For several years now, the television series Arrow has focused not just on the heroic adventures of Green Arrow but also those who formed a “team” around him — first John Diggle and Felicity Smoak, and then a roster of allies which has included such teammates as Arsenal, two Black Canaries, Speedy, Mister Terrific, Ragman, Wild Dog, and Artemis. This season, the original members of Team Arrow (often referred to by the fans as “OTA”) had a big fracture with their newer allies… and in the show’s most recent episode, even Oliver and Diggle are fighting.
The “team” concept — perhaps also a way to ensure the lead actor doesn’t have to be in every single scene — has permeated its way onto almost every DC show on The CW, though it can be argued that Legends of Tomorrow has always been an ensemble and that Black Lightning’s “team” is his family. It allows for a diversity of characters, but in some ways, it also takes away from the hero at the center of the show at times. In the case of Arrow, lately, it’s been an excuse to spotlight Oliver’s shortcomings as a leader while still growing as a man.
John Diggle has moved on, though he’ll surely be back eventually. But really, perhaps everyone should keep moving. Though I’m not suggesting that the show should get rid of any cast members, either. Read on.
I grew up in an era where the heroes of their respective TV shows really lived up to “one man can make a difference.” Knight Rider’s Michael Knight had an amazing talking car and a support team in Devon, Bonnie, and later RC3, but he and his car were usually the ones to save the day and we never had team fractures. One of my favorite TV shows of the 1980’s, The Equalizer, had a lead character who had a support team of characters who would assist him on whichever case, as needed, with the most effective always being Keith Szarabajka’s Mickey Kostmayer.
There’s also the notion of what we have in the comic books. Yes, Green Arrow has been a part of the Justice League, he had amazing team-ups with Green Lantern, and there seemed to be a “Green Arrow Family” in the comics by the time Kevin Smith got to them, but there are still times like the acclaimed Mike Grell run on the character when he worked best as a solo hero. Now, we’ve seen what a completely solo Green Arrow looks like early on in Arrow, weird voiceover and all. There’s no worry of the show going that far again while Oliver Queen has a wife and a confidant in Felicity, so we’d be spared the voiceovers now.
This Oliver Queen needs a chance to grow as a man, and not rely on the crutches that come with hoping a team will back him up. I’m not asking for anyone to leave the show, but I’d love to see Oliver take this all on by himself. Felicity can and will always be helping him with the tech, but she deserves the chance to also spend time building her own company, which is where Curtis can continue to come in. Dinah Drake would be a fantastic police contact to team up with when needed; ditto John Diggle at ARGUS. Wild Dog seems like he’d be happier going solo again, too. And who knows what will happen with Laurel and Quentin after Season 6?
Moreover, a solo Green Arrow might not need a lair anymore, which means the villains won’t be able to find him so easily in the future. Just a stripped-down, back-to-basics war on the crime of Star City. That sounds good, right?
The world of Arrow as envisioned by the show’s writers is still a rich one, but inter-team squabbling is no fun. So maybe it’s time for that solo Green Arrow, with the rest of the characters coming to him? Even if it’s a short-term fix to rebuild Oliver’s leadership skills, this is all something to think about for Season 7…