‘Arrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 5, Episode 1: ‘Legacy’
It’s time for another installment of Pointed Commentary, the feature where returning Arrow watcher Chris Haley and new recapper Emma Lawson dig into the details of Team Arrow cleaning up the filthy, crime-ridden streets of Star City.
This week’s season premiere, “Legacy,” brings us back to Star City and sets the course for where the fifth season is headed. Unless things take a number of dramatic turns. Anyone’s guess at this point really. James Bamford directed the episode, based on a story by Greg Berlanti with a script by Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle.
Chris: Alright Arrow-heads, Pointed Commentary is back! And just like Team Arrow, this season we have to say goodbye to a member of the team, as long-suffering Arrow watcher Matt Wilson has finally escaped this show. Even though we’ll miss him, thankfully I don’t have to do this alone, as I’m joined by ComicsAlliance’s Emma Lawson! Hello, Emma! Our previous interaction involving DC characters led to us becoming blood enemies, but hopefully a season’s worth of watching Arrow will go much more smoothly.
Emma: I look forward to fighting with you as much as Oliver fights with everyone.
Chris: We’re already off to a great start! So, Emma, before we get into the show itself, let’s talk about your history with Arrow. Tell us all about it.
Emma: I watched season one when it aired, but I stopped for a while because I can only handle so much ridiculousness in my life at a time. I recently caught up, including several episodes on a flight to France while my boyfriend watched over my shoulder asking, “What is happening??” But I love the silliness and Oliver's amazing wigs. Give me cheesy superheroes or give me death.
Chris: That’s actually quite a relief for me, because I was afraid I was going to have to be the one with answers this season, and I am often thoroughly mystified by this show on a number of levels.
Since you’re all caught up, let’s get our dear readers up to speed. Ollie is now the mayor of Star City, but he’s having a hard time staying focused on being the mayor while having to take care of all the Team Arrow business with almost no team. Sadly, the only member of the team that’s stuck around is the one I was most hoping would take a break.
Emma: Felicity? I would cry if she left the show. But Ollie could do with a real stern talking to from her. She tries a bit this episode, but clearly not enough. Thea is also still around, and she does take a stand against her brother about whether or not Team Arrow should get back in the murdering business. Good for you, Speedy.
Chris: Ah, so you’re a fan of Felicity, which means we are definitely going to remain blood enemies. This will be fun.
This whole murder thing is quite a moral quagmire. I’m not a fan of superheroes killing people, but the more “grounded” reality Arrow has tried to set up --- you know, before Flashes, Hawkpeople, and pseudo-Iron Men started showing up --- really makes it tricky to just brush off Oliver’s stance on why he’s got no issue with it again.
Emma: If the show is trying to be more “grounded” again, then Oliver should maybe actually do his job as mayor. This will be much more effective at cleaning up Star City than individually killing each lowlife and scumbag. Take advantage of the system, Oliver! You're rich, you know how to do that. “Ground” us with your interminable meetings about garbage pickup.
Chris: Lolfrirl, I would actually be into an episode or two that was just nothing but boring meetings. I think most of the rest of the audience would probably riot though.
Emma: No, Chris, the people have spoken. We need political drama, it's in these days.
Chris: Speaking of local politics, did it strike you as odd at how under-attended all of Oliver’s “big” press conference were?
Emma: There were basically 20 people at each speech! What else is happening in this town? Like, there must at least be city hall staffers who need to attend, come on. I have to say, while his speech in Laurel's honor was… not bad, the statue was ugly. So ugly. I'm sorry, Laurel.
Chris: Oh my god, I’m so glad you reminded me of that! When they cut back to his reaction after seeing it and he had a weird look on his face, I was like, “Oh, okay, he thinks it looks awful too. Some bad guy must have left this ugly one to mess with him.” And then they cut over to (the former Captain) Lance and he started crying and I felt so badly for him. Also, was it not weird that the plaque just said Black Canary and not Laurel Lance?
Emma: Oh, I forgot about that! Is it because Oliver seems to think that vigilantes are worth more than regular people? He gets real feisty this episode about his team, after losing Dig and Laurel and Speedy. Felicity suggests he recruit some other wannabe vigilantes, but no one is as good as OG Team Arrow.
Chris: Well, rebound relationships usually don’t work, so maybe Ollie’s just finally learned at least one life lesson. And, I mean, I think we all know eventually he’s going to have a new team, but I’m sure there’s some aspect of knowing he could trust the people that made up the old team. Well, except for when he didn’t, I guess… so maybe forget I said anything.
Speaking of rebound relationships, who was that guy with Felicity at the end of the episode? Did I miss him earlier?
Emma: He was one of the cops at the scene of Tobias Church’s first crime in Star City! Detective Malone. He looks kind of like Jason Ritter, though, so I am not into it.
