Season 4 of The CW’s Arrow has had its highs and lows thus far, and the seventh episode managed to hit some of the highest highs and lowest lows in recent memory. “Brotherhood” raised as many questions as it answered, and fans must now consider all of the places that Arrow might be going next. Of course, some of these places are more necessary than others. So, here is a look at what absolutely needs to happen next on Arrow after the events of “Brotherhood.”
Arrow needs to lay off of the nepotism. The most jarring aspect of “Brotherhood” was the handling of the practical elements of the episode as stunt coordinator James Bamford took the reins of his very own 42-minute block of primetime television. He is clearly a very talented stunt coordinator, and there’s no shame in any person sticking with what he or she is best at rather than branching out into the unknown. James Bamford needs to continue to pursue directing on Arrow in his career like this reviewer needs to pursue getting her S.C.U.B.A. licensure for hers: not at all.
If Arrow is going to arm legions of bad guys with guns, then Arrow needs to show those guns being used with some degree of effectiveness. Even Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers managed to hit somebody in the wrist or shoulder from time to time. It’s awfully noticeable when the bad guys apparently succumb to firearm performance anxiety and forget their weapons as soon as somebody in leather gives chase.
The show needs to remember that guns are gamechangers in any sort of fight, and there’s a reason why Indiana Jones just pulling out his gun and shooting the showy swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest moments in cinematic history. Somebody with a gun is going to shoot an opponent dead if that opponent wastes time twirling and quipping, and Arrow must find a way to balance an army of expendable goons toting guns with a foursome of vigilantes who narratively cannot be killed without entirely sacrificing all senses of realism.
The next couple of episodes need to make it clear that the entire situation that began with Quentin Lance spying on Damien Darhk’s stationary and ended with a brawl between Team Arrow 3.0 and the ghosts was totally a trap. It had to be a trap. Damien Darhk leaving the address out on his desk? Damien Darhk expositing at the top of his lungs on the docks? Damien Darhk being discovered in a midseason episode? It had to be a trap. Otherwise, it was just plain bad writing.
Damien Darhk needs to connect some of the dots between Green Arrow and his fantastic friends to Oliver Queen and Co. He’s been close enough now to Green Arrow and Speedy that seeing Oliver and Thea together should begin to ring a few bells, and Andy Diggle going missing shortly after Quentin asked after him should point Darhk at both Quentin and John. At the very least, he should at some point exclaim “Zoiks! That woman who looks exactly like Laurel Lance in black leather and buckles is Laurel Lance in black leather and buckles!” Besides, Oliver has one heck of a memorable jawline, and Damien Darhk has now had standoffs with Oliver in leathers as well as in a suit. Somebody needs to be figured out.
That person really needs to be Felicity. The dots are just waiting to be connected for everybody else, but they’re pretty much self-connecting when it comes to Felicity. She overlaps in a whole lot of Venn diagrams that have proved inconvenient to Darhk, and she’s already been linked to the Green Arrow via Ray’s pleas to her and the ensuing rescue efforts from Team Arrow 3.0. Throw in the fact that she’s been more often than not present in the crowd to gaze lovingly at Oliver as he speechifies for his campaign, and Felicity is publicly and privately a prime target for some bad guy retribution. Frankly, it will be difficult to suspend disbelief if the show refuses to take the natural path and endanger Felicity in a properly frightening way.
On a less grim Felicity note, Arrow does need to be careful in how it handles her humor during missions over the comms. While her ability to lighten the tone of darker scenes has made the character invaluable to the series, there is a time and place for silliness, and the show will need to resist the urge to give her a lighthearted comment or two if the situation does not call for it. Felicity’s first bingo joke in “Brotherhood” was cute; the second was pushing it.
The flashbacks need to be better and give at least a little bit of a sense that they have been planned out ahead of time rather than thrown together for each episode. The reveal that Ambiguously Accented Woman and the dearly departed Vlad were siblings came out of nowhere as neither had expressed half a word of concern about the other in previous installments.
Unless a great deal changes in the flashbacks, there needs to be no romance between Oliver and Ambiguously Accented Woman. Thus far, the relationship between them has been played straight, and the power differential between them is far too extreme for a relationship to be anything but gross.
There needs to be a series of webisodes of each of the members of Team Arrow 3.0 starring in commercials endorsing Oliver’s bid for mayor. The masked members can hide behind their concealment, Felicity can use her techno-magic to obscure her voice and features, and the Green Arrow can announce that he’s voting Queen 2016 because there’s no way that a candidate with that chiseled of a jawline could be anything but the best that Star City could hope for.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW. For more in-depth looks at the most recent episode, check out ‘Arrow’ S04E07: More direction than development in ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Arrow’ S04E07: What worked and what didn’t with ‘Brotherhood.’