Arrow Isn't Arrow: Our Writers Weigh In

A new season of Arrow means a new season of roundtables where Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Lyra, Nora and Sarah discuss the hot topics from every Arrow episode.

Following Arrow‘s fifth episode, “Human Target,” our writers had a lot to say about what has happened so far this season. And it wasn’t pretty as you’d expect. We’re taking this chance to discuss “Human Target” and address some of the biggest topics from this season. Get ready for our therapy session.

What were your overall thoughts on “Human Target?”

Alyssa: Easily one of my least favorite episodes of Arrow ever. The show looked unrecognizable from the disjointed story to the foreign characters. It’s been hard because I’ve been trying to remain optimistic this season despite what’s felt like a complete shift in Arrow. I’ve been open to the new recruits (LOVE Rory and Curtis, as usual), as well as this seemingly dark shift in Oliver as I’ve believed he’s going to turn it around and mirror the flashbacks. But there’s been an emotional disconnect over these first five episodes of season five that has been really hard for me. Arrow is definitely one of my favorite television shows so to see this rendition where it feels like a reinvention of a show that didn’t need any fixing in the first place has been hard. While the treatment of Olicity is definitely on my list of reasons why, it’s certainly not the only reason why this season has felt disappointing. The story-lines lack thought and depth. The characters seem driven by plot points instead of the characters driving the plot points. Season five feels like a reinvention of season one.

One of the things I do not get for the life of me is what happened since Arrow season 4A? That’s when I feel like Arrow was at its best since season two where the core elements were gelling. There was a nice balance between action and romance, as well as a focus on the characters that have been at the heart of this show since season one. Well, actually, I know what happened. The writers introduced the baby mama drama, which has since hyped this contrived drama that has defined Arrow since. “Human Target” was the breaking point for me. It was the episode where I realized (because I was rolling my eyes and didn’t smile once during it) that I couldn’t pretend that this show was going to instantaneously return to its peak. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from giving up on Arrow, but I’ve come to the point where I don’t care whether or not I watch live, which is a huge deal. I remember from season two onward that I had never missed an episode live because I couldn’t handle that. I miss looking forward to Arrow every week. Right now I’m dreading Arrow every week as I wonder how it’s going to let me down this time. (Forever praying that the writers/producers realize where they’ve failed their story and find a way to recapture that emotional connection that has long defined this show.)

Lizzie: Let’s get straight to the point here  – it was bad. And not only was it bad – which, it’s hard for shows to maintain a consistent level of excellence through 23 episodes, I get that, it was boring. And Arrow has hardly ever been boring to me.

The problem is two-dimensional, I think. First of all, I don’t understand these characters. More importantly, I don’t even recognize them. They’re like AU versions of the characters I’ve known and loved for four seasons, almost as if the writer whose fanfiction I was reading suddenly abandoned the story, and a new, less talented writer took over, one who doesn’t quite have a feel for the character. So, yes, the Green Arrow still exists, but this new person doesn’t really understand how he’d behave, what he’d do. And I’m just here, along for the ride, because I loved the other writer’s interpretation of the character so much, that a part of me keeps hoping the original writer is going to come back and just …put it back together.

However, it’s been five episodes. At what point am I supposed to give up and accept that this is Arrow and the old show I loved isn’t coming back? And what happens if, when I do that, I decide I don’t like this new show?

Lyra: Imagine this Arrow family. When you start a new show, a new journey, your blind to what you’re supposed to think, or what you’re to expect. Luckily enough you have the writers. Now these people, in charge of your show, want to make sure that you see the journey that they’re trying to take you on.  The writers give you a pair of glasses. Every season they’ve been doing this to help guide you. At one point they say, “Hey! The glasses you’ve got on are good. Top notch. Look fabulous on you. Don’t take them off. This is it!” So you wear them. You look snazzy as hell, images are crisp, and they keep you company for years. And because you trust these people you take them for their word. You wear those glasses all around town and when someone asks you where you got them you can say, “Oh, the writers gave them to me. We should trust them. They know what they’re doing.”

