Defined by an Absence

arrow the grave season 4 laurel lance katie cassidy fridging marc guggenheim oliver queen stephen amell six months later defined by an absence

It is difficult for me to put into words quite how much it offended me – because it didn’t just offend me. It made me angry.

I knew it was coming, of course, because I watch the show in the UK, so that means I’m always a couple of weeks behind. It’s difficult to avoid spoilers at the best of times in that position, but this caused enough outrage across the pond that UK newspapers were reporting on it, just under a month before the episode was set to air here.

Even then, though. The death had been… not telegraphed, obviously. That implies a degree of foreshadowing had gone into it. That it had been planned out, considered, evaluated. That any degree of thought had gone into it.

It hadn’t. This death was not planned. The grave was empty when it was first shown to us – little more than a promise of angst, and darkness. Not an inspiring promise at the best of times, really. But the Powers That Be had decided it was a good way to get ratings. To inspire a buzz. Make headlines.

Shortly afterwards, they realised they would need to actually follow up on that promise. It was, it seems, a relatively easy decision for them to make, albeit one made very late in the day. The actress in question was informed, at most, just a few short weeks before the episode was to be filmed that she was to depart the series.

Organic storytelling at it’s finest, evidently.

Like I said, though. While it hadn’t been telegraphed, it had been eminently predictable. The character who was dispatched hadn’t exactly been getting much of a focus in recent episodes. Season four had seen her increasingly sidelined, with more and more focus diverted to another.

There was something cruel, then, in the way the episode was structured. After denying this character any real plotlines of her own for so long, the prospect of her receiving a greater focus was a welcome one. The suggestion of an ongoing character arc was dangled before us tantalisingly, with the implication of a greater role to come.

In some ways, then, it feels a mockery. Someone, somewhere, no doubt thinks they are very clever. They are wrong.

“Look,” they say, “we fooled them completely. What an intelligent twist! There was no way this death would be predicted, after we teased their future plotlines.”

It was a hollow plot twist. A hollow victory for a programme long since past its prime, with writers who have done better work, and actors who have long been denied material that befits their talents.

The death is self was far more egregious still. In some ways, it’s an achievement; the programme could well go down in history as having provided the most emphatic instance of callously stuffing a woman in a refrigerator ever.

Perhaps that was the aim. After all, it was at least the fourth time the show had engaged in such an offensive trope.

And yet, something felt different this time.

Certainly, it was compounded by the allure of change, the allusion to future character development, the promise of greater focus; all brutally cut down and dispatched. But the nature of the death itself. It was almost symbolic, really, in terms of how it was structured.

This character had come so far. Been there since the start. Developed, changed, progressed. (Up until the point she did not, of course; but then, no one did, bar one.) She had dealt with alcoholism. Built relationships with her father, her friends, her lovers.

She had become a hero.

And then she was stabbed to death. A simple act, which really has no reason to kill at this stage; it’s a program which has, after all, brought its entire cast back from the dead at least once.

Prior to that, though, she was restricted. The villain used his ill defined yet cheap magical powers to freeze the character in place.

To strip her of all agency. To strip her of all autonomy. To take away any control she had, to take away the development she was promised, and brutally cut her aside.

It was a death framed explicitly in terms of the male characters. The male villain wanted to get revenge on the character’s father, and this of course has the added benefit of providing that cheap, boring, generic angst that we were promised so many episodes ago.


Further still, the character was not allowed to have any real final words. Not for herself, of course; she was reduced to a soapbox, for the writers to speak through. An organ for their agenda. Denying this character a moment in character.

I was not sad. I was not surprised. I was angry.

For obvious reasons.

The sadness came later, though, because there was sadness. Not of the type that the writers had intended to elicit, naturally, but sadness all the same.

It was as early as the next episode. Not a bad one, as they go, but not a good one. A particular scene stood out. Two talented actors, working through their tragedy. Impressive. A tour de force in terms of their performance, undoubtedly.

But not a scene worth what we lost. Not a patch on all the impressive scenes we could, and should, have been allowed.

The sadness hit in the morgue, as is perhaps appropriate following a death. The programme felt the need to show us the lifeless, pallid corpse of the recently deceased. A questionable decision, certainly, but they felt the need to drive home the point.

