While it’s only been seven days since Arrow wrapped up its fourth season (read our review) and settled into this five-month break we call hellatus, we’re already speculating about what lies in store for Oliver, Felicity, Diggle and co. in season 5.
Following the defeat of Damien Darhk, Team Arrow ended the season the exact opposite in which they started it. Diggle, Thea, and Lance decided to leave the team (and some the city) for the time being, while Oliver and Felicity remained in Star City. Obviously there are a lot of questions as to what the team will be doing during this break, including Oliver and Felicity manning the home front, which will only serve to make this break even more torturous.
As we head into the summer, spoilers from season 5 will begin to trickle out in the form of a synopsis and Comic Con interviews. But with no spoilers involved at present, here are our top 5 things that we want to see in season 5:
1. A Return to a Gritty, Grounded Reality
There is no denying that in the past couple of seasons Arrow has steered away from what made it a massive success in seasons one and two. But that comes down to Arrow serving as the launching point for other superheroes and other shows within this universe, including The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Somewhere along the way, Arrow became something that it wasn’t as elements of the supernatural and mystical were introduced.
Everyone from fans to the actors themselves have been clamoring for a return to the dark, gritty, grounded reality that Arrow introduced itself as. Arrow was the superhero show without powers, and that was what made it a success. There was something so real about this world and the conflict that thrived within it. Arrow didn’t need to try to impress with superpowers. At its core, Arrow has been about heart, action, and grounded reality. Here’s to hoping – praying, really – that it gets back to that in season five.
2. Oliver and Felicity Rebuilding Their Relationship
While we didn’t get the happy ending we necessarily wanted, things were certainly looking up for Oliver and Felicity in the season finale. They ended the season just as they started it: standing side-by-side. Here’s the thing I don’t want: a quick fix. That’s why they couldn’t have and shouldn’t have gotten back together in the finale.
What I want to see in season 5 is Oliver and Felicity rebuilding that trusting foundation that has always be a staple of their relationship. I want to see them fix what went wrong in the first place, which means addressing both Oliver and Felicity’s issues as individuals and as part of this relationship. I want their reunion to be earned on screen and not happening off-screen. We know that Oliver and Felicity will find their way back to one another in that romantic sense, it’s just the journey that remains the question.
3. Greater Focus on the Characters
One of the weaknesses of season four consisted with the show moving forward with certain storylines at the expense of its characters. While Arrow is a show about a superhero, it’s a show about the characters that encompass that superhero’s life. While the action is super cool, at the end of the day the audience keeps coming back because they give a damn about the characters.
Something that a large segment of the fandom wants more of, myself included, is more of that Original Team Arrow focus – with Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity. It’s one of those core elements of the first two seasons when Arrow was at its best just being Arrow and just letting the natural chemistry flourish onscreen. But in general I’d like to see Arrow not get so caught up in setting up other superheroes or shows and get back to what made it great in the first place, which was focusing on the characters and doing right by them.
4. A Big Bad With a Personal Connection to Oliver
When you think of quality big bads on Arrow the one that immediately comes to mind for me is Slade Wilson because there was a personal connection between Oliver and the villain. When you have that personal, emotional connection between your lead and the baddie it gives it more meaning; it makes sense why this big bad is targeting Star City and our hero.
While Damien Darhk was a decent big bad in season four – and I wasn’t impressed by Ra’s al Ghul – I’m hoping Arrow finds a big bad with a personal connection to Oliver, like Slade Wilson and Malcolm Merlyn. That makes it resonate more with Oliver and the audience in general.
5. Gritty, Interesting Flashbacks with Bratva Oliver
One of the more frustrating aspects of Arrow in the past couple of seasons have been the flashbacks, which serve to show us how Oliver has become the man we met when he left Lian Yu in the pilot. While the first two seasons were compelling, the previous two have fallen short and been a tad agitating. With Arrow heading into its final season of “island” flashbacks, is it too much to hope that these flashbacks can be the best yet?
With Oliver’s promise to flashback girl to go to Russia and Oliver’s Bratva tattoo, season five’s flashbacks will no doubt explore Oliver’s Bratva past, and should lead us to the darkest Oliver we’ve seen in the flashbacks yet. This final year serves to show us how Oliver became the killer we met in the pilot, which means Russia should hold a lot of darkness for Oliver. So here’s hoping that these final flashbacks are not only gritty but also interesting and serve as something other than a bathroom break mid-viewing.
What would you like to see during Arrow’s fifth season?
Arrow returns Wednesdays this fall on The CW.