‘Arrow’ (Season 6): A Well-Oiled Machine

Six seasons in, Arrow has a better grasp on the type of show it works best as than any of its CW counterparts. Whereas The Flash is currently in the process of rebuilding itself after an uncharacteristically depressing season, Arrow is long past the years when it was too dark or too mystical; it now knows how to introduce new elements and recreate itself without becoming unrecognizable to fans.

In season five, this came down to a major reset to the show’s status quo and cast, introducing a slew of new vigilantes and villains to the show. With that accomplished, and with the five-year flashback saga in the rearview, season six seems to instead be focusing on Oliver’s future. Oliver’s role as mayor already feels more prominent this season than it did last year, and the introduction of William as an ongoing part of his life finally gives him a concrete idea of what sort of legacy he’s building.

For the moment, that means a willingness to abandon the mantle of Green Arrow in order to take care of his son. It’s a fascinating turn of events for a character who’s so long held onto vigilantism as his greatest purpose in life, something he’d never have been willing to do in the early years of the show – just think back to how hard he fought against losing it when his identity was revealed the first time. Sure, there’s little doubt that Oliver will return to the Green Arrow role before too long – there is a major Arrowverse crossover just five weeks away, after all – but it makes for a great storytelling engine in the short term.

Even better, the show is finally doing right by its expanded cast. Between the nerve damage, stepping into the Green Arrow role, and whatever mysterious drug he’s taking, Diggle feels like he’s at the forefront of the story in a way he hasn’t been for years. Felicity and Curtis, meanwhile, are starting their own tech company, and Dinah and Rene are continuing to grow and develop at a solid clip.

Really, it’s just solid storytelling, and Arrow is doing a great job of making it look easy. It speaks to how strong things are this season that we’re three episodes in without even a hint of our seasonal Big Bad and it feels like no great loss. Oliver and Team Arrow are fun to watch week-to-week even when they’re just fighting basic thugs, and it’s a testament to the show’s character work and storytelling that that’s true.