We’ve been through a lot, you and I. Six years, seven seasons, five crossovers, roughly 130 reviews and countless editorials.
I’ve stuck with your through the good – Olicity, OTA, Slade Wilson and Prometheus – and the bad – forgetting your heart in OTA, countless Canaries and new characters and action-over-character storytelling.
But I’ve always said that I would stick with Arrow so long as Felicity Smoak remained on the show. And while I recognize that it was out of your control, the simple fact is that the reason that I was watching – the reason I started watching in the first place – has now taken her final bow.
Much like Slade Wilson, I’m someone that makes good on her promises. Even when I thought that maybe – just maybe – I could find a way to keep on watching Arrow without Felicity, I realized that I couldn’t. Even that one episode back in season 3 – when Felicity was in Central City for that Flash episode and not in Star City – the show felt like a shell of itself. It missed Felicity’s humor, her light and her presence in general.
Funny story. While I technically didn’t start watching Arrow until its second season was airing, I actually started watching when it first premiered in 2012. Well, the first two episodes, that is. I remember because it was paired with The Tomorrow People, which I did watch, and was game for watching two hot male leads on Wednesday nights.
While the pilot was good, it wasn’t great. So I game it a second chance with the second episode, but again it fell flat. There was something missing. This wasn’t a show that I wanted to waste my Wednesdays at 8pm timeslot on, so I decided to move on. If only I’d known that the saving grace of this entire series would appear one week later.
So I skipped the entire first season, but came back for the second season after I’d learned of a little something called Olicity. Which led me to binge watch the entire first season and professing my love for Felicity Smoak, the IT girl who was the missing piece this show desperately needed.
Without a doubt, Arrow’s second season was when the show was at its best. Despite the complaints about season 3, I actually enjoyed it because it was the first time when we got to deal with Oliver Queen’s feelings – about Felicity – for an entire season. Superheroes aren’t just their super personas. They are the people that wear those personas. I felt like I was getting to understand how Oliver’s heart and mind worked together, which wasn’t always together.
Then there was the first half of season 4, which was everything I wanted from Arrow. To show Oliver being the hero he was meant to be while also being a man in love. Season 5 blew – with the exception of Prometheus and a few Olicity moments – but I stuck it out. Seasons 6 and 7, collectively, weren’t solid, but they did have some nice moments. And I continued to stick it out.
But perhaps my biggest issue with this show – that stems outside of my complaints for the influx of new characters that take away from existing ones – is that Arrow has been held hostage for the past five years by the shows that it created.
Not that I don’t like The Flash and Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. But when Arrow was billed – and built – as a grounded superhero show without powers, it was truly at its best. Because, while superheroes tend to have special abilities, Arrow reminded us that heroes exist in all forms – they don’t necessarily have to have super abilities. Although, sometimes it seems like Oliver does have super agility. But that’s just good ol’ training.
But when metahumans and aliens were introduced to the Arrowverse, there was a dynamic shift. Now, Team Arrow had to deal with metahumans. Now, Arrow was held captive by these crossover events and forced to adapt to them because it’s what was best for The CW. In the process, Arrow lost control of its own series.
I mean, it’s the only reason why Arrow is having an eighth and final season. For all intents and purposes, Arrow ended after the season 7 finale. It was the perfect wrap-up that felt like a beautiful series finale – minus the whole Monitor scene, which was only in there, again, because of the Crisis of Infinite Earths crossover.
When I say I’m done with Arrow, I mean that I’m done caring. I might watch these episodes later on. I will watch the series finale, if Felicity is in it. But apathy is the opposite of love, and that love that I found for Arrow in 2013 has transformed into apathy in 2019.
I’d always stuck through it for Oliver/Felicity/Diggle and Olicity and Felicity. But now that all three of those dynamics won’t be present in a season 8 that shouldn’t even exist, I find myself finally bowing out.
When you stop caring, why continue watching?
Instead, I’ll watch old episodes of Arrow when the show was what I loved. Just because the show became something else, it doesn’t take away from the magic it once used to be. And, thankfully with technology, those memories will live on in the episodes that told a story of a different Arrow. Of a time when Arrow was my favorite show. Of a time when I truly, madly and deeply cared.