Then one day this new guy comes around, all shady like, and tells you that he’s from your show and that he’s got a new pair of glasses for you. You hesitate, not certain about this man. He looks like the same guy but there’s something different about him. Something you can’t really place. But you trust him and what he’s telling you because they’ve never made you have any doubt in them. So you trade your glasses for these new ones.

To your shock, things are strangely different now! The colors are off, things aren’t as crisp, and you could’ve sworn that squirrel over there was a goat. You’ve gone through change before so you just shrug it off and casually say how they are different. The man who gave you the glasses grabs you by the shoulders, stares into your eyes, and tells you, “No. What are you talking about? It’s the same. There’s been no change. Is something wrong with you?” You wonder if he’s right for a brief moment before you shake your head no because you know what you’re seeing. It’s a lie. That IS a fucking goat. It is not the same. These are not the right glasses. And you will not back down, you will tell all that that is not a squirrel, that this is not the same thing. It’s all an illusion.

Nora: I have to agree that this was one of my least favorite episode of Arrow. I write reviews for another website and it was honestly just a rant. I understand that all 23 episodes of a show can’t be perfect. I go into a show like this assuming there will be set up episodes. I agree with Lizzie, this was just boring. Usually I’m the one person fighting against others that are saying an episode is boring. I always find a bright spot, but this episode just didn’t have any for me. Yes, they through in a little Olicity here and there, but that still didn’t help.

I boiled it down to the characters. After a very rocky season last year, Arrow had to rebuild. I didn’t enjoy that magic was involved last season and I hoped with the Bratva flashbacks and more “grounded in reality” villain we would begin to see the Arrow we all fell in love with. Instead, I have been BOMBARDED with new characters. Every episode someone new is introduced and I don’t have time to learn enough about the previous new characters. Team Arrow 2.0 has some promise for me. I do enjoy all of them, but I DON’T KNOW ANY OF THEM. Rene is the only one that we’ve started to get to know, but even then we don’t know him. In this episode we learned he was discharged from the Navy, but that’s only because Diggle pried it out of him. I want to know why Oliver trusts him. All of this characterization is happening outside of the show and I’m not a fan. Evelyn has been around as long as Rene, but aside from that episode in season 4, we don’t know anything about her. I REALLY liked Rory last week when he had his moment with Felicity, but that was just tossed aside already and he’s become the comic relief. I want to know more. Characterization is just all messed up right now and I’m not a fan.

Sarah: Overall, I don’t even know where to begin on what this show has turned into. I’ve watched since the beginning, and the only part I recognize is John Diggle. Everything and everyone else I see is an episode where I’m watching actors read their lines and do an amazing job at what’s on script, but when it comes down to it the writing is off the charts bad. A show on its fifth season, I understand your original ideas aren’t as effective anymore and there’s a need to change things up over time. – But there’s a difference between taking your characters through an evolving journey and in this case throwing them into a grinder mixing things up and starting at the same place you did before hoping no one would notice how mangled everything is. I know that’s a gruesome comparison, but that’s how I feel about what’s happened to the characters I used to really love.

What are your thoughts on the journey of Olicity so far in Season 5? Does it ring true to who these characters are? Do you still hope for a happy ending?

Alyssa: One of the things I’ve always admired about Arrow is how it was one of the few shows to really portray a healthy relationship between two people. But that clearly hasn’t been the case since season 4B. It feels like the writers don’t know what they’re doing with Oliver and Felicity. The sad thing is that they don’t seem to realize the gem that they had when Oliver and Felicity were a team within a team. It felt very organic, playful, and the romance didn’t overshadow the team at work. It was a very nice balance. But then the writers decided to split them up because, why, they thought they got them together too soon?

Here’s the thing, I have no problem with Oliver and Felicity being broken up right now. That’s not the issue. The issue is how the writers immediately thought they had to put them with other people in order to justify their separation. Even Emily Bett Rickards said that it was too soon for Felicity to be dating. As for Oliver, with these rumors of him banging both a reporter and this new detective in the backhalf of the season, it feels like he’s taking a serious step back. That’s season one Oliver. Have we forgotten how Oliver has grown as a human being?

