Last week, Arrow brought some good things for shippers who don't like to wait—namely, some Oliver/Laurel smooching! Can “Legacies” possibly compare? Let's see!
(Need to catch up? Don't miss Tori Benson's thoughts on the pilot episode, Heather and Chris's episode 1.02 recap, or Chelsea Mueller's recaps of episode 1.03, episode 1.04, and episode 1.05. Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)
What I find myself really liking about Arrow as a show is the attention the creators are giving to creating all the characters, not just Oliver. The depth of the supporting characters make it imperative for Oliver to go beyond just the “I'm going to kill all the things” point that he was at at the beginning of the show.
So far the Villains of the Week whom Oliver has faced down have either just been kind of flat/generic evil corporation owners, or serve as the embodiment of a lesson that Oliver himself has to learn. Which brings us to this week.
This week we were introduced to gang of family-turned-bank robbers normally reserved for one Bruce Wayne: The Royal Flush Gang. King, the ringleader, was just a guy who was fired from his factory job by Oliver's father and turned to crime in an effort to feed his family, thus setting the whole theme of “sins of the father” that seems to be a favorite of the show.
After a rousing bout of stick fighting between Oliver and Digg, who are well on their way to bromance gold, Digg encourages Oliver to go after a recent bank robbery by the Royal Flush Gang in which a police officer dies. Oliver's response is initially “If it ain't on the list, it ain't my problem” schtick that he has held hard and fast to since the beginning. Digg tricks Oliver into meeting the wife of the policeman who was shot by a member of the Gang, which is when Oliver decides to get involved. This eventually leads to his finding out about the history between King and Queen the Elder.
This is where the episode really shines. You actually get to see a bit of regret in Oliver for having become what he has when he sees King lament about turning his son into a criminal and while witnessing this episode's flashbacks to the island where Oliver gets shamed by a hallucination of his dead dad. Oliver has sacrificed everything that he is as a person, unwillingness to kill bunnies and all, to make up for his father's screw-ups. And you can't help but wonder if him and King's son are all that different. Thankfully Digg is there to make everything okay—thanks, surrogate dad!
Chris put the wonderful interaction between Oliver and Digg this week so well that I'm pretty much just gonna say: THIS. Digg is fantastic for Oliver, clearly, and is already making the show better just by forcing Oliver to look beyond his own rather limited (for a TV audience anyway) agenda. (I think Amanda/Emily's single-mindedness has really hurt Revenge, for instance; the show is much too narrow in scope to be interesting for years.)
Aside from that awesomeness, what I really enjoyed about the episode this week (other than those delicious workout scenes with Oliver and Digg—thanks, CW!) was how intimate it was and how the relationships are evolving.
Oliver's little sister Thea (a.k.a. Speedy) is not the most useful character right now—I have to agree with Chris when he says she pretty much just whines about how no one loves her in every episode—but I guess I can't blame her? While I do think the writers need to do a better/more interesting job including this younger character in the adult story lines, the character herself HAS had a pretty rough deal—her dad and brother dead or assumed dead, a new stepfather, and a self-absorbed mother. Plus...she's a teenager!
But anyway, I did like the scenes between Speedy and Merlin and even thought a triangle might be interesting with Laurel a few years down the road, even though that's never gonna happen since Laurel will surely be with Oliver by then. The two odd men out, though, Thea and Tommy, seemed to have a connection that I could totally buy, and I thought the actors brought chemistry to their scenes together. I actually felt really bad for Thea when she realized what an ass she'd made of herself by getting so drunk and begged Tommy: “Please don't hate me.” And his response (“Never. Never.”) was very sweet. From what Chris has told me, Merlin becomes a rival of Oliver's, and I can see that, but for the time being...I can see his appeal to Laurel and Thea. Am I alone in this?
The flashbacks with Oliver and Daddy Queen were probably the most interesting flashbacks of the show so far for me. Again, I just really enjoy the way these relationships are playing out, even if it's, uh, through hallucinations.
I also liked that last scene between Oliver and Mama Queen at the diner, as well as the hint that Mama's deviousness might be more complicated than we first thought and might actually be quite concerned about her family? Or did I read that wrong? I feel like we're supposed to start seeing her in a better light...
The show could do more with Laurel as a character versus as a love interest, but it's cool that while most things do seem to revolve around Oliver for her, the writers are at least trying to establish her as her own person with her own stories. They're just...not very interesting right now and there are only so many times we need to hear that she cares about the people of the city more than anyone else and she's good at her job. I'd root for eventual Oliver/Laurel SO MUCH MORE if I could get super invested in Laurel as her own person (preferably with a Black Canary alter ego, it's true).
What did you think of the episode? Let's break it down!
Heather Waters works for H&H and is a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_