It’s little wonder that the televised Green Arrow gets a rep for never smiling. If all of these tragedies are going to keep befalling him, he’s going to get a little surly. If The Flash season opener gave you hope that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) would lighten up and go deep into comic book land, then you may have your tiny heart broken. Yet as both mayor and vigilante, Season 5 of ARROW is undeniably drawing on the rich history of the Emerald Archer.
With Laurel gone, Ollie is fighting a war on two fronts by himself. Just like cinematic The Dark Knight, to which ARROW owes a lot of its style, copycats and wannabes have risen to fill the void. One of them is throwback character Wild Dog, who comes complete with a hockey mask, and it’s an inside baseball that’s not lost on TMNT: Out of the Shadows fans. In the middle of a ceremony honouring Black Canary, Mayor Queen is kidnapped by rogue cops and forced to keep his identity secret. Will he listen to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and form a new team? Will Michael Holt (Echo Kellum) form a part of that crew? The answer to both seems to be a resounding “yes.”
“Legacy” is a strong first showing for the fifth year of a series that definitely had a shaky time last season. Right out of the gate, the new big bad Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman) is both a charismatic and threatening presence. From what we know, he is not a metahuman threat and will be inspired by Stringer Bell from The Wire. So much for any hope of levity. There’s also this new anti-crime unit that Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and Ollie put together from the good cops of the SCPD, and there’s a definite vibe of The Untouchables there. However, given the sheer number of archers in this city, the ill-fated group may have just gone and brought guns to an arrow fight.
On the flip side, with a new season of ARROW comes a new set of flashbacks, and with the flashbacks come the terrible wigs. Now taking us back to a ill-defined time, or else we’d be flashing back to Season 1, this fairly forgettable set of scenes sees a younger Ollie try to infiltrate the Russian mob. These definitely served a purpose in the earlier seasons, but we’ve gotten to a point where function is subservient to the form. This is especially ironic given that the theme of the episode is about not looking back and always moving forward.
ARROW is definitely firing on all cylinders with “Legacy,” and like a good series debut, it leaves us with more questions than answers (see below). The show has a tough year ahead of it, with The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl now all vying for space on the CW network, but it’s already setting up a whole lot of pieces for exciting things to come. Bring it on.
Questions to ponder
This following is filled with geekery and Easter eggs, and thus contains spoilers
- Has The Flash‘s “Flashpoint” had any impact on Star City? There’s nothing obvious, but they’ve interacted enough to have some potentially unseen consequences. Also, what is it with alcoholic father figures? Alternate timeline Detective West turned to drink, while Lance has fallen off the wagon following the death of his daughter.
- Oliver “nobody can know my secret” Queen is now murdering people again. Either we’re going heavily into late Mike Grell 1980s territory (see below) or coming full circle back to Season 1.
- Wild Dog and “Mr. Ski Goggles” – Did you catch those references, DC Comics fans? Felicity identifies some potential new recruits with images on her computer. Hockey mask wearing Wild Dog is child of the ’80s, turning up in Action Comics Weekly from 1987. The other figure, only seen on her screen briefly as a sketch, looks identical to the 1980s version of Vigilante, a kind of Punisher clone for the DC set. Fun fact: the original Vigilante was introduced around the same time as Green Arrow in 1941, and both were created by Mort Weisinger.
- What can we expect from Tobias Church? A unique villain, in that ARROW has gone completely outside of the DC Universe and created something original. Will this prove to be a wise course of action? ARROW has always worked best when it stuck to the comic book legacy, so fingers crossed.
- “You recruit me too.” How long until we see Holt as Mr. Terrific? His T-Spheres were in the Fight Club 2.0 promo, after all.
- Who is Felicity’s new masseur? Does he do house calls?
- Who is that masked man? Just what Star City needs: another archer!
Flashbacks: Recommended Reading
Like seeing Ollie as mayor? DC Comics does too! The history of Ollie’s mayoral campaign goes back to the 1970s, but he finally got the chance to take office in Star City (or at least half of it) in Green Arrow: Crawling Through the Wreckage. Part of DC’s “One Year Later” event, a highly trained Green Arrow serves a devastated Star City as both mayor and vigilante. Indeed, many of Judd Winick’s stories and characters, such as Brick, have made it in the series so far.