Also, have these writers forgotten that Oliver and Felicity were almost married? Married? That’s probably the biggest problem that I have with this season is how the producers and writers have chosen to ignore the fact that Oliver and Felicity’s relationship was more than just boyfriend and girlfriend. They were partners in every sense of the word. Their relationship was so much more than the romance. It’s why their romance resonated with so many fans. What the writers are doing right now is introducing contrived drama because they don’t know what to do with Oliver and Felicity until the end of the season when they inevitably reunite.

But here’s the sad thing. I still have hope for a happy ending. Despite how the show has treated this couple over the past season, despite how they’re treating these characters, despite how hopeless it all feels right now. That’s just because Oliver and Felicity have always managed to overcome all odds to find each other. To quote Oliver Queen, “Nothing worthwhile comes easy.” And while I absolutely loathe this so-called “journey” in season five, I can’t help but believe that it’ll end with a happily ever after.

Lizzie: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m sorry, what journey? Have they been on a journey? I mean, yes, they probably have been, but not together. They’re not even in the same train. Hell, I’m starting to think they’re not even going in the same direction. And, if there’s one thing I’ve always been able to say about Olicity, is that – even when they weren’t a couple – their goals and motivations aligned. That’s why they became a couple in the first place.

Right now, though, it seems like the show is not just trying to break Olicity up, they’re trying to jedi mind trick us into believing what they had wasn’t that big a deal in the first place. Just a fling between co-workers. Two people who cared about each other giving into their pent-up sexual frustrations. A ‘get it out of your system’ thing and now it’s out of their systems and they can just move on with their lives and continue to work together like nothing ever happened.

Except that’s not the story they tried to sell me last year. And, though I watch a lot of TV and cram a lot into my little female brain, I haven’t forgotten. Maybe they thought I had, or wished. But nope, I still remember the other angle, the one from “before.” Before what I’m not sure, but before. When we were supposed to care about Oliver reconciling his GA persona with his Oliver Queen persona. When Felicity was more than just a colleague, she was the love of his life. WHEN SHE WAS THE LAST THING HE SAW BEFORE HE “DIED.”

Ah, those were the days. Maybe if the show hadn’t done such a good job of selling that story, I could accept this one. But as it stands …I’m not buying the stuff you’re selling this year, Arrow. Any of it, but especially not the Olicity.

Lyra: I feel like the writers are trying to trick me and tell me that they’ve been pushing empty promises down my throat when it comes to the Olicity front and their journey. They weren’t empty promises, Arrow writers! They were promises of Oliver being a better man with Felicity, promises of conquering the world together, and promises of spending the rest of their lives together. Why are you turning around and acting like you never wrote this journey? That we’re just simple fangirls? Newsflash we’re not. We’re avid tv watchers, comic book readers, action lovers, who know a good thing when we see it and invest time in it. That good thing was Olicity and the journey that you were taking them on.

Olicity was more than a romantic dynamic that we could swoon over. They were real people that we could take pride in and strive to be like. Partners, lovers, companions, friends. So, no. These characters that I’m seeing on TV aren’t OUR Olicity. They aren’t OUR team. They are mere shadows of themselves, marionettes with their strings being pulled by plot instead of their characters natural journey.

Will Olicity have a happy ending? Not if the puppeteers keep trying to  tell me that Olicity was just empty promises to fill time up between seasons until they found “better” people or erase their entire history for plot.

Nora: Going into this season, I was really excited about Olicity’s journey. I was excited to see them have their own storylines and eventually they would find their way back to each other, but I’m just not seeing that. They’ve skewered them so far from each other that they don’t even resemble the character I fell in love with. The entire fallout from Olicity’s relationship feels exactly like a one-night stand. It doesn’t feel like they shared this massive relationship. I was excited for them to go back to their friendship dynamic because I think that was something that was lost last season. I love their friendship, but that isn’t being showcased this season either. Felicity will have one quip to Oliver per episode and that’s it. They aren’t seeing eye to eye on training, which is something that directly contradicts their characters. No matter what was happening they always saw eye to eye. This isn’t happening. They were arguing about training two episodes ago.