It made me sad because that was when I realised, really realised, what we’d lost. Of course that was when I realised – that was when we saw her, quite literally, stuffed into a fridge. (Well, a freezer, which is perhaps worse, but at least serves to emphasise the point further.)

That was when I realised that the show – like this post – will now always be defined by an absence. By her absence. Not because she was the best character, nor because she was my favourite – because she was neither.

The show will be defined by her absence because of the shitty and offensive way in which it wrote her out. The way in which casually, brutally, tossed this character aside without a second thought, without any care or consideration, because the show did not care.

It did not care about how it treated a key female character.

It was cruel. It was poor writing. It was pathetic.

And it can never be forgiven.

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On Canon

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Just something I’ve been thinking about recently, what with the whole Arrow fiasco; for those of who aren’t in the know, the show has recently departed fairly significantly from comics canon, and then earlier today Marc Guggenheim tweeted an article about how we should all just forget about canon. As with most things Arrow related these days, people are angry, as ever.

So anyway, it’s kinda got me thinking about canon.

Part of me loves canon, and always will. I genuinely find it fun – the mental arithmetic of trying to keep everything in track, squaring away any inconsistencies, resolving plot holes – all of that is the sort of thing my nebbish fan side gets a great deal of enjoyment from.

(Incidentally, one of my favourite attempts to make everything canon is the idea that the Peter Cushing Doctor, who’s a human inventor literally named Dr. Who, came from Pete’s World, which was the parallel universe where the New Who Cybermen came from.)

But I’ll freely acknowledge that is as restrictive as hell; to adhere to canon is to impose an extreme number of limitations upon a story. It’d be awful if Doctor Who threw out a great idea for a story, because it would contradict one line from the 80s. That’s just not worth it.

So, really I tend to just dismiss it entirely. They’re all stories, in the end – just make it a good one! Yes, it’s fun to try and match it up, but that doesn’t make it anywhere near a priority. Typically, my approach to canon is well articulated here, in this particular article; it sums up quite well how we all need to just relax and focus on more important things, and certainly shouldn’t be focused on limits and constraints and suchlike.

But! That’s Doctor Who canon, which is one thing. The issue with Arrow is that of comics canon, and that’s… something else entirely.

Arrow is functioning as an adaptation of another story, the same way the Harry Potter movies were adaptations of books and suchlike. There’s a source material here, and people are angry at the manner in which it’s been diverted from.

And I dismiss those concerns! I dismiss them entirely. Arrow doesn’t need to be a slavish adaptation of the comics; it never has been. The Flash isn’t a slavish adaptation of the comics; it never has been. Very, very few of the mainstream superhero movies adapt single comic storylines – the upcoming Civil War movie, which I’m really looking forward to, is very clearly taking the Civil War comic as an inspiration and a starting point, rather than the be all and end all of the movie.

I’ve written before about the benefits of adapting source material, rather than translating it straight to the screen; the comics act as an inspiration, and something to build from, rather than being the purest form of the story than we have to adhere to. (Though it is worth noting that the question of the spirit of the source material is something entirely different, and presents some unique concerns of its own.)

To make the complaint that something isn’t respecting the canon is… often missing the point, I feel. It obscures the real issues, and makes it very easy to dismiss complaints.

There isn’t a problem, in theory, with killing the Black Canary. There is a problem with Arrow fridging a female character, again, and that needs to be the focus of our ire.

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Arrow: The Rise and Fall of Felicity Smoak

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In the third episode of Arrow’s first season, we were introduced to one Felicity Smoak; an IT support girl at Queen Industries, she was initially intended as a one episode character who would provide a little bit of tech-related exposition before never really being seen again.

Despite these initial intentions, however, the character was revisited; the primary reason was that the Arrow cast and crew quite liked Emily Bett Rickards, who played Felicity. They weren’t alone in this, of course, as the character became something of a fan favourite.

Felicity was soon bumped up to a season regular, and had become a key member of the Arrow cast. She remained a fan favourite, of course; the third season saw a Felicity-centric episode, The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak, which contained flashbacks to Felicity’s college days, and introduced her mother, Donna.

For quite some time, Felicity was everyone’s favourite character. She could do no wrong. The audiences loved her.

Now, she’s near universally hated.

So what changed?

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It’s easy, of course, to blame it on “Olicity” – that’s the name used to refer to the relationship between Oliver and Felicity, which developed across the third season, and… was complicated, we’ll say, during the fourth.

