[spoiler title=’SPOILERS for the TV series ARROW’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Please be aware that there are references to seasons 1-4 of the CW series ARROW, as well as speculation and allusions to the comics. Reader digression is advised.[/spoiler]

I think we need to take a moment to applaud the CW’s hit show Arrow. Why? Because it acted as a launching platform for DC’s television universe; now including shows like The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. The first two seasons of Arrow were practically flawless in my opinion. The show introduced compelling characters with such tremendous pathos. The stakes were high, the villains were fantastic, and the flashbacks were relevant and entertaining.

Then came season 3, which in its defense wasn’t terrible, but still felt like a step down from the first two. The villain (Ra’s al Ghul) wasn’t bad, but his “evil plan” wasn’t exceptionally memorable and things got a bit too much like a soap opera written [by/for] preteens. Additionally, the flashbacks became irrelevant to the plot and I often caught myself daydreaming when they were playing. I didn’t worry too much because season 4 had to be the big rebound, right? Wrong. The show lost its dark tone and high stakes. The plot was all over the place, building up to a finale that left me quite underwhelmed. Not to mention the flashbacks were more pointless than ever. I’m convinced they just threw together a bunch of B-roll footage from Gilligan’s Island.

All joking aside, I love this show and its characters so I wanted to see them successfully rebound in season 5; however, thus far they haven’t delivered to my liking. I got to thinking, what would make this season exactly what the fans want? First, I’ll give my 5 steps for a great season 5 of Arrow and then I will pitch my dream story for this season!

READ: Our Review of GREEN ARROW #7 from DC Rebirth!

5 STEPS TO A GREAT SEASON 5:

  1. KEEP MAKING GREAT VILLAINS:

Arrow has always been good at creating compelling and intimidating ‘big bads’, even in their down seasons. Ra’s and Damien were solid villains, while Deathstroke and Merlyn were just fantastic. Let’s bring things back to basics though. The audience doesn’t need world-ending threats in order to be amused (the Netflix and Marvel combo have proved that). How about a small-scale problem that contain big reveals in the flashbacks (similar to season 2)?

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  1. MAKE THE FLASHBACKS RELEVANT:

Arrow works best when the flashbacks connect directly to the plot at hand. Next season we will likely see Oliver joining the Russian mob and growing a mean beard before being saved from the island. This conclusion can be drawn from where he is at when we find him in the pilot. Let’s add a season 2 Deathstroke-like reveal to keep viewers on their toes.

  1. DON’T FEAR KILLING OFF MAIN CHARACTERS:

Last season, Laurel’s death was laughably anticlimactic. I say: go balls-to-the-wall and really catch the fans off guard with a permanent death or two. For those of you that didn’t watch 24 in its prime, season 5 of 24 was the best season of any action show I’ve ever seen. In the first episode, they killed off two main characters and injured another (leading him to become a revenge driven villain in a major face-heel turn). Let’s do something like that with Arrow!

  1. DON’T FORGET, OLIVER IS MORE THAN GREEN ARROW:

I want to see some Oliver Queen mayoral stuff. Show him struggling to stay pure in office while having to fight dirty on the streets. The people of Star City need Oliver Queen to be a beacon of hope right now, not Green Arrow. This poor guy is not a politician, so he should be struggling with adjusting to the life of a political figure. Show it to me. No more Oliver and Felicity, they are better as partners, not lovers. Oliver can get back with Sarah Lance in season six (The Black Canary) if you really need to make it more of a CW soap opera. By the way, Green Arrow CAN KILL PEOPLE as a last resort. Heroes are allowed to kill bad guys in order to save innocent lives. Non-lethal does not mean let the bad guy kill everyone and win to avoid killing him. Heroes save lives and sometimes have to break their code to do so.

  1. MAKE TWO-SEASON ARCS:

Don’t kill off the main villain so quickly. It’s that simple. Season 5 can be great while setting up an even better season six. They did this with Slade Wilson and it was near perfection. The end.

The following is my pitch for season 5. I will go into great detail for episode one, the mid-season finale, and the finale. The rest will be brief plot points of what happens in-between.

READ: Our Season 1 and 2 recaps for CW’s Arrow!

MY PITCH!

