Episode 6: Legacies
By: Carlos Uribe
Arrow is a show about the Green Arrow, a vigilante who seeks justice. It is based on the DC comic superhero Green Arrow.
What is Oliver's mission? To redeem his father by helping to fight the wealthy who have abused their power for more money. He does this by going through his father's list and crossing off names once he has brought the person to justice. He is trying to save the city by going after them. He had sold Diggle on the idea that they are making a difference and Oliver is right. Oliver is saving the city from the corruption of the wealthy. Oliver is so narrow-minded in what he does that he doesn't realize that there's more than one way to save the city. Diggle believes that Oliver should be trying to do more than just crossing some names off the list. He thinks that Oliver could use his hooded persona to try and stop some bank robbers from hitting anymore banks. These bank robbers aren't in the book and they don't have anything to do with them on the surface. Oliver knows that he can't fight every crime in the city and he's not trying to be a hero. He's trying to honor his father's dying wishes and that act makes him seem like a hero. Oliver is only convinced to catch the bank robbers when he meets the wife of a cop that the robbers had shot in the middle of a heist. This episode is the first one where the bad guy wasn't some wealthy businessman. It made the weekly mission stand out a bit more when the people he's trying to stop are wearing masks and stealing from banks.
The episode can't help but make sure there's some connection between the mission and Oliver. It turns out that these aren't just any bank robbers. They are a family of robbers. The father and his two sons are the hold who hold the bank hostage and the mother is the ringer. The father used to work for a factory before it was closed down and sent overseas. The person who had shut down the factory was Oliver's father. The family had lost their home as they weren't even offered a severance package due to a loophole in their union contract. It had completely upended the lives of the family and they resorted to crime in order to make a living. The plan was to hit enough banks in order to live wealthy when they quit. The entire plan only came into being because the father had been laid off. Oliver's father is the root cause of their criminal lives. This doesn't remove any obligation from the father and his family. They chose to turn to robbing banks. Every time they rob a bank, they chose to break the law. They still have free will and their still responsible for their own actions. Oliver doesn't absolve them from this but he does offer the head of the family a way out. Oliver offers the guy a job at a subsidary at Queens Consolidated. This offer would render the need to rob banks unnecessary but the family decides to go through with it regardless. It's due to this connection that Oliver is able to honor his father's memory because he tried to fix the consequences of one of his father's mistakes. That he offered the guy a new life without having to resort to vigilinatism is simply a way he could have chosen to absolve his father's sin.
It makes sense that an episode that questions Oliver's specific mission parameters has a flashback that focuses on Oliver's father. Oliver is the cave and starving. This is likely before Oliver had killed the bird. Oliver starts to hallucinate his father is there with him. The father offers him a gun so that Oliver can kill himself and Oliver actually takes the gun. It doesn't work because it doesn't actually exist but his father is displeased. This is because if Oliver dies on the island because he didn't have enough will ot survive then his own death would have been meaningless. The father had sacrificed his own life in order to ensure that his son could fix his mistakes. Oliver realizes that he can't allow himself to die and he gets motivated to find a way to live. He also discovers that the notebook papers he's been using to keep the fire going are filled with invisible letters. I wonder how many pages he burned up and how many names were in the notebook that he'll never know. His father should have probably told Oliver how to get the notebook's letters out before he killed himself.
There's also the part of the show that is a serialized drama. Walter remains away in Australia and Moira is feeling lonely. She tries her best to connect with her son but is frustrated when this turns out to be difficult. It does lead to a nice scene where she eats a hamburger with her son. It's the first moment where the characters have actually spent time with each other since the show has began and it's nice how this sub-plot was built around rebuilding the mother-son bond they used to have. Tommy spends the episode trying to win Laurel back by throwing a fundraiser for her legal defense team. There are some misunderstandings that happen but Tommy does make some roads to getting back with Laurel. It's not a bad sub-plot and the developing love triangle is being slowly developed further. The episode doesn't spend too much time on the serialized part of the show but it's nice to see that the chemistry between the characters is forming. An example is when Moira tells her family about a brunch they have to attend. That's the first time the show has managed to make it feel like these characters are actually family members.
Legacies is a huge step in the right direction for Arrow. The weekly mission was more interesting than anything the show has done before and it never really ventures into territory that is flat-out ridicolous. The serialized drama is still in the backburner but it is becoming more natural and interesting. This is an epsiode that dealt with Oliver trying to live up to his father's last command and it was a pretty good episode overall. This is actually the best episode since the pilot has aired.