Easy, but not entirely accurate, that is.

In theory, there’s little wrong with developing a relationship between Oliver and Felicity; certainly, in the early seasons, the pair had chemistry together, and that’s part of why the character of Felicity was so popular. Certainly, had it been written well, you likely could have convincingly depicted a relationship between Oliver and nearly anyone on his team – how different things would have been had we got “Oliggle”!

But the operative term of the sentence – “had it been written well” – is essentially the embodiment of the issue. Olicity is not well written. Felicity, of late, has not been very well written. Frankly, Arrow of late has not been very well written.

The problems here are twofold: one is a matter of emphasis, the other of contrivance.

The first problem, and arguably the greater of the pair, is the manner in which Felicity is treated by the narrative. Felicity is valorised by the narrative; constantly, we are told that she is great and strong and powerful, with nearly every other character having some dialogue about how wonderful she is. (Diggle in particular has fallen foul to this of late.) Obviously, on a surface level, this is just particularly unsubtle writing; the old maxim of “show don’t tell” is one which springs to mind in this instance.

More than that, though, is the fact that this narrative lacks any form of balance – given how insistent Arrow has become in beating the audience over the head with constant references to how great she is, there is rarely any acknowledgement of her character flaws. A good example of this is 4×16 Broken Hearts, in which Felicity is constantly sniping and making cruel digs at Oliver – but rather than her being criticised for this, Oliver is told simply to give her time.

Through not allowing Felicity to have character flaws (or, at least, ignoring the ones she does have) Arrow has fallen into the pitfall of a giving us a very superficial and shallow “strong female character” – as opposed to “strong” meaning well rounded, three dimensional and nuanced, a more literal interpretation of “strong” has been pursued, hence Felicity being shown as infallible and literally described as “strong”.

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The other problem (albeit one linked to the former) is that much of the drama surrounding Olicity is extremely contrived and very poorly written. A recent example of this was Felicity regaining the ability to walk, so that she could then walk out on Oliver, due to the fact he’d been lying about her – entirely ignoring the fact that, of course, she’d spent the episode prior trying to convince her mother that people in relationships can lie to each other if they love one another enough. It’s astonishing, really, how much Arrow is reliant on the use of lies and deception to further their plot; it’s as if the writers know of no other form of communication.

(Incidentally, on the matter of Felicity’s paralysis; it would take an entire post to properly break down the failings within this arc, as opposed to a single aside within a larger post, so I likely shall return to this subject in the future. For now, though, I think it’s important to note that this six episode paralysis arc was not only poorly written, but was so poorly handled as to be bad representation and quite disrespectful as well.)

You end up getting the indication that those involved with the show perhaps just aren’t very good at writing romantic arcs – except, then, how does that explain Diggle and Lyla, or Roy and Thea? Both of those stories were reasonably successful, and have added a lot to the respective characters.

The answer, then, is that the writers aren’t very good at writing a romance when they feel it needs to be the focus of the story; Diggle & Lyla and Roy & Thea were always subplots, forming part of something larger. Here, with ‘Olicity’, it takes centre stage – largely at the expense of other characters, who recieve limited screentime as a result of this.

Laughably, though, this brings up back around to the beginning – not just of this article, but of Arrow. We established earlier that Felicity became a fan favourite character – part of that was because fans were responding so poorly to the character of Laurel, and her romantic plotline with Oliver. That, in part, is why Felicity was written as the main love interest, with Laurel being simply a close friend of Oliver’s – and when “reduced” to this role, the character began to thrive.

At a remove from the program, it’s actually quite interesting to watch this all unfold; I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a character plummet from such heights to such depths before. Certainly, I can’t think of any fan favourite character who became quite so reviled so quickly – can anyone?

But, ultimately, within the program itself, it’s very disappointing. Arrow is far from its glory days, and it’s questionable as to whether it’ll ever really emerge from the shadow of its former self. The blame can’t be placed on Felicity, not really, nor Emily Bett Rickards; she’s a competent actress, and a very nice person as well. She deserves better material to work with than what she’s getting.

No, the real problem lies with the writers, who are struggling to bring any sort of coherent emotional or thematic arc to Arrow, or to their lead characters.

The writers of Arrow… have failed Felicity Smoak.

