By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Yay, Ray is back! Get ready for the awkward comedy, some intentional and some not. For a tech genius, Ray is a great bumbling character. Whether it’s his sometimes flying suit or his not always functioning weaponry, he has become the comic relief of the show. Now his shrinking technology has gotten him into a bit of a jam with Damien Darhk. Knowing that Ray will be in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow takes some of the suspense out of the situation (and any situation where Ray is in danger), but it’s still a compelling story. Seeing Ray still struggling to figure out his suit makes for an exciting story. Every other superhero on this show developed way too fast. Laurel became the Black Canary in half a season; Thea did the bulk of her training with Malcolm off-screen between seasons two and three; and of course we met Oliver and Sara after they already transformed into their respective characters. Seeing Ray tackle these obstacles step-by-step makes the character much more interesting.
Sara is also back and donning the Black Canary suit once again. She has her soul back, but the effects of the Lazarus Pit are still there. This story is getting a little repetitive now since we’re still handling it with Thea. Having her go away for a while is probably the best option for the writers. Thea’s subplot can get resolved while Sara’s resolution happens off-screen. This way we don’t have to watch two different characters go through the same exact development. She can then come back for whatever backdoor pilot the writers have planned for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (also, here’s another example of most of the tension being taken away because a character has been announced for a spin-off).
Is it just me or has this season focused a whole lot less on Oliver? Maybe it’s because all the focus was on John Constantine last week and Ray and Sara this week, but it sure seems like Arrow is becoming less about Oliver and more about the story of an ensemble cast of characters. This trend seems like it will continue into next week with the story focusing on Diggle and his brother. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it gives the writers multiple directions to take the overall story. Many one-time great shows have suffered because writers ran out of ideas for their main character and then tried to get by recycling old material (looking at you, 24). If the show is going to be less Arrow and more Team Arrow, I’m all for that. I would just caution the writers to remember that Oliver is still the title character and needs to be the main focus of the show. Those of you who read my posts on The Walking Dead know how I feel about the non-Rick Grimes episodes of that show. Taking a series and transforming it into an ensemble show in the middle of fourth season is a risky move (it’s also happens to be the same season that The Walking Dead first started going off the rails) and should be handled with caution. Otherwise, in a season that has already had so many transformations, I’m on board with yet another.
Thanks for reading!