5 Ways "Arrow" Can Recover From Its Lackluster Third Season

If you've been following my weekly Arrow reviews then you know I've been extremely frustrated with the series this year. And I'm not alone in that. Most fans are constantly left thinking "Why are they doing this?" What made the show great had quickly disappeared and a sub-par CW show has taken its place. But if there's anything the first two seasons have proven, it's that this show can be good. Damn good.

But with the most recent season (which came to a close one week ago) constantly fumbling the ball, the question in the back of my mind is "Can the show recover from what the majority of fans have dubbed a 'shit season?'" I've come up with a few ways the show can avoid the many pratfalls this past year took, and what it can do to get back to its Season 2 prime.

1. Don't Flip-Flop The Characters' Motivations

The inconsistency amongst the main cast in Season Three was the most frustrating aspect of the show, bar none. Felicity would go from "I love Oliver and want nothing else" to "Oliver, you suck and I hate you" throughout the season, sometimes even in a single episode. I get that the writer's didn't want to go all the way with the 'Olicity' romance just yet, but don't just have the character change her mind every other episode just to add a little drama to a scene. There needs to be consistency and that has gone out the window.

Her romance with Ray did more for his character than hers. The decision for her to just stop loving Ray and revealing her love for Oliver is terribly executed. It really just ended up making her extremely unlikable and infuriating. Just like the many times that she thinks she's lost Oliver after he was gone for THREE WEEKS. Really, the person you're in love with, that has saved your life countless times, doesn't get the benefit of the doubt? Christ on a log...

Does anyone even like Diggle anymore? He has gone from "Oliver knows what he's doing because I've seen him operate for years" to "I can't trust him because he kept me in the dark" with such weak reasoning that it makes his character extremely unlikable. He should have enough trust in Oliver to know that he's only doing what he thinks is right. But no, Diggle seems to have amnesia and thinks he's just dealing with a stranger rather than what is supposed to be his best friend. Leaving the baby by itself for a short amount of time until Diggle can come and save the child does not make Oliver the terrible person Diggle makes him out to be. It just makes Diggle look near-sighted and painfully unaware of the obvious. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Team Arrow Needs To Trust Each Other

At least four dozen times this season, Team Arrow decided that for one reason or another, they were going to not trust each other. At various points, just about every member of the team succumbed to this stupid plot device which left viewers rolling their eyes. If you've seen the first two seasons then you have seen just how much they have all gone through together and what they're willing to do for one another. That means it is well past the point where they'd turn on each other. Not sure how this isn't painfully obvious.

But that didn't stop the writer's from doing that tenfold this season, and to zero positive results. It got to the point where it was painful to watch them fumble so many relationships. Maybe if the character's had behaved consistently throughout an episode it would have been okay, but instead they were changing their mind at the convenience of the episode. During the penultimate entry, all of Team Arrow is seen yelling at Oliver, angry at having even trusted him, thinking that they are surely going to die. Really? Oliver? The guy who has constantly sacrificed himself for the good of them and Starling City? To say it makes zero sense is an understatement but add to that the fact that Felicity actually says "We trusted you!" and it becomes evident these character's are suffering from serious amnesia. I can't explain it otherwise.

So to make up for it this upcoming season, they need to cut out all of the untrustworthy parts and save that for side characters. By suddenly adding a rift that makes zero sense (ie. Diggle) it takes away from the previously established relationship. So please, no more of that nonsense. Save that shit for Nyssa.

3. Malcolm Merlyn Doesn't Need To Be The Main Villain

Malcolm needs to stay away from the role of the villain. Yes, I know they just set him up as the latest R'as Al Ghul and the implication is there that he will attack Starling City again. I'm sorry but that doesn't mean that he's suddenly lost his senses. Going against Starling City or any of Team Arrow would go against his love for his daughter, which he had said is the most important thing to him. His appearances need to be limited and working more as a shadow ally. He's a fan favorite, and enough of those have gone down this past season, we don't need another one.

