Notches and Quivers: The pre-Arrow recap discussion

AKA this was meant for last week's once again mysteriously Arrow-less Wednesday but RL got in the way. So now it's a pre-ep discussion about what's working on Arrow and what most definitely isn't. Maybe I should just title it "SQUEE! NEW ARROW THIS WEEK!"

I love Arrow. It's my newest "OMG MUST WATCH" show, because it's awesome, so much fun, and in spite of what other people might say, it's actually good. The characters are pretty well written, the storylines are good and the writers clearly have a multi-year plan.

One of the best thing about Arrow has been the fast, pulls-no-punches storytelling that expects the audience to keep up. The writer's aren't afraid of letting the good guys lose, and it promises epic superhero vs. villain battles and then delivers with a side order of awesome.

But it's starting to develop a problem: too damn many subplots. It's like they need another 15 minutes every episode to address every aspect, or just bring the main storyline to standstill until everyone's caught up. Like the last two or three episodes, as awesome and fun as they were to watch (Nyssa! Arrow and Canary fighting together! Development for Felicity! Oliver and Slade epic staredown!) they've done nothing to advance the main plotline (by which I mean Oliver's story in present-time) except give Sara a reason to be around more and letting the team know that Slade's back. We already knew everything that happened in The Promise on the island, or we had very strong suspicions, and the main plotline did not advance since almost at all. The Queen mansion tour could've been done in 5 minutes. (Also why was Felicity all healed properly in this episode and everyone wore different clothes? Was there a time jump I missed at the end of Time of Death?)

And there are still things that fall to the wayside, like the whole Roy getting his training plot. It just completely disappeared for a few eps and then randomly popped up in the last one. And that sucks because it comes at the cost of characterization. I mean Roy is still just a whiny teenager with a chip on his shoulder. We need to understand why he's so angry and why he survived the Mirakuru (and that name will never fail to get a childish smile out of me, but that's cause of my native language) if we have to buy his upcoming talking a few level in bad-ass. We just need more, because that's why people are complaining about the "teenage drama" of Arrow.

It also means Diggle's pretty much had fuck all to do all season, and Dig is Oliver's best foil. I mean it's great that Felicity stands up to Oliver, and let's face it, it's fantastic to watch the sparks fly between between them as well as their growing respect for eachother, but Dig's sarcasm and "take no bullshit" attitude is sorely missing (and David Ramsay's killing it - just sayin'). Especially since Oliver's getting away with a few too many hypocritical moments lately.

And then there's Felicity, who is probably the most underdeveloped regular character. We know she's a shiny happy person, even though she's known tragedy and loss, and that she values loyalty and friendship over herself and that she babbles. But so much of that is Emily Bett Rickards, and much less so the writing. Thea is also a character that's done so much growing, mostly in between her onscreen appearances. So yeah, while I like that this show assumes the audience is smart and can can infer things, some things still need to be written.

I'm not sure what can be done to fix this and get back to the tighter storytelling, without sacrificing character development, but I sure hope they get back to what they do best soon.

Another problem I have is the nagging they're trying to upgrade Sara's role. And I love Sara, but she really works better in smaller doses, I don't want her to turn into another Laurel. For all the great female characters Arrow has Laurel is the writer's biggest failure. They just don't seem to know what to do with her. And I'm afraid that Sara sticking around for long will just lead to an increase in personal drama just for the sake of it. The writers need to realize that Felicity is their leading lady and keep it that way. Alternatively: give Canary a Birds of Prey series.

But there's finally a new episode this week! Suicide Squad no less! And at Walker Staker Con this weekend the Arrow cast has teased that someone else important will find out the Arrow's identity (ep 19 is titled "The Man Under the Hood"). Can't wait to find out who. Det. Lance? Thea? Moira?