First, I must apologize for the lateness of this review. It’s certainly not my intention to publish my episode reactions at the last possible minute. Thanksgiving was especially hectic and I had to deal with a substantial relocation. But since all that’s settled now, I fully intend to continue supplying my readers with endless petty criticism of the CW’s hard work on superheroes.
This review will be shorter than usual as there isn’t much to report on this episode. While “Arrow” is definitely finding its groove, in “Legacies” it runs into some problems balancing the episode’s story with the show’s overall story, and the show’s greatest strength (the character dynamics) suffered as a result. Surprisingly, a lot of those issues crop up when Marc Guggenheim, one of the brains behind the show, gets script duties.
There are aspects of “Legacies” that I really enjoyed, especially concerning Diggle. It’s great to see him stepping up in his role as a mentor and advisor for Oliver, especially in the way that he doesn’t take a single ounce of Oliver’s crap. When a bank robbery results in an off-duty cop getting seriously wounded, Diggle convinces Oliver to put his obligation to the List on hold to deal with the masked robbers before they strike again. When he first refuses, Diggle soon guilts him into it by tricking him into meeting with the cop’s wife, and Oliver agrees to look into it just so Diggle will spare him the lecture. Eventually, Oliver learns that the gang is actually a family, and that the sins of his father are finding new ways to threaten Starling City.
The Nolan-ized take on the Royal Flush Gang was okay. I liked the focus on family dynamics, which is a staple of the best depictions of the Gang from the comics and animation, and it helped make up for the lack of playing card gimmicks that makes their comic counterparts so visually appealing. There were some feelings of cliche with the dialogue and the story of desperate bank robbers, but the script went out of its way to make the guest characters more than cardboard cutouts rather than coasting on the novelty of another set of comic book villains making their live action debut. And I appreciated Oliver’s earnest attempts to defuse the conflict with words rather than with pointy things. It serves as a really big step towards Oliver’s evolution from vigilante to superhero.
Also, the fight scenes are some of the best and most elaborate of the series so far, and I like that the writers don’t try to paint the cops as morons for shooting at the hooded vigilante.
As I feared, the writers really don’t know what to do with Tommy Merlyn. He was almost completely absent the last two weeks, and this episode they bring him back to do the exact same stuff he was already doing before: pining after Laurel. Given his last name, it’s fair to assume that the producers have some plans to turn him into a nemesis for our hero down the line, but they never really figured out what to do with him until then.
What’s more, the entire supporting cast seems to have backtracked from where they ought to be. Oliver’s hunted outside of the List before when he went after Deadshot. Why is he so hesitant to go after the bank robbers this time? Tommy and Laurel already agreed to continue dating. Did she blow him off in between episodes? Thea already knew that they were seeing each other. Did she really think Tommy was talking about her when he asked for advice on women? And Moira gets in some quality time with Oliver. Isn’t she part of a conspiracy that plotted to have him killed?
And then there’s the flashback. Last week Oliver was tortured by mercenaries. This week he talks with the ghost of his father. I don’t really have a problem with that, and the slimness of the flashback allows more time to focus on the present, but given that Oliver should be tending to his many bloody wounds at this point, I’m beginning to wonder if these flashbacks are starting to air out of sequence.
As a stand-alone piece, the episode works fine, but as part of the overall story it’s weirdly out-of-place.
- This episode seems to be going for the record with nods to the comics. What’s this about a red cape?
- Why do college-age bank robbers always punch with their ring hand?
- Hey Oliver, you want to sneak into the police station? Your Arrow costume does not count as a disguise.
- The Queen bank robber is Nell from early “Smallville”. Just felt like throwing that in for the two of you who remember Nell.