EPISODE ONE:

The premiere episode opens with Diggle arriving home from his tour overseas with the military. Waiting for him outside are Lyla and his daughter Sara (named after the former Black Canary). Both are holding “welcome home” signs and sporting smiles. As Diggle walks towards them we hear sniper fire, Lyla is shot in the chest and killed right in front of Diggle. He screams out and runs towards his daughter to protect her, taking a bullet to the left shoulder in the process. They barely make it out alive, Lyla being the only casualty.

*ARROW LOGO APPEARS AS THEME PLAYS*

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Later that night, Oliver is on a mission and is being directed by Felicity from the home base. After Oliver successfully takes down a narcotics operation, he arrives back at the Arrow Cave where he discusses his mayoral and arrow-ral campaigns to stop the drug trafficking of mob boss Danny Brickwell. Out of the shadows John appears, bandaged up and hysterical. He explains what happened to him and that he has placed Sara Diggle in A.R.G.U.S. custody for her safety. After telling Oliver about the death of Lyla, and the shooter who remains at large, he hands Felicity the bullet he was shot with for analysis. Felicity notes that the bullet has a faint logo on it… a faded red letter X. Oliver seems concerned, but insists it’s nothing to worry about.

This is where we cut to the first flashback. Oliver is sent by A.R.G.U.S. to Russia to infiltrate the Russian mafia in order to find out where their sleeper agent is posted in America. We see Oliver meeting the mob boss and explain why he wants to join; dropping the name of the Russian KGB man he met on the island in the flashbacks from Seasons one and two, Anatoly Knyazev. Since Anatoly owes him a favor and is high-ranking in the mafia, Oliver gets in.

Back in Star City, Felicity studies the bullet to find out who has been hunting Diggle and his family. Oliver attempts to help out, but is continuously sidetracked by his mayoral duties. This will become a recurring theme throughout the season. How does Oliver balance his mayoral position with his heroics?

In the final scenes of the episode, Oliver is at a press event speaking to the people about his campaign to end the drug ring in the Glades. Meanwhile we cut to another scene taking place simultaneously, where John is leaving A.R.G.U.S. after visiting his daughter to make sure she’s doing okay. As he leaves the building, he bumps into a hooded man with his head down, his face shaded. As John says ,”Excuse me”, the man lifts his head up and reveals that he is wearing a white mask with a red X on the forehead. John instantly recognizes the logo from the bullet, but is too late to react as the man stabs him in the chest with a sword, killing John.
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*EPISODE ONE ENDS*

Sidebar: From the first episode of the season, this gives the fans a massive twist of two beloved characters being permanently killed off. It also gives Oliver motivation to avenge his friends and a villain that we can hate from the start as we try to find out why he has started targeting former members of Team Arrow.

PLOT POINTS BETWEEN EPISODE ONE AND THE MID-SEASON FINALE

  • Arrow begins his hunt for Red X, who we find out has also killed former members of the Suicide Squad in addition to John and Lyla (who ran the Suicide Squad operations in past seasons).
  • Mr. Terrific begins training a bit, but isn’t very good.
  • In the flashbacks, Oliver is given Bratva (Russian mafia) missions in order to build trust and gain access to the sleeper agent information A.R.G.U.S. wants. He must complete each mission with two fellow Bratva recruits. His two partners are Scott Martin (played by Dane DeHaan) and a younger bald boy named Mikron O’Jeneus (played by Corey Fogelmanis). Mikron is a tech genius and fights mainly with robots and gadgets that he built. Scott has elite fighting skills and can practically do it all, similar to Oliver. I will refer to these three guys as the Big 3 from here on out.

dane-dehaan-4WESTWOOD, CA - MARCH 22: Actor Corey Fogelmanis arrives at Twentieth Century Fox And Dreamworks Animation's 'Home' Premiere at Regency Village Theatre on March 22, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)

