Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor
With the season five premiere of Arrow just six short weeks away, Emertainment Monthly editor Nora Dominick has decided to countdown the top 10 reasons to be excited for Arrow season five.
Last season, Arrow further proved where the show thrives: in moments of grounded reality filled with action packed stunts. Season four of Arrow was filled with magic, new characters, the first season for “Olicity,” the death of a major character and a mystical villain. Although Arrow delivered great episodes in the front half of season four, the show began to lose its momentum in the back half. The past season boasted some strong performances and storylines, but also some negative ones.
With two trailers already released for season five, Arrow appears to be getting back to basics and delivering a season reminiscent of its first. This comes as a major sigh of relief for longtime, devoted fans.
Below are ten reasons to be excited for the fifth season of Arrow!
10. Crossovers/The 100th Episode
Like many Arrow fans, I have some mixed feelings about the crossovers. Since The Flash began, the world of magic and superpowers has consumed Arrow. Each year, the DCTV universe expands and with it Arrow’s core strengths seem to get lost in the shuffle. Green Arrow’s (Stephen Amell) vigilante skills often take a backseat to The Flash’s (Grant Gustin) metahumans or Legends of Tomorrow’s time travel. While I enjoy seeing characters interact as much as the next DCTV nerd, I yearn for the season one and two days of Arrow where life seemed a bit simpler.
This season, the crossover episode has gotten even bigger with the addition of Supergirl to The CW. The FOUR part crossover will take place this fall. After starting with only one DCTV show, the universe has expanded to include a four night event. Green Arrow, The Flash, White Canary (Caity Lotz) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) fighting alongside each other is the very definition of “epic.” So, fans should be excited for this crossover. It will be one of the biggest TV events this fall and should not be missed. Whether you watch one or all four, this is a reason to be excited.
The only downfall for the crossover out of the gate? It coinciding with Arrow’s 100th episode. As a fan of Arrow since season one, my hopes for the milestone were an all Arrow episode. Hopefully complete with a massive stunt sequence, a lot of Original Team Arrow, and maybe some reappearances by past cast members (looking at you Colin Donnell). While the crossover will be fun, I wish Arrow could stand alone for the 100th episode.
9. Return of Quentin Lance
When season four ended, most of Team Arrow hung up their masks and guns to pursue a life away from crime fighting. One of these people was Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne). In season four, Quentin went through a lot. He went from learning Sara was brought back to life to watching Laurel (Katie Cassidy) die. He also found new love in Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross) and repaired his relationship with Oliver. At the end of the season, Quentin decides to find a fresh start. Much like the end of season three with Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Donna and Quentin drive off into the sunset saying goodbye to Star City.
When season five picks up, it looks like all of the characters are doing their own thing while Oliver and Felicity train a new Team Arrow. Eventually, Quentin will make his way back to Star City, but the big question is whether he will be with Donna. Fans are anxious to see what will become of “SmoaknLance” going into season five. In an interview with Emertainment Monthly, Charlotte Ross said there is no immediate plan to bring Donna back for season five. What does this mean for Quentin and Donna? Will a breakup send Quentin back to Star City?
8. Mayor Oliver Queen
Following a season of Ruvé Adams (Janet Kidder) trying to destroy Oliver’s campaign for Mayor, Oliver finally assumed the role in the season four finale.
Now looking at season five, Oliver will be doing most of his work as mayor alone. In an interview with Zap2it, Amell reveals that Oliver isn’t going to be a model mayor. He says he’s doing “poorly, badly” at best. His new position will also help his vigilante work, Amell says. Thea (Willa Holland) will also be stationed within Oliver’s mayoral office to assist her big brother. It will be interesting to see Amell play more of the Oliver side to his character this season as he tries to bring Star City into the light.
The Queen’s ruling over Star City once again? Sign me up! Also, any job that allows Amell to wear suits 24/7 is a job I am willing to rally behind.
7. New Characters
Each season on Arrow new characters arrive to change up the game. Whether it’s a new villain, a new flashback character or a new member of Team Arrow, fans anxiously await new faces.
