Arrow “Legacy” Review (Season 5, Episode 1)

Learning to move forward after your life takes an unexpected turn is no easy task. It’s not that you don’t know that you need to. Most of the time it’s just that accepting the fact that things are no longer the way you hoped they would be is much easier said than done. Letting go of the past is a process, but you can’t even start that process if you keep flying in a holding pattern hoping for the past to re-materialize in the present. That’s where we find Oliver in Arrow’s season five opener.

Most of this episode dealt with Oliver’s refusal to accept the changes that have occurred in his life over the past year and a half. Losing Laurel left everyone reeling, and they’ve gone off to “find” themselves. Everyone except Oliver. Oliver still believed that if given enough time, the team would come back together and they could get on with the business of saving Starling City. Well, apparently it’s been five months since the events of last season, and everyone is still off doing their own thing which does not include being a member of Team Arrow. Felicity’s insistence that Oliver form a new team repeatedly fell on deaf ears, and he refused to even consider bringing in the younger vigilantes that have taken up the Green Arrow’s mandate to save the city. Part of Oliver’s refusal is justified. He honestly does not want to put more people in harm’s way. He’s lost so many people, and he doesn’t want any more of that blood on his hands. Not to mention that Laurel’s death is still too fresh. That’s perfectly legitimate, but most of Oliver’s refusal was due to not wanting to replace Diggle, Thea, and Laurel. To Oliver, it felt like forming a new team would mean that his old team would never come back. Which wasn’t something he was prepared to accept at the beginning of the episode. However, Felicity didn’t stop pushing because Oliver needed to accept a few truths. She argued first of all that those kids were already out there doing the vigilante thing. Whether Oliver took them on as a new team or not, they were going to continue going out and fighting for their city. It would behoove Oliver to train them to do it right. Felicity’s second argument is that Oliver needed someone out there watching his back. She can only do so much from their not so secret hideout, but Oliver needs someone out there with him to be his backup. Finally, and probably most importantly, it was time for Oliver to move on. She essentially told him he was waiting for something that is never going to happen. Because even if Dig and Thea come back, the events of the last year and half have changed them. Team Arrow will never be the same Team Arrow that it was, and that’s probably a good thing. There was so much water under the bridge with the original team, that maybe it’s a good thing for Team Arrow to get a fresh start.

I also liked the interaction between Oliver and Felicity again. Last season was pretty rough because the writers did such a bad job of making Olicity a thing. Instead of allowing Felicity and Oliver to continue being the interesting, complex characters that they were prior to canonizing their relationship, the show felt the need to regress both characters. Oliver went back to lying and keeping information from Felicity “for her own protection” and Felicity turned into a clingy damsel in distress. It wasn’t good for either character and it was upsetting to me as a viewer that the show couldn’t figure out how to do better than that for these two characters. So I was actually kind of relieved when Oliver and Felicity broke up last season because their relationship had become more tedious than entertaining. So I was worried we would be stuck with the same kind of melodrama between them this season, but it looks like we might be able to doge that bullet. At least I hope so. The way that Oliver and Felicity related to each other in this episode was more along the lines of what made me fall for those two characters in the first place. Felicity saw that Oliver needed someone to push him toward doing what is best for himself, and she did that. She saw that Oliver needed someone to give him a healthy dose of the truth, and she did that. Felicity is being Oliver’s friend again, and it was a beautiful thing.

In the midst of Oliver’s personal crisis, a new baddie showed up in town in the form of Tobias Church. Church is cruel, brutal, and unafraid. That’s a dangerous combination. He’s also decided to make taking out the Green Arrow his primary mission. This could actually be interesting if the show uses Church better than they’ve used villains the last couple of seasons. The problem with both Ras al Ghul and Damien Darhk is that they were supposed to be these huge threats looming in the background, but they were mostly underwhelming. Actually, Slade Wilson was the last villain that I really enjoyed. Most of that was due to the fact that his vendetta against Oliver was so personal, and it always raises the stakes when the villain has such a personal connection to the hero. Church doesn’t necessarily have that kind of connection with Oliver yet, but he could. Since Church has decided to focus his efforts on removing the Green Arrow from the board and the Green Arrow has already bested him once, I have a feeling Church is going to spend a lot of time becoming intimately familiar with Green Arrow. If the powers that be do a good job of developing the adversarial relationship between Oliver and Church over the course of the season, then by the time Oliver and Church have their final confrontation I might actually care about the outcome.

It was also nice to see the flashbacks in this episode actually relate to the current story again. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not really a fan of multiple flashbacks during episodes. Having one at the beginning and then letting the episode play out to show you how and why that flashback was important is more my style, but I feel like the multiple flashbacks actually worked well in this episode. One of the problems with most of the flashbacks post season two is how generally unrelated they were to the current story. They slowed the pace of every episode they were in and felt unnecessarily forced into the story. That wasn’t the case with the flashbacks to Russia this time around. Oliver’s dealings with Anatoly actually tied in nicely with the action in this episode and helped moved the plot forward.

All in all, this was a pretty solid season opener. We got introduced to our new baddie, and it doesn’t look like he’s the only one. Whoever this new dark archer is, he’s not going to make things easy for Oliver and his new team. I’m also glad to see that Oliver has agreed to make Curtis a real member of the team. He was my favorite thing to come out of last season, so I’m glad we’ll get to see more of him. Quinton also looks like he’s going to be a more active member of the new Team Arrow. He’s had a pretty rough go of it the last couple of years, so I hope this means he’ll be able to find purpose in working with Team Arrow. I’m not sure how I feel about Thea right now. On the one hand, I get her wanting to have a “normal” life now, but it seems more like she’s sticking her head in the sand than anything else. It would be one thing if she didn’t know the truth about what’s happening in Starling City and if she didn’t have the ability to help. But the truth of the matter is, she does know the truth. Sitting back because she wants to feel normal isn’t going to change the reality of the situation. I’m also on the fence about the show going back and forth on the discussion of whether Oliver should kill people. While I don’t think it’s necessary to kill every criminal the Green Arrow apprehends, it is necessary in some cases. It’s naive to believe that the villains are going to be less lethal if the Green Arrow doesn’t kill anyone. I don’t want the Green Arrow to go around indiscriminately killing people, but some guys you can’t save. Some you have to stop by any means necessary. At any rate, I enjoyed this episode for the most part. Although, I will say I literally laughed out loud at the Black Canary statue because it looked completely ridiculous. That was supposed to be a poignant moment, but I just couldn’t take it seriously because that statue just looked so goofy. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?