tried something very risky in "Spectre of the Gun." While in season 5, Oliver put killing "back on the table" the show also attempted to pull off a gun control debate episode. Whether the experiment worked is probably up to the individual viewer to decide. However because of the storyline of "Spectre of the Gun" and how Oliver approached gun violence, the executive producers of Arrow
are promising an new outlook for Oliver, the team and the viewers when it comes to the Green Arrow killing people.
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has always operated in a bit of a gray area. Oliver is not as squeaky clean of a hero as Barry Allen on The Flash
(when he is not wreaking havoc with the timeline) or Kara Danvers on Supergirl
(when she is not under the influence of red kryptonite). Oliver has always operated in the gray, being something between a criminal and a hero. In an interview with TVLine Arrow
executive producer Marc Guggenheim explained the complexities of Oliver as a hero will only grow in season 5.
"One of the things you'll see in the second half of Season 5 is the gray area becomes a lot more gray," Guggenheim explained. "We're really delving into the complexities of Oliver being a killer in a way that we've never done on the show before, with a lot more nuance. In the past, it was like, 'I'm a killer,' or, 'I'm not a killer.' It was very binary. This year ... it's super gray and it's really messy, and ["Spectre of the Gun"] is a component of it."
Guggenheim continued that Oliver killing people has always been one of the most interesting things about the character to him and the other Arrow writers. "That was something that spoke to us as writers and spoke to the audience back in Season 1. Like, this guy kills people," Guggenheim said. "It was a big part of the original pitch. We said, 'At the end of Act Two, he's going to break someone's neck.' One of the things we're doing in the back half of season 5 is really getting underneath that and what that means, not just in terms of morality, but in terms of psychology, specifically Oliver's psychology. There are things about Oliver's killing that you have yet to learn."
On a personal level, this all sounds equally promising and worrying. It is very interesting to have a character like Oliver lead a show. There is an idea that a hero, especially a superhero, can't kill or at best they're an anti-hero. Oliver Queen seems to inhabit some weird middle ground between hero and anti-hero. It's a balancing act though. If Arrow can pull it off they might be able to facilitate some really interesting conversations among the characters and the audience. If things don't work, everything just becomes a big mess. Arrow has been firm on Oliver's position on killing over the seasons, whereas with other characters it has been murky. Even when Oliver was on strict no-killing policy, Diggle was shooting everyone in sight as Spartan.
Arrow's other executive producer Wendy Mericle did claim that Oliver's position on killing will ripple out to other characters this season. "For the rest of the season, we'll definitely be exploring the ramifications of that decision [to kill] ... in respect to Felicity and, to some extent, Curtis as well," Mericle explained. "How do they square their own circles morally with the actions that they've taken?"
As long as Arrow stays steady on the position Oliver takes as a killer, such as he only kills as a last resort or in self-defense, Arrow should be fine on this new venture. Especially if other characters like Felicity and Curtis have their own feelings expressed. If the show gets a little too carried away with the action scenes and the killing because it "looks cool" that's where things could get very messy, not to mention overly complicated and hypocritical.
But what do you think? Are you looking forward to the gray area on Arrow expanding? Do you think Oliver should kill at all? Should the show's position on killing be binary or should it be more fluid? What else could we learn about Oliver killing people?
(Image courtesy of The CW)