Rather than flashbacks, a narrative device Arrow used throughout its first five seasons, the current season of the series is employing a series of flash-forwards, in which Oliver's son William and his longtime ally Roy Harper are working together to solve a series of puzzles left behind by a presumed-dead Felicity Smoak.
The city is in shambles, essentially lawless and ruled by criminals. It looks like the darkest parts of some of Arrow's darkest seasons -- and it seems this is the new normal years into the show's future. So fans have been asking: was it all pointless? Was everything Team Arrow did in the first six years of the show for nothing?
"I don't think so," series star Juliana Harkavy told ComicBook.com during a recent visit to the set. "I actually don't know what's going to happen in the show. I don't know how they are going to write the actual future or end of the show, or anything like that. I also think that the future we're seeing, in my mind, it's not the ultimate future, it's not necessarily the end, it's a part of the future."
Does that mean time is fluid and that the story will not make it to the point of the flash-forwards?
Well, that's not exactly what she is saying; mostly, she seems to be saying that in order to get to a final happy ending, Star City will have to go through years of some pretty bad stuff.
"A lot of people are saying they're disheartened by how down and depraved our city has become, and they're saying, what's the point of it all if it's gonna be that dark?" Harkavy admitted. "But we don't know that it's gonna end there. That's just a portion that we're looking at."
The flash-forwards are adding a new and sometimes strange dimension to the show, which is generally the most grounded of the CW's four interconnected "Arrowverse" series. Taking things into a bleak future could tie it in with DC's Legends of Tomorrow, though, where dark and violent futures for Star City (and sometimes the world) have been a pretty consistent theme.
Arrow airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT, before episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow on The CW.