of EVERYONE. Like when he lets himself be filmed so he falls under suspicion as the Hood and is arrested. So that he can get Diggle to play the Hood and have the case dismissed. He knew eventually people would wonder why the Hood and Oliver came on the scene at the same time so he dealt with it.
Also the last neat thing is how there is a great mystery about the scars and what happened to Oliver in the five years. In the 2nd or 3rd episode Oliver goes to get info from the Bratva and he says he's a Captain and you're going "What?!" It is neat to see this again knowing how all the pieces fit already.
I will say this though, the acting at times is still not great. Sometimes lines and scenes feel clunky. But overall it's good enough that I want to watch 2 or 3 episodes a night and I only stop because I have work the next morning.