Disclaimer: I haven’t read the comics themselves so this article is purely based on the TV Show Arrow. My knowledge on the characters/subplots is limited to what we see on screen and a few tit-bits I’ve picked up from my friends. If anyone is reading who hasn’t seen the show, maybe you could have a look at this review of what the season was and then see how I would change it. Oh and naturally I don’t own any of this. I’m just another kid with a keyboard and way too much time on his hands.
(This is also way different from anything I’ve written before so let me know 😀 )
Arrow has certainly come a long way. It’s easy now to forget that Arrow can be credited with reintroducing comic book superheroes to the small screen. But what we saw in season 4 is far cry from where it began or even when it was at it’s zenith (Slade Wilson). In fact many of the elements that attracted me to the show in the first place are barely visible anymore, giving way to murkier storylines and divisive plot points. I’m not saying that all change is bad, in fact character development is a necessity and you don’t want a show to repeat itself till it becomes stale (just ask Richard Castle or even the WWE). There were just some things about season 4 that we could easily have done without. Let’s throw a spanner in the works shall we? :p
First and foremost, let’s get right into it and tackle Damien Darhk and his magic. I’m going to try and get rid of as much magic as possible from the show. The supposed “mysticism” associated with it just irritated me and if you think about it, how much did it really add to the show. I mean Darhk was already a compelling villain. What with being a former member of the League of Shadows (meaning he could go toe to toe with the Arrow himself in combat), having an army of HIVE Agents kept in check with mind control pills and even managing a family life with his wife and daughter, why do we need to involve magic here. And the show producers missed a trick with his wife, Ruve. Once introduced into the show, especially in the second half, she had a knack for inducing real heel heat. From the moment I saw her smug face I was waiting to see her comeuppance. They should have introduced her earlier and really made a super villain couple of the two. So we also don’t need that pesky all powerful idol as well (Don’t worry, I had an idea to write it out of the flashbacks as well :D)
Now another thing I found really unnecessary was everything to do with bringing back Sara. Too much magic, too much drama, all for nothing. As soon as Constantine fixed her, she was off. I know they might bring her back in a later season but I felt the whole thing of reanimating a corpse to a feral humanoid creature without a soul then travelling to the spirit realm to “restore her soul” too much of a tangent from the plotline itself. And with absolutely no payoff. For now this doesn’t happen and Sara stays dead. I’m sorry but deaths in a TV Show have to mean something and you can’t just keep bringing people back.
So now we have the power couple of Darhk vs Team Arrow. Let’s sort out Ollie now. I liked the underlying theme of the season of promising lightness after the darkness and misery of seasons past. It was finally changing the hero from the Arrow to the Green Arrow, more humour, a lighter tone, without completely moving away from the dark edge Arrow always had (and needed). The new, lighter tone lasted for about half of the first episode, and then the characters returned to Star City, and things continued as they were. And I felt this quote by Captain Lance should have been the centre piece of the season:
“What this city needs is somebody who can stand out in the light of day, not lurk around in the shadows. You said you were gonna be different this time, huh? How?”
Now this is going to be the main focus of the season. Two intertwining battles, The Green Arrow and his team vs Damien Darhk and HIVE and out in the open Oliver Queen vs Ruve Darhk for the post of mayor. And this is even mirrored by the battle within Oliver, light vs dark. The hero vs the monster. This is going to be the difference that was promised to us. Oliver has always been one to keep to himself but now we see him put himself out there for the greater good. And now that there is no magic involved, the combat scenes will be all that more badass.
But now that we’ve removed the idol from the story the flashbacks will also have to change. We won’t change much, Oliver is still at Reither’s slave camp. Now we have a couple of options, either the drug racket can remain as a front while Reither actually searches for something destructive like uranium or kryptonite or something, or the drug racket itself is enough reason for Amanda Waller to have Oliver infiltrate. As in the show, he gains the trust of Reither and draws the ire of Conklin. Only in this case Reither is convinced he’s a spy and Oliver is now a slave. We can now see the new Oliver emerge, the leader who is willing to stand up for others. But again the conflict within him remains, fueled by Reither’s sharp jabs of him being a killer. As in earlier seasons (especially with Deathstroke) now the current timeline will be running in parallel but mirroring themselves in a way. And as a final twist, maybe Oliver the monster wins on the island and this could be the reason he withdraws to himself, why he is filled with apprehension about standing for mayor. There is always that lingering doubt if he’ll fail again. But this time he’s not alone, he has his friends to keep him in line. And in the feel good moment that the show deserves, Oliver emerges as the Green Arrow, a true hero and also mayor of Star City.
Some more points to add, we don’t interfere with the Diggle storyline at all. I thought it was really well done. Andy becoming corrupted during the war by Reither then betraying John to side with HIVE. Only this time we don’t need the filler of him searching for the idol piece and all. He betrays Team Arrow, Laurel dies, and the show progresses. John’s struggles with the betrayal were masterfully portrayed on the show and I wouldn’t change a thing, right upto the death of Andy.
Now that the Sara subplot is removed, Captain Lance’s story arc focuses solely on him being coerced into working with Darhk and his love for his daughter Laurel. He betrays Darhk and Laurel dies as a result, he goes off the rails before being brought back by another unlikely player, Donna Smoak. He becomes a key factor in uniting the city for the final battle against the HIVE army.
I don’t change much with Felicity except maybe reduce some of the soap opera drama like having a fake wedding after breaking up, that’s not really important but overall I wouldn’t change much here. Curtis was actually a welcome addition to the show, as was the introduction of Felicity’s dad, Noah Kuttler. Thea also has a really good story except we remove Sara altogether and she battles the bloodlust from the Lazarus pit. As with Malcolm and Nyssa, their stories are fairly solid as it is.
So there you have it, how I would have written Season 4 of Arrow. MUCH less magic, super evil power couple Darhk and Oliver finally coming into his own as the Green Arrow.