Though I’ve watched the series since it first appeared, in 2012, my interest in Arrow has been steadily waning over a couple of poor seasons. Privately, I promised myself that I would quit after season 5, which would bring the flashbacks full circle, up to the start of season 1.
This promise persisted even though, generally, season 5 was a better series than the previous two. Unfortunately, the cliffhanger ending to the series, suggesting that every single member of the supporting/recurring cast could/should have been killed, meant that I had to at least watch the premier of season 6, to see who survived.
The answer being, disappointingly but unsurprisingly, practically all of them. One recurring character dead, one cast member – Oliver Queen’s little sister, Thea – in a coma but still in the cast credits.
So I decided I would apply the classic TV.com Four-Episode Test: four episodes in which to convince me it was worth my time to watch on.
I nearly didn’t make it. As early as episode 3, I forgot to even bother with it until Sunday week ago, and even then didn’t watch it until the Monday night after work. Then, during the week, I caught sight of a bit of troubling information about the series. A guest star. And a guest star whose presence was balance-tipping.
So I watched last week’s episode over the weekend. He wasn’t there in the opening credits as a Guest Star. If I hadn’t seen that reference, I would have been totally unprepared for his appearance. As this season’s Big Bad, Cayden James.
Step forward, Michael Emerson. aka Ben Linus from Lost and ‘Harold Finch’ from Person of Interest, two of my favourite series and two of my favourite characters of the last decade.
As Cayden James, he’s sort of crossed the two characters over: Ben’s underlying atmosphere of menace belying his appearance as a small, unprepossessing man in late middle age, and ‘Harold”s near invisibility.
But the thing is, he’s here, and he’s going to keep appearing. So four episodes has given me a reason to keep watching, when I would have preferred to end my relationship with the show.
I’m stuck with it now.