Monday, August 19, 2019

TV Show Review: Arrow - Season 7

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Acting, effects, crossover, Laurel’s arc
Cons: Just about everything else, especially the flash forwards
The Bottom Line:
Dark show goes darker
Makes most things irrelevant
With little to like

“Look at Us – Working Together Again, Being Targeted by a Homicidal Maniac.  Feels Like a Monday.”

If you’ve paid attention, my TV viewing has slowly been taken over by the Arrowverse shows, the term coined for the superhero shows based on DC Comics properties that have spun off from Arrow.  I’ve been watching Arrow since it premiered, and I’ve added each new show to my TV schedule as it has premiered.  So you can imagine how hard it is for me to say that season 7 of Arrow was hugely disappointing.

The season picks up a few months after the end of season 6.  (And I’ll be spoiling the ending of season 6, so be warned.)  Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is a few months into his prison sentence after revealing to the world that he is a vigilante.  While he tries to keep a low profile and get out quickly based on good behavior, his family and friends are trying to survive.  His wife, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and his son William (Jack Moore), are in witness protection, hiding from Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), who is still on the loose.  Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) is still on the Star City police force, and trying to hide her identity as the Black Canary.  While Curtis (Echo Kellum) is getting back into tech, Earth 2’s Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is taking on the persona of our Laurel while working for the DA’s office.  And Rene (Rick Gonzalez)?  He is slipping back into vigilante mode despite Oliver’s sacrifice.

While Felicity starts doing anything she can to get her husband out of prison early, there is a new Green Arrow in town.  Who is it?  What is this person’s agenda?

Okay, I’ll admit right off the bat that one of my problems with this season is the Oliver in jail storyline.  I hate shows set in jail, and I hate seeing characters we know and love in jail.  We know he’s going to get out before the season is over (or before the crossover, if we are being honest), so these episodes felt like they were marking time to me.  Oh, there was some interesting stuff happening, but on the whole, it wasn’t as entertaining as they wanted it to be.

I’ve also never completely warmed up to the new members of team Arrow.  I actually like Curtis fine, but Rene seems determined to do the stupidest thing he can possibly do, and it’s been that way since he joined the show.  Dinah spends more time whining than anything else.  With them carrying much of this season, it becomes hard to enjoy it.

And I know I haven’t mentioned John Diggle (David Ramsey) yet.  Honestly, he doesn’t get any good storylines this season.  Instead, he is left giving support for the others characters.  It’s a shame since I have loved his character for years.

But let’s talk the biggest elephant in the season.  We are introduced to a storyline in another time early on this season, but instead of flashbacks, we get flash forwards.  Set years in the future, we slowly get to see what has happened to Star City and the characters and their children years in the future.  Sounds cool, right?  It isn’t.  What we see is a city in a post-apocalyptic existence.  I generally hate post-apocalyptic settings and stories, so doesn’t appeal to me right away.  Plus, if you think about it, what this look into the future shows, is that everything the characters are fighting for now is irrelevant.  Plus, look at the characters who are friends now but not in the future, and it is just too depressing.  I don’t watch TV to be depressed; I watch it to be entertained.  Yet, I ended most weeks depressed.

I can’t help but wonder what might be happening behind the scenes since two actors chose to leave this year.  One left half way through the season, and the other at the end of the season.  It’s been announced that the show is coming back for a final 10 episode season 8.  With how they wrote out these characters, I do feel the show has done a great job of wrapping their stories up.  If we don’t see them again in the final run of episodes, I’ll be okay with that.

I am giving the show two stars, so there must be something I enjoyed, right?  As always, the acting and special effects are super.  The Elseworlds crossover was a ton of fun as Oliver and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) found themselves living each other’s lives.  And I really enjoyed Laurel’s arc this season.  It was fairly predictable, but it was a huge ray of light in an otherwise dark season.

And yes, I get that this show has always been dark.  But this seems especially dark to me.

I will be returning for the shortened season 8, but I am not holding out hope that I will enjoy how they wrap up Arrow.  Based on season 7’s run, I expect it to be dark and not the ending I normally associate with superheroes.

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