This article was previously published on the Yahoo TV website.


Was Arrow Season 3 really that bad?

Vixen Series Review – Arrow’s Animated Adventure

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The Frustration with UK Broadcast Delays

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A good example of this is Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD; its broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK has been a rocky one. Despite very high ratings for its initial premier – notable being broadcast only three days after the American release – there was a notable decline in ratings over the course of the rest of the season. In part, that’s because of undeniably rocky levels of quality in those early days, but it’s far more easily attributed to the variable scheduling the show received; it wasn’t uncommon for there to be a break in the broadcast every couple of weeks.

Hoping to avoid this, Channel 4 held back the broadcast of the show for a month after the American premier – the idea being that, if they could air each episode in a row, they’d be able to maintain their viewers each week. Of course, though, the majority of the people who were interested in the show had pirated it by this point, meaning the show ended up with increasingly poor ratings.

A recent article on the Yahoo TV website, for which I am a contributor.

(An early one! A rare attempt at a general, overview type article, which I’ve not really done a lot of since. I’m not sure why, exactly; I suppose I tend to find them a little harder, but often also just don’t really have opinions about the state of television as a holistic whole like that.)

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Was Arrow Season 3 really that bad?

arrow season 3 review banner hd retrospective was it really so bad oliver queen marc guggenheim olicity

I’ve recently been able to catch up on the third season of Arrow, which has something of a reputation for being less than stellar. Much like when I was rewatching the Star Wars prequels recently, the question of the quality of the series was something that weighed up my mind.

So, then. Was Arrow season three really that bad?

The short answer is no.

As for the long answer? Well, as ever, things are much more nuanced and complicated than they’d initially appear. Arrow Season 3 was, in many ways, the weakest season of everything we’ve seen thus far in the CW DC universe – and yet, despite that, it did do a lot of things right, and introduced some interesting concepts.

Certainly, the strongest aspect of this season was the overarching theme introduced; the question of who, exactly, Oliver Queen is, and what he’s able to achieve as the Arrow. As a through line for the series, it’s actually something that the execs made an impressive job of examining; it’s set up right from the beginning, framed in terms of Oliver’s potential relationship with Felicity (more on that later) and further examined through his interactions with the other characters. It’s in this season that we see a lot of other heroes established, and they’re all there to act as foils to Oliver; Barry crosses over from The Flash, questioning Oliver’s methods, and we see Ted Grant as Wildcat, a vigilante who gave it all up because he went too far.

Of course, it’s examined in more depth through the regular cast, particularly Colton Haynes as Roy and Katie Cassidy as Laurel. When we’re watching them develop as heroes, it’s framed alongside and contrasted against Oliver as the Arrow – it’s something that’s thrown into sharp focus during the Danny Brickwell mini-arc, wherein Oliver isn’t in Starling, and our supporting cast have to pick up the slack. True, it’s a little Dark Knight Rises, but through this juxtaposition the show was able to make some interesting commentary on what it is to be a hero, and at the same time developing our main cast of characters.

The parallels are most overt between Ray and Oliver though – the billionaire who lost something, driven to protect his city. They get some nice humour out of it (there’s a great scene with the salmon ladder) but there’s some genuine depth to it as well, I think. Oliver always took the approach that he can be the Arrow, or he can be Oliver – he can’t be both. And, as the Arrow, he can’t maintain any relationships, or get too attached to people. Yet Ray Palmer comes along, and he manages to succeed where Oliver has failed, over and over again; with his company, with Felicity, and as the ATOM. It’s an important part of the ultimately identity crisis arc that carries across the series, and Oliver’s struggle between who he wants to be, and who he had to become to save his city.

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The arc is well done for the most part, and they even manage to pull it into the flashbacks; in Hong Kong, we see Oliver begin to lose himself, and become much closer to the vicious killer he was in season one, whilst at the same time slowly learning what happened to Masseo and Tatsu in a rather clever non linear narrative.

But it does begin to fall apart towards the end of the season, as does nearly everything else. Now, personally speaking, I’d say the first run of 9 episodes is a decent stretch, as is the Danny Brickwell arc; it’s after episode 15, however, that things start to stop working. Your mileage may vary on this one; I’ve seen people suggest it’s earlier, placing the cut off point at episode 12, but for me, the problems began with The Offer. Episode 15 was where we saw Ra’s Al Ghul name Oliver as his successor, and the League of Assassins (I’m not one to get picky about comic adaptation changes, but “League of Shadows” really is a better name) become the main antagonists for the rest of the season.

