Thursday, July 7, 2016

DC Arrowverse 2016 - a review - part 3 - Arrow

I really have a mixed opinion about this years season of Arrow.

I think it had some serious high points, but made some really dumb and / or bizarre decisions throughout the season.

I liked how it began.  Olly and Felicity had more or less retired and the rest of the cast was picking up the slack.  and the season was dealing with the aftermath of the last 3 seasons and how a new villain had moved into the vacuum.

The Good

Quintin Lance:  Scruffy has been the most consistent piece of acting and quality throughout this season.  Now that we have discharged the "vendetta against Olly", it showed how awesome he is.  His desperation and fall from grace was for all the right reasons.  And his response to Laurel and Sara throughout the season show he really tried to be a great dad, even when he was falling apart.

Thea:  She is easily the best of the "fighting caste" this season.  Dealing with her killer urges (that were resolved by vamping out Daimen Darkh), her daddy issues (which she's more or less over the shock that Malcolm is an absolute monster), and thinking outside the box when things are outside the niche, this is one of the few characters that didn't feel nerfed this season.  Plus Thea is scrappy as all hell and it really adds to the character.

Curtis Holt:  He feels like he's always been there.  He's a big geek, knows his stuff and adds a freshness that is long overdue. Well done. :)

Damien Darkh:  I think the character did a grand job as big bad.  He was punchable to a point where I wanted to hit the actor.  His plan felt more like a comic Raj plot, but unlike Raj from last season (whom felt like a killer puppy, especially with those eyes), there was no doubt he was the villain.  However, the villain kept letting them get away, despite being outside his weight class.  I'm still not sure how arrow got out of their fight with them.  but he really was a throw back to the cackling villains of the 80's, complete with killing subordinates when they failed.

I liked the use of explosive arrows, but honestly, the problem felt like they had to pull out a magical countermeasure against him out of his ass and that's bad writing.

Cameos:  I didn't watch Constantine when he had his own series, but his cameo was spot on and made me want to see more.  I loved Vixen's limited animated series and it was great seeing her in live action.  I'm also glad we brought back Ray: He's a serious Favourite.  Honestly their crossovers in the arrowverse are often better then the show's regular arcs, and flash being there as well, helps a lot.  Heck, the two parter that launched Dcs legends of tomorrow was descent, even if Hawkman came off as a creep (however see that thread for details).

Hell I loved Jeri Ryan's cameo and wish she would have had a bigger part.  For all the jokes about a borg bimbo, she really was one of the better parts of voyager and love to see her integrated better into the arrowverse.

Heck TV Amanda Waller appeared in a scene and it didn't suck. That impressed me something fierce.

Best Line: "you have failed this omelette"

Getting There

Oliver Queen:  Oliver's evolution from arrow to the Green Arrow was pretty good.  While not at the trick arrow level, I like what the character has done.   This is the season where Oliver Queen became a Magical girl whom won with the power of love.

As he was named by a poster on another forum: Magical Hoodie Ollie-chan (feel free to get everybody to say this).  I want the writers to embrace it, use the tropes and define the magic used because this has serious potential.

I also loved how Olly ran for mayor. It did cheese me off that we always cut after the debates so we never knew his positions and it's kind of funny how he ended up there.  I really want more Olly and less Green Arrow in the new season.  rebuild the city in the light rather then fight in the dark.

Ultimately Stephen Amell wants arrow to be Angel from Buffy.  He's not quite there. David Boreanaz has both the angst and comedy down pat during that era and it is a hard act to follow.  Plus for all his faults, Josh Whedon can write well.  For example, I lol hard when everybody thought Angel was angsting again, and he was just playing hooky and watching hockey.  I think Stephen has the chops, he just needs better writing support.

John Diggle:  I like the character, and the actor did a fine job.  I like his new hero costume: Spartan. While the helmet looks like Magneto Junior, I think it suits him well.  The only reason it's not in the good is the character didn't flow well in the first part when he was mad at Olly.  However, the stuff with his brother was interesting and flowed well, and his interaction with his wife and child is pretty awesome.