On the subject of Olicity, I have to rant about Felicity’s new relationship here. I always say I am first and foremost a Felicity fan before I’m an Olicity fan. I’m not angry because she’s dating Malone and not Oliver, of course I’d like to see her with Oliver, but I understand she’s trying to move on, I’m upset Arrow felt the need to shove her in a relationship RIGHT AWAY! Felicity is a strong, independent, well-rounded female character and that is being lost episode after episode. I am just not a fan. It comes off as Arrow felt the need to shove her into a relationship because they didn’t want to deal with fans wondering why she wasn’t with Oliver, but we wouldn’t have cared. Malone is just another character lost in the background, we know nothing about him, so I just feel like he’s being attached with Felicity for no reason.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the lack of Olicity, but it feels like Stephen and Emily have even more chemistry now. I don’t understand how we got to this conversation, but I guess I’ll let it slide and just enjoy Stephen and Emily in these scenes. I have hope for a happy ending still, but I’m not sure how we are going to get there.

Sarah: Ah, journey, my favorite word about this show. Short answer is: No. I’m not feeling any kind of path laid down for a reconciliation right now. Long answer is while I don’t mind that Felicity has found a new guy who honestly seems pretty sweet, what I have a problem with is how they stuck Oliver and Felicity back at square one and not in a good way. More of a putting a square peg in a round hole like a kindergartner would do way while smiling and thinking your cute smile would distract the audience from the obvious.

It doesn’t ring true to the characters because as I said earlier I don’t recognize these characters right now. In terms of Olicity having a happy ending, while the idea sounds nice I honestly have no clue how they would even get there. First they have to acknowledge the past four years on history and not glaze over it in a couple conversations, get back to being themselves and then maybe they can work towards a happy ending.

Who’s been your favorite character this season, and which character has been your least favorite?

Alyssa: Diggle, hands down. While Diggle has continued to be underutilized as a character, he’s someone who has most resembled his typical self from Arrow seasons past. Everyone else from our core group looks unrecognizable. Diggle’s story is certainly the one I’m most invested in at this point as he continues to work through his guilt after killing his brother last season. Well, at least in my head he’s continuing to work through that guilt because it hasn’t really shown on this show. Killing your brother and feeling an immense amount of guilt that makes you want to give up and subject yourself to a life of being held behind bars isn’t something that’s solved in one episode. It’s something that should be addressed throughout the season or at least a several-episode arc. But Diggle has always been one of my favorite characters on this show. He somehow manages to resemble himself even when everyone else around him doesn’t.

I do have to admit that of the new characters that have been introduced Rory is my favorite. There’s a legitimate backstory to him, something which hasn’t been afforded to the other newbies. I’m emotionally invested in his story, and I understand and believe why he’s fighting. His relationship with Felicity is one of the few dynamics I’m really enjoying this season. The fact that they’re connected via this horrific tragedy but have managed to develop the beginnings of a friendship in spite of it is something that I’ve truly loved to watch.

Least favorite? The temporary, generic looking boyfriend and soon-to-be Oliver’s conquests in the reporter and the detective. No, but honestly I’d have to say Oliver. He’s the character that feels the most distant in regards to where he should be at this point. One of the things I’ve always admired about Arrow is how Oliver has managed to grow every season and hasn’t really regressed exponentially, unlike a certain speedster from Central City. But now it seems as if Arrow has taken a page out of the Flash’s book. Oliver has come so far in these past four seasons — lived through hell and back — only to regress to the man we’re seeing in the flashbacks. To be a killer? While I understand that there needs to be growth for a character through a season, I don’t understand why Arrow felt the need to regress Oliver in order to grow him. There wasn’t another way for Oliver to grow? But once again this comes down to the writing. I just don’t think that the writers know what they’re doing with their preexisting characters this season. I really pray that they find a way to fix it.

