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Arrow Just Can't Let Go of Flashbacks

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Arrow has been saying it was going to phase out the flashbacks for years. After five seasons—matching five years of Ollie was ostensibly “on the island”—it looked like they were finally coming to an end. But it seems the show can’t stop showing us Stephen Amell in a variety of ridiculous wigs that tell us we’re looking at the “past.”

Last summer, executive producer Marc Guggenheim told IGN, “Last year, when we sort of realized we’re going to go past season five, we basically made a collective decision that season five would be the final year of flashbacks.” (Although Guggenheim and executive producer Wendy Mericle qualified the answer, saying there might be flashbacks for other characters and other Ollie flashbacks, just not island ones.)

Mericle has reiterated that commitment now that season five has mostly aired, saying that the advantage to ending the parallel island flashbacks was the extra minutes of story time. “We always have so much story and we’re always pushing story. It’ll be great to have this extra space to play around in,” she told CBR.


AND YET, Mericle couldn’t help but add: “That said, the flashbacks have worked so well on the show, they’re not going to be gone forever. We’re obviously not going to be going back to Lian Yu and we’re not going to be telling the story of the five years that Oliver was gone, but we might get some glimpses into the backstories of other characters, which would be really fun.”

Arrow people? You should really, really think about this. The flashbacks have only worked well some of the time, and season five’s adventures of Russian Mob Ollie have felt very unnecessary. And while spending some time with college Goth Felicity was fun for a bit, any more of that is going to get tiring fast. Also, the idea of a Wild Dog flashback sounds excruciating.


I wouldn’t expect Arrow to quit all flashbacks forever, but this makes it sound like they’re going to continue being a regular part of the show, and that’s just... not... necessary. Still, I guess not seeing Amell run around in bad wigs is some kind of progress.

Baby steps, I guess. Hard to quit flashbacks cold turkey.