The Resurrection of Sarah:  I'm glad they brought her back a lot and the episode that they did it was in character for everybody involved.  The Resurrection was both organic, characters were in character, and sealed off the Resurrection plot device.  Plus having Constantine get back her soul was a great use of the character.

The Meh

Laurel:  This is a sore contention from me.  Overall Laurel did a fantastic job this season, up until her death.  It felt like a bad setup with the gravestone and I'm seriously going to miss her if they don't bring her back next season (and Quentin's response the episode afterwards coming to terms with it was heart-wrenching).  If they bring back her doppelganger (Black Siren), I'd be okay with the change, but getting rid of her annoyed the heck out of me.

Malcolm Merlyn:  I like John Barrowman and his character would be enjoyable, if he wasn't a large scale terrorist with a sizeable body count.  His waffling without punishment kind of came to bite them in the hand as he lost his title he fought so hard for.  However, I'd be lying if I didn't get a kick when he didn't show up with a group of assassins to give helpful tips and they should have extended it within the Arrowverse and even have him crash a commercial or two.  Honestly, his idea of "kidnapping his daughter to save her" is completely in character, as is his falling out with Olly.  I'm honestly not sure what you can do with the character at this point.

Anarky:  I have serious mixed feelings for this character.  It's kinda hilarious it's him,  more so then Arrow and company, that did the most damage to Daimen Darkh, but he was also used as a means to make Felicity suffer yet again.  I think his story-arc is done, but if they can use him effectively next season, I don't have an issue with it.

The Bad

Magic:  Magic was easily the weakest problem with the show.  The use of a "kill statue" as the villains macguffin.  it wasn't well defined.  It doesn't have to be for the watchers, but the writers really didn't have a clue, which is why Olly became a magical girl. :p

Someone will Die: this was stupid as somebody would be upset the results.  either it's a surprise and really doesn't make sense, or you feel bad about losing a great character, and most likely both.  When Laurel was selected, it was not unexpected, but disappointing, as said above.

The Felicity

Felicity is such a polarising figure that I'm including her outside the normal good and bad.  I have heard people spit at her name, and also those that are raving fan boys/girls because of her.

I will say I like the character ultimately, even if she is a magic hacker, but she's suffering from love interest syndrome.  Laurel suffered from something similar in the first two seasons and it's a place which seriously messes up characters.   I hate it when she cry talks and shows the hypocrisy of her actions, but Oliver was equally as dumb in how he handled his illegitimate child.  It's like they had to setup a train wreck to act as a wedge and would be damned if it actually made sense.  Worse, that wedge needs to stay separated.  That ship has sailed, because the writers broke it and are now trying to glue it together with crazy glue.  Worse, the hypocrisy when she was giving her mother advice with Lance just annoyed me.

Worse, I would argue Felicity is made for suffering according to the writers.  she was paralyzed for quite a few episodes due to a revenge hit.  The same episode, she was thrown into a gas chamber (and she's Jewish, so seriously the poorest judgement in the entire Arrowverse).  She also needed to make a snap judgement to nuke a city to save a planet, to getting fired at Ceo.  It feels beyond the standard hero suffering and it's got to me over time.

In spite of this , I liked the usage of her parents.  Her Mom is irritating, but understandable (even if she destroyed Lance's career).  I generally like her, but I can see how and why they used her.  Her dad was in a similar boat.  He's a criminal, but you get the vibe he would have been there for his daughter in all ways if he'd been allowed to be. This is why his mom got out of there.  He wasn't a monster, he was a temptation.

What I Want 

I want to see Olly in a light place.  This season started light and became more crushing as the time progressed, and honestly it sucked a lot of the life out of the season.  I'd rather Olicity to be dead and buried, but if it's brought back, it needs to be kept light and not a dominant aspect of the series. Diggle and Thea need to return and Quentin Lance needs a role that plays to his strengths. Hell, I'd love him to essentially replay his Dresden character, but that's unlikely, but the ex-cop hard boiled detective would work as well.

A lot of people are saying Daredevil on Netflix is what they want.  I want a more lighthearted adventure with magical girl aspects because I think it would be more enjoyable.  However, don't skimp on the fight scenes.

Plus next time could lead to a lot of changes as we review Flash in the final installment of these blog entries.

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