10 Ways Arrow Can Get Back on Track for Season 5
Still, Arrow used to be a really special show. It was able to achieve great success with a character that was relatively unknown to the general public, and even kickstarted and entire TV universe comprised of six different shows. With the same team working on Arrow's massively successful sister program, The Flash, it's not inconceivable that the show could once again achieve the glory it received in its first two seasons. So how can Arrow get back on track in season 5?
Use a Grounded Enemy
Malcolm Merlyn and Deathstroke were both totally mortal and natural enemies for Oliver Queen, and that complimented the protagonist quite well, as he, of course, possesses no superpowers (though Deathstroke was influenced and enhanced by mirakuru). Season 3 had Ollie face off with an immortal assassin, and then in season 4, he faced a supernatural foe in Damien Darhk. Neither of the latter villains were anywhere near as memorable as the first two, which seems to indicate that the show handles grounded enemies a bit better. Thankfully, Stephen Amell has mentioned that season 5 will indeed focus on a more grounded enemy, and so there's hope that choice could help get the show back to its roots (let's just hope its not another Batman villain).
Bring Back Manu Bennett
Speaking of well thought-out enemies, bringing back Deathstroke would certainly be a good way to restore interest in the show and revitalize it with new potential. Manu Bennet's Slade Wilson was a fan favorite on the show, and as a character that has history with Ollie in the Arrowverse, there's so many different reasons why Deathstroke's return could turn things around for Arrow. Making him the primary antagonist of season 5 could do that in a big way, but even including him in a decent subplot could do wonders.
Put the Focus Back on Ollie
One of the the reasons Arrow gained such a rapid fan base so quickly was Stephen Amell's performance as Oliver Queen. His character development was the primary focus in the first two seasons, and he was, in essence, the only man in the spotlight. Sadly, Ollie's evolution as a character has been tossed aside for other narrative pursuits, such as struggling romances and the team coping with various, somewhat uninteresting external conflicts. It would be exciting to see what would happen if the focus of Arrow actually went back to being the Arrow himself, and the show would probably benefit greatly from it.
Keep Team Arrow Small
How many sidekicks does Ollie really need to have? At the end of season 4, everyone but Felicity essentially quit the team, and hopefully it stays that way. Things were great when it was just Ollie, Diggle, and Felicity, but as the team grew, the show simultaneously became more convoluted and started its downhill trend. Keeping the team small will also help to put the focus back on the Arrow himself, which, as has been expressed, is desperately needed.
No More Pointless Flashbacks
Even the people who liked this season of Arrow thought the flashbacks were pointless. Though it was promised that this year's flashbacks would be the best as of yet, they were without any shadow of a doubt the worst. At this point it seems like the writers have simply run out of ideas, and so it may be best for them to minimize the year 5 flashbacks, though this will likely be the last year with them anyway.
Minimize Felicity's Role
At absolutely no fault of Emily Bett-Rickards, it seems like the show first began its downhill trend when Felicity began to be looked at as a legitimate love interest. She went from being the thrilling, clumsy, IT girl who helped the Arrow on the side to the center and drive of Ollie's entire world, and sadly, that dynamic just isn't working for the show. Though the two are now broken up, it's going to be extremely hard to move Arrow in a new direction if her role in the storytelling isn't minimized or even cut altogether - too much focus will end up on their broken romance. The effect that their relationship has had on Arrow is a good illustration of why shippers don't belong in the writing room; narrative was no doubt sacrificed for fan service.
Bring Back Sara Lance as a Love Interest
Sara Lance is a fan-favorite character in the CWverse, and she has been one of the only love interests for Arrow as of yet that has legitimately worked out in the larger, narrative picture. Now, Ollie really should have ended up with Dinah (Laurel) Lance, the Black Canary (can you imagine how asinine it would be if the first live action Superman had Clark ending up with Cat Grant instead of Lois? That's essentially what they did here with Arrow), but ending up with her sister, the girl he took on that fateful cruise, actually makes perfect sense for the show. Sadly, this is probably just a pipe dream as she's become a big part of Legends of Tomorrow, but it could be argued that Arrow needs her a lot more than LOT right now to try and recreate the feel of that spectacular second season. It would also draw the focus away from Felicity and her past relationship with Ollie, which is certainly a good thing if Arrow hopes to get back to its roots.
More Emphasis on Action and Choreography
Compared to the choreography and fight sequences in the first two seasons (and even somewhat in the third season), the latest run of Arrow has certainly been lacking. There needs to be more of an emphasis on action anyway to move the show away from its crummy attempt to be a romantic drama that just so happens to feature a superhero. Improving the choreography and making mind blowing fight sequences as spectacular as The Flash's special effects battles would make a world of difference.
Don't Be Afraid to Lean on Kara and Barry…But Not Too Much
After a couple of weak seasons, it may not be a bad idea for the show to accentuate its connection to the two CWverse shows that have seemed to fare the best in regards to critical acclaim this past season. In addition to their upcoming crossover event, having Supergirl of the Flash make a few cameos on the show to draw more viewers and shakeup the narrative may not be a bad idea. If the show also happens to be moving in a better direction, these cameos may help new or past fans to realize that Arrow has something legitimately gripping to offer in its fifth season.
Flashpoint it All Away
The end of The Flash's sophomore season seemed to point to a Flashpoint adaptation next season. In the comics, the consequences of the Flashpoint event irrevocably alter the universe, rewriting history in some pretty significant ways. It wouldn't be surprising if that's the narrative device they use to bring Supergirl to the same universe as The Flash and Arrow, but it would also be a good way to start things fresh with Arrow as well. Perhaps when Barry returns from his adventure, Laurel will still be alive and Ollie will have never dated Felicity. That may just be wishful thinking, but in reality, Arrow has lost a lot of fans these past two seasons, and the showrunners should be taking every chance they get to course correct.