On Wednesday something weird happened; I was oddly excited and legitimately anticipating Arrow Season 5. Why? Because of this trailer titled ‘Break the Rules’.
I’m not going to be like every other Arrow writer online who’s already typing and making the joke that Arrow breaking their rules for Season 5 means that Felicity will have no lines and the show won’t be a hot pile of mess anymore. Instead, I want to indulge the thought that this upcoming season might finally return this show back to the glorious heights of its’ first and second season.
Let’s talk about the tone of the trailer. Every other trailer released for Season 5 has played more like a Flash and Legends of Tomorrow trailer than a natural Arrow one. It’s all been about one-liners and smiles at the camera and quippy moments that are meant to make us grin. The problem is that no-one wants to grin at Arrow anymore because they don’t respect the show for what it has become: sloppy and worthless. But this trailer … this trailer is something old yet something different. It’s darker and more ferocious, it’s harder and harsher, it’s rugged and action-packed and that’s what Arrow was before and that’s what Arrow should always have been. I would go as far as to say that the Green Arrow actually throws more punches and fires more arrows in this trailer than he did in the entire last season.
And let’s talk about the ‘Killing Rule’. I made a video a while back when Stephen Amell made some comments about Arrow fans and their dislike of last season and developments with Felicity. Essentially, he said that if you don’t like Felicity you weren’t a true fan of the show. Whilst Stephen is wrong about that and will always be wrong about that, one change I recommended for the show was making Oliver kill again. A lot of people argued that this would undo all the character development that Oliver had in the first place. My answer to that is not if you introduce it in a meaningful way. Not if you push Oliver to such a low point in his life that he has no excuse but to revert to his basic animalistic instinct. Because a hero that has nothing to lose and is willing to kill is so much more entertaining than the clean cut and happy go-lucky heroes in every other show. Instead of Arrow trying to emulate The Flash, it could be its’ own show again. And it looks like this trailer confirms Oliver’s back on the killing streak.
And whilst the fourth season fully embraced the idea of metahumans, sometimes too much, going back to real and tangible heroes fighting a real and normal human being is a much better balance. Have multiple dark vigilantes pop up spiralling Oliver into questioning his role as the Green Arrow because that’s compelling. Have dark and gruesome kills because it adds texture to this ever-expanding CW-verse. Have Arrow revert back to the hard-hitting, street-level and intimate tone it set up in seasons one and two. Let’s get that old grimy feeling again because that’s when the show shone brightly in the depth of the night.
The only aspect of the trailer that I’m still hesitant and anxious about is Oliver forming a new team. If last season is any indication then it’s that too many cooks do indeed spoil to broth. The show spent far too much time juggling the likes of Felicity and her father, Diggle and his brother, Felicity and her mother, Laurel and her family, Lance and his role with Dhark, Felicity and Curtis etc. etc. The show needs to get back to basics and put Oliver front and centre. We often forget that Amell is a perfectly good leading man. He was fantastic in the first two seasons and much of the third but he seems like a supporting character in his own show. Injecting a new team into the story with fresh faces may be the wrong way to go about with a new slate but if the writers take that path than they have to swear by it. I will say if it’s not working and I will tear those characters apart if they fall by the wayside. I will always want and yearn for a show with Oliver back with a small team behind him, in the shadows, and not in the field. It makes it an adventure and a snapshot of one singular hero. After all the show is called Arrow, not Arrow and his Superfriends.
I am finding it really odd and actually kind of nice to be excited about Arrow again. But, like always, I have to sit back and wonder if the show will be hoisted by it’s own petard; a good trailer like this will raise expectations, can the new season meet those self-set expectations?