Last season Arrow gained some exciting new characters while losing an original one. We gained Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), but we lost Laurel Lance. Although Laurel’s memory will not soon be forgotten (as evident by the Black Canary statue being erected in Star City and Katie Cassidy’s overall new contract), some new characters are slated to make a big impact on Arrow season five.
I’ll talk about the new Team Arrow a little later, but aside from them Arrow has some serious guest stars and new characters for season five. One of the biggest for fans (and Amell) is WWE alum Cody Rhodes. A longtime friend (and rival) of Amell, Rhodes will join Arrow for one episode this season as a villain. Green Arrow vs. Stardust? The dream stunt-off we’ve been waiting for.
Dolph Lundgren also joins the cast as Kovar, the main big bad for the Russia flashbacks this season. Lundgren’s character of Kovar was mentioned briefly at the end of season four when Taiana referred to the villain. According to EP Wendy Mericle, Kovar will be a big, badass who works for the Russian government. He will butt heads with Oliver and the Bratva. Lundgren will surely bring even more to the Bratva flashbacks and it will be interesting to see Amell and Lundgren together.
The Walking Dead alum Chad L. Coleman will also join the Arrowverse as Tobias Church, a villain who will be coming at Team Arrow this season. Coleman was a beloved actor and character on The Walking Dead and fans will want to tune in to see how he brings Tobias Church to life this season.
Also joining Arrow season five is current Suits cast member Carly Pope as a Coast City reporter, Chicago P.D alum Josh Segarra in the series regular role of D.A Adrian Chase, Jessica Jones actor Wil Traval as Human Target and The McCarthys actor Tyler Ritter as SCPD Detective Malone. Each of these actors will bring something new and refreshing to Arrow and fans can’t wait to see how they meld in with the current cast.
6. Thea’s New Role
When Team Arrow disbanded at the end of season four one of the hardest departures to swallow was Thea’s. For me, Thea has undergone some of the biggest character development on Arrow. Thea quickly shed the teen girl persona and became a major, crime fighting, badass as Speedy. Not only did Thea grow up, but so did Holland. She has left behind her typecasting as the troublesome, teen girl that allowed her to rise to fame in The O.C and Gossip Girl. Now a bonafide superhero, Holland’s portrayal of Thea will change once again in season five.
At SDCC 2016, Holland spoke about where Thea will end up this season and it sounds like she’s taking a job in Oliver’s mayoral office. She will be the one to actually do some of the work while Oliver is out fighting crime. Although I’m sad to see Speedy take a break, I think this will be a very interesting storyline for Thea. She has gone through so much and seeing her disassociated from the ramification of the Lazarus Pit and the never ending cycle of Malcom (John Barrowman) disappointing her, will be great.
I’m here for flawless pants suits and Thea’s sassy mayoral attitude. Bring it on!
5. Army Diggle
Another member of Team Arrow who left at the end of season four, Diggle (David Ramsey) will be exploring his army roots once again. Following an emotional season of dealing with his brother and eventually carrying the weight of Laurel’s death, Diggle decides to explore life outside of Team Arrow. When we meet up with Diggle come season five, he will be serving in the army and trying to find his way back.
This storyline will be a great addition for season five. In the past, Diggle’s storylines have fallen into the background in the grand scheme of episodes. Often only carrying a storyline for a few episodes, he often latched onto other characters. Last season, Diggle did have his brother storyline, however it dragged on and often wasn’t as exciting as other things. Diggle has been with Oliver since day one, so having the two of them split up for the beginning of the season will add another layer to their dynamic.
My other hope is that the army storyline allows for more Diggle and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson). The fan favorite couple often takes a backseat and here’s hoping season five is their time to shine.
4. Felicity and Oliver Rebuilding
It was the ship heard around the TV universe last season. Oliver and Felicity finally got together after three seasons and fans couldn’t have been happier. Season four of Arrow had “Olicity” in every situation possible. From living together in the suburbs, to getting engaged, to Felicity being paralyzed, to Oliver finding out he has a son, to lying about it, to the fateful end of the relationship, “Olicity” went through it all. Now with season five on the horizon, the fan-favorite couple seems to be back to square one.
After an entire half a season without each other, it looks like Oliver and Felicity could be on the road to recovery. When season five picks up, Felicity and Oliver will be dealing with the rest of the team leaving Star City. Although they will be focusing on training a new Team Arrow, it looks like they will have more of their own, separate storylines. An essential element season four lacked.
