TV Club: Arrow is done leaving people behind

After last season, Arrow desperately needed to deescalate. It’s inevitable that the need to up the narrative stakes with each passing season will lead to increasingly powerful foes, and Malcolm Merlyn was already written as absurdly more powerful and dangerous than Oliver back in season one. Sure, Oliver eventually became Malcolm’s equal, but the progression from Malcolm to Mirikuru-enhanced Slade Wilson to Ra’s al Ghul to Damien Dahrk left the show with villains that were nearly impossible for Team Arrow to stand any credible chance against—although, in fairness, tying Dahrk’s powers to a totem did at least provide a way to temporarily even the odds. I’ll always defend the merits of the fourth season on the strength of Neal McDonough’s performance alone, but it’s hard to argue he needed to be playing such a powerful character to be menacing. After all, his …

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