Honestly, it is difficult to say that this works. There are a couple of different reasons for this, of course; notably, in comparison to previous years, there aren’t really any personal stakes in play for Oliver. With both Slade and Merlyn (and, as a bonus, Harrison Wells over on The Flash) the final confrontation had been deeply personal, even bordering on intimate. It was, I think, part of that intensity that raised the stakes for those prior confrontations; in lacking that, something else needed to fill the gap with Ra’s Al Ghul.

And… well, they tried to tie Ra’s into the identity crisis arc, but they do a poor job of it. I think, in part, it’s because much of the circumstances and consequences involved just aren’t entirely clear: we get this threat from Ra’s, instructing Oliver to take his place in the league “or else”, but we’re then left with some variation of “I just don’t really want to”, which isn’t exactly a great, compelling thematic point. Certainly, there’s a genuine question as to why Oliver doesn’t just accept the role, have his new minions kill Ra’s, and then abdicate; it’s the sort of thing that’d appear to solve all his problems.

You then end up with a fairly muddled set of motivations, ranging from secret prophecy to pretending to be brainwashed, and the surprise stipulation that the new Ra’s has to destroy his previous home town – that being why we care about Starling at the minute. It’s just difficult, ultimately, to be invested in this finale, because we haven’t really seen why we should; for all the talk about the League of Assassins being genuinely threatening, we never really see any evidence for this fact.

It leads to an ultimately underwhelming finale, which is a shame; given that the high points of both the previous seasons have been their finales, the fact that this one has been lacking is a significant contributing factor to the overall condemnation of this season.

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There was, of course, another aspect of the season finale, and indeed the season as a whole, which was quite controversial. I speak, as I’m sure you’ve surmised from the picture, of “Olicity”. (For those of you who unfamiliar with the portmanteau, I refer to the relationship between Oliver and Felicity.)

This is… difficult to comment on, as it goes. Going into the series, I’d heard a lot of bad things about this relationship, but particularly framed in terms of Felicity. So, you know, I was sort of expecting to see the arc handled quite poorly; there was an instance in the series four crossover, Legends of Yesterday, wherein Felicity was written as particularly unreasonable, which I was expecting to be the template for her character across the series.

As with most of the flaws of season 3, however, I think for the most part it was blown out of proportion. Generally, I quite liked the overarching plot given to Felicity – the fact that she wasn’t going to wait for Oliver at the beginning of the season, her relationship with Ray, and the eventual reunion with Oliver. Typically speaking, I think the unwavering conviction given to Felicity was a nice touch, and in many ways was an interesting piece of character development and growth after the past two seasons.

It’s just that there were a lot of individual instances wherein the writing let the character down – something that can be considered a trend across the series. The unwavering conviction was often allowed to devolve into outright selfishness, which was then left uncritiqued by the narrative. I think that’s the crucial reason for why Felicity would have began to grate on certain sections of the audience; there was very little balance in terms of how the character was approached. I’d argue that’s where the core of the problems originated.

Personally speaking though, in terms of the female characters, there was a much larger and more heinous mistake that stood out to me moreso than how Felicity was written: the fridging of Sara Lance. Fridging, if you’re not familiar with the term, refers to when a female supporting character is killed off to provide angst for the male main character, thus furthering his plot at the expense of her own. This was a fairly textbook example of that really – I think Sara does actually end up in a freezer after a while – and it’s a particularly undignified end for the character.

It’s particularly poor, actually, when you consider that Sara was not only the first female hero in the CW DC Universe, but also their most prominent (only?) LGBT character. Arrow doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s important to consider matters in this light. Whilst you can argue that her death provided an important catalyst to further events, it’s also worth remembering that everything that occurred on screen was fictional – there’s no reason why a different catalyst couldn’t have been written instead. I’m glad that they’ve brought Sara back for Legends of Tomorrow, in any case; it allows them to rectify the damage done with this mistake.


