Rebuilding a "Legacy" - Arrow S05E01 Review

In more ways than one, "Legacy" is a fitting title for the season premiere of the show that spawned the Berlantiverse: Arrow comes fresh off the summer looking to return to its popular roots in season one and two. The episode is as much about preserving Laurel Lance's legacy as it is about Quentin Lance rebuilding his—and Oliver finding his. And the new baddies in town are clearly looking to forge their own legacy in the blood of Star City.

(Spoilers for the Season 5 premiere after the fold)

After the trainwreck that was most of season 4, the inexplicable decision to kill Black freaking Canary, and what turned out to be one of the most hated season finales of all time, Arrow had a lot of making up to do to a legion of disappointed fans. Did they do it? Let's find out.

We begin with the knowledge that Thea Queen, who quit Team Arrow in the finale, is now the Mayor's PR person. The Mayor, of course, being Oliver, who is late for a very important political thing. Right away, I freaking love Thea. She seems very calm and zen in her new role, and as we see throughout the episode, she appears to have found her place in the world. Still, she's involved enough with Team Arrow to know that the reason Oliver is late is that he's off kicking the crap out of Anarky, who is trying to blow things up again. After the fight is over, some dude in a hockey mask (who is totes not a reference to Stephen Amell's recent run as Casey Jones in the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) shows up to help and gets the typical Green Arrow greeting for his troubles.

Don't take it personally, bro. This is Green Arrow hazing for all new team members, just ask Arsenal.
Oliver is quite the absentee mayor. In the five months since killing Damien Darhk, Mayor Queen's approval ratings have gone to hell, mostly because he's too busy being the Green Arrow and saving the city all by his lonesome, with only Felicity's voice in his ear. Felicity spends this episode convincing him that he needs a new team, but Oliver clings to the belief that his old team will come back annnnnyyyyy day now.

Things are not well in Star City. Not only is there still rampant crime that the Green Arrow has to deal with, but after Quentin Lance lost his job as police chief, the department has gone to crap, with corruption growing in the force.

Speaking of Quentin...

Oh Papa...
I cannot begin to express how wonderful Paul Blackthorne was in this episode. He portrays a drunk Quentin with no job, no family, and not even a girlfriend because Mama Smoak is apparently out of the picture. Blackthorne's performance as tortured Quentin really outshone everything else in this episode.

But he does, at least, clean up long enough to attend the unveiling of Star City's new statue, a monument to Black Canary. It's interrupted when one of the new gang bosses in town, Tobias Church, shows up to abduct Oliver and a couple of other city leaders. Not surprisingly, Tobias is calling out Green Arrow, which puts Ollie in a bit of a pickle. Where's Diggle to put on the green suit when you need him, emirite?

With no one else to save Green Arrow, Thea very reluctantly suits up to go rescue her twit brother. During the rescue, Oliver ends up killing a bunch of thugs, which becomes a huge point of contention between the siblings. Thea is over killing, and she doesn't want him to do it either. She quits the team again. The age-old "should heroes kill bad guys" debate is on, everyone! Chime in with your opinion in the comments!

Meanwhile, Felicity has inexplicably sent poor Curtis out to find Wild Dog (hockey-mask dude), because she knows Oliver needs help, even if he refuses to acknowledge it. I truly have no idea why she thought it was a good idea to send him out alone. At least send Quentin, who can use a gun. Poor Curtis is such a precious cinnamon roll.

Come on, you wouldn't hit a black guy with glasses would you... oh.
Oliver has to go back and save the remaining two city officials from Tobias and his thugs, but this time he has help from some cops that Quentin recommended. They manage to save the day, although Tobias escapes, despite a really fun set of fight scenes that end up with Oliver and Tobias smacking each other around in a helicopter. And that ends with this:

FREAKING PARA-ARROW??? That's my Ollie!
Not gonna lie, I laughed. It was totally absurd but so very much a Comic Book Oliver Queen moment.

Oliver and Quentin both come to the realization that they have to move on from Laurel's death, and from Team Arrow's dissolution. We also did finally get the reveal of what Laurel made Oliver promise back in the hospital before she died: to make sure she wasn't the last Black Canary, so that her legacy would go on, and that a part of her would remain by his side. While it made me a touch teary-eyed because comic-book nerds know that Dinah is Oliver's one true love, I also felt a little let down by the reveal. I don't know what I expected, but this seemed a bit ho-hum.

We are also treated to the final year of flashbacks, as we begin to follow Oliver's travels in Russia. Not much going on there yet. Curtis returns to the Arrow cave with bruises from his beatdown, and pissed off enough to demand that Oliver put him on the team officially (and train him, I assume?). Felicity has definitely moved on, as she has a new beau. And then there's this guy, another new bad dude (dudette?) in town:

Star City has the same problem with archers that Central City has with speedsters. I think the cities should agree to switch baddies just to change it up a bit. 
This was the safest possible episode the Arrow team could have written, in an attempt to take the show back to its season one roots. And it's not a bad episode, per se. I wasn't even annoyed with the women characters that much. Arrow gave its women more respect and airtime than The Flash did in its season premiere. Thea was fabulous in her new role as Oliver's PR person, and her dialogue during her I'm-Done-With-Speedy speech was well-written. As far as Felicity goes, you might as well have yanked her right out of season one, because that's the Felicity we have again. For a lot of fans, that will be a major relief after her drama queen run in seasons 3 and 4. RIP Ollicity? For now, yes, although I'm putting cash money down right now that Felicity's boyfriend isn't just some random nice guy. Or if he is, he'll get killed down the line.

It wasn't a bad episode and the women characters were well-treated, so you might be wondering why I sound unenthusiastic. Well, it was a safe episode, for sure. But as a season premiere? It completely lacked that certain oomph, if you will. After the disastrous season 4 and the fan-hatred, I really think Arrow needed to woo its fandom back into the fold with a real wow factor, and I just wasn't feeling it.

Anyway, this brings us to our new Berlantiverse segment:

Barry really needs to watch Back to the Future. Doc Brown would be so disappointed in him...
Uhh... there's not much to say here. Arrow appeared to completely ignore the changes Barry made to the timeline in "Flashpoint." Some of you may be disappointed, but to be honest, I'm not surprised. When Barry returns to the correct-ish timeline in yesterday's The Flash premiere, everything immediately seemed back to normal: his dad was still recently dead, and his relationship with Joe and Wally seemed completely unchanged. We get an inkling, a sort of chill down the spine, with the reveal that Joe and Iris are estranged, but that's all.

So it appears that for the moment, the Arrow timeline is mostly unchanged. But the showrunners have assured that "Flashpoint" will have an impact on this show, and that we'll be getting the return of a lost character (spoilers in the name of the link, and certainly in the article).

Also, how would any of the characters on Arrow even know anything had changed? Without Barry himself or possibly one of the Legends of Tomorrow, there's no one to figure out that something is different. To the inhabitants of this world, everything is exactly as they remember it.

Interestingly enough, we do know that Stephen Amell guest stars in Legends of Tomorrow's season premiere next week, so there is a possibility that we'll hear something about the changing timeline then. Be warned about this link: there are huge spoilers there about the Legion of Doom forming and returning characters!

So what did you think of Arrow's season 5 premiere? And where do you stand on the heroes killing debate?

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.