Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Arrow” is a superhero/action/crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Green Arrow franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW.
What: “Arrow,” a series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg that is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.
The series follows Oliver Queen (Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City (now Star City), who spends five years shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Lian Yu. Upon his return to the city, he is reunited with his family, including his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and friends. Oliver awkwardly survives his days back in the city by rekindling his relationships, while he spends his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante. Thea, John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade as does his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy); flashbacks show how Oliver spent his time and gained the skill-set that he uses as (now) the Green Arrow.
When: Season Six aired on the CW from October 12, 2017, to May 17, 2018.
Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Starling City, the primary setting of the Green Arrow franchise – though as of Season Four, the city was finally re-branded to be Star City like in the comic books. The action does branch out in flashbacks to international locales, including Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia, and a fictional island called Lian Yu.
Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first DCTU podcast episode, where our panel covers the first two seasons of Arrow, via the embedded link below! It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie was hesitant to watch it, feeling somewhat loyal to Justin Hartley’s portrayal of the Green Arrow on Smallville, which ended in 2011, while Arrow premiered in 2012. Also, the Chief CP is pretty leery of character fatigue in comic book properties of late, which may be the subject of a separate podcast or blog entry. So, what finally convinced me to watch it in the end? Other than a few good recommendations from viewers like you, listen to that first podcast episode to find out the reasons why I finally picked up the show in the end.
What kept me watching, though, is a different question. Try this on for size:
How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS
This is the fourteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series. Here are only the prior Arrow episodes in the series (as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, though, older episodes will only be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header). Listen to each episode here:
DCTU Series, Episode 1, “Arrow,” Seasons One and Two
DCTU Series, Episode 2, “Arrow,” Seasons Three and Four
DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season Five
DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – began addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by starting with the third season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk TV universe progenitor Arrow following another rocky, inconsistent, and somewhat bloated Season Six in, this, the thirteenth episode of our DCTU series. The discussion herein evaluates the success of the Green Arrow’s season nemeses: Cayden James (Michael Emerson), Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), Earth 2’s Laurel Lance aka Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), and Anatoly Knyazev (the analogue to the comics’ KGBeast); the tedious number of (sometime) Green Arrow sidekicks; the continued trials of Oliver Queen as Star City Mayor as the FBI zeroes in on his vigilante secret identity; and a season ending that, again, could either reset everything we know about the Arrowverse’s namesake show or could be another overwrought but ultimately anticlimactic finish to another largely anticlimactic season. In fact, for most of the panel, the assignment to watch Arrow as part of this podcast series remains “begrudging” territory, as nearly all of the panel, at this point, struggles with Arrow, and their waning affinity for it, more than with any of the other Arrowverse entries. Unlike last season, however, most if not all of the panel is losing hope that the writers will find the story center again, return to the excellent story execution of the first two seasons, and breathe new energy into this now late-life series.
This particular episode was recorded in July 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season Six of Arrow. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Doctor Who panel returns to the Water Cooler after a long absence, ready to digest the most recent Series 10 while simultaneously anticipating the Doctor’s latest incarnation, with the departure of Peter Capaldi and the regeneration into controversial Thirteenth form Jodie Whittaker fully past-tense occurrences. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) Who, if anyone, survives the destruction of Lian Yu by a suicidal Prometheus, since everyone but Ollie and his son William presumably stood on the island rigged with dynamite, triggered to explode by Prometheus’ “dead man switch” and self-imposed death, at the end of the fifth season?
ANSWER: The real question is who, if anyone, does not survive the Lian Yu explosion because, shockingly, the only seemingly confirmed casualties from the exploding island: Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), who died via buried land mine prior to the big explosion, and Prometheus, who offed himself in front of Ollie and William. In other words, every single character that was on that island survives. And they say miracles don’t exist.
2) Does Oliver choose to raise his son in the wake of this explosion, since William’s mother follows Ollie to the island after learning that William has been kidnapped by Prometheus?
ANSWER: Yes, Oliver chooses to raise William with Felicity’s (Rickards) help. They have some adjustment pains at first, mostly because William is scared to lose his father after island explosions and the death of his mother just prior to those explosions, as well as learning that his dad is the Green Arrow, but they manage to do alright on the whole.
3) Presuming that Felicity survives the explosion, are Ollicity back on, in their on/off again relationship? The panel, particularly panelist Kristen, votes that the writers pick one of the two statuses and stick with it for these charismatic and chemically engaging lovers.