  Dane plays Scott             Corey plays Mikron

  • Back in Star City, having completed his goal of killing the John and Lyla, Red X is prepared to leave the city until he’s approached and hired by Danny Brickwell. Brickwell, whom Oliver has been opposing as both Green Arrow and the mayor, is in need of protection (a bodyguard of sorts). Red X loves nothing more than money, so convincing him to stay only takes a few zeros.
  •  Oliver claims to have faced Red X in the past when in Russia, but continues to insist it isn’t the same man.
  • In the flashbacks, the Big 3 are given their first mission where they must stop a German agent from killing Russian mafia leaders. The German man they must take down goes by the name of Red X. While they try to complete this task, we watch the three boys grow close and form a friendship.
  • In an episode close to the mid-season finale, we get a big reveal in the flashbacks as Oliver and his two partners/friends capture Red X and Scott kills him with a sword. When they unmask the dead Red X they reveal a man we have not seen before.
  • At this point Oliver and the viewers are wondering, “But how is Red X in Star City if he is dead?”
  • Back in the present, Oliver and Red X face off during a drug trafficking deal by the docks. Oliver bests Red X and pulls back his mask, revealing that it’s his former mafia partner Scott Martin!

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Scott IS Red X

  • We find out Red X’s motivations for killing John and Lyla in a flashback to an earlier seasons Suicide Squad episode (where they blew up the building with Deadshot sacrificing himself). Turns out, Scott Martin AKA Red X’s family was in the building and died in the blast. He had been seeking revenge on all involved and has taken out the entire Suicide Squad (including the Diggles) at this point. This likely marks the only occasion where a mission is personal for Red X and not driven by a paycheck.

MID-SEASON FINALE:

Oliver finally calls Mr. Terrific into action; to take down a small-scale drug deal across town while Oliver handles taking out the main drug lab in the Glades. In the flashbacks, we see Scott becoming emotionally unstable having had just taken his first life. Oliver and Mikron keep him in check though and continue to grow their friendship.

Back in Star City, as Mr. Terrific succeeds on his first mission, Oliver faces some trouble during his. When he attempts to take out Brick’s major drug warehouse, Brick and Red X are there waiting to confront him. Normally, Green Arrow and Red X are about even in their combat skills and strength, but the presence of a tag team with Brick overwhelms Oliver and he gets his ass kicked by the duo.

After being forced to the ground, bloodied up, Red X pulls away Oliver’s mask to reveal him as Green Arrow. Brick, who is further away and can’t see this reveal, shouts at Red X to finish him off. Scott hesitates, as he is shocked to see his former friend underneath the mask. As he hesitates, we hear some arrows fire. One hits the swords out of Red X’s hand, the other wraps a rope around his body, forcing Scott off of Oliver and pushing him back against a wall. The camera pans up to reveal Roy Harper!

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He runs to Oliver’s aid, but Red X gets loose and begins to fight with Roy. Oliver is still on the ground due to his injuries. Brick sees the new player and immediately retreats from the warehouse (at this point he has no powers and is smart enough to realize they cannot win), leaving Red X behind. Roy is clearly a bit rusty and Red X takes advantage of this, knocking the bow out of his hands. Roy then grabs an arrow out from his quiver and stabs Red X in the leg, but as this happens, Red X cuts Roy’s arm off with his sword (Roy is now the one-armed Arsenal we know from the comics)! Having just been stabbed in the leg, Red X retreats. Roy and Oliver are left on the floor with their injuries. We hear Felicity in the earpiece saying help is on the way.

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*THE MID-SEASON FINALE ENDS*

READ: The secrets of DC’s CW Universe!

Sidebar: This is what I’m talking about! We get big reveals and callbacks to the source material. The team is left in shambles with an armless Roy and a defeated Oliver. Really, only Mr. Terrific succeeded. This also brings Roy back into the fight! His presence has been truly missed in the past seasons.

PLOT POINTS BETWEEN THE MID-SEASON FINALE AND THE FINALE

  • Roy trains as a one-armed fighter, driven by vengeance. His goal is to defeat Red X for what he did to him. We watch Roy struggle and grow as a character during this time. He also gets a new robot arm equipped with many cool gadgets. Even though he will need time to adjust to the new weapon, he looks pretty badass.
  • Oliver heals up and the team is much better after they broke up the drug warehouse in the mid-season finale. Curtis (Mr. Terrific) is getting a bit cocky post-mission success, which adds some humor to daily interactions.
  • Brick ups Red X’s pay and says they need help to take out the vigilante for good. Scott now knows Green Arrow’s identity, but doesn’t tell Brick because of his and Oliver’s history. Red X says he knows a guy that can help improve security and that he’s already called him.
  • In walks Mikron with a mechanical weaponized backpack on. An unimpressed Brick scoffs at the little bald guy; however, Mikron shows what he can do with his tech by transferring funds from a wealthy man in Starling into Brick’s account in 13 seconds.

