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What the hell is wrong with Oliver Queen on Arrow?

It's been six years now since the CW network basically proved that you could actually make a Batman TV show. They launched Arrow, a somewhat grittier take on Green Arrow.

Billionaire playboy heir, Oliver Queen comes back after being stranded on a remote island for five years, with a secret vendetta to work his way down a list of corrupt politicians and businessman that included his father. His father died when their ship sank, and entrusted him with the list, asking his son to fix his mistakes. Fortunately, or perhaps not, there happened to be all sorts of weird people on the island, and douche bro Oliver picked up some scary ninja training, and penchant for archery.

The premise works very well for the initial season. That would be great, except that they keep trying to give Oliver an arch, but then ultimately deciding that he can't ACTUALLY change, because... reasons?

Our show starts off, and Oliver is selfish, paranoid, secretive, and murderous. He's more interested in clearing the books from his father's shady dealings than he is with actually helping the city. At some point, he's persona "The Hood" is believed killed, and then pretty much right off the bat, a slightly different green archer vigilante comes to Star City, and calls himself "The Arrow". The fact that we're asked to assume that ANYONE actually believes this is a different guy, is the least of the problems of the show. Then they do it a second time. The Arrow perishes, and is replaced by "Green Arrow", because he wasn't wearing green, or using arrows, in either of his previous alter egos.

Now, the actual problems with his character arch: From the get go, he lies, manipulates, and uses everyone around him. People that care about him, people that trust him, even his wife. Every time he gets called on it, he says: "I promise, I'll be better, I can be better, I HAVE to be better". Then, next season, they just give him some other contrived reason that he has to lie to people again. Oh, it turns out he has a child from before he was lost at sea, whose mom was paid to disappear by momma Queen, in order to be part of his life, he can't tell anyone, even his wife. Okay, well, that blew up, like we knew it would. Hey, a villain kidnapped the kid, and killed his mom. Now the kid's living with Oliver, and is terrified that his double life as Green Arrow is going to rob him of his remaining parent. "Aw, don't be that way kid, I'm gonna retire, except my replacement has a medical condition, and now I gotta be a vigilante again, well, I guess I'll just lie to my son instead of being honest, because that's the only way I know how to deal with my problems."

Oh, wait, that's uncharitable, he does know another way to resolve problems, he's a bullying control freak. Over the course of the six seasons, Green Arrow has indoctrinated and trained a dozen or so people into his masked vigilante campaign. Any time someone disobeys an order, or has a lapse in judgment, he kicks them off the team. Some times he lets them back on, but usually not before some run in with fighting baddies where they come to blows over a difference of approach. In the most recent season, this has culminated in half the team getting fed up with his bullshit, and splitting off into their own vigilante squad.

This, I actually applaud, because it seems like the only reasonable reaction to how he handles everything. Though of course, they make a big show of him accepting that they are going to do things their own way, and respecting, even exchanging ideas and information when the city is held hostage. Right up until they're tracking to track down a supervillain, and he finds evidence that Team B was there before him. A reasonable person might draw the conclusion that both groups are pursuing said villain, and they just go to the scene first. Oliver Queen instead decides that they've already apprehended her, and that they're going to execute her as revenge for killing a loved one.

Oliver storms into their HQ, holds them up at gun and arrowpoint, berates them, nearly gets into a fight with one, and then tear gasses them so his team can ransack their headquarters. It's such a laughably ridiculous reaction that I can't help but feel that Oliver Queen really needs to be admitted to an institution and dosed with anti-psychotics for the rest of his life.

One last thing about my overall feelings with the show. When it first launched, it had some of the best action choreography I'd seen from a TV show, especially a comic adaptation. It still is superbly choreographed, but now in any given episode, you've got six-plus martial arts super stars, and there's a big scene they show us just how cool they are, it's gotten boring. I think of myself as pretty shallow, or at least easily entertained, but as soon as they kill the lights in this episode's warehouse full of baddies, I unlock the screen on my phone and start looking for entertainment elsewhere until it's done.

Basically, if there wasn't a big crossover between Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl every season, I think I'd be dropping Arrow. 


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