Fans of ‘Arrow‘ who, like me, think that the flashbacks are wasted time on the show and do very little to build up the main story or really contribute in a meaningful way to the narrative, are going to be disappointed to learn just how much the show’s creatives seem to enjoy those flashbacks. In fact, to many of them, it seems like they feel the flashbacks are very important to telling the ‘Arrow’ story, which means they will not be going away anytime soon. Here’s some of producer Mark Guggenheim’s logic for why he thinks the flashbacks are integral to the show’s storytelling approach:
“Part of the appeal of the flashbacks – certainly in the first two years, but I think the first three years – is seeing what a big difference it is between Oliver Queen in the present day and Oliver Queen five years ago. The problem is that we are telling a five-year story in the flashbacks of Oliver becoming the guy you met in the pilot. So the deeper you get into the flashbacks, the closer he becomes to being that guy, and, thus, you lose that element of the flashbacks that was so interesting, which is how different he was…. That’s something we have struggled with this year.”
Of course, the flashbacks might get better/ more interesting come Season 5 of ‘Arrow,’ as producer Wendy Mericle has teased that they know the end game for the flashbacks of that season already, and know that they finally want to go into Oliver’s Russian Bratva past:
“We know what we’re working up to. The season will be easier to break because we have an endpoint, and we work backwards from there…I don’t want to tip too much, but it’s a very good possibility that we’ll finally find out how Oliver got that Bratva tattoo and how he learned to speak Russian.”
Still, I cannot help but feel that flashback technique was useful in the early seasons when we were still learning about Oliver and figuring out how he became this dark and brooding character, but after Season 2 the flashbacks just seemed like filler, designed to fill in exposition about the present (very clumsily, aka the Alpha omega virus), and did little to enhance our enjoyment of the show. But maybe I’m alone in that, so feel free to share your thoughts on the ‘Arrow’ flashbacks in the comments below.
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)