While I love “Olicity” as much as any fan, my one issue with season four was that once they were together that was it. They seemed to do everything together. My hope for season five is that Oliver and Felicity begin to repair their relationship while maintaining separate storylines. Oliver with have his mayoral duties to worry about while Felicity will continue to deal with the fallout of Havenrock and getting Palmer Tech back.
Amell and Rickards are the heart of the show, but by having them have separate storyline the characters, individually, will soar as well as the actors. Let’s see Amell totally crush a mayoral speech. I want to learn more about Felicity’s life outside Team Arrow. Let’s see Rickards and Kellum grow their on-screen friendship. I want to watch Oliver fight for Diggle to return. All of these storylines will allow Oliver and Felicity to grow individually, but will also bring them closer together.
3. New Team Arrow
As I’ve mentioned above, one of the biggest changes for Arrow season five will be the new Team Arrow. After Thea, Diggle and Lance leave town and Laurel’s shocking death, Oliver and Felicity are left to rebuild the team. The new characters will add refreshing storylines to Arrow and it’s something to be excited about.
As seen in the SDCC 2016 trailer, Curtis will be joining Team Arrow. After a terrific inaugural season, Echo Kellum leapt into fans hearts as Curtis Holt. His witty banter opposite Rickards was a major highlight for season four. This season, Kellum has reached series regular status as Curtis joins the team. Curtis fighting alongside Felicity and Oliver week after week? Sign me up!
Another familiar face joining Team Arrow is Evelyn Sharp, played by Chicago P.D alum Madison McLaughlin. She was seen briefly in season four when she took up Black Canary’s mantel following Laurel’s death. This time around Sharp will join the team as the comic book favorite character, Artemis. McLaughlin will be another great, female addition to the cast. Based on promos (and Echo Kellum’s Snapchat), McLaughlin is melding into the Arrowverse perfectly and will be a welcomed addition.
Rounding out the new Team Arrow will be Rene Ramirez aka “Wild Dog,” played by Rick Gonzalez. All three characters will change Team Arrow, hopefully for the better, this season. Each one of them have joined the team as a result of Darhk’s attack in season four. The theme of Arrow season five is “legacy” and what better way to solidify Oliver’s than training a new group of vigilantes.
After last seasons flashbacks, I never thought I would be so excited to have them this season. Arrow season five will feature the last set of flashbacks and we’re headed to Russia. Bratva Oliver will take center stage as Oliver travels to Russia to honor Taiana final wishes.
Oliver’s Bratva storyline is something that has intrigued fans since season one. This season will surely bring the best flashbacks on Arrow since we learned Sara was on the island with Oliver.
With every episode in season four, the flashbacks got more and more tedious. The characters were forgettable and detracted from the action happening in present day. Each week, the flashbacks were often the weakest links to otherwise engaging episodes. By seasons end, Taiana, who fans have spent an entire season with, is killed and I didn’t even bat an eye. Season five hopes to remedy this by bringing in Lundgren to the flashbacks and introducing a storyline fans are eager to learn about.
1. Back to Basics
As Arrow season five ramps up production, one of the main themes looks to be “back to basics.” Stephen Amell has said it in countless interviews since production started, Arrow season five feels a lot like season one. A sigh of relief for long time fans of the show. Although the past four seasons have produced some great storylines, nothing has been able to top seasons one and two.
One of the contributing factors to Arrow’s somewhat sloppy seasons I think has been the introduction of magic and crossovers. The show thrived in the early seasons when it simply featured amazing stunts and lovable characters. Amell would amaze week after week with epic stunt sequences, Rickards allowed fans to fall in love with a complex female character and Ramsey brought a stoic portrayal of John Diggle to life. There were no metahumans running around, magic wasn’t a necessary plot point and the flashbacks held meaning to the overarching storyline.
Arrow season five is getting back to basics as it closes chapter one. We’ve come to the end of the flashbacks, we’ve seen Oliver grow from the man we found on the island and now it’s time to usher in a new era for Arrow.
I can begin to see the Arrow I fell in love with five years ago and I am excited!