For the most part, The Flash and Arrow crossover was strong, The craziness and stakes got dialed up to eleven. It was a great showcase for both Oliver and Barry. It showed the depth of the friendship that has grown between the two heroes. “Legends of Today” and “Legends of Yesterday” were just a lot of fun even if both episodes were really just more set up for the new spin-off series Legends of Tomorrow.
There was just one big mistake. (Well, two if you count Carter being the whitest man alive and playing an ancient prince of Egypt — and you should.) For all the positives of the Flash and Arrow crossover there was a major misstep involving Oliver’s story with his newly discovered son, William. The fault lies not just in “Legends of Yesterday” and how William was introduced, but how the inclusion of William’s existence will negatively effect things moving forward on Arrow.
What Is the Point of William Anyway?
William, before he had that name, was kind of always an odd choice on Arrow. In the comics, Oliver has an illegitimate son named Connor who takes over for his duties as Green Arrow when Oliver “dies.” It seemed like William, when he was first introduced (as a fetus) in “Seeing Red,” was a nod to that storyline. It couldn’t be more than a nod though because the only way it would be feasible for Oliver’s son to replace him was if Arrow goes on for another ten years and then kills Oliver off.
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Now we know that William isn’t Connor, he’s his own new character created just for CW’s Arrow. It doesn’t make William seem like any less pointless though. I suppose he’s a representation of Moira’s continuing influence. If it weren’t for Moira, Oliver would’ve raised William and not just found out about his existence by happenstance. That’s not really enough to justify the cheesy soap opera-ness of William. Thea’s messed up relationship with Malcolm is also a product of Moira’s lies and deceit. We don’t really need a whole other character, let alone a child, to remind us that Moira was a complicated and sometimes reprehensible person.
The only conceivable reason to bring William back now is if he is the person that is in the grave shown in the season 4 premiere. It would be the mother of cop outs but it would explain why William was brought into the story now or why William was even conceived as a character. It’s not as if Samantha and William are joining Arrow as regulars so we won’t get the regular influence of Oliver as a father. At best it will happen off-screen and being implied by a change in Oliver’s demeanor.
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Everything’s Just a Plot Device
This is not to say it couldn’t have worked. The story wasn’t doomed to fail, just unexpected. Stephen Amell’s acting choices in Oliver’s first interactions with William were damn cute. Oliver as a dad could’ve been a great way to add more dimensions and emotions to his character. The problem is how things play out in “Legends of Yesterday.” Samantha’s demands for Oliver being a part of William’s life just make no sense. It’s not the fact that she doesn’t want Oliver’s life mixing with theirs, on that point Samantha is absolutely right. It’s too much to throw onto her son at once and Oliver lives a crazy life. There’s no reason for Samantha forbidding Oliver to tell Felicity or anyone else about William.
Oliver is not asking Samantha for the world as she claims. He’s just asking Samantha to meet his son, that he didn’t even know existed. Samantha’s insane demand is not something that any normal human being would say because Samantha doesn’t act like a normal human. Samantha and William aren’t characters, especially Samantha. We have no reason to care about either one of them, except in the abstract sense. They both exist to add complications to the plot. Complications to the plot that are directly related to the Olicity storyline.
No More Olicity Drama
The biggest problem with Arrow in season 3 was the sheer volume of Oliver and Felicity drama. It overtook the whole show and at times made the audience forget why we even wanted the two together in the first place. A vast majority of it was drama for drama’s sake. The arguments didn’t come out of any kind of organic progression, they just happened because Arrow needed to fill time and keep the two apart.
Arrow season 4 has been very good on correcting that front. Oliver and Felicity have fought with one another, but it always made sense. They’ve been open about their feelings and addressed their issues up front with one another. Oliver, Felicity and Arrow, as a whole, all learned from their season 3 mistakes. Thanks to Samantha and her weird stipulation, we are right back to where we were in season 3. Oliver is needlessly lying to Felicity and the secret will come out in the most horrible way possible. Does Samantha have Oliver’s apartment bugged? Why can’t he just tell Felicity the truth? If Oliver loves Felicity, and he does, why are Samantha’s feelings more important that Felicity.
“Legends of Today” and “Legends of Yesterday” underlined what a different (and better) show Arrow has become in a year’s time. It is still a world with stakes, secret and drama but it’s also a much happier, cheerful world. Oliver keeping a secret love child from his beloved girlfriend feels like the product of a very different show. A show that Arrow has outgrown in season 4. William should’ve stayed just as forgotten.
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But what do you think? Is there hope for the William storyline on Arrow? Do you like Olicity drama in all its forms? Are Samantha’s demands just as insane to you or do you see the logic? Is William (or Samantha) the person who dies at the end of the season?
Arrow season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW.
(Images courtesy of The CW)