ANSWER: As a matter of fact, Ollie encourages spur of the moment nuptials – by upstaging Barry Allen and his now wife Iris from The Flash in what any reasonable person would have to admit is a bit of a dick move – and weds Felicity in the “Crisis on Earth X” crossover episode, the ninth of the season, immediately following Barry and Iris’ “I Do’s.” So, Ollicity is officially married, but this fact does not mean that the two lovers have left all the drama behind. Listen to the podcast episode for details.
4) Is Malcolm Merlyn truly dead? Prior to the overall explosion of Lian Yu, Merlyn sacrifices himself by moving on to an old landmine in place of Thea (Holland), who triggers the mine during her rescue (after Prometheus and allies manage to kidnap Green Arrow’s entire posse and whisk them off to Lian Yu for the explosive season climax). The show offers a scene in which we hear what is presumed to be the explosion of the landmine, but it occurs off screen, creating the possibility of a Merlyn who has once again escaped death. If he does, will we learn how he did it?
ANSWER: So far, Merlyn is still presumed to be truly dead, as he does not appear in any of the Arrowverse shows this season. Will he ever appear again, and will anyone explain how Merlyn might have escaped both a dormant land mine and an exploding island if he does? The panel is at a loss to even predict any eventuality surrounding Merlyn at this point.
5) Is Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) back for good? How will he affect Ollie/Green Arrow in future, now that he is presumably less psychopathic and Mirakuru-enhanced?
ANSWER: Deathstroke does not stick around, as DC parent company Warner Brothers pulled the rights to the character – again – at some point, either as a result of or in the wake of the Justice League movie. Yet, Slade Wilson returns this season for the purpose of cashing in on his and Oliver’s shared history and of asking Ollie for his help in finding Slade’s son, Joe; unfortunately, Slade’s son was so affected by the loss of his father, he decides to become just like him. Slade and Oliver confront a crime syndicate only to realize that Joe Wilson is the head of the outfit. In addition, he moves, dresses, and acts much like a junior Deathstroke. Joe reveals that he saw Slade commit murder long before he ingested Mirakuru, the drug that addled Slade’s brain and made him a villain in Season Two. When Slade attempts to explain to his son that he was paid to take out the person in question, as he worked as a paid assassin at one point, Joe refuses to offer forgiveness, and the two fight until Oliver intervenes. In addition, Joe informs Slade that Joe has a brother Grant, another son about which Slade never knew. After Joe escapes, Slade leaves Oliver with the intent of finding both of his sons. Slade also hopes that he can earn his sons’ forgiveness, though Slade does not leave Ollie without imparting a few words of wisdom to his old friend about Oliver’s relationship with his own son.
6) Will Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), the new Black Canary, survive her stint in the leather jacket and black mask – she was one of the posse on the exploding island? Black Canaries have a high mortality rate on this show.
ANSWER: Dinah aka Black Canary the Third lives to fight another season – a whole other season. She’s still flying around Star City, in other words, much to most of the panel’s chagrin.
7) Will we see the al Ghul sisters and the League of Assassins again? Will Talia become more interesting and more like her comics counterpart?
ANSWER: Talia has not returned, so we assume that she remains as boring and as wooden as ever. On the other hand, Nyssa returns to Star City, seeking Thea, who Nyssa says is the heir to the Ra’s title, given her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn’s, presumed death. The only problem is, the League of Assassins has all but become non-existent, though some of its former legion unite to create the Thanatos Guild, a new ninja outfit that believes that Malcolm left Thea a key, in the form of a mathematically sealed cubic puzzle, to unlocking great treasures. The Guild’s belief comes to pass; Malcolm, it seems, stored away a map to several other Lazarus Pits that apparently exist, and Thea, upon learning this truth, decides to leave Star City to seek their locations and to possibly right some of the wrongs committed by her father. Yet, Thea’s departure also coincides with the departure of her portraying actor, Holland, who decided not to renew her contract option for the next season of the show. The panel, incidentally, overwhelmingly feels that Thea’s permanent departure from Arrow is long overdue.
8) Now that the flashbacks and Ollie’s past have caught up to the events beginning the series in the first season, will the series continue to employ flashbacks to tell Oliver’s story? Or, will the portions seen by the viewing audience finally all be in the present?
ANSWERS: While occasional flashbacks continue to appear in Season Six, they are largely few and far between. The show and its writing and producing team apparently elected not to pursue the flashback storytelling structure that guided the overall framework of the first five seasons of the show. As such, most of the events in every episode in Season Six occur in the present/the actual real-time setting of the characters and not in the past.