Arrow season three is undeniably flawed. It’s also undeniably the weakest of any of the the CW’s superhero offerings. There’s simply no way around that. Despite clever thematic work, much of their overarching aim can be let down as a result of sloppy and inconsistent writing. In many ways, I think the flaws would have been exacerbated when watching it as it was broadcast, one episode per week; there’d be longer to wait between the high points of the series. Similarly, spread out as they were, it’d be more difficult to appreciate the thematic arcs going on – they’re more clear at a distance, I think, when you can consider each episode together, and the season as a whole.

Judging from what I’ve seen from season 4 so far, though, the execs in charge of Arrow are building on and learning from their mistakes (largely speaking; there’s still some notable flaws) throughout last year’s season, hopefully giving us a much stronger offering this go round.

I think that there are merits to Arrow’s third season; that doesn’t mean there aren’t mistakes either. Neither should be forgotten – the merits are to be carried forward, and the mistakes learned from.

Maybe one day we’ll look back on Arrow season three as an essential stepping stone; a season the show had to go through so that it could become something else. Something better.

This article was previously published on the Yahoo TV website.


Arrow, and the disturbing trend of fridging female characters

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Introducing Green Lantern to the Arrowverse

green lantern green arrow neal adams arrowverse the flash oliver queen stephen amell hal jordan kyle rayner grant gustin

So, I was thinking about this, because there’s been a few easter eggs and references throughout The Flash (which, by the way, was phenomenal), and a few rumours about the possibly of Diggle in Arrow being revealed to be John Stewart, and then getting a Green Lantern ring.

And then on another website someone posited the question as to how you’d introduce Green Lantern to these shows, if given the chance, and then I ended up writing about it, when I really should have been studying. Thus, I share it with you all…

With Green Lantern, I think you’d have to play a long-term game to get this introduction working, largely because a lot of the elements involved in his character, particularly the aliens, are a bit of a departure from what is currently established. You’d probably weave him in across Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, setting him up as a guest star in each.

I haven’t actually seen the third series of Arrow yet (no spoilers) but generally everyone seems to be indicating that it’s likely we’d meet Hal Jordan in the flashback section of Arrow series 4, because of how the flashback section of series three ended. Good idea. Meet Hal Jordan as a test pilot, before he disappears, and before he gets his ring. You can spend the series (perhaps not all of it) with him and Oliver palling around, learning from each other, and developing the famous friendship of the pair.

Then, over on The Flash, you introduce aliens.

(I’m not really sure how they’re going to do the multiverse, or resolve the cliffhanger, but let’s assume for a moment that at some stage, maybe around the fifth episode, the status quo will be mostly restored.)

You have what appears to be a relatively normal episode. Some sort of powered person, running around, causing chaos, as we’ve become used to. Eventually, though, Barry stops them, and brings this person back to STAR Labs (this is around the middle of the episode we’ll say.) They’re running analysis, and then… “Barry, this isn’t a normal metahuman. This guy… he isn’t even human.” Dun dun duh! We’ve introduced an alien. Cisco responds essentially as you’d expect him to, good opportunity for humour, and so on and so forth.

The alien escapes, and the STAR Labs team can contact General Eiling, or maybe Waller at ARGUS. It’s made pretty clear that they were already aware of aliens, to some extent, but the whole situation is obviously “classified.”

From that point on, Cisco begins to monitor space anomalies, trying to prepare for aliens, and maybe even find more. Eventually, though, he notices that there’s a specific type of anomaly occurring, with a very particular energy signature. This is the Green Lantern Corps, though obviously, he doesn’t know this. Yet.

Around this time, over on The Flash, we’d also introduce a new character working at the Central City Gazette (is that what it’s called?). He’s an artist, going by the name of Kyle Rayner, and he becomes fairly close friends with Iris (and Linda, who we’re reintroducing, because she’s eventually going to meet Wally at some stage). Why is an artist working at a newspaper? He does the cartoons, of course.

Over on Legends of Tomorrow is where we’d introduce the actual Green Lanterns themselves, but not Hal as a Lantern. Not just yet. Again, not 100% sure of the structure of Legends, but if they’re moving through time with each episode, I think it’s easy enough to come up with some sort of reason to have tendrils of Savage’s army doing some sort of work in space. Maybe, perhaps, Savage’s army are being supplied with weapons – weapons that work with the power of fear. Feeding on fear, amplifying it, and being generally quite bad. You wouldn’t have Yellow Lanterns straight up, but this is a very obvious reference to them. It’d also help to tie this into Parallax somewhat, perhaps, but that might not be necessary. At this stage, you’d have one, maybe two, Green Lanterns appear. Possibly Abin Sur, possibly not. Maybe, for budgetary reasons, it’d be easier to go for a human looking person.

green lantern movie oa ryan reynolds arrowverse hal jordan abin sur legends of tomorrow

Anyway, it’s on Legends of Tomorrow where they set up the basic idea of the Green Lanterns existing.