Tobias! What do you think of Tobias, Chris? He seems to be shaping up to be our big bad this season (but this is episode one, and this is Arrow, so who knows).
Chris: Well, first of all, I have to say, as one of the internet’s leading Gravity Falls nerds, I’d appreciate no ill spoken about Jason Ritter. Also, I did not think he looked similar, but you enjoy Felicity, so we clearly view this show through very different lenses.
As to Tobias Church, I think he will absolutely be this season’s big bad, and since he’s one that’s not being appropriated from the comics, I think that’s going to work in his character’s favor. I could be wrong, because like you said, this is Arrow, but I enjoyed him in this episode. He’s got that same schtick that every big bad on this show seems to have, where they always have speeches and sayings they’re rattling off to their army of faceless goons (kinda makes you think that’s the only kind of bad guy the writers have ever heard of or know how to write), but the guy playing him seemed to have a little more… I don’t know if I’d call it charisma, but he had some kind of x-factor that made him enjoyable.This being Arrow though, I’m sure it could also get really old, really quickly, so I guess we’ll see.
Emma: Tobias Church is played by Chad L. Coleman, from The Walking Dead and The Wire. I am hopeful he can make this bad guy interesting, but so far he hasn't had much to do. His reason for going after the Green Arrow is to clear out the toughest dog in the yard which, sure, okay, fine. But what is he doing in Star City to begin with?
Also, I just looked up Detective Malone and he is a Ritter --- Tyler Ritter! 10 points for Team Felicity.
Chris: Whaaaaaa? Like they’re actually related?!
Emma: Yes!! Brother of Jason Ritter. Now gracing our television screens smooching Felicity. Or at least giving her well-deserved massages.
Chris: Well I’ll be darned. Good eye! So he’s a secret bad guy, is what’s important for us to know about him, though, right?
Emma: Well, we know which four cops on the SCPD can be trusted, because Lance named them for Oliver and convinced him to take them on a mission in lieu of his own team. Oliver, of course, refused to call them his new team (or even a team, because he's a whiny baby) but he did think well enough of them to put them on his new Anti-Crime Task Force.
Chris: And then one of those guys got attacked by “The Black Arrow” because making multicolored bad guys based on the hero has worked really well for them on Flash.
Emma: I mean, technically black isn't a color, but yeah. A dark, bad version of Green Arrow. Bleh.
Chris: I’d like to amend my earlier complaint. The writers have heard of the kind of bad guy that is just an evil version of the hero also.
Emma: Haha yes! Hooray, two types of bad guys. That's plenty for five seasons.
Okay. We haven't even talked about the Russia flashbacks yet.
Chris: We have not! Can I just say how glad I am to finally be off that damn island? I only had to watch one season of it and I already wanted off way worse than Gilligan ever did.
Emma: It was time to move on, for sure. Now we get to see Oliver being a grump in Russia, with a new fun wig.
Chris: I actually loved this wig, because, in the scenes where he’s just walking around talking in it with his Russian friend, he looks so much like my oldest pal in the world that it made me like him so much more.
Emma: It's definitely not the worst wig we've seen him in. His Russian friend Anatoly is played by David Nykl, a personal fave from my Stargate: Atlantis days (shut up, Chris), so I automatically love him. Plus he dislocated Ollie’s thumbs. Pretty great.
Chris: You beat me to it! I have to say, unrelated to learning you’re one of those “TV Stargate” people, I’m really enjoying how you seem to know who all these people are from their other genre-television work! At this point, I mostly only know people if they were in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
Emma: I watch a lot of TV while I knit.
I am looking forward to more Oliver in Russia, especially as his Bratva initiation seemed to mostly be his getting beat up.
Chris: I really thought he was going to fight back or something, but I guess the point was that it was a beat-in as opposed to a contest to prove his fighting prowess. Speaking of fighting, the camerawork and choreography of fight scenes on this show can be all over the place, but I thought they took the time and put in the extra work to make the majority of this week’s fights look good, and even included a few tricks that were beyond the kind of things they normally do. So, you know, good for them!
Emma: This week's episode was directed by James Bamford! He's been the fight guy on Arrow for years. That first fight scene I especially loved.
Chris: Yeah, it looked sharp and was a nice way to start the new season off. Also, I just looked back at the last installment of Pointed Commentary from last season, and I hope everyone appreciates how high my spirits are now, before twenty-three episodes of this show have ground my enthusiasm for life down so low. Either this series is going to be much better this season, or the time off has just refilled my Ability To Watch Arrow meter.
Was there anything we missed? Anarky made a brief return cameo. Wild Dog and Vigilante were among several DC street level heroes mentioned. Curtis got one step closer to finally becoming Mister Terrific!
Emma: So excited for Curtis putting on a suit! I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of the new Team Arrow. Hopefully next week!
Chris: I guess we’ll see! Let us know what you thought down in the comments and be back next week to see if we can maintain this polite facade!