9) Which villains will we see next season? Who will be the season “Big Bad?” Will any of Green Arrow’s traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle is very concerned)?
ANSWER: The Big Bads initially appear to be Cayden James, Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz, Black Siren, and KGBeast/Anatoly. The Dragon is an actual Green Arrow villain, though, as panelist Kyle confirms, the Dragon we see on the show is “Dragon” in name only and nothing like the Dragon character in the comics. What’s more, the Dragon double crosses the others, or, at least, James, to become the overarching villain on the season, though this move, from the vantage point of the show’s writers, turns out to be less than successful, according to the reviews of our DCTU panelists.
10) Did Artemis survive the Lian Yu explosion – and will she see the error of her ways and join Green Arrow’s team in good faith, provided that Oliver is in a forgiving mood?
ANSWER: Okay – so there was one confirmed death. Artemis definitely seems to be truly dead, ultimately resulting in yet another wasted Green Arrow character. Though none of the panelists suggested that they miss her. And, really, how many characters have actually stayed dead (other than the Queens’ parents)?
11) Provided that Thea also survives the explosion, and despite donning the red hood for the fifth mid-season crossover episodes, is she done being Speedy for good?
ANSWER: Thea dons the “Speedy” hood one more time in Season Six for the purpose of rescuing Roy Harper aka Arsenal from the clutches of the Dragon’s minions, who capture him in order to suss out Green Arrow’s whereabouts, and all in the name of love for her fugitive boyfriend. Roy left at the end of Season Three after pretending to the public that he was the “Arrow,” an earlier incarnation of Ollie’s secret identity, and in light of the fact that his portraying actor, Colton Haynes, elected to pursue other projects. Once Roy is successfully rescued by an impetuous Thea and her brother, even as Roy notes that she’s wearing his outfit, Thea appears to hang up the red hood for good just prior to her departure with Nyssa (Roy leaves with Thea in the moment, though).
12) Does Oliver remain Green Arrow as Season Six begins? How does he juggle mayoral duties with vigilante duties without a team? Does he recruit even more new team members?
ANSWER: Fortunately, the number of Team Arrow members fluctuates throughout Season Six but never grows in number beyond the core team of Oliver, Felicity, Dig (Ramsay), Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah, and Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum). Also, though Ollie starts the season as Green Arrow, despite the ongoing suspicion of federal law enforcement officials that he is the Green Arrow, Oliver convinces then-fugitive Dig to don the green hood in order to deflect that suspicion, and so that Ollie can spend time balancing his duties as mayor as well as his new role as father to William. This decision leads to some discord between the two longtime friends; Dig, who suffered degenerative nerve damage to his wrist in Season Five, becomes too used to being the Green Arrow or something and somehow uses his stint in the green spotlight as a sublimation and as compensation for frustrations about his own life. When Dig slips up in the field because of his progressively worsening nerve damage, however, almost leading to injury of one of his teammates, Oliver takes back the Green Arrow mantle for the sake of practicality, leaving Dig to grow surprisingly resentful about Oliver’s return to vigilantism once Felicity and Curtis replicate the chip in Felicity’s back and implant this new cure into Dig’s wrist. One of the leading sources of drama this season, in fact, is Oliver’s struggle to balance vigilante activities, mayoral duties, and being a stable parent to William, and this struggle leads to various other ramifications for Team Arrow, though whether or not the panel cares, in the end, about these ramifications is up for debate. Listen to the podcast episode for details.
13) Please bring back the salmon ladder. We are sure that Ollie is stressed out and needs to work on his upper body. Shirtless.
ANSWER: There was no salmon ladder at all in Season Six. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, TEAM ARROW?! Producers, writers, Stephen! You’ve gotta use what you got! You’re on shaky ground (listen to the episode for panelist rants on the subject)!
14) What is Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) end game on Arrow?
ANSWER: James seeks vengeance against Oliver because Cayden is led to believe that Oliver killed his son. When Felicity and her hacker friend find evidence to show that Oliver was not in Star City at the time of his son’s murder, James decides instead to exact his revenge on the whole city by detonating a large bomb. He does not get the chance, however, as Team Arrow successfully stops him. While James is incarcerated, however, the Dragon gets the drop on him and, double crossing him, slits his throat. Thus, Cayden’s game is ended in no way he planned.
15) For how long will Roy Harper/Arsenal (Colton Haynes) be back on Arrow, since his return to the show was announced in the media?
