Major Spoiler Warning!
It’s safe to say that Arrow hasn’t been exactly great these last couple of seasons. Despite fairly solid starts, both Seasons Three and Four descended into complete mediocrity by their ends, which is a real shame especially when Arrow Season Two remains probably the high point of not just that particular series, but any of comic book series currently on television right now. It’s literally the best. Thankfully though, “Legacy” is a step in the right direction, even if it doesn’t fix every problem that the show has. It adopts a down to Earth approach as the show tries to find its way again and reclaim its title as one of the best comic book shows on television.
Wisely reverting to its more grounded roots, Arrow moves away from the more supernatural and mythic metahumans elements of Seasons Three and Four in particular. It’s not entirely convincing that the writers can replicate the form of Season Two yet, but the show does go some way into introducing a new threat for Oliver, in the form of the crime boss, Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman). Church’s signature move is that he leaves coins over his victim’s eyes, but so far we’ve not seen enough of him to help make him stand out as a super memorable bad guy. Then again it is only the first episode and it will be interesting to see how Church measures up against the character who is essentially the main villain of the series (if Church returns at all) whose identity is unknown at this point. There’s plenty of avenues to explore and I’ll predict that we might have to wait until the midseason finale in order to find out his true identity.
Paul Blackthorne and Stephen Amell put in particularly strong performances in “Legacy.” Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance has gone through hell over the course of the series, losing Sara (twice) and now Laurel, as well as having his wife leave him, so it’s understandable that he’s not in the best state right now emotionally. However, this allowed for a pretty great story between the two. Sticking with the Lance storyline, it’s been confirmed that Katie Cassidy will return this season, and we got an appearance by her in this episode as Laurel, who told Oliver to make sure that she wasn’t the last person to bear the Canary mantle. Let’s see how they address that (killing off Laurel was probably the showrunner’s biggest mistake last season in how cheaply executed it was) and what happens when Cassidy returns. Will she be as her Earth 2 Black Siren character? Or will she come back from the dead?
For now, it looks like Oliver is having bigger problems with his new double duties as Mayor and as Green Arrow. Thea is no longer working as a vigilante, Diggle is serving in Chechnya, but he does have Felicity still around as the tech expert along with Curtis Holt, who is one step closer to becoming Mister Terrific. Felicity and Curtis are not enough to help him do both jobs at once, however, and Oliver might start having to embrace the fact that not everything is going to be the same and change may be needed.
Speaking of Felicity, it’s kind of hard to ignore the romantic drama that was such a large and problematic part of Season Four, that it’s a shame to see it return here as she has a new love interest, who so far is bland and has zero chemistry for her. The romantic drama is kind of wearing thin at this point and there’s only so many routes that the writers can take with this before it becomes repetitive. After all, we’ve had a love triangle with Ray in the past. Are we about to have another one?
This should be the final year of Oliver’s flashbacks to his time spent before he returned home to Star City and we finally get around to exploring his connections with the Bratva and its leader, Anatoly Kynazev. After all, it’s been mentioned in the past that Oliver became a gang member and hopefully this is given more attention and care than the largely pointless Season Four flashback storyline, because that felt like a complete waste of time for the most part. Here’s hoping for a significant improvement in that department.
For now though, “Legacy” was not quite the return to how good Arrow has been in the past, but it emerges as promising, watchable entertainment that may bode well for the future.
Let me know what you thought of Arrow’s Season 5 premiere in the comments below and keep an eye out for the next episode of Arrow airing on the CW next Wednesday.