Then! Hal Jordan comes back, in the present day, in Arrow. He interacts with Oliver Queen, as opposed to Arrow, and the two can reminisce, as they do. It’s an opportunity for humour, which is always a good thing. Eventually, however, Oliver will have to dash, because he needs to do something Arrow based. I like the idea, actually, of both Hal and Oliver making awkward excuses to leave, and neither of them really noticing what the other is doing, because they’re both trying to get out – because someone is making trouble in Starling City! Maybe it’d be a nice callback to the earlier Flash episode if it was the same person. That way we, the audience, know that this is an Alien problem. And just at the same time as the return of Hal Jordan…?

So, the Arrow is fighting this super strong fellow, and obviously struggling. And then a green light fills the sky, and green rays of light are shot towards the alien. (Might want to avoid the actual constructs at this stage, to keep the costs down, and simply chalk it up to Hal being relatively inexperienced)

At this stage, Oliver and Hal find out about each other. Maybe they recognise each other, and you can have a callback to the rather amusing scene from the Green Lantern movie about not being able to see cheekbones and whatnot.

You keep Hal in Arrow for another couple of episodes, before eventually, in the middle of a climactic fight… his ring stops working. That’s odd. No-one quite knows why. So they send him over to Central City, where he can work with the STAR Labs team. Cisco is of course over the moon.

green lantern the flash arrowverse hal jordan barry allen cartoon meeting justice league war pitch kyle rayner john stewart diggle cw

At this stage (I think we’ll have reached around episode 18 of The Flash, ish) we spend some time fleshing out the friendship between Hal and Barry. As Cisco (and Ronnie?) work with Hal to try and fix the ring, establishing some of the lore with regards to hope and willpower and etc, Hal is also a helpful member of the team, perhaps giving them information about some new aliens who are in town.

Here’s where you could take it in a couple of different directions. I’d want to have a big threat here, so maybe we’d bring in Parallax. It’d be nice to really push the shared universe angle, so let’s go for it, and have a Parallax threat that is a problem for both Central and Starling City, meaning we’re watching the Arrow and Flash finales show the same threat being combated in different ways at different times.

And then… I’d kill Hal Jordan. Dead! Never coming back. (Except, you know, leaving it open in such a way that, if we wanted, we could bring him back as Parallax, a few years down the line.)

Hal dies before the Parallax threat is solved, so it’s a massive demoralising moment for the group, because they were really counting on his help with this. Barry and Oliver are both very sad.

This is going to set a couple of things in motion. Obviously, death of a lantern means the ring will choose a new host – and we have two potential hosts lined up already. We’ve got Kyle Rayner, the artist who’d be able to work on some pretty impressive ring constructs… and, potentially, John Stewart Diggle.

So, either of them can become the new Lantern, and they then help save the day from Parallax.

john stewart diggle arrow green lantern cw dc hal jordan the flash legends of tomorrow kyle rayner

Or! Actually, I just thought of this now. Diggle can become the Lantern, and help save the day. At the end, the Lantern from Legends of Tomorrow comes along, telling him that he’ll need to come to Oa, and all that jazz.

Diggle isn’t interested. He wants to stay where he is. So he gives up the ring, and it finds its new host – Kyle Rayner. Best of both worlds. We get to have Diggle as a Lantern, and keep him on Arrow.

Kyle goes off to Oa, meaning that he can return again on either show in future, or Legends of Tomorrow, or even a Green Lantern TV show.

And Oliver, inspired by the death of his friend Hal, and perhaps a few quips made at various stages of the series, takes on a new mantle. A slightly different mantle.

That of the Green Arrow.

And thus ends series 4 of Arrow and series 2 of the Flash, ready to take us into the next year… where the world is going to be in a very different place, after the invasion of Parallax. (Which I guess could be a problem, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.)

Any thoughts?

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