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Arrow Season 6: What the Hell Happened?

arrow season 6

A while back, I wrote a piece describing Arrow’s redemption (Season 5). Arrow was able to bring back an excellent villain, a twisting plot, good character development, and lastly, great action. Now with Season 6, only one of them remained: good action (which, in all honestly, still fell short of Arrow Season 5). The worst part is that the end of Arrow Season 5, which leaves a shocking cliffhanger, set up Season 6 perfectly. Ideally, Season 6 should have been the season for Arrow to truly reclaim its throne as the best Arrowverse show it once was. So where did we go wrong…?

Awful Premiere. So let’s dial the clock back. In the Season 5 finale, Prometheus (the big bad) has kidnapped Oliver’s crew of Dinah, Curtis, Rene, Felicity, and Diggle, and taken them to the island of Lian Yu. With them are Thea, Quentin Lance, Oliver’s illegitimate son, William, and his mother, Samantha. So Oliver brings Slade (Deathstroke), Malcolm (Dark Archer), and Nyssa al Ghul (No superhero name). Oliver fights Prometheus and wins. But wait! Prometheus reveals that he has the entire island laced in explosives, triggered to go off once his heart stops. Prometheus promptly shoots himself, and the island goes kablooey. So the first episode of Season 6 is entirely dedicated to showing the aftermath. Now, Diggle has a tremor in his arm from the explosion, Samantha has died, William is traumatised, Thea is in a coma, Malcolm dies, and Quentin is saddened about having to kill Black Siren, who’s an alternate version of his daughter. Yes, you read that right. So what makes this premiere so bad? Pretty simple: it’s wasteful! The finale allowed for the show runners to kick off any unnecessary characters. Instead, they write off one of the best characters in the entire show. What’s more, they also had the chance to build up Oliver’s character after the incident. Oliver could have come back to Starling City hellbent on stopping any other villains. Or, he could have lost all confidence as a fighter after his crew nearly died. There were several angles the writers could have portrayed, yet after the explosion, Oliver and his crew come back unscathed. It’s as if Prometheus never happened.

Disjointed Plot. So after a wasted episode, the plot kicks off. Remember that hacker guy, Cayden James? He’s allied himself with this gang lord, Ricardo Diaz (The Dragon), Black Siren, and Anatoly Knyazev. And he wants to blow the city up with a fancy bomb. How riveting.  It’s later revealed that James had found a doctored video of Oliver shooting his son, and now he hates the Arrow. The villain motivations are jaw-droppingly lazy. But then James’ teammates betray him, as its revealed that one of them committed the murder and sent him the video. Spoiler alert: it’s Diaz. Now while that’s going down, Oliver’s identity has come into question, and thus Samatha Watson, an FBI agent, is conducting an investigation against him. Diaz kills James, allies with Knyazev and Black Siren, and vows to take over the city. Oh my god, I can hardly contain my excitement… The plot isn’t just messy, but it’s dragged on. You can visibly see how many episodes are there to pad out the 23 episode quota. Full episodes go by where nothing special happens. Anyway, back to the plot. Team Arrow is unraveling after Oliver’s leadership style comes into question. After a while, Oliver’s by himself. Awesome! You’d think that now, Arrow can revert back to its Season 1 roots, where Oliver was a lonesome killer. But no. The writers put in a lousy romance angle between Oliver and Felicity, letting it span the entire season (they even get married, God help us), and thus Oliver returns back to his team, makes up with them, convinces Knyazev and Black Siren to join them, and allies himself with Watson and her FBI forces, on the condition that once Diaz is gone, Oliver will go into FBI custody. But Diaz gets away, and Oliver still is taken in. He reveals identity to the public and is taken into a maximum security prison, full with inmates ready to beat the crap outta him. The finale and season cliffhanger is, admittedly, one of, if not the best in the entire show. Let’s hope to God that the writers don’t ruin it. Simply put, the plot sucks. It’s padded, boring, and stagnant. The story does pick up at the very end, yet Season 6 still is unable to climb out of the grave they put themselves after the god-awful midseason finale.

Lousy Characters. I’ve already spoken above about how Oliver’s character is a shadow of what it once was. Gone is the cold-blooded, brooding killer that Season 1 displayed. And while Season 6’s Oliver still remains fairly entertaining, he isn’t nearly as compelling as Season 1 and 2 made him out to be. He has no arc or development. Felicity still remains the worst characters of the show. And my god, the villains were embarrassing. Cayden James’ monotonous, drawling voice is absurd: how in hell am I supposed to take him seriously? His appearance, persona, and character convey not a sense of intimidation. Diaz is slightly better: it’s interesting to see how he is able to slowly drive Oliver’s team apart. Yet this isn’t really focused on, and instead there is an entire episode dedicated to Diaz’s backstory, mingled with Diaz attempting to join some insipid crime organisation (the ‘Quadrant’ – stupid name, I know). So here’s Diaz’s backstory, and if you fall asleep while reading it, I can’t blame you. Diaz was orphaned at a young age. In the foster home, some older kid bullied him one day. So Diaz gets really mad, and vows to never be hurt again or something like that. The only decent ‘villain’ was Knayzev, and that’s mainly due to his dynamic with Oliver. Sadly, he’s hardly focused on.

Arrow Season 6 picked itself up at the end, and hey, it did have cool fight sequences, but that really doesn’t make up for the sloppiness, laziness, and poor execution of it all. And yeah, the cliffhanger is cool, but let’s be honest: the writers dug themselves into a hole. Season 7 has got an uphill battle from here.

Patrick Yu
My name is Patrick and I have always been a huge fan of movies. Inspired by my parents and friends alike, I have taken up the hobby of reviewing movies, sharing my thoughts on it. Later, I began reviewing TV shows, as i also had thoughts about those as well. I am quite passionate about writing and journalism as well.