Lizzie: Favorite? You mean I have to pick someone I like? Boy, that’s hard. Lyla, who I previously loved, was about as OOC as it comes in her only appearance. Oliver? Ha. Not this version. Curtis? He used to be funny. Those were the days. The newbies? Wild Dog is more annoying than anything, and Evelyn is only there for him to talk to, anyway. Felicity? Well, I love Felicity to death, she’s always been my favorite Arrow character, but what the writers are doing to her by not just pushing her aside, but essentially ignoring her best parts and only leaving those that serve to prop up other characters – perhaps in an effort to make us like her less – is nothing short of criminal. Thea? Boring. Well dressed, but boring. Quentin? Zzzzzz. Well, I guess I’ll have to go with Diggle. He’s the only one who sorta resembles the person he was before.

Least favorite? How about everyone else? Fine, if I have to pick just one, I’m going to go for the big guns and say Oliver Queen. We were supposed to be moving towards the Green Arrow being a hero in the light – and yet this Oliver is dropping bodies left and right with no real justification (and no, just mentioning Laurel is not enough), treats the people he supposedly cares about with a sort of detached affection and seems to behave like a robot with no feelings  – both with and without the mask. I used to care about him. More importantly, I used to root for him. Now I kinda …watch and try not to get emotionally attached.

This the season of tell, not show. And since that seems to be the case, I’m not getting emotionally attached to anything. Or anyone. In fact, if anything, I’m working on detaching. That’ll make it easier when (if, but  if things continue like this when) I have to quit this show.

Lyra: Hesitation is not a good thing to have when answering a question like this. And oh did I hesitate over this answer. Despite what they are doing to her (reshaping what we love about her to satisfy plot)…Felicity stands as my favorite character so far in this season of Arrow. I want to package Felicity up in a nice little box, full of all the amenities she may need for her journey, and ship her over to another show that might utilize her brilliance instead of shoving her to the back of the fridge like left over General Tso’s chicken.

As for my least favorite, Silly Dog…wait, I meant Wild Dog. I don’t know how I could’ve gotten those two mixed up. Every time he’s on my screen he’s yammering away about how he’s ready, set, go to kick ass and take names in Star City. He’s got a chip on his shoulder about a mile long where he’s got to prove himself. Newsflash Wild Dog, you’re not the best on this Team. You don’t even rate high on the list. Your lack of a basic understanding of how a team works, your unwillingness to work with said team, and your continued disrespect of Felicity and Oliver makes me wish that Church kept you. Boom. Drop the mic.

Nora: If you asked me this question during any other season I would 110% answer Felicity Smoak! She’s one of my all-time favorite TV characters, but I just don’t recognize her anymore. Her strong assets are being shoved in the background for her relationship status and I’m just not a fan. But I will forever say Felicity is my favorite character in the hope Arrow will rally and turn her season five characterization around.

In terms of new characters, I really enjoy Rory! I love the dynamic between him and Felicity and I pray it’s explored more. I think he has a lot to offer this season. Between being a new member of Team Arrow to Havenrock, I think this character can really be fleshed out. I was upset that in the last episode we got this Rory and Felicity moment and this week there was nothing. I just hope there’s more coming up.

The list for least favorite character is, sadly, longer for me only because I am not feeling an emotional attachment to any of these storylines (besides Havenrock, which is seemingly over?!?!). Maybe I would say I don’t have a least favorite character, I have characters and their storylines that I’m disappointed in. I’m disappointed in Thea and Quentin’s storyline big time. I was excited to see Thea stretch her wings and become the powerhouse I know she can be. Instead, she’s been shoved in the background and her plotlines are boring. Same thing goes for Quentin. I loved Quentin and Donna last season and I’m disappointed their relationship has been erased. I forget Quentin even exists now. His storyline is SO boring I forget he’s still a main character. They had so much to work with for Quentin this season and it’s been dropped. I was excited to see him get over Laurel, pick himself up, work with Team Arrow and just be awesome. Instead Arrow took the easy way out and simply boiled down all his problem to him drinking again. So boring.

Sarah: My favorite character right now, hands down John Diggle. I always liked him mind you but he’s also the only character who I felt like I’ve been seeing so far this season. Everything from his struggle on what happened when he reenlisted to tonight while hiding out. My favorite part of this episode was his patience and wisdom in helping Rene. It rang true in describing his own torture and letting Rene open up to him at his own pace not just to help him, but to help the team in a way he thought he couldn’t right then.

