Already? Only midway through Season 3 and CW’s Arrow goes “where angels fear to tread”

Green Arrow issue 100 cover   Green Arrow 101 cover

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale.  Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end.  “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer.  In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.

But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time.  In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen.  Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:

“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character.  We’re going to prove that to you.”

Death of Green Arrow
The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.

So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie.  But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.

It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap.  Where can we go from here?  Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow.  Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled.  Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.

CW’s Arrow has plenty of options to play with, without Ollie.  We have no Connor Hawke in this iteration of the story, but we do have Roy Harper aka Speedy aka Red Arrow aka Arsenal.  Trained by Oliver, he could run the team “to save our city.”  News of Oliver’s death (and some creepy encouragement from her mom in last week’s episode) could be just what’s needed to get Laurel Lance to don the fishnets (or not) and take on the Black Canary mantle left behind by her sister.  And as a back-up plan there’s Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer aka The Atom to enter the superhero sphere, too.

End of Oliver Queen

Buffy the Vampire Slayer incorporated the concept of series without the title character, but that occurred off-camera over a hiatus, and without any actual episode minus Buffy, when Buffy left Sunnydale at the end of Season 2.  What she returned to in Season 3 was her friends fighting the good fight in her stead.  A similar “Scooby Gang” with the Arrow B-team characters moving the plot forward with Ollie in Ray Palmer’s newly named Star City could be a lot of fun–if done right, and for not too long without the series lead.

Arrow returns to the CW Network Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

C.J. Bunce

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