It's somewhat ironic that a show people claimed 'jumped the shark' back in Season 4 returned with more Russian shark proverbs than one could ever hope for in the Season 5 premiere.
However, from the first scene of 'Legacy', Arrow set out to make one thing abundantly clear: The restrained, magic-using, angsty Oliver of the past is no more. In his place stands the merciless hero that we both need and truly deserve, which is surely a blessing for anyone who endured the highs and lows of Season 4.
Check out this clip of Oliver competing against other famous archers below:
While the Arrowverse as a whole is set to become more entangled in the coming weeks, Arrow itself has delivered on its promise to strip the show back to basics, while upping the action tenfold. With nary a mention of Flashpoint in sight, the Season 5 premiere reaffirmed Arrow as the CW's flagship superhero show — but amongst all of the shoot-outs and Russian wrestling matches, there's a whole lot more you may have missed.
Ok, you probably didn't miss these, but – wow. Just wow. For diehard Arrowheads who have followed Oliver Queen's adventures both on page and on screen, the Season 5 premiere kicked off with the most epic fight scene the show has ever seen, successfully incorporating Green Arrow's legendary trick arrows into the Arrowverse without even a hint of cheese.
The way that Oliver used a new tech-arrow to disarm a bomb mid-fight alone was pretty impressive. But that feat was instantly forgotten by the time that Green Arrow jumped out of a building, spun around in slow-motion and shot a grappling hook arrow into a helicopter, renewing his pursuit of Tobias Church.
As if that wasn't epic enough, Oliver continued the fight inside the helicopter until he was pushed out miles over Star City. Rather than use another grappling hook arrow, Oliver used a PARACHUTE arrow to slow his descent. Yes. You read that correctly. While boxing glove arrows are still off the agenda for now (well, for the most part), the Arrow show runners successfully incorporated a parachute arrow into the premiere's first scene, paying homage to Green Arrow's comic book origins without sacrificing the gritty tone of the show.
While all of that action was undoubtedly impressive, Oliver's failure to apprehend Church highlighted the need for Team Arrow to reunite. This is all well and good in theory, but Thea's sort of retired and Diggle's off fighting somewhere that's apparently more important than Star City.
Fortunately, Overwatch has done some digging and found a number of wannabe heroes who could fill out the ranks, including Wild Dog and Artemis — but did you notice that a picture of Vigilante appeared on Felicity's computer screen too? Clearly then, the team are already aware of his existence, but his character is yet to appear physically on the show.
When the team do begin to unite in Episode 2, they're going to have a lot of work on their hands. While fan favorite villain Anarky was dispatched in the opening scene, much to our chagrin, Church's arrival on the scene is far more ominous, particularly as the police mention he's already torn through Bludhaven before.
The city's name should instantly ring bells for comic book fans who recognise that location as the home of DC's Nightwing, a close ally of Batman. While we haven't ventured into Bludhaven itself yet, regular references to the city give us hope that the Bat-Family could be introduced one day in some capacity.
Speaking of Tobias Church, it's also worth mentioning that he doesn't appear to have a comic book counterpart. The nickname Charon is given to him at one stage, but the only equivalent in DC's original stories is an adaptation of the mythological Greek figure Charon, who ferries souls across the rivers of Hades.
Bizarrely though, the character does appear to have a connection to The Walking Dead, as he tries to strike someone in the back of the head at one point while playing games, much like Negan did in the Season 6 finale. Clever nod to actor Chad Coleman who plays Church, or just a bizarre coincidence? You decide.
Throwbacks To Season 1
As the name of the Season 5 premiere implies, the theme of legacy is key to this episode, so eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted a number of references to the show's first season beyond Oliver's renewed desire to kill.
Sure, no one seems to have "failed this city" yet, but another quote that returned for the pilot this week may have excited diehard fans of the show even more than Oliver's topless workouts (a tough task, I know);
The flashbacks to Oliver's time in Russia impressed on two fronts this week. First of all, they didn't suck for the first time since... well, since forever, really. They also featured some key moments that tied in with Season 1, including the notebook that Oliver used to take out criminals back in the day.
