This review contains spoilers.
Over the last five weeks, Arrow has fought its way to critics’ hearts, massive ratings (for The CW, at least) and a full-season renewal, but this sixth episode, Legacies might be the first mediocre adventure we’ve seen from the show. That’s quite an achievement, with most series coming over hit and miss for at least half of their first season, and an average episode of Arrow is still a lot better than most of the drivel on television right now. The episode is about fathers and sons, with the origin of Oliver’s list of bad guys finally revealed.
We start with a bank heist, and I was surprised to learn later that it was a family of four behind it. A mother, father and their two sons are making up for the bad hand they were dealt by the Queen family by robbing banks and, realising that his father was ultimately behind their actions, Oliver sets out to help them. It’s a different way to go since we usually see him hunting down the city’s bad guys and here we see him trying to help, but his offer of a job is immediately shot down by the head of the family. It does bring back some memories of a weird encounter with his father back on the island, though, and I’m not entirely sure what to believe about their exchange.
Taking place after we, and Oliver, saw him kill himself on the boat, I guess we’re supposed to think of him as a mirage brought about by hunger or at least as part of a dream. On the brink of starvation and unwilling to make a proper go of island life, Oliver dreams of his father and the single bullet still left in the gun. Quite rightly, he reminds his son that Oliver’s death would render his own suicide meaningless, and warns him not to go the same way out of weakness. We know he won’t, of course, but it’s still an interesting look at how close Oliver came to the edge before fighting back. In the end, he holds his father’s notebook up to the fire, and a list of names suddenly appears. Are these really what his father wrote?
My least favourite thing about this episode was the general air of CW-ness about the whole thing. Aside from Oliver’s main storyline, we had Tommy trying desperately to woo Laurel back, a jealous Thea going off the rails yet again, and Moira Queen instilling some extra mommy issues in her son. Starting with Laurel, I honestly don’t know what the show wants to do with her. One week we’re being teased about her future career as Black Canary and watching her kick ass, and the next she’s being passed around from man to man in search of a convincing love triangle. I prefer the former version of her character, and would rather not spend entire episodes focused on her love life.
A possible flirtation between Tommy and Thea is also really icky. Thankfully, he shoots her down with the same sentiments, but my guess is that the writers were testing the pairing out to see fan reaction before jumping in. It could work, I suppose, as we’re obviously supposed to be rooting for Laurel and Oliver to end up together, but my favourite female character right now is actually Felicity. The girl he and Diggle keep going to for research and exposition, she’s like the Chloe Sullivan of Arrow and could be a great character should she be given more screen time. I also still love that Diggle’s now in on the secret, even if their double-act wasn’t the main focus of the episode.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Damaged, here.
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