Arrow Review by Henry Tran

Arrow 5.01: Legacy

Arrow 5.01: Legacy

Written By:
Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Wendy Mericle
Directed By:
James Bamford

As Arrow enters its fifth season with "Legacy," it can't escape the feeling that a lot of the show has become aged. The series has always been the elder statesman of the DC television universe, but now, that designation is even more pronounced with Supergirl joining the ranks. It's easy to see where the differences now lie. I've been occasionally watching the early seasons of Arrow on Netflix (which were surprisingly helpful in viewing this episode since it uses Oliver's past to tie things to the present) and the series has gone through a number of changes. 



Back when the show first began, it was much grittier and darker. Oliver has definitely softened with age, and the premiere is determined to show that he has tolerated his current circumstances as opposed to last season, when he was trying to make a new beginning with Felicity. Here, Team Arrow has committed to being completely broken up. Dig is still in the Army, stationed in combat far away (yet conveniently shows up at the end to give Oliver some advice). Thea is only willing to work as a crucial part of Oliver's mayoral staff. The Green Arrow is only supported by Felicity in the bunker as he fights crime in Star City by himself.


In a sense, that aspect alone is a tribute to the early seasons of the show, where it really was just Felicity, Dig, and Oliver. But just like last season, fighting crime in Star City proves to be too much of a monumental task for any one person to handle. The difference this season is that the show mixes in some time spent on Oliver as Star City mayor, weeding out corruption within the Star City Police Department ranks. It's a balance that Oliver can handle up to a point. That's where Tobias Church (Chad Coleman) comes into the picture. Church looks like a simple, brutal ganglord, hellbent on doing what the other ganglords have failed to do on the show: Take over Star City.



This appears to be a concerted effort for the writers to distance themselves from the magic and sorcery that defined last season's Big Bad in Damian Darhk. Which is a philosophy that leads to Oliver adopting his old ways. After three seasons of a hard no-kill rule, he has decided to go back to killing as a last resort measure. While it's understandable under the current circumstances (Oliver has to kill a thug so that he won't tell Church that he and the Green Arrow are one and the same), the decision seems to come about too quickly. He's been fighting crime for a few months, and just now, after Church poses a threat to his secret identity, he goes back to killing? Oliver had spent an entire season killing people on his father's list (which makes an appearance in the flashbacks in Russia with the Bratva) before adopting the no-kill rule. There's little to no sign of that same kind of philosophical struggle here. That he hesitated in killing Darhk, and that hesitation cost Laurel her life, is not enough.


Another concerted effort to go back to the show's roots is to now tie the flashbacks with the present. The producers have promised that these will be the last of the flashbacks, but that fact doesn't erase the thought of whether a show that has been on this long should still be doing something that has long outlived its usefulness. The flashbacks to Russia are fun, though that's mainly due to the presence of Oliver's friend Anatoly. That alone gives me pause, and I also worry that I will forget about Oliver's mission to kill Kovar after a short while. It's a long season, and last year's flashbacks almost made me give up on the series altogether so a wait-and-see approach with caution feels like the correct course to take here.



The cautionary approach should also be applied to Oliver's ultimate decision to "recruit" some new members to Team Arrow, much as a way to keep a promise he made to Laurel on her deathbed. That revelation itself was a disappointment, as is the fractured way of hinting at who Wild Dog is. There are hints as well to recruiting a new, younger version of Black Canary and some other vigilantes out there. Oliver has to now embrace his new-old role as mentor to Team Arrow, now without the crutch of being familiar with and close to all of the members.


But this is a much more normalized and well-adjusted Oliver than we've seen in a long time. He looks more dedicated to the cause of fighting crime as the Green Arrow and trying to "save the city" as mayor. And that's without Felicity as a romantic attachment. I was one of the few proponents of the "Olicity" relationship, and yet, this situation between them (more colleagues than lovers, and Felicity has a new boyfriend) looks rather stable for now. Stability is something a show this old can use in spades. But will the team and his new outlook on life prove to be enough to take out Church as a threat? Again, wait and see as the season progresses.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Oliver seems more well-adjusted than he’s been in quite some time
  • The writers are distancing themselves from the magical elements of the previous season
The Bad:
  • The show is starting to show its age a little bit
  • The flashbacks still feel extraneous at this point

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Arrow by - 10/6/2016 9:42 AM162 views

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