Though a personal favorite, not everyone is a fan of Arrow season 4. Though it boggles the mind that people actually enjoy season 4, with Damien Darhk and its high stakes, less than season 3 which saw the blandest villain imaginable and perpetually weeping Felicity, this is the case.
As a result there has already been a lot of discussion, mainly from Arrow star Stephen Amell, about how season 5 will be different. The main way Arrow looks to change in season 5 is in terms of the villain. Reports are circulating that Arrow plans to go back to basics with season 5 giving the audience a de-powered villain, and overall much more grounded storyline, which as much as I enjoyed season 4 sounds like a fantastic idea.
Discussion of this type really started immediately following the season 4 finale of Arrow when Stephen Amell talked to EW about what he’d like to see for season 5. In the interview Amell talked about since Arrow has become such a success and launched so many other series, the show has changed a bit.
Arrow has introduced a lot of new characters on the series since season 2. Often these characters don’t stick around and get their own series. Of season 5 Amell said, “Even though Supergirl is joining the ranks, there’s no new person or new show to introduce this year, and I think as a result of that, we need to get back to focusing more on some of the core elements that used to define Arrow. To me, that’s hand-to-hand combat, no superpowers, and dealing with the job of cleaning up Star City.”
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It’s that last part that is the most exciting promise for season 5. While I’ve enjoyed every season of Arrow, it’s been a while since the show has a had a truly awe-inspiring action scene. Though Damien Darhk was a fantastic villain, Oliver couldn’t really fight him hand-to-hand and a result the confrontations felt a little too similar and repetitive.
It is not just Stephen Amell’s wishful thinking that suggests Arrow season 5 will get back to the more grounded world of season 1 and 2. TVLine reports that Arrow is looking to cast a character like Idris Elba’s drug kingpin from HBO’s The Wire for season 5’s big villain. The new baddie tentatively named “Anton Church” will “set out to fill the sizable void left by Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E.” He is described as “an apex predator who cuts his way through the shadows by taking down the biggest threat first.” Going back to Amell he also says that the new villain won’t have superpowers.
This news only compounds the hope created by Amell’s statements. One of the biggest problems of season 4, and there were undoubtedly problems with it as much I enjoyed it, is that things with Damien Darhk got too big. Arrow wrote themselves into a corner especially when it was revealed that Darhk planned to use all the nukes in the world. Arrow had no choice but to come up with an overly simple solution for the gigantic problem. Arrow is not really a show meant for big arcs or global plots.
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Arrow, at its core, is about one man and one city. There are heroes assisting him but what made the central conflicts of Arrow season 1 and 2 so wonderful is that they were personal. Oliver was one an intimate journey with himself and even the villain. Oliver never really engaged in a personal rivalry with Damien Darhk.
In season 1 Oliver was fighting the father of his best friend and in season 2 he was fighting his best friend turned worst enemy. In both cases Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson had very specific goals. If Arrow season 5 really wants to go back to this type of story it can only mean good things. Oliver is now the mayor of Star City. He, arguably, has more relying on the city’s survival than any other season. It would fit perfectly if the new Big Bad of season 5 is trying to take back everything Oliver has gained in 5 years.
But what do you think? Does Arrow need to go smaller with its villain for season 5?
(image courtesy of The CW)