Arrow: “Legacy” Season 5 Premiere Review

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At 23 episodes a season, and four seasons under its belt, how does Arrow approach it’s fifth season? The critical wave on the last two seasons has erred on the side of unfavorable compared with the first two (though, I think there’s a strong defense argument for season four and part of season three). It’s apparent right from the start of “Legacy” that the writers are aware of how their show has been received as of late. The premiere feels very much like a season one episode, with Oliver mostly out on his own and facing off against mobsters instead of supervillains. But this “back to the basics” mentality doesn’t feel as forced as it could have.

“Legacy” very much lives up to its title. There’s a lot of mythology to Arrow now. The opening scene alone has Green Arrow facing off against Anarky, while later on a Black Canary statue is erected in honor of Star City’s fallen hero. But the premiere works as a reflection of how this series has evolved. Arrow‘s pilot doesn’t have Diggle providing backup or Felicity on her headset. It’s just Oliver in his hood killing corrupt officials and mobsters. Having Oliver go back to killing in the season five premiere feels justified. He killed Damien Darhk in the season four finale after all, and Laurel’s death weighs heavy on him (and on this premiere in general). He kills again in the season five premiere. This exploration of a defeated Green Arrow rescinding his moral code could be an interesting arc to watch. So far, it doesn’t feel repetitive, and while the show is inching its flashbacks ever closer to the pilot this season, the sense of going full circle is warranted. If Arrow were a better, more self-aware show, it would end this season.

But with Diggle, Laurel, and Thea all gone, Felicity has a list of new potential teammates that could join Oliver in his quest for justice. After an episode where Oliver fails to catch his opponent, it’s exciting to see him turn to this fresh blood for help. This is where Arrow can get some life in its fifth season. Whether these new candidates will pan out remains to be seen, but at least the writers are paving the way for the show to get back to its rollicking superhero team roots that helped make the awkward plotting of the last two seasons all the more fun. But for now, it’s a we’ll see. Grade: B

Some Other Notes:

  • Prometheus’ reveal at the very end of the episode was effective. The costume is pretty horrific looking (miles ahead of Zoom’s from The Flash last season). I look forward to finding out more about him.
  • Okay, so the whole Laurel wishing for another Canary bit was bullshit. Like daytime TV bullshit. We saw her final moments with Oliver on screen last season. Retrofitting it to add a piece of dialogue that sparks the season is about as lazy as it gets.
  • Lance is hitting the bottle again. He seemed cheery in last year’s finale. There’s just an awkward tonal shift that doesn’t quite fit there.
  • Who is Felicity’s new boyfriend?

By Matt Dougherty

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