I am so over the flashbacks. I absolutely hate them, and this episode had more than the usual amount.
Flashbacks were the reason I stopped watching the series ONCE UPON A TIME, as I found the storyline in the storybook world annoying and distracting, taking away my enjoyment of the main story.
Wow, much loved characters were in danger or about to die some gruesome death in storybook-land but wait, hang on, in the present world, they were still alive!
Any sense of danger and the thrill of edge-of-your-seat anticipation is gone from the viewing leaving, what? Boredom, perhaps? At the very least a feeling of, "come on, get on with it!"
Similarly with this episode of Arrow: In the present world we know that Oliver had been on the island for five years, so the storyline of he and Slade planning to get off the island, and it hasn't yet been one year of Oliver's stay on this 'beautiful paradise', holds no interest at all. We know from the onset that for some reason or another, it's just not going to work. That being the case, I say, let's spend more time on the truly important story of what is happening in the present.
(Gilligan and company were never going to get off their own island at any time during the whole run of that show, 'cos then the show would be over, so I got really really sick of the numerous episodes that started with someone saying something to the effect of, " I think I found a way to get off the island")
Unlike Gilligan whose show would end if they got off the island (discounting of course the few TV movies that took place after the official series' run), Oliver's show really starts after he got off the island.
In fact I question, why do we need to see how Oliver became what he is, when we can actually see what he is? We don't need to see flashbacks of Laurel or Detective Lance (or the rest of Oliver's family, for that matter) to understand them, to emphasis with them or to appreciate their motivations, their drive and passions, their respective determination.
For my money, the only series to use flashbacks properly, seamlessly so that they fit within the context of the 'present' in the running storyline is PERSON OF INTEREST, the worst ONCE UPON A TIME and LOST. Arrow fits somewhere in the middle, closer to OUAT, where the producers and writers are seemingly trying to tell two running stories at once, one set in the past and one in the present.
Here's an idea, If the producers and writers really want to unveil the story of Oliver's adventures on the island, how about tying together all the future flashbacks and presenting them as a telly-movie or mini- series, to be run complementary to the main series.
Let's go forward from here, rather than back. Lets' spend less time showing us how Oliver got here and more on where he goes from here.