Following Damien Darhk’s twisted plans for chaos in Arrow’s fourth season, Stephen Amell’s Emerald Archer is back to tackle a terrifying and personal new threat to both himself and his secret identity. In addition to being targeted by said threat - the mysterious, clinical Prometheus - Oliver has to balance this challenge with an equally daunting task: being the Mayor of Star City. With new faces arriving, and with plenty of familiar faces returning, the fifth season of Arrow was lined up to be a great one. Let’s see whether it delivers on its promise, though.
While we’ve been huge fans of Arrow since the series debuted in back in 2012, we’ve got to be honest and say that, despite Neal McDonough on magnetic form as uber-rogue Darhk, certain parts of the previous season were a tad dull at times - most notably the Baron Reiter-centred flashback element set back on the island of Lian Yu. To many, this fifth season needed to get the adrenaline flowing once more, needed to interestingly and intricately showcase character development again, and, in some ways, needed to return more to its gritty roots.
Thankfully, Season 5 does not disappoint. From the get-go, we get an Oliver Queen who is loathe to let anyone get close to him. Once more, we get to see the Green Arrow cracking skulls and taking names in his relentless pursuit to cleanse Star City, his city; with each petty criminal or demented mastermind seen as a personal insult to the Master Bowman and all that he represents. And while the show does often shine brightest when Ollie is working solo or within a small, tight unit of trusted allies, this fifth season manages to nicely balance that aspect while also introducing some new members of Team Arrow in the form of Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Evelyn Sharp/Artemis (Madison McLaughlin), Rory Regan/Ragman (Joe Dinicol) and Dinah Drake/Black Canary (Juliana Harkavy) in addition to bumping Echo Kellum’s Curtis Holt up to a bona fide member of the group as he takes on his comic book Mr. Terrific persona.
As the old saying goes, though, a good hero is only as good as their villain, and the use of Prometheus here is a masterstroke from the minds behind the show. Sure, he’s vastly different from the comic book character of the same name, but Prometheus is a villain who is extremely personal to both Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow. Playing out as a whodunit affair, the season teases you at every turn over the real identity of this villain, but that’s just one of the many twists and turns that are present throughout a season that is a roaring return to form for a series many had started to become a tad concerned about. And what about the flashbacks, some of you mask ask. Well, despite dragging a little at times, overall it’s a vast improvement on last year’s trips back to Lian Yu. Initially seeing Oliver in a truly brutal Russian setting, many will enjoy seeing his backstory play out as we see how things dovetail with the opening moments of the show's very first episode as he again returns to Lian Yu – this time in a desperate attempt to make it home to Star(ling) City once and for all.
With new allies and new villains, Arrow manages to return to its roots while moving forward in a way that will have you itching for more ahead of the show’s sixth season premiering this October. Once again, the series has managed to hit a prolific bullseye and prove why Arrow is still the undisputed daddy of The CW’s Arrow-verse.
Special Features: 2016 Comic-Con Panel / Three featurettes / Deleted scenes / Gag reel
ARROW: SEASON 5 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: STEPHEN AMELL, DAVID RAMSEY, EMILY BETT RICKARDS, PAUL BLACKTHORNE, WILLA HOLLAND, ECHO KELLUM / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 18TH