Arrow Season 1 Review “Legacies”

Arrow Episode 6 Legacies (1)

This week’s episode of Arrow seemed to signal the start of a possible transformation in the type of hero that Ollie would become. For the first time Arrow moved away from corporate criminals and focused on street crime. Through that shift, “Legacies” was able to parallel Oliver’s past with the story of the Royal Flush Gang’s, Kyle Reston, and show us how the burdens of a parent can often be unfairly transferred to their children.

At least on the surface, Ollie resisted Dig’s suggestion that there were other ways to save the city besides hunting down billionaire criminals. Ollie returned from the island with one mission on his mind, so this foray into fighting street crime sort of marked a turning point. Because of Dig’s influence, Ollie’s narrow scope widened just a little bit and created a tiny opening for Ollie to begin creating his own future as a hero beyond the hit list his father left behind.

Kyle (aka. “Ace”) gave up a life of his own to pursue a life of crime with his family. Like Ollie, Kyle had become obsessed with the mission that his father had originally set into his mind – “to be set for life.” In Ollie’s flashbacks, we saw how his father’s expectations manifested into hallucinations that haunted Ollie when he was near death. Ollie had not yet fully understood the extent of the damage his family’s business had done, but his father’s last plea was enough motivation for him to sacrifice his future to ensure his father’s dying wishes were fulfilled.

It was interesting to see the parallels between Kyle and Ollie when it came to the risks they were willing to take for the sake of their father’s aspirations. Although Derek Reston refused Oliver’s job offer out of pride, we saw the guilt he carried for having turned his kids onto a life of crime. I couldn’t help but wonder if Robert Queen would have also regretted the burden he placed on Oliver if he could have seen the life he was currently leading and the suffering he endured on that island. I also wonder what direction Kyle’s life is likely to take now that his father is dead. Kyle probably doesn’t have a person like Dig in his life who can help him reroute the unhealthy objectives set into place by his father.

Were it not for Dig steering Ollie in the right direction, the Arrow would never have become involved with the Royal Flush Gang. Dig is a legitimate a hero in his own right, without the financial support or inherited guilt that Ollie has. Dig wants to make the world a better place and he knows that Ollie can help him make that happen. Dig steadfastly refuses to be relegated to the role of a sidekick and it’s something that Ollie still struggles to apply to their relationship. At one point Dig has to remind Ollie, “you asked me to work with you, not for you.”

The more we see of Ollie on the island, the more I understand how the general public must have felt about him before he was stranded. I appreciate that there’s consistency in those island flashbacks. He’s been a whiny rich kid who has managed to survive despite himself. He’s not at all natural at the things that Yao Fei wants him to learn. We’re watching him change on the island, but those changes have been happening very slowly. Pre-island Oliver and post-island Oliver are being developed simultaneously for us and it ends up being a very effective method of helping us recognize how different Ollie is in the present while still being able to understand who he was before the island changed him.

This week’s episode was a little heavy on the sideline romance for my tastes. We spent a lot of time watching Tommy flirt unsuccessfully with Laurel while she bluntly refused his advances. I like Tommy, and his valiant efforts were cute and sincere, but I think I like him best when he’s being lighthearted and playful. Laurel is dramatic and concerned with serious issues all the time, so their interaction in general wasn’t a whole lot of fun. Although a romance between Thea and Tommy would be inappropriate given her age, their interaction was so much more entertaining than Laurel and Tommy’s. I think Thea was right when she said she understood Tommy in a way that Laurel couldn’t.

Whatever the case, the farther removed these relationships get from Ollie, the less interesting they become. I assume that as Arrow continues, everything will eventually connect back to Ollie in a significant way. In the meantime, this romance business is a somewhat dull distraction from all the other awesome crime-fighting action that Ollie and Dig are doing on the other side of town. Maybe it would help if that romance business started getting mixed into that awesome crime-fighting action? Fishnets anyone?