Since its premiere on The CW in 2012, Arrow has done a terrific job of exploring various family dynamics through its wide array of characters. The series has provided us with the complex history of the Queens, the inspiring reunion of the Diggles, and the great tragedy of the Lances.
Although Arrow Season 6 suffered from many problems with its underwhelming villain, Ricardo Diaz, and out-of-character squabbles from most of the show’s major players, one aspect that remained mostly successful throughout the season was the theme of family. These types of intimate moments came from Oliver Queen, John Diggle, and Rene Ramirez, and they were the highlights of Arrow’s most uneven season yet.
So, when Arrow returns for its seventh season this fall, it needs to continue to emphasize the importance of family. In fact, Arrow should go all in on this idea in Season 7 and reaffirm that Team Arrow is the best representation of family on the series.
Oliver’s Journey as a Father
For several seasons, Oliver’s arc has always been about becoming a better hero. However, his journey shifts in Arrow Season 6 when his responsibilities change. He’s no longer just a hero or mayor; he’s now a role model to his son, William, and is in a committed relationship with Felicity, a relationship that is solidified with their marriage at the end of the Crisis on Earth-X crossover.
These personal developments are more challenging to Oliver than any action Diaz takes during Season 6. They force him to confront the failings of his own father and the guilt he feels over Samantha’s death. Oliver believes he can be stronger by sheltering himself from his vulnerability and by hiding the truth from William. When he returns to the field as Green Arrow midway through Season 6, he lies to William about it because he doesn’t want William to be scared about losing another parent.
But as Oliver learns from Diggle, Quentin, and Felicity, keeping who he truly is from William will ultimately destroy their relationship instead of protecting it. Oliver struggles to tell his son the truth about his return as the Green Arrow because he wants William to live a life of blissful ignorance, a life where he doesn’t have to worry about Oliver’s safety.
However, without honesty between him and William, Oliver realizes that the real connection both of them want to have can’t exist. Oliver understands that he has to open up to William, just like he was honest with himself and Felicity last season. Trusting his son is the next step in his journey to become a more considerate, loving, and vulnerable person. However, this growth is just as important as his development as a superhero — it’s the most successful storyline of Arrow Season 6.
The Importance of Team Arrow
Oliver’s relationships with William and Felicity are informed by members of Team Arrow throughout Arrow’s sixth season. Quentin acts as a constant source of fatherly wisdom for Oliver until his death in the Season 6 finale, and Oliver sees his and William’s bond reflected in the connection that Rene shares with Zoe. Additionally, Diggle and Lyla’s ability to trust each other in the field and as parents serves as an example for what both Oliver and Felicity want from their married life together, so much so that Felicity even asks Lyla what her and Dig’s secret is.
These moments illustrate why Team Arrow is the best representation of family on Arrow and why the divide between the team was a fatal storytelling error. Fans watch Arrow to see these characters teach, challenge, and support each other, not engage in petty quarrels.
Ever since Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity began working together in Season 1, Team Arrow has been the heart and soul of the series. Season 7 needs to rectify the damage Season 6 inflected and remind viewers of how satisfying watching this team work together can be.
Opportunities to Explore Family in Season 7
Repairing Team Arrow and showcasing its family dynamic again is vital to the success of Arrow in Season 7. However, the show’s writers should push this idea of family even further by supplying undervalued characters with unique storylines of their own.
Felicity could turn to her mother, Donna, for advice on how to be a single mom while Oliver is in jail. Viewers got a brief glimpse of Felicity’s parents in Season 6, but there is so much rich material in their relationship that could be explored.
The writers could also introduce us to Dinah’s family. She originally went undercover to keep them safe, but now that she’s out in public again, does she want to reconnect with them? Dinah interacting with her parents or hypothetical siblings could be much more satisfying than her Vincent-centric storyline.
Lastly, what about Roy Harper? What brings him away from Thea Queen and back to Star City? Perhaps it’s because his long-lost mother, who we know nothing about, has reappeared and has some type of connection to the Longbow Hunters.
Any of these possibilities could work. Arrow has shown countless times throughout its run that it can deliver satisfying family-centric stories. Here’s hoping we get plenty more of them in Season 7.
Arrow returns for Season 7 on Monday, October 15, at 8PM on The CW.