Least favorite, that’s tough mostly because I have to narrow it down unfortunately. I did promise, however I would not hold back so I’ll go straight for Oliver. Oliver Queen has been replaced with a weird version of his season one character, completely with lessons of the week that feel like a retread with no real meaning because it’s echoes of experiences he’s already had. It makes me wish for the good old days, but alas I am not a writer of Arrow.

What’s been your favorite moment of the season so far, and what’s been your least favorite?

Alyssa: It’s a three-way tie. I know that counts as multiple favorites, but I don’t care. We don’t play by the rules in this roundtable. Despite my current feelings about Olicity, one of my favorite moments from this season came from “The Recruits,” which easily the best episode of the season, when Oliver retreated into himself as the struggle of training these recruits tested his character. As she’s always been, Felicity was there to be his guiding light as she reminded him that it was never the Green Arrow that the team believed in. It was Oliver Queen. It wasn’t the Green Arrow that she chose to stand by, it was Oliver Queen. It was one of those signature Olicity moments that we’ve come to know and love.

Another one of my favorite moments have come between Felicity and Rory both when Felicity came clean to Rory about the truth about Havenrock, as well as their reconciliation. These two have created some pretty great moments in a season that’s been lacking real emotional connection. My third and final favorite moment came with Diggle and Deadshot in “A Matter of Trust,” where Diggle hallucinated his former nemesis as he battled with the guilt inside of him. There was so much history there and so much that had happened since that it really added to the emotional depth of the scene. Diggle and Floyd Lawton have always had underrated moments that have been so emotionally powerful.

My least favorite? That would be Oliver and Felicity’s final conversation in “Human Target.” It was quite jarring given the beautiful moment mentioned above from “The Recruits.” Not only was it a complete 180 from that previously mentioned scene, but it completely crapped upon what the writers had previously built for Oliver and Felicity. Once again I mention, THEY WERE ALMOST MARRIED. How do you forget that? While I admit that the chemistry was alive and well (not even a tsunami could put out that blazing flame), the conversation was one that was disheartening and showed a lack of awareness for what we know to be true of Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. These two have been through the very worst and still it’s been “for better or for worse.” So what happened to the “for worse” part? While I’m sure Oliver and Felicity are the end game (I still believe, God help me), I don’t like how their relationship is being treated this season in how it’s negating their past.

Lizzie: Eh, Rory and Felicity had a good moment. Rory has, in fact, been the only new thing that I’ve really enjoyed this season. He’s funny, in a quirky/offbeat kinda way, he has his own story that resonates with me and he’s not useless on the field. The rest of the newbies? Meh. Could not possibly care less. In fact, Wild Dog being kidnapped by Church? That should have been a big moment. My stomach should have been in knots. Instead I was just like, meh. They’re not gonna kill him. And if they do ….well, I lived through them killing Tommy. This is gonna be nothing.

Least favorite? Felicity and Oliver’s conversation in “Human Target.” How did we get from “You’re my always” to “I owe it to myself to embrace whatever’s next?” No, seriously. HOW? I’ve seen a lot of explanations in interviews and Twitter and I just…don’t care for those. I don’t. If the story you’re trying to tell isn’t coming through on screen, then all the explanations in the world won’t make me care.  The show should be enough to sell their story, and right now, the story they’re selling is one I don’t like one bit. Maybe because I don’t understand it. Maybe because it feels like a 180 from the story they were selling before. Either way, they’ve lost me emotionally, they’ve lost me intellectually and, at this point, even my loyalty is wavering.

Lyra: *twiddles thumbs* My favorite moment? But there’s been so many! *insert sarcasm here* Look if we’re gonna be honest I love the Mama Bear thing Felicity has going on with the newbies in the first two episodes. This is her territory, her life, and she’s going to teach them the ways of the superhero world. It would work out better if they actually respected her, stopped calling her “blondie”, and worked as an actual team but…still stands that I like what she’s attempting. That leads me to my favorite moment out of EVERYTHING that’s happened so far in Arrow: Felicity and that kid with the rags hashing things out about Havenrock. It was dealt in a mature way where I could see that both of them cared enough about each other that they didn’t want to hurt or make the other uncomfortable. They gave each other space, a platform to talk on, and concluded that they would support each other. That right there felt like the beginning of a team actually forming aka people that I’d be worried about if they died.

