The Flashbacks on 'Arrow' Are Ruining the Story
The Flashbacks on 'Arrow' Are Ruining the Story
Jay Ruymann
Jay Ruymann
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
One of the core ingredients of Arrow has been integrating flashbacks into the present day storytelling, but, for a while now, the flashbacks haven't been helping the series as much as hindering it. While the flashbacks of seasons 1 and 2 were astounding and contributed vastly to the story, after that they've been a mess that didn't live up to what we'd been teased into figuring out in the previous years.


The Overarching Flashbacks

Over the series' first five seasons, the flashbacks to Oliver's life during his five years away were unearthed slowly, and we learned exactly what he had gone through that led to the drastically different man found on Lian Yu in the series premiere. While the first two seasons' flashbacks were interesting and tied to the story being told, after that, the flashbacks just burdened the show and the interest from seasons 1 and 2 was gone for several different reasons.

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First, the flashbacks began to get closer to Oliver being found alive, but it never felt that way. The man on the island, or in China or Russia, never seemed like he was heading toward the Oliver Queen that returned home. The further the story progressed, the less sense it made, and the more information was retconned to fit the flashback story the writers were telling.

Oliver's life during those years was terrible, but his trip to becoming The Hood of season 1 never added up. It didn't seem like his vendetta against those who helped his father ruin Starling City was ever as important to Oliver as it had seemed. Even as we reached the conclusion of Oliver's flashbacks, viewers still weren't sold on flashback Oliver turning into season 1 Oliver, which was a disappointment that the writers never counted on.

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For the information teased about Oliver's life during the series' first two seasons, some of it we never saw, or some of it turned out insanely different than we were previously led to believe. There was no plan for the flashbacks and the writers made things up as they went along, and there was no way they could revisit every episode and find every mention of his time away. It was less about bad writing, and more that they bit off more than they could chew.

Season 6 and Onward

The flashbacks we've seen in season 6 are just confirming that the writers need to drop the flashbacks for good and commit to a present day story, like The Flash always has.

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There haven't been very many, but, as with Slade's flashbacks in Arrow season 6 episodes 5 and 6, the writers retconned too much information and created a story that didn't fit with what we have previously been told about the characters and their stories.

The flashbacks are creating an inaccurate story, and they're burdening the series with their presence. Now that we've learned all of Oliver's story during his five years away, it's time to drop the flashbacks for good, unless it's with new characters like Dinah Drake, or a new villain.

What do you think? Do you like the flashbacks on Arrow? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW. Like our Arrow Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of The CW)