Arrow is finally back, but is it better?
On Arrow Season 5 Episode 1, Oliver struggled to juggle being a superhero and a mayor.
Below, TV Fanatics Robin, Steve and Paul discuss Oliver's many tasks, Thea's speech and what they thought of Tobias...
Was Oliver taking on too much without a team?
Robin: I think he was, but not because it was too much work. He has more visible responsibilities as mayor and needs time for that, and I think he needs a team to keep him grounded. This episode was quite parallel to the series premiere, escaping abduction and killing a kidnapper because "no one can know my secret." He needs a team, not so much to help him in the field, but to remind him of the growth he's had since that time.
Steve: More often than not, Oliver doesn't recognize his limits. He juggles so much that he should join the Ringling Bros. Yes, he was trying to take on a lot, but Oliver has been in worse situations before. He is more than capable, but it doesn't hurt to have help when people are willing and able.
Paul: Definitely. He was spreading himself too thin and that was always going to lead to bad things for him. Hopefully, the new team are reliable enough to give the Green Arrow a little break.
What did you think of Thea's speech about killing people?
Robin: I understand why Thea feels the way she does; she had to live with bloodlust, and she's much more afraid of the compulsion and consequence of killing than everyone else is. I think she's afraid of Oliver regressing to the person he used to be, and knows all too well how disturbing it is to find killing easy.
Steve: I agree with Robin, she is afraid of the affect it may have on Oliver. Especially with not many team members left to keep him grounded.
Paul: I think there were pros and cons to both arguments, but it really depended on the situation. Thea is speaking from experience. She knows how it feels to murder someone.
Were Laurel's last words worth the wait?
Robin: Really? THAT'S what we waited for? Well, that was a letdown. I mean, I appreciate the sentiment, but it's not like we all didn't know that this wasn't the end of the Black Canary, so I don't see why this was made such a big deal.
Steve: Meh...it was kind of disappointing, but did pack an emotional hit with Laurel wanting to be out there with Ollie in some capacity.
Paul: They were laughable. Here I was, thinking we were getting a great Laurel scene, but it was terrible.
Do you like the addition of Tobias?
Robin: Let's put it this way. I read this question and forgot who Tobias was, and had to go read the review to remember. He was fun, if a little over the top. I think I would have preferred a more gradual introduction to this guy who can obviously wreak havoc on a place, but since there's another big bad, I suppose this will do.
Steve: I'm glad to see Chad Coleman back on the small screen. However, I didn't really have much of a reaction to Tobias. He felt more like a villain of the week rather than being set up as a major player. He has the potential to be a memorable villain, but it was difficult for me to judge from this one episode.
Paul: I really enjoyed this new villain. He was infinitely more intriguing than any recent villain on the show.
Did the flashbacks cut it for you?
Robin: THESE are the flashbacks I've been waiting for. I honestly didn't care about the last two seasons of flashbacks - I've been wanting to know about Russia since season one. So they DEFINITELY cut it for me, and I'm looking forward to more.
Steve: The flashbacks from seasons 3 and 4 have left much to be desired. While I feel the flashbacks are way overused on Arrow to begin with, these were some of the better moments in the premiere. If they keep the pacing and focus on the Russian storyline, I wouldn't mind diving more into it throughout the season.
Paul: YES! These ones were pretty fantastic and made sense. The previous two seasons were filled with filler, but at least we're getting to the good stuff.
Grade the season premiere!
Robin: I'll give it a B. I loved Oliver trying to balance being mayor and Green Arrow, and I loved all the jabs the media was taking at him. Loved Lance's scenes and his willingness to help. Loved Diggle's appearance. Loved the arrow to the knee (that will always be funny). The only thing that I rolled my eyes at was the end with Felicity...the writers keep reducing Felicity to a vehicle for emotional drama and frankly, the character deserves better. I would have liked just one episode without stupid relationship drama nonsense.
Steve: I'd have to give it a B-. It wasn't quite what I expected from the premiere, but it more or less set the tone for the season. I'm looking forward to see where this season takes us.
Paul: B+. Who would have thought Arrow would be able to stage a creative resurgence after two mediocre seasons?!
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.