The third season of "Arrow" came to an end last night (May 13), finally closing the book on Ra's al Ghul and giving Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) their happily ever after. (Sorry, got stuck in "Once Upon a Time" land for a second there.) The episode, "My Name is Oliver Queen," also featured Thea (Willa Holland) suiting up as Speedy for the first time ever, Malcolm (John Barrowman) becoming the new Ra's -- and enough Team Arrow gloom and doom to make Gotham look like Central City in comparison.
This melancholy permeated throughout most of the third season, actually, to the point where it might actually be nice to take a breather and have a superhero depression-free summer. But since we want our beloved "Arrow" to be just as great as it was in season two next year, here's what the show can (and should) do to lighten up in time for next fall:
Oliver could trust his friends.
Let's hope that Oliver truly meant it when he gave that speech about Starling City being in good hands, because carrying the weight of an entire corrupt metropolis on his chiseled shoulders has already proven to be too much for one man to handle.
This season, we saw Oliver's dilemma with Ra's al Ghul lead him to a darker place than we'd ever seen him before -- which is really saying something, since we'd already seen him lose his mother, his father, his best friend, his ex-girlfriend, and his glorious flashback hair in less than three seasons. There was no real reason (besides good intentions) to hide his dealings with Ra's from Diggle and Felicity, two people he really should know to trust, and doing so ended up driving a wedge between one of the most important relationships in his life.
Basically, any Buffy is better with his or her Scoobies, since being a superhero is the most demanding sort of full-time job. Doing this job without the help and support of one's friends can be a seriously isolating mindf--k -- it's hard enough for Oliver having to save his city time and time again, without also having to constantly mend and repair his damaged relationships.
Taking some of the burden off of Oliver and making "Arrow" more of a team sport would be great for Mr. Queen and viewers -- I mean, think of how happy we all were when Thea finally put her mask on! Swoon.
Oliver could find joy in his own abilities.The CW
Oliver has had a much longer and harder road to superhero-dom than Barry Allen has, which definitely explains why he carries his load like Atlas -- and I'm sure the point could be made that Oliver just has a naturally serious personality.
But. But! We've seen that flashback hair, so "fun Oliver" was definitely a guy who once existed -- and how great would it be to see Oliver finally having fun with his nearly superhuman abilities? Maybe his time off with Felicity will help him realize that there's something inherently awesome about getting to save lives and help people. It would be nice to see him smile again.
Depressing B-plots could be sidelined.The CW
Not to pick on Laurel and Quentin's alcoholism, but -- okay, I'm going to pick on Laurel and Quentin's alcoholism.
Obviously, alcoholism is a serious problem, but "Arrow" doesn't have the time to tackle it in a way that educates or shines new light on the issue. And at this point, after a solid year of watching Laurel suffer, it doesn't do much justice to a character that the show initially had trouble getting fans to connect with. Laurel (and Quentin) is an important part of the "Arrow" story, and this being a superhero show -- not "Orange is the New Black" -- she'd be better served if she spent less time wallowing and more time kicking bad guy ass.
It's not just Laurel, by the way. Thea had a pretty stellar season (thank God), but watching Felicity cry then cry some more over Oliver's continued rejection got tough to watch. It's natural for people to have problems in their lives, but on a superhero show, the battle of good versus evil should typically outweigh boy and booze problems.
Get rid of the devastating rifts in the Scooby Gang, Oliver's superhero depression, and struggle bus B-plots, and "Arrow" season four could be just as fun to watch as seasons one and two. Let's make it happen, CW!