ANSWER: Roy Harper appears in 2 of 23 episodes in Season Six, when the Dragon’s men find him and torture him to get to Oliver and when Roy helps Thea realize her Thanatos Guild/League of Assassins destiny. Yet, it was announced, again, in the media that Colton Haynes is returning to Arrow as a cast regular for Season Seven. What can it all mean? How will it happen? That is one of the panel’s main questions going into the seventh season.
16) Did Warner Brothers/DC truly retract Arrow’s ability to use the character of Deathstroke again due to the Justice League film? Is Manu Bennett gone indefinitely again?
ANSWER: The short answer to both questions is “yes.” The panel universally agrees that corporate involvement in the Arrowverse has overwhelmingly adversely affected the universe’s four constituent series, particularly Arrow.
17) Will Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) end up having to stand trial for being the Green Arrow?
ANSWER: Yes, he stands trial, though master of disguise Christopher Chance (Wil Traval) appears during the hearing as Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and confesses that he is the Green Arrow, leading to an acquittal for Oliver, at least of the charges surrounding his vigilantism and, at least, briefly following the trial. Listen to the podcast episode for details.
1) The panel members, largely bereft of hope for improvement of the overall quality of Arrow, did not ruminate upon many questions going into Season Seven. The biggest question on several panelists’ brains centers on why Roy Harper returns to Star City and how he reintegrates into the new team.
2) How will the show survive without Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne)? Quentin (spoiler) dies at the end of the season after he takes a bullet for the team; his portraying actor left Arrow and joined the cast of a new show coming to NBC called The Inbetween. The panel reacted negatively to his departure, believing Mr. Blackthorne to be one of the most consistently engaging parts of the show throughout its lifespan, other than Oliver/Stephen Amell.
3) Oliver, in Iron Man fashion, announces to the Star City public in the season finale that he is the Green Arrow as part of a deal he makes with the FBI in order to guarantee the agency’s help in defeating the Dragon, in exchange for Ollie’s confession of illegal vigilante activity. The last few moments of the finale find Ollie in federal prison. Panelist Kyle has read that the first episodes of Season Seven will feature the “Longbow Hunters” and a widely panned story line from the comics called “Supermax.” How long will the audience be forced to watch Oliver in prison? What effect will these so-called “Hunters” present to Star City?
4) Will Dig take up the Green Arrow mantle once more while Oliver is in prison?
5) Will William follow the trajectory of Connor Hawke in the comics? What is William’s purpose on the show, except to complicate Oliver’s life (and presuming he has a purpose)?
6) Will Black Siren return in Season Seven? In what capacity? Why would she care to do so if her almost family and almost father no longer exist?
7) Diaz survives his most recent encounter with Oliver and escapes; he even watches Oliver’s city-wide proclamation that he is the Green Arrow on television through gritted teeth. It seems as though Diaz is tougher than the average crook, which is fueled by some precedent set by the comics-version of the Dragon. Will Diaz return in Season Seven? How will he affect Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow? Will he somehow affiliate with the Longbow Hunters; will he make another attempt on Oliver’s life? Or, is his character finished on Arrow?
8) Where does Anatoly go in the end?
9) Will we see more crossovers with the other Arrowverse properties – apart from mid-season – next season?
10) Will any of Green Arrow’s other traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle has all but lost hope)?
Our DCTU panel universally agrees that Arrow Season Six did not fare much better than Season Five in terms of storytelling quality. The panelists opined that the season’s pacing and writing were choppy and disjointed, and many of the panelists describe Arrow and the obligation to watch it as a “slog.” Though half of the panel saw potential in the four villains introduced this season, all panelists proved largely appalled that the Dragon a) as a routine mobster, proved to be such a challenge for Team Arrow, particularly Oliver, and b) outsmarted the other members of his alliance, the formation of which was never even slightly explained by any of the characters and/or dialogue, a huge oversight on the part of the show’s writers. The panel continues to offer mixed reviews surrounding the Green Arrow’s sidekicks, with all panelists struggling to understand the purpose of each of them or why and how they continue to remain a team at all, what with all of the soap opera internal strife they seem to instigate. The panel members almost fully agree now, however, that Arrow continues to flounder and stumble, owing primarily to sloppy story mapping and despite the steady (and handsome) portrayal of the Green Arrow by Stephen Amell as well as the superb production values marking the Star City based quadrant of the multiverse.
The seventh season of Arrow is slated to premiere on Monday, October 15, 2018, at 8:00 PM on the CW. CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the fourth season of The Flash, will publish in the fall, closer to that series’ season premiere date. Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the DCTU podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels! And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Thank you!🙂