Arrow Season 2: Looking Ahead to Season 3

In case you were busy wondering if you’re home had been transported to Winterfell, you should know Arrow has been renewed for a third season. The show has been a steady performer for the CW, and it regularly extended beyond the typical fare of CW dramas. Even if the second season hasn’t matched the quality of the first, the show is still far better than it needs to be, and Stephen Amell has established himself as a legitimate television star. However, it’s important to note the show is still trying to find itself. Oliver as megahero hasn’t totally taken the way Oliver the vigilante did in season one. It’s not the fault of the writers or Mr. Amell; good guys are simply less interesting than morally complex ones. As a result, the show has seemed to pass on the moral complexity to Moira Queen and Roy Harper, and they’re not exactly as compelling as Amell. Many other parts of the show can be spotty at best. With that in mind, here are a few friendly suggestions for Arrow HQ as they prepare to discuss plans for season three.

The Laurel Problem

I’m trying to give up complete trashings of a person’s acting chops. Acting is a hard job, and it’s one that I certainly couldn’t do well myself. If I dislike an actor’s performance, I try to use words like “problematic” or discuss other aspects of their work that doesn’t seem like value judgments on them. However, I cannot muster up enough strength to keep the snark gun from firing shots at Katie Cassidy. With season two creating a whole arc for the Lance family, Cassidy has been given a lot to play and her own showcase parts of episodes to carry scenes. Instead of rising to the new challenges, she’s been absolutely miserable. Her acting during her “drug addict” scenes remind me of the glory days on Saved by the Bell when Jessie got hooked on caffeine pills (Note: That’s not a compliment).

Because of her prominent role in the story of Green Arrow, and the CW’s blind love for her, getting rid of Cassidy is not an option. Instead, the show has to marginalize her as much as possible. She can go to rehab for awhile (where we should NEVER, EVER visit), take a job in a firm out of the city, or become Felicity’s new trainee in the Queen Consolidated IT Department. Absolutely anything will be an improvement over what the show is having her do now. I’m not holding my breath considering the people writing the show thought she could pull it off in the first place.

Trim the Cast

Arrow has one of the larger casts on network television these days. While a large cast can provide a rich tapestry (ask Parks and Recreation), and can also be a burden to service all of the characters in said tapestry (ask Parks and Recreation again). Starling City can seem too expansive and too claustrophobic at the same time. Series regulars can seemingly disappear for episodes at a time before we catch back up with them.

No one captures this idea more than Willa Holland’s Thea Queen. With Roy now turning into The Hoodie, Thea seems less useful than ever. Running Starling City’s hottest club is hardly a reason to keep her around. Holland is a capable actress, so if the show wants to give her a legitimate plotline, I’m all for it. Until they do, we’re simply treading water with Thea Queen.

Speed Up the Island

Greg Berlanti has told many groups of people that he has five years worth of story that can be told on the island. I feel as if I speak on behalf of a number of people when I say two years is more than enough. Origin stories definitely have their place, but two years of bouncing between present day and the island has yielded increasingly diminishing returns. Some key moments should be shown, but I don’t need a step-by-step walk-through of how we got to where we are now. It’s just tedium from a show that doesn’t need to waste time bogging itself down in such things. The show is at its best when the Arrow is putting the boots to bad guys or Oliver Queen is being the coolest guy in the room. The island doesn’t offer much opportunity for either.

I’m excited Arrow is getting a third season. Every show can be better, but the holes in Arrow can seem quite glaring at times. One of the best things about the show in season one was the potential for it to be a show that transcends the CW brand. I still hold out hope that potential will be realized, but some changes need to be made.