Since the pilot episode of “Arrow” when Oliver was rescued for the island, his singular focus has been going after the people on his father’s list; the CEOs and wealthy, powerful people, who he felt had ruined Starling City and allowed crime to take over. But something very different happened in last night’s episode, “Legacies.” Thanks to a less than subtle push from Dig, Oliver put aside his revenge to focus on stopping a gang of bank robbers that had targeted Starling City. Was this the first step from vigilante to superhero?
It might be too early to tell, but it certainly seems like Oliver might be heading down a different path from here. “Legacies” was a strong episode, maybe even the best one of the series so far and one of the reasons for that was the villains finally got a chance to be real people instead of just cartoon drawing brought to life. Don’t get me wrong; even though I’m not a comic book reader, I can appreciate why the writers/producers want to play homage to characters and fans. But so far the villains have fallen a little flat, especially to those of us who know less than nothing about their comic origins.
But that changed with the Royal Flush Gang. They might not have had the superpowers their comic counterparts possess, but the episode gave us a chance to get to know them. They were a family that had fallen on hard times and had turned to robbing banks just to get by. The oldest son, Kyle, was enjoying it a little too much and he took things too far when he shot a cop, but the show giving us their view point made the audience feel and care more about them and it made for a much more well-rounded episode. Tying them to Robert Queen was also an excellent move because then it became even more personal for Oliver and his final scene with a dying Derrick was incredibly moving because of that dynamic.
The villains were not the only characters that became less one dimensional in the episode. While we’ve seen many sides to Oliver, Laurel, Dig and even Detective Lance, the rest of the characters haven’t really been explored. We saw Thea go from party girl to the good sister/daughter in the blink of an eye, Tommy seemed like another party boy just looking to have a good time and Moira was a mystery as to which side she was on.
This week, we got some great Queen family scenes. The first scene with Oliver and Thea teasing Moira about how much she seemed to worship one of Oliver’s school rivals was hilarious and felt very real; it was just two kids teasing their mother. But then as Oliver continued to disappear at important moments and Moira’s frustrations with her son and his secrets boiled over. There wasn’t much Oliver could do since Arrow was needed elsewhere, but when he had a chance, he took his mother out for some quality bonding time and it was a really sweet scene. Is everything going to be magically fixed? I hope not because the show needs drama to keep it interesting, but it was nice to see him making an effort.
Admittedly, I haven’t had much use for Tommy until this point, but how great was it to see him have more of a personality than just the cocky, billionaire playboy extraordinaire? The scene with Tommy and Laurel where he awkwardly confessed that he’d taken home a woman only to release he’d already been with her and his musings about how that made him realize just how much he missed Laurel were pretty touching. It was easy to see why Laurel started softening toward him. I felt bad for him when she was dancing with the annoying guy and Tommy was obviously hurt. If the show keeps this up, it’s possible that the Oliver/Laurel/Tommy love triangle could be a really great one instead of Tommy just being a speed bump on the way to their happiness.
Speaking of Speedy (See what I did there?), Thea was pretty fantastic in the episode too. While her original transition to a reformed bad girl was fast enough to give the viewers whiplash, it has been nice to see her being there for Oliver and in this episode, for Tommy. But Thea got the wrong idea when Tommy came to her for advice and she thought he was interested in her. Tommy let her down gently, but Thea doesn’t handle rejection well, no matter how used to it she says she is. Thea proved that she hasn’t changed that much after all when she proceeded to get trashed and then Tommy took her outside so she could throw up. While it was designed as another moment for Laurel to see what a good guy Tommy is, go ahead and be honest…how many of you are rooting for Tommy and Thea now? (No need to feel guilty for liking the inappropriate pairing; judging by my Twitter feed and some text messages I received, you are not alone. Let’s just age her out of high school, show).
As for the flashback, this week’s was on the dull side. While I did appreciate the parallels of what island Oliver was going through as he hallucinated his father being disappointed in him and what Derrick and Kyle were going through in the present, it was a bit of a waste since we obviously knew Oliver didn’t shoot himself in the head. Yes, he had a weak moment and then he discovered the point of the journal, but I would have rather seen more of his lessons from Yao Fei (It’s nice that the mystery archer finally has a name).
“Arrow” is a great show and it is appointment TV, but for me, it hasn’t quite hit that magic point where one episode ends and I want to fast-forward time to get to the next one. This episode was a step closer to that though and I am mildly bummed that we have to wait two weeks for “Muse of Fire,” which will bring the mysterious Huntress to Starling City. Judging by the previews, the show is going to keep up its new tradition of giving a voice to the “villains” and I’m definitely looking forward to that.