Speaking to Apnadesi he said: “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.”
To be honest, the flashbacks back in Season 1 made a lot of sense. They told us about how the island made Oliver the vigilante that he is. They used to be a vital part of the show. Had the writers decided to skip the flashbacks, they would have had to rely on copious amounts of exposition to explain the plot. I don’t know about you but I personally hate it when writers use exposition as a plot device. I think we can all agree that the flashbacks in Season 1 were quite necessary to the plot.
Season 2 however, was where the flashbacks first started slipping. We could all see that the connection between the main plot and the flashbacks was a thin one. Yet, the writers decided to keep the flashbacks. As the main story unfolded in the show, the flashbacks seemed to be getting nowhere. I remember getting a strong urge to tear myself away from the TV everytime a flashback would appear. At this point, the writers should have foreseen what was coming…
Season 3 was where it all fell apart. Not only the flashbacks but the entire show. The flashbacks made no sense and had no connection to the show whatsoever. At this point, it was obvious that the flashbacks needed to go but here we are still braving through them to watch a decent show and they’re not making any more sense than they did in Season 3. Apart from the idol that gives Darhk the juice he needs, I see no other connection.
However, it looks the flashbacks do seem to be going somewhere this time around. Executive Producer Wendy Mericle stated that:
“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.”
So at least we’re leaving Lian Yu this time around. Whether that actually has any kind of effect on the quality of these flashbacks remains yet to be seen. I’ve noticed that Taina speaks with a Russian accent. If she dies in the finale, her death could be one of the reasons Oliver heads to Russia and gets mixed up with the Bratva. If not, she’ll probably still be a strong motivational factor in Oliver’s trip to Russia.