Arrow: looking out for a hero

Not living in the US, I first became aware of the series Arrow through a promo spot on one of my country's TV stations. The promo wasn't much, but I loved the soundtrack of it (music is often an influence in what I decide to watch, go figure), and I absolutely loved the logo (the arrowhead with the words over it). So I chose to look it up (the show was between series in the US), and fell for the abs. I mean the story. Nah, it was all about the abs.

Anyway, I was hooked.

I did a whole Arrow marathon in, I think it was, a week, and I was immediately, besides the abs, hooked on the "epic love-story" between Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance. I saw the chemistry, wanted them to be together, loved the whole "you made my five-year stint on the island bearable", "I still carry that picture you gave me the day we said good-bye on the docs", blah-blah-blah.

However, even then, there was a huge problem. I kept skipping the flashback scenes (not all of them, but more about that later), which isn't good when a series spends almost half an episode in flashback. But that's okay, I thought, I have the present day Oliver still pining after his Laurel, having to keep her at arm's length in fear for her safety, having to push her away and into another man's arms, yadda-yadda-yadda.

And yet another huge problem emerged. The 'promiscuity' of the hero. Granted, he slept (on screen) with only two women who weren't Laurel in first season, but even that was too much for my romantic heart. I like my tortured heroes to be tortured in body as well (if you know what I mean) when it comes to pining after the one they love. I don't want my heroes, whom I know will end up with the one they love, bed-hopping like there's no tomorrow. And even introduce those bed-partners to the one they love.

I don't run that way. That doesn't get my "juices flowing". I hate it!

Nevertheless, I was prepared to endure, especially after the penultimate episode of season one, when Oliver finally reached out to Laurel (the one that he loved, just to remind you). The soundtrack chafed a bit, mind you, they offered us a ballad when he boinked his second "girlfriend" (the cop), but had to go with Radioactive for his bout of lovemaking with Laurel? What was that all about? [eye-roll] Yes, again with the music, sorry.

No matter what, my shipper heart—though I don't consider myself a diehard shipper—was happy. And I couldn't wait for season two.

I should've known better.

Season two is a mess. From whichever angle you look at it (except for the action stuff), this second season is a mess. Everything is plot-driven, the character development had flown out the chimney, there is no story, and the recent retconning is simply puke-worthy.

It's like season one never existed, in terms of establishing of canon, storytelling, and character development. They keep introducing new characters (work with what you already have, people!) with one that's recently taken over the entire show, the majority of the main cast has been pushed onto the sidelines to favor the action, and what's left (the actual hero) has run the marathon in character development. Only backwards.

I don't recognize the series I've fallen for, the series I started to watch because of the mix of various elements. Plot, characters, story, drama, action. Yes, romance, too, but that's just a bonus. I love action movies, and I love action series. If there's romance, fine. But it would've been fine even without it. But since they've established one canon, they just cannot go back and redo everything. It's been less than a year since season one. We, the viewers, don't all suffer from amnesia. We remember what's been established in the first season, you can't just change the entire premise, and expect everybody to just roll with it.

And if you're idiot enough to decide to change everything, I suggest you show the audience what happened, why the characters act the way they act...Not just tell them. I believe what I see, not what I'm told. So you can't expect me to believe you when you tell me there's a deeper connection between Oliver and Sara (the one he loved in season one's sister he cheated on the one he loved in season one on before the series started), when I don't see it.

What I see is a "new" character that's completely taken over the show for the sake of the action, that brings nothing but more unwanted drama to the plot, that's stolen everything from the presumed leading lady (including the alter ego and her man), that's dragging the storytelling down in every scene she appears in (except for the action stuff), and that's made the hero of the show regress to the douchebag (BTW, I love the first description of the term in the Urban Dictionary) he'd been before his, supposedly formative, five-years stint on a, supposedly, deserted island, that have changed him completely inside and out.

Gone is the Oliver Queen from season one. The man who was beating himself up day in, day out, over the past mistakes, determined to make amends for everything, determined to be more selfless, determined to make everybody who knew his past-self proud of what he'd become (that's a bit difficult since he's a vigilante, wearing a mask, and no one can know his identity, but still), determined to prove the woman he loved (apparently for half his life, or so he said—or the writers wrote in the script) that she was right all along in seeing the good in him.
The Oliver Queen from season one has been effectively terminated. The hero of the story is gone. Bye-bye, and thank you for watching.

Because the hero (or heroine), for me, isn't the person who's the main character, the leading man (or lady) of a show, a movie, a book, or whatever. The hero (or heroine) is the one person in a show, movie, book, or whatever that inspires 'good reactions' in people, an ideal to strive towards for, someone who is flawed, but can overcome those flaws, can be redeemed through their actions, trials, and tribulations, someone you want every single available character of the opposite (or same, whatever rocks your boat) sex to end up with, no matter the shipper preference, someone you yourself would want to be with (either friends, lovers, pen pals, whatever).

Oliver Queen isn't that for me. Not anymore. I don't want anyone, except for Sara, maybe (because they bring out the 'best' in each other), to be with him. I want every single available female on Arrow starting with Laurel and Felicity, poor soul, to steer clear from Oliver 'The Douchebag' Queen. Because he's toxic to them. He's pretty much toxic for the entire show, at this point, if you ask me.

So who do we root for now? In the hero department, that is. I've got the heroine covered. I've been rooting for Laurel since the first episode. Who is the hero of the show right now?

For me, the answer is rather simple.

Slade Wilson.

He's the one exception to the fast-forward-through-flashback-scenes rule. The island stuff, whenever he was in a scene, was bearable. Even now, when he's doped up on mirakuru and riding the 'roid-rage train to madness, he's still a character I enjoy watching, whose story I love to see unfold.

And now that he's revealed himself to The Douchebag in Starling City...Ooh, can't wait to see him go to town with this whole revenge plan. I want him to kick The Douchebag's ass so bad I can taste it. Okay, I'm not very comfortable with the whole Blood Cult thingy, or wanting to put an arrow through someone's eye, although an eye for an eye theory is rather sound right about now. And then, when he's done kicking The Douchebag's ass, I want him to survive the rest of the seasons this series might have (although if the ratings continue to plummet, who knows what might happen), and continue kicking ass until the very end.

And...there's something I found on a Tumblr blog, written by KillerQueenNYC, that got me thinking "What if?"

"I want Slade to survive because he’s awesome. If he wants to take either Laurel or Felicity under his wing (or body) and turn them bad, I would support it 100%. Though, I do think there is a better chance of it being Laurel."

What if Slade took Laurel under his wing body? I'm a shipper already. What would their portmanteau be? Slarel, Sladel, Willance...? I don't want her to turn bad, because, although KC would probably have a blast playing a bad girl, I don't see Laurel Lance as bad. I just can't. It doesn't compute. But what if it were the other way around? The best anti-hero (I don't see Slade as a villain!) stories are those where the guy we all hate to root for, because he's bad, but can't help it,is redeemed in the end. Because of a woman. GIRL POWER!

The writers don't adhere to comic book canon, why not go off script some more and put the leading lady with the anti-hero? And then if it turned out Slade knows how to use a bow as well as that sword of his? He could take over from The Douchebag, and ride into the sunset with the girl who eased his torment. I'd watch that. Damn, I'd get up in the middle of the night to watch it live.

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