Arrow season 5 hasn’t just made several references to the early “glory days” seasons of the show. The show has actually managed to maintain the quality of seasons 1 and 2. There has been no dip in episodes after the post-winter break as has become typical in the last two seasons. Arrow season 5 is well on its way to breaking into the three best seasons of the show. There is unfortunately a continuous and insidious issue in Arrow season 5, though, and her name is Susan Williams.
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Here Reporting for … Who Cares?!
There are a number of criticisms that Arrow fans can hurl at Susan. Her name is ranks right under Jane Doe in the most generic female names of all time. Even though she is in a relationship with Oliver, there is a shocking lack of any chemistry between the actors. (This critique has nothing to do with her keeping Oliver and Felicity apart and everything to do with the fact that Susan is just as interesting as watching paint dry when she is with Ollie.) These are the big problems. It’s not even that Arrow keeps teasing that there is something shady going on with Susan but refusing to give more than scant details. The reason Susan doesn’t work is that Arrow has given us no reason for her existence.
This problem is somewhat tied into the big hints Arrow has dropped about Susan, with no concrete answers, but there is an important distinction. It would be fine if Arrow was playing things coy with Susan’s intentions if it felt like the story was going somewhere. The story doesn’t feel like it is moving forward. Or at least it doesn’t feel like it is moving somewhere that Arrow hasn’t been many, many times before.
Oliver’s Secret(ly Meaningless) Identity
The big reveal of Susan’s most recent spotlight episode, “Bratva,” had her discover that Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow are the same person. This would be a shocking and concerning twist … if Arrow was still in season 2 or 3. At this point in Arrow‘s history it really isn’t that damaging for anyone to find out that Oliver and the Green Arrow are the same person. The Green Arrow used to be a dangerous vigilante that wasn’t very popular with the public. Oliver used to be a playboy that no one took seriously. Now neither of those things are true.
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Oliver is a pretty well liked figure in Star City as the Green Arrow and as the mayor. This is not season 3 when Arrow had a public witch hunt for the Green Arrow lead by Quentin Lance. After Oliver and the Green Arrow saved the city from Damien Darhk, exposing them as the same person is probably going to only make Oliver’s popularity soar with the people. There might be some legal issues but when the District Attorney is very likely Vigilante and the people of Star City are honoring the former ADA Laurel for her life as the Black Canary, none of this is going to matter. Arrow has teased Oliver being exposed as Green Arrow so much that it would probably be a relief for the audience and Ollie if the secret finally came out.
Let’s assume, though, that Oliver’s secret coming out does end his career as mayor. If that happens Arrow really isn’t losing anything. So far Oliver being mayor only feeds his real career of being the Green Arrow. Mayor Queen is serving the same dramatic function as Felicity hacking into databases or Diggle’s connection to ARGUS. It is an easy way to get missions and nothing more. Oliver has engaged in a few political matters as mayor but it’s pretty boring and simplistic. Fans want to see Oliver shoot arrows at criminals so that’s exactly what Arrow focuses on the most. No one loves Oliver Queen because he is the mayor of Star City. Susan is really only threatening that life for Oliver. You can’t have an antagonist where no one cares if she succeeds.
Susan’s other big uncovering, that Oliver has ties to the Bratva, may damage his public opinion. This is probably something the people of Star City deserve to know about their mayor. Susan has sat on this knowledge for so long though that if she does eventually reveal this to the public it will lose a lot of its bite.
In fact, the way that Susan is keeping all this information and not reporting on it makes it more likely that she is working with Prometheus or might actually be Prometheus herself. Susan’s behavior does not totally match up to a reporter or she would report this news. Susan being the real villain does not make things any better. Arrow loves its twists of having someone close to Oliver each season turn out to be secretly evil. Susan suddenly having ties to Prometheus won’t be impactful, it will be expected. There is a chance that an overtly evil Susan might be more fun to watch but that won’t make up for the bland version we’ve been getting for the past 12 episodes.
But what do you think? Is Susan a disappointing character? Why do you think she is not working? Can Arrow turn her character or story around or is it too late to fix? What is your theory on what she is really planning with all her dirt on Oliver?
Arrow season 5 airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)