This moment between Felicity and Rory managed to shine a light on my love OTA and how they’re failing at giving me the “OMG I’M SO WORRIED THAT THEY’RE GOING TO DIE” feelings. Where is that love for each other with OTA? Where is that trust between them all with OTA? WHERE IS THAT WORRY THAT THEY DON’T WANT TO HURT ONE ANOTHER, OTA? Oh yeah, it’s not there. Because these aren’t the people I’ve known for four years. They’re just a weak attempt to mock up and sell us something that we, in our hearts as fans, know isn’t Arrow.

As for least favorite moment, it would be Oliver and Lyla’s side convo when they were trying to convince Felicity to help break John out of jail. They acted like Felicity had never worked with Lyla, like Felicity didn’t care that John was in jail, and that Oliver couldn’t have convinced her this was for the greater good. They cut her off like she was a nuisance that they could simply brush off because they had a job to do. And if she didn’t want to help, they had no time for her. But Arrow is a team, always has been no matter what they’re trying to sell me in Season 5. The Oliver and Lyla that I know would’ve taken a moment to explain to Felicity what was going on and how they needed her help to make sure they all got out safe. Haven’t we reached the point in Arrow were maturity and logic takes precedence over rampant emotion? No? Shame. If Season 5 of Arrow is about leaving a legacy then I guess they’re leaving one of confusion and mismatched messages.

Nora: My favorite moment of the season so far has been Felicity and Rory’s Havenrock moments. Rory is my favorite new character and I think he works really well with Felicity. They have a different dynamic that I’m really enjoying. The Havenrock storyline was something I was looking forward to since season four and it’s been my favorite moments this season. This answer is a double edge sword of course. I’m enjoying these moments, but it feels rushed. In just two or so episodes Felicity learned Rory was from Havenrock, told Rory she caused the destruction of Havenrock, Rory was angry at her, Rory forgave her and that’s it. It was just SO rushed! I pray this isn’t the end of the Havenrock storyline because this can quickly become a storyline I’m disappointed about. I don’t think it’s realistic for Felicity to be over Havenrock just because Rory forgave her, so I pray this isn’t it.

I have a couple least favorite moments. One of my least favorite moments was from this episode. It involved Wild Dog being tortured by Tobias Church. It’s not my least favorite moment because he was being tortured, it’s because I felt nothing. I just have no emotional connection to Rene. So when he was kidnapped by Church I just rolled my eyes and waited for it to be over. I also didn’t like that he revealed Oliver identity. Are you kidding me? You cracked THAT easily! I feel like Arrow took the easy way out by having Rene do this. I was just not a fan.

Sarah: My favorite moments of the season honestly is narrowed down to Felicity being honest about Havenrock to Rory. Havenrock was the first time Felicity had an experience of meeting someone that was personally affected by the choice she made to redirect the missile Darkh launched. As difficult as I know it was for her her, honesty in admitting her part took a kind of bravery I always knew Felicity possessed, and to see it come full force and see her apologize was nothing short of amazing.

Least favorite moments, narrowing down to one is another difficult choice but I have to agree with some of my fellow writers and choose the conversation between Oliver and Felicity in “Human Target.” That scene felt like a spit in the face on everything they’ve been through in the past four years. The way they were talking was like post aftermath of a couple who dated for a few months, not two people who had COMMITTED TO BEING TOGETHER FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES AND WERE ENGAGED. I really couldn’t believe what I watching, and all I could feel was this kind of bitter sadness that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, one that I’m not sure will go away unless they clean up the mess they made.

If you had to change one thing from Season 5, what would it be?

Alyssa: Can I change the fact that the producers and writers seem to have forgotten about the past four seasons? Because it really feels like they’ve been trying to reinvent this show when it hasn’t needed fixing. It’s so frustrating because Arrow had managed to capitalize on what it does best: the heart, the action, the real drama (not this cheap drama). But the show seems too invested in this new-look Arrow complete with a new cast of characters. It’s forgotten the characters that have driven this show for the past four seasons. Like what about Thea? Poor Thea has been sidelined in favor of these newbies. Let’s get this straight, Thea doesn’t need a suit to be relevant on this show. But the writers have seemingly forgotten her. She’s getting less airtime than these newbies. I was so excited to see Thea’s arc this season, but it’s led to nowhere.

