In fact, it’s better than ever. Let’s take a history lesson. In a previous review, I noted the four stages that Arrow has gone through and described how Arrow dug itself into a hole. So after Season 4 (which I would honestly argue was an entertaining improvement), fans, myself included, wondered just how Arrow would regain its former glory as the show that depiected a dark, chilling, brutal story of a man on a crusade, if even it could. And it did. Here, in Arrow Season 5, we see our hero go back to his roots; killing criminals and delivering justice swiftly. Here, we see our hero’s true inner conflict, not having to deal with the melodramatic dating worries that plagued Seasons 3 and 4. Instead, we see Oliver battling with himself, debating whether to contain or release the murderous killer within him. But Oliver isn’t the only new character expanded upon. We first meet our villain in the form of a punishing crime boss who goes by the name of Tobias Church. Church is murdered by a man named Prometheus, who has a vendetta against Oliver. But he doesn’t want to kill Oliver; he wants to show Oliver the killer that he really is. Meanwhile, Oliver meets his new DA, Adrian Chase, who turns out to be Prometheus. In the past, Oliver killed Adrian’s father. And it’s this new, chilling villain that tortures Oliver mentally and physically. He might just be one of Arrow’s best villains yet, right up there with Deathstroke and Merlyn.
The flashback’s also receive an upgrade. Oliver travels to Russia to kill Kovar (mentioned from Season 4). He becomes embroiled in a gang war, where he is recruited into the Bratva by a man named Anatoli Knyazev. Then the situation goes south; the Bratva turn on them and Kovar is revealed to be behind it all, planning to overthrow the Russian government. It’s now up to Oliver and Knyazev to stop Kovar. It’s also in these flashbacks where Oliver’s murderous tendencies start to unveil, prompting the concern of Knyazev.
Although the season for Arrow isn’t done yet, they seem to be heading in the right direction. The cast and crew did mention that they would have to execute Season 5 flawlessly to keep it afloat. And they did.