[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Arrow season 5.]
While The CW is now home to four DC Comics series all encompassing the same multiverse, it all began with Arrow. Now in its fifth season, Arrow, which stars Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, is attempting to revitalize the series, after the last two seasons were seen by many as disappointing. Thus far the show seems to be succeeding in that goal by leaving the mystical behind, and embracing the dark, gritty, street-level crime that made Arrow a success in the first place.
The first major obstacle this season for the Green Arrow was Tobias Church's ascent to the top of Star City's criminal underworld. However, with Church now out of the picture, Team Arrow has to turn their attention to the mysterious Prometheus, who made his most prominent mark yet in last night's episode. It has long been teased that Prometheus is someone of Oliver's own making, and that was made apparent in 'So it Begins' - as the masked villain's victims served the purpose of alluding to Oliver's "kill list" from season 1.
And while season 5 of Arrow marks a return to its fundamentals, it also functions as an end of an era. After five years of flashbacks to Oliver Queen's exploits prior to his return home, the series will abandon that narrative device in future seasons - if there are any. EW recently spoke with Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim, asking whether the end of the flashbacks and season 5's emphasis on "legacy" mean the show will be coming to an end. The producer answered in a word, "no." Guggenheim elaborated, "I think we tend to look at season 5 as the end of a particular chapter."
Of course, it would not make much sense for the series to call it quits, as the Arrowverse is just now reaching its height, and Arrow remains one of the network's highest rated series. Guggenheim, however, was even surprised himself at how long the series has lasted, explaining that the flashbacks were always "a five-year deal" and that the show " just turned out to be more successful than we anticipated."
Another question that came up was whether Oliver Queen should pay for his past decisions. 'So it Begins' further highlighted Queen's conflicted past, which did include maintaining a to-kill list of the social elite. The new recruits' reaction to learning of the list says it all, as immediately they wondered whether they were aligning themselves with a "serial killer." As to whether Oliver should pay for his old (and much revisited) method of vengeance? “It’s a great question,” responds Guggenheim. “There’s an element of this show that’s very Sons of Anarchy to me, which had a similar question: Was there any redemption to be had for Jackson? I will say that I have a very specific notion as to how I would like to see the series end.”
As for Stephen Amell's views on the future of Arrow? Here's what he told EW:
“I do really believe that this season is sort of a throw-down-the-gauntlet year for us, where we’re either going to do what we do and do it well or it’s the last year,” the actor says. “If we find that magic formula — which is not magic, it’s just hard work and playing to your strengths — then the show could go on for a really long time.”
While recent seasons of Arrow may not be looked on as kindly as the earlier years or those of sister series, The Flash, there is no doubt that the show is making a concerted effort to go back to the drawing board and reflect on what once worked. We are still early in season 5 and Prometheus is only just starting to wreak havoc, but Arrow looks to be on the right track. Surely, there are many fans that truly hope Arrow has found its stride, and is not going anywhere any time soon.
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Vigilante’ @8pm on The CW