All I want is Arrow back. I want the Arrow where the heart and the action were blended seamlessly. I want the Arrow back where the core characters are relevant. I want the Arrow back where I felt an emotional investment.

Lizzie: Plot over characterization does not work. Go back to characters over plot, please. I want to care about the journey, not just the destination. The destination doesn’t mean anything if the way the characters got there was OOC or stupid. I want to root for Oliver once again. I want to see him and Felicity acting like people with history. I want OTA back. I want Diggle to be not just Oliver’s brother, but Felicity’s friend, Lyla’s husband, a man who shot his brother last year and carries that with him. I want the newbies to be something other than more bodies to bring out into the fight. I want to understand what’s going on with Thea. I want to explore more of Quentin’s addiction issues.

And, for the love of all that’s holy, I want Baby Sara back. I know the writers don’t get how big this is, but having Flashpoint affect Arrow in this way is disrespectful, at best, stupid at worst. There was no need to erase her. Diggle could have had twins, if you really needed John Jr there. TWINS. That’s a thing. But no, Arrow had to sacrifice the female character to further someone else’s journey – in this case, someone who isn’t even from Arrow.

Shame on you, Arrow. Shame on you.

Lyra: One thing? Really? Fine. If I had to change one thing in Season 5…be ready because it’s not what you’re expecting it to be…I’d bring Donna back. Hell I’d make it that Donna never left and that SmoaknLance were blissfully happy. Then when Season 5 started we would see a Quentin Lance, saddened by his daughters death, but strengthened by Donna’s resilience and love. He wouldn’t fall back into the same habits time in and time again. Instead he would be by Oliver’s side, helping to fix the city, and do whatever he must to stop people like Tobias Church and Prometheus. It’s a mystery why Quentin Lance is relegated to the role of broken man every single season.

People like reading about an underdog rising above all the pain in his life. Why can’t we give that to Quentin and start building on it? Why can’t we give that to Donna as well and show that there is love after heartbreak and that you can rebuild your life, no matter how late it is? It feels like Arrow likes shuffling the females around because there is a quota that they are allocated each season. They can’t possibly show a strong woman supporting her daughter, having a loving adult relationship, and trying to start anew in a world where if you wear a mask you matter more.

That right there might be my biggest problem to what they’ve done to Donna and Quentin. Throw Felicity and Thea onto this list too. If you don’t wear a mask it doesn’t make you a hero. And Arrow doesn’t have time for telling the stories of those that don’t have a leather fetish in Star City.

Nora: Similar to Lizzie, I would have to say going back to characters over plot. I feel like Arrow is too hung up on keeping up with The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow that they forget we all started watching Arrow BEFORE these shows. I don’t need metahumans, aliens or time travel, I just need the characters I love. Characters are so much more important than plot. If the characters aren’t well formed, there’s no point in tuning in week after week. I don’t care if we’re in Star City or on Lian Yu, I just want to see Oliver being the man I know he can be.

Sci-fi doesn’t have to be way out there. It all comes down to characters and their relationships and Arrow is missing this. They are moving storylines, like Havenrock, and character development into the background for larger, flashy plotlines and I’m just not enjoying it. I hope they can find their way back and this episode was an exception, not the rule in the grand scheme of the season but I don’t know.

Sarah: I’d like my characters back. No questions asked, I’d like the real characters I could relate to that I enjoyed watching go through their individual journeys that felt like they could be real people having struggles that could happen here. The show is driving everything by plot, but at the end of the day plot means nothing if the audience doesn’t care about what happens to the characters as the result of a plot. It just makes the entire point of watching meaningless since you could end watching an episode, and not have a care in the world what happens next because there’s no emotional investment, enthusiasm or heck even interest!

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Stay tuned for another Arrow Roundtable next Tuesday!

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