Midseason Report Card: How ‘Arrow’ season 5 was a return to form

We’ve always loved “Arrow” as a series, so let’s start off this particular Midseason Report Card article by making that very clear. However, at the same time the past two seasons had some bumps in the road where it was very clear that the show started to lose its way a little bit. Season 3 got a little too magical, whereas season 4 simply was all over the place and almost fell apart at the end.

So what did the writers do entering season 5? Smartly, they didn’t allow themselves to crumble under the weight of expectations or fears that the show was going to start to crumble under the weight of extra pressure.  Instead, they went back to basics and delivered something that felt so much like the show we loved the first two seasons.

What worked – We have to begin with the focus of it all, since that is something that season 4 in particular lacked. We have a really kill villain in Prometheus, and even when he’s not around, we’ve had some other consistent recurring villains such as Tobias Church. This may be Stephen Amell’s best performance as an actor as way, alternate between the few lighthearted moments and also the darker, serious moments of torment with as much as ease as someone possibly can. Also, what happened to him in the winter finale was truly heartbreaking.

Also, and we know this may be controversial, but we liked the new team. For the most part, they brought a welcome new dose of energy, and the same goes for seeing Oliver as Mayor. A good show should be one that takes some risks and morphs year in and year out rather than just doing the same thing and getting stagnant.

What didn’t – Of the new team members they keep making Wild Dog recycle the same beats, which basically include him mouthing off, getting creamed, and then eventually coming to his senses and realizing that mouthing off was a terrible idea. Meanwhile, they are still working on better ways to utilize Felicity so that some of her humor and effervescence than what we saw during much of the story.

Is there an argument to say that there should have been aliens removed from the 100th episode, and that the crossover should’ve happened another time? Possibly, but we’re not going to fault it too much since this episode did still manage to cram a lot of good stuff in here.

Overall – We will say that this was so much closer to the old “Arrow” that we know and love than we’ve seen in a good while, and that’s enough — plus of course Prometheus — to have us excited about what could be coming next. Grade: B+.

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