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  • Oliver revamps his mayoral campaign to arrest Brick and end the drug trafficking for good, but the people are unimpressed because of his lack of interest and political involvement as of late. The city has called for a reelection.
  • Oliver is running for reelection against a young man named Grant Thomas, a seemingly nice and upstanding new citizen. He’s maybe 25 years old, but is well-versed in politics. Grant also promises to end crime in the Glades and has a superior plan to do so.
  • Oliver eventually finds out that Mikron has come into play and has taken on the alias Gizmo. So now we have Oliver, Felicity, and Mr. Terrific v. Brick, Red X, and Gizmo (Roy is still a work in progress).
  • Oliver is trying to run against this new opponent in the mayoral race, but cannot balance politics and Green Arrow work very well. Not only because he is a hero by night, but also because he isn’t much of a politician to begin with. He never really was.
  • In fact, we see an entire episode that features Mr. Terrific doing all the hero work while Oliver participates in a Town Hall debate against Grant. It almost becomes funny how little Oliver knows about policy.
  • The race is close, but Grant has a slight edge over Oliver in the polls.
  • In the flashbacks we see the Big 3 continuing to take out foes with ease as they now have insane chemistry, but we also find out a lot about Mikron, including the secret to neutralizing his weapons by taking out the source… his electronic backpack.
  • The flashbacks end with Oliver stealing a drive containing the location of the Bratva sleeper agent. He then leaves the Russian mafia and his friends. It’s a sad farewell, as the boys are now extremely close. Oliver now has his full beard and can speak Russian! He asks Amanda Waller to return to the island so he can wait for the next ship to pass by to make a more natural and believable return to the real world.

THE FINALE:

The season finale features the final battle at the shipment docks in the Glades. This will parallel the first time they fought at these same docks. However, during this fight, the vote counting takes place and Oliver loses to Grant, which the former admits isn’t such a bad thing considering Grant is a good guy with more experience (Oliver no longer has to worry about mayoral duties).

For the big fight, Mr. Terrific and Felicity (remotely hacking from the base) are given the task of handling Gizmo and taking out his tech by destroying the backpack, which they succeed in doing. While this happens, Oliver takes out all of Brick’s henchmen and eventually captures the mob boss to send him to prison. Meanwhile, robo-armed Roy fights Red X and gets the better of him by outsmarting him and not outfighting him. His training has taught him patience when in battle. After defeating Red X, Roy is seconds from killing him before Oliver stops him claiming, “This isn’t the way, Arsenal”.

The season’s flashbacks end with Oliver back on the island (now for about a month) waiting patiently to be found. We see the first scene from the pilot where a ship finally passes and he’s brought back home.

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In the final scene of the season, Oliver walks into Grant Thomas’s office to congratulate him on the campaign victory. They have a conversation in which Grant discusses how his father made him the man he is today. He then shows a picture of him and his father when he was young, and in the picture is little Grant standing next to Slade Wilson. Grant then says: “I actually just picked my father up from his vacation on an island. He was there waiting patiently for me to get him.” In walks Slade Wilson who puts his hands on his son’s shoulders.

*ARROW LOGO APPEARS AS THEME PLAYS*

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*THE SEASON ENDS*

This story will set up a season six arc where Slade and Grant form their own version of the H.I.V.E. Five with Red X, Gizmo, Slade, Grant and a newly powered Brick with nigh-impenetrable skin (he obtained these powers in the comics while prisoned). These five will face off against Mr. Terrific, Oliver, Roy, Artemis and Sara Lance returning from Legends of Tomorrow with Felicity helping behind the scenes (Evelyn Sharp is also supposed to be in season 5 but she can wait).

We know that the show won’t do any of this, because they’ve announced a lot of stuff that’s not at all close to my ideas. That being said, hopefully they’ll consider the overall concept behind my idea but have smaller scale villains, make the flashbacks relevant, throw some big reveals and deaths in, and add development to the villains and heroes alike. These are the qualities of the show that made me love the show originally, and Arrow needs to get back to these roots before it loses its spot in the fantastic CW DC Universe.

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