Names of dead criminals such as Adam Hunt, Daniel Brickwell and Frank Bertinelli (father of The Huntress) were mentioned again, reminding us of the measures that Oliver used to take in his pursuit of justice before he temporarily muzzled himself for a few seasons.
These scenes also featured the return of Anatoly Knyazev, who helped Oliver out back in Season 2's flashbacks. Known as the KGBeast in the comics, this old friend of Queen's teaches Oliver how to dislocate his thumbs and save himself from capture, a skill which appears frequently throughout the show. That's right, guys. We had a flashback and it was relevant! Almost makes us sad that Season 6 will discard the flashbacks once and for all. Almost.
Quotes That Hit The Mark
Felicity teasing Oliver somewhat harshly considering how devastated he is about Team Arrow's demise:
“Aw, you’re going to make a new friend?”
Lonnie (Anarky) being his usual batshit crazy self:
"Whats a guy gotta do to get a little love? I only tried blowing up the city, I mean half of it."
Oliver doling out some 'kindness' to Wild Dog:
Oliver: "Keep that elevated." Wild Dog: "Keep what elevated?" (Oliver shoots him in the leg with an arrow) "Aargh!"
Oliver throwing out some of his patented humor with Curtis:
"It must be nice to have someone down here who speaks 'Felicity'."
Quentin Lance bringing the mood down somewhat:
"A drunk needs reasons to stay sober and I'm fresh out of reasons, my friend."
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Genuine LOL moment from Oliver and another sneaky Season 1 throwback:
Felicity: "How did you ditch your security detail?" Oliver: "I used to ditch John Diggle."
Laurel Lance's final words to Oliver have been revealed:
"Make me a promise. Please don't let me be the last Canary. That way, a part of me will always be out there with you."
Oliver may be gritty AF again, but the man still enjoys a good pun in the face of danger:
Tobias Church: "How is it you know so much about Mr Arrow?"Oliver: "I have it on pretty good authority that he's tied up right now."
Thea explaining why she doesn't want to fight crime anymore. #realtalk:
"For the first time in a long time, I'm starting to feel like myself again. I'm not a killer. I'm not a vigilante. I'm a normal version of me."
Tobias Church is clearly jealous of Oliver's dashing good looks:
"Mayor Handsome they call you. Not for long though."
Questions Raised By 'Legacy'
Legacy impressed in every way possible, improving upon Season 4 by shifting the focus away from melodrama and back towards the action & narrative drive that made us fall in love with Arrow in the first place. While we wait impatiently for the second episode to air, we've collated a few of the biggest questions raised by Legacy, which should hopefully be answered as Season 5 continues to progress.
- Who is Prometheus? Please don't say 'Reverse Arrow'.
- Will there be another Black Canary? You can't leave Laurel hanging like that, Ollie!
- How long will it take before Felicity's hot boyfriend turns out to be a psycho?
- Did Diggle leave Star City because he couldn't stand wearing that Spartan helmet anymore?
- Where's Ragman? He sounds weird and we want to see more of his shockingly poor costume.
- Where's Dolph Lundgren? We need more ageing '80s action stars in our life and we need them now.
- Where's Vigilante? Ok, we clearly have some attachment issues, but yes, where is Vigilante? WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH VIGILANTES AS IT IS!
Find out if any of these questions will be answered in Episode 2, 'The Recruits', by watching the preview below:
Between James Bamford's kinetic choreography and the show's tightened focus, 'Legacy' has finally pulled Arrow back on target. The only thing holding the episode back from perfection was a lack of shots featuring topless Ollie working that salmon ladder, but we can't have everything now, can we? Fortunately though, in line with the bizarre amount of shark proverbs dotted throughout Legacy, we're sure that future episodes of Arrow will keep swimming in the right direction.