Arrow Re-Nocked: Legacy (5×01)
Arrow season five kicks off with a high action, fast paced, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) character study, that ultimately serves as a giant tease for the remaining twenty-two episode run. “Legacy” is a refreshing example of how a series can return to it’s original premise, and start a new chapter simultaneously. Following the events in season four, Oliver is on the verge of returning to his lonely nights as the man under the hood. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) attempts to steer him back into the light, and start thinking about his future. With all the action compiled into this single episode it really shows how the kids will play while Diggle (David Ramsey) is away, “Besides experiencing a weird sense of deja vu.” For “the other guy” his political scorecard keeps falling, there is corruption in Star City PD, and Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman) is in town; just a another mood and brood day in Star City.
Finally, after two failed flashback seasons Oliver has made his way to Russia and we’ll learn all about his history with the Bratva. The storyline is off to a good start as the writers mirror his past Russian kidnapping experience with his present day mayoral abduction. Again, it’s also very reminiscent and practically mirrors the kidnapping scenes in the pilot episode with Oliver killing his abductors because, “No one can know my secret.” These elements all add up to the good and exciting things that the flashbacks have been lacking since season two, not to mention that’s also the last time we saw Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl). I would also like to point out that during the scenes taking place in Russia we are watching Oliver go on his first mission, to uphold the promise he made to Taina. This is very similar to his focus on crossing the names of his list in season one.
“Either I’m willing to do whatever’s necessary, or I shouldn’t be out there at all,” explains Oliver to Thea after the escape from his hostage situation as she questions his choice to drop some bodies along the way. A highlight from the episode is the relationship development between the Queen siblings. This is very reminiscent to their dynamic during the first season, only through their shared grief over a fallen friend both have taken a different course of action. Thea is retired from being Speedy deciding that the moral price is too high for her to pay anymore, meanwhile Oliver has doubled up on being the Star City vigilante. Although we have seen this arc play out on screen before, I like how the writers allowed the Queen siblings and former crime-fighting partners to debate the matter; especially given Thea’s bloodlust backstory. Overall, this makes me more interested in watching Thea attempt to stay on the sidelines, while her brother continues to protect their city at all costs; including his morality.
“I still wouldn’t be able to focus on being mayor, because I’m flying solo as the other guy,” argues Oliver dropping a subtle hint that he wants his sister back in the field. Really, we shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t want to assemble a new team, because the man has always had trouble making friends. The Arrow writers held back on introducing the “new recruits” outside of a few ancillary moments. Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) attempts to help the Green Arrow from Lonnie Machin (Alexander Calvert), but it ends in a very familiar arrow to the knee scene. Meanwhile, Curtis (Echo Kellum) finds himself coerced by Felicity to help track down some new friends for Oliver, “This is the craziest superhero scavenger hunt that I have ever been on.” After breaking up last season Olicity have found themselves back into a strictly business relationship, similar to both seasons one and two. The writers have teased both Flashpoint repercussions and grief over Havenrock affecting Felicity’s arc this year. Neither plot points were prominent in “Legacy” as her character served to encourage and give Oliver an option to move forward with a new team. We did receive a very peculiar Smoak tease with her new boyfriend Detective Malone (Tyler Ritter) at the loft. Viewers are left to speculate about Olicity’s relationship status, and how her new boyfriend factors into the equation.
Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) is another factor in Oliver’s personal life whom has not been put to rest entirely. Her presence is felt throughout the episode as both Quentin and Oliver falter at honoring her memory due to their grief over her death. Quentin has returned to Star City as a relapsed alcoholic after breaking up with Donna Smoak over the summer. I adore the first scene these two share together onscreen, as Oliver pleads with the ex-cop to join his team. “I can’t hit pause. I need to get on with my life, even it that life isn’t what I want it to be,” explains Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthrone) after being inspired during the Black Canary statue unveiling ceremony. He even manages to convince the Green Arrow to team up with Star City’s finest for a hostage rescue mission. Again, “Legacy” is an episode very reminiscent to the series’ pilot, but diverges at very important points to illustrate the character growth over the past five year. The Hood would have never teamed up with Star City PD, or anyone else for that matter. Oliver simply takes his lead from Quentin to move forward without fear from past heartache. Based on reports of Katie Cassidy’s return to Arrow and deal with the Berlanti-verse it’s safe to say that the seven stages of grief for Team Arrow have only just begun.
In true Arrow premiere from the episode concludes with the mysterious introduction scene to this season’s big bad, Prometheus. According to an interview with IGN executive producer Marc Guggenhiem explains, “[Prometheus is] a new character, someone who fits into the theme of legacy this year that’s going to be driving all of our characters, including the big bad.” We certainly know he drew some misguided inspiration from the Green Arrow, but whose legacy is he trying to uphold? There is nothing to say that he is another consequence to the Flashpoint arc currently playing out on Flash, I mean is this Robert Queen? Tommy Merlyn? Malcolm Merlyn is still an active presence in this universe, although he may be tied up with the Legion of Doom on Legends of Tomorrow this year. Overall all between the character dynamics, focus on Oliver’s development, and hints at future story arcs, this episode is a very intriguing first look at the road ahead.