There is really no debate that Arrow had slipped a bit since midway through the series’ third season, though still plenty enjoyable enough to keep watching. Fans were really worried that this decline in quality would continue once again, but Marc Guggenheim and company managed to put together perhaps the best season of the show yet that is now available in Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-Ray.
Following up on season four finale that saw Oliver giving in and killing the villainous Damien Darhk, Oliver has essentially gone solo on the streets as Team Arrow has gone their separate ways, with only Felicity left to help him from behind the scenes. Laurel is dead after being killed by Damien Darhk in season four and both Diggle and Thea have hung up their suits in this time, so Felicity recommends Oliver bringing in some new recruits. He is very against this idea at first, but eventually we see the introduction of the previously introduced Curtis as Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum), Evelyn Sharp that we briefly met in season four as Artemis (Madison McLaughlin), and complete newcomer to the show Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), as well as Rory Regan aka Ragman (Joe Dinicol)
Bringing some new blood into the show was a risky move, but it paid off very well in Arrow’s fifth season. Wild Dog in particular was a fantastic addition to the team and really manages to become the heart of the team throughout the season. There is also another addition to the team later on in the season played by Juliana Harkavy, but I won’t spoil who she plays. However, her introduction is very well handled and while she doesn’t get too much to do for the rest of the season, the foundation is set for much more to come.
A comic book property is only as good as its villain and that has been the case with Arrow over the years. Dark Archer was a formidable opponent in season one and served as a good villain to Oliver. Deathstroke elevated the game in season two as he had close ties to Oliver in both the past and present. Ra’s al Ghul had a lot of potential in season three, but it was really squandered for the most part, leading to the back half of the season really disappointing. Damien Darhk was a fun villain, but the way he was used just didn’t work in the world of Arrow, and we saw him portrayed much better on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow this past season. Thankfully, Arrow delivered in season five with arguably the best villain we’ve seen yet in the entire Arrowverse with Prometheus as we saw a back to basics approach for the series.
Prometheus is introduced right out of the gate in season five, but he isn’t oversaturated like Darhk became in season four. He is sprinkled throughout just enough of the season and the eventual reveal of his identity is handled incredibly well timing wise, unlike The Flash’s Savitar reveal last season. What really makes Prometheus special is that there was no way that the character could be done prior to season five, as he is the reminder to Oliver for all that he has done over the previous four seasons, which has a terrific pay off.
Besides being the Green Arrow, Oliver has also taken on the mantle of mayor of Star City, which is another adventure in of itself. This introduces Josh Segarra and Carly Pope into the mix as District Attorney Adrian Chase and reporter Susan Williams respectively. Having Oliver have to navigate these two sides is handled quite well, though he certainly has his fair share of obstacles along the way.
One of the biggest complaints of the last couple seasons for many has been the Olicity relationship, but season five tones that down a lot in favor of a working relationship that they started with. There is an Olicity centric episode later in the season titled “Underneath,” but it actually gives us some insight into some of the events of season four that surprisingly worked pretty well. If Olicity is a reason you gave up the show and are thinking about giving season five a shot, just know that it in no way overshadows the plot this season.
Another issue since season two has been the flashbacks, as they felt superfluous and rarely tying in the present plot. However, season five does a much better job at providing us with a well paced story spread across the flashbacks that wraps up Oliver’s “five years in hell.” Having the majority of the flashbacks take place in Russia with the return of Anatoly was great, and it gets even better with the addition of Dolph Lundgren as Konstantin Kovar. The flashbacks definitely had their ups and downs over the years, but they managed to go out on top as we reach the events of the original pilot by the end to bring everything full circle.
As with Arrow’s darker tone, the sets and filming styles emphasize a very different look than shows like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. The show itself looks great in this set, featuring color levels that prevent backgrounds from feeling blurry or anything. While everything may not be as bright as its counterparts, the latest Blu-Ray set for Arrow still looks absolutely fantastic, especially in episodes like “Invasion!” with the alternate world settings and of course the island set finale “Lian Yu.”
Arrow has always had a stellar score from the master Blake Neely and that is no different in season five, which sounds great in this Blu-Ray set. The Prometheus theme that is brand new this season in particular is a standout and really helps to set the tone of any scenes in which it is used. The Blu-ray thankfully does not suffer from any sort of audio mix issues either, which is impressive with all of the intense action scenes that include dialogue. This is helped by the inclusion once again of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which really adds a lot to the atmosphere of watching the show if you have a surround sound system.
Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray set definitely does not have quite the volume of special features that The Flash: The Complete Third Season Blu-Ray did, but there’s still plenty to enjoy here.
With season five introducing a new team of heroes to fight alongside Oliver, it made sense to have a featurette based on that idea and that is exactly what we got with “The New Team Arrow” on disc one. This nearly 10 minute long feature discusses how the writing team decided to introduce the characters of Mr. Terrific, Wild Dog, Artemis, and Rag Man.
Following up on the featurettes from both DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash’s respective sets this past season, disc two of this set has the concluding piece of the featurette focused on the crossover titled “Allied: The Invasion Complex (Arrow).” With the episode also serving as the series’ 100th, it was great to see more details on how they managed to take a momentous occasion such as that and tie it into the overall crossover event so well.
As we mentioned above, Prometheus quickly made his presence felt and by the end of the season could be argued as not only the best Arrow villain to date, but the best Arrowverse villain as well. The character himself is not really based off of anything in the comics, so it was great to see a special feature dedicated to his character in “Returning to the Roots of Arrow: Prometheus,” the longest exclusive feature on this set at just over 15 minutes long. Prometheus could not have been done as a villain earlier in the series, so getting an even more in depth look at how he ties into the past is a great watch, especially with him being such an enjoyable villain.
Beyond these three featurettes, the other three are pretty standard across most of the DCTV Blu-Ray sets. First is the San Diego Comic-Con panel from 2016 that was held in the months before season five. It may seem outdated to watch now, but it is certainly interesting to see how the cast and crew were talking about the season in the very early days of filming. The next are the deleted scenes, which are pretty much what you’d expect. They are definitely worth checking out, but definitely nothing too standout. Lastly, the set thankfully has a gag reel that is very enjoyable. We’ve seen this cast hang out off the set through social media and conventions, so we know they get along very well and the gag reel really exemplifies that.
Fans were skeptical going into Arrow’s fifth season, but the cast and crew absolutely delivered with my personal favorite season of the series. The personal journey for Oliver as he wraps up his flashbacks, which are finally enjoyable again, coinciding with his biggest fight yet against Prometheus proves you can teach an old dog some new tricks. Adding in a solid lineup of special features in Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray set makes it an absolute must buy for any fan of the series, even if you weren’t so happy with the previous season or two.
9.5 Steps Ahead Out Of 10
- The Recruits
- A Matter of Trust
- Human Target
- So It Begins
- What We Leave Behind
- Who Are You?
- Second Chances
- Spectre of the Gun
- The Sin-Eater
- Fighting Fire with Fire
- Dangerous Liaisons
- Honor Thy Fathers
- Lian Yu
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Runtime: 1012 Minutes (Episode time); 78 Minutes (Extra Content)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Discs: 4 Discs
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Video: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Español – Castellano, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, French, Dutch, Español – Castellano, Español – Latino, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Cast: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne, Echo Kellum, Rick Gonzalez, and Josh Segarra.
Producers: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Wendy Mericle, and Sarah Schechter.
Disclosure: Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season Was Provided By Warner Bros. Home Entertainment For Coverage Purposes