And yes, I love John Barrowman as much as everyone else, but his role no longer warrants being in the spotlight much. In a perfect world, Merlyn would stay away from most exploits in Starling City and stop being seen as a villain. Then, whenever they decide to end the show (hopefully Season 5 when the flashbacks catch up with the show), who better than Merlyn to be the Big Bad? Having the League of Assassin's behind him just makes that prospect all the more tantalizing. But only if they keep him away from the villain scene for long enough.

4. Damien Darhk Needs To Be An Actual Threat

Next season the apparent Big Bad is Damien Darhk, nemesis to the last R'as. From everything we've seen of him so far, they're treating him like Mecha-R'as. Given the similarities in characters I hope that they use R'as as an example of what not to do. While the actor himself rose above the material, the character was written weakly and lost his intimidation fast. He was easily tricked by all of his lieutenants (Oliver, Nyssa, and Maseo) and all in all, seemed like a pretty garbage leader. Damien needs to be everything but that. All of this past season they acted like R'as was one step ahead of Team Arrow without ever really showing it. Damien needs to be two steps ahead.

Remember how well built up Slade Wilson/Deathstroke was in Season 2? He was tearing apart Oliver's life and doing so at the sake of everything around him. He wanted his revenge. We were told anything could happen when he put a sword through Moira Queen's heart. Him killing a main character, and one so important to Oliver, made him more of a threat than any villain in the series before. So to help this new villain achieve the same level of fear, the answer is simple: Damien needs to kill someone on Team Arrow.

Who? That's up the writer's but given what it would do to Oliver, I'd say either Diggle or Felicity. Yes, yes, I can hear your outcries right now but think about it for a second. Oliver has finally given up his identity as Arrow to be with Felicity and Diggle has made it apparent that his friendship with Oliver will never be the same. So what better way after building both of those relationships back up then to take one away and let the Arrow take hold. It's the least likely to happen, but still a dream of mine.

5. Oliver's "Retirement" Needs to Last

Oliver gave up being the Arrow and rode off into the sunset with Felicity. We're not stupid. We know that Oliver will be back under the hood in S4, but the key to bringing trust back to the viewer, they need to stick to their guns. If Oliver is suited up in the season premiere then it'll show just how unimportant the major decisions are in the show. Oliver's wedding? Erased. Thea dying? Erased the next episode. Roy dying? Erased in the same episode. It's getting to the point where anything major that happens on the show, is gone shortly after. How can we stay invested in a show that doesn't stick to its guns? There's a reason Game of Thrones is so intriguing and addictive.

So to avoid this The Arrow needs to be left off the show. Yes, this could be considered ballsy but really, it's exactly what makes sense. It's a world full of heroes and masked men, what makes Oliver so special anymore? That's what needs to be proven. We need to see the city struggle without The Arrow but with a slow burn. Raise his importance up to the point that it's all the city wants. When he finally does come back, it'll be a perfect opportunity for a new costume and name. I know I'm not the only one that thinks "Green Arrow" would make a splendid newspaper headline.

Truthfully, none of these things could come to fruition in the fourth season. They could go in a completely direction and leave me in awe of what they've done. But after the absolute failure of season three, I can't say I have the faith that I used to that it'll be done that way. The show hasn't felt the same since the season two finale and the fault is entirely on the writers, as the actors continue to try their damnedest to elevate the material. Unfortunately, it didn't work this past season and ended up making everyone look bad. So regardless of the route they take, with The Flash hot on their heels (and exceeding them in most ways this past season), it's clear that there need to be some big changes on the horizon or else the Arrow we knew and loved will be gone for ever, and the fan response will be unanimous:

"You have failed this series."
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About zombievictim

I'd like my writing to further represent me as a person by providing different insights into the things currently on my mind. Whether it's writing about a movie, TV show, album, book, wrestling event, experience, or life lesson. I don't plan on making this a personal blog where I treat it like a diary. This is just supposed to represent… Me.
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