Narrowly escaping jail, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is back to ticking the names of the rich and corrupt off his father’s list. Though there’s hope this plot device is well and truly dead. “Legacies” opens with a bank robbery by guys in hockey masks decorated to look like playing cards. The Royal Flush Gang, anyone? It’s another well done infusion of classic DC characters into Arrow‘s more grounded, realistic vision. I’ve mentioned it before but this show is littered with easter eggs for the comic book faithful. Coast City gets a shout out this week, and since its pertinent to this episode I’ll finally call attention to the name of Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) legal aide office – CNRI. Canary, get it?
The bank robbery is one of many recently committed by The Royal Flush Gang (note, never actually called that in the episode, but whatever) and it’s grabbed the attention of John Diggle (David Ramsey), Ollie’s bodyguard turned confidant turned crime fighting partner. He sees the bank robberies as an opportunity to open Ollie’s eyes to all the crime sweeping Starling City, not just those names in his father’s book. Unfortunately, rich boy doesn’t see it that way, calling those street crimes a symptom of the bigger problem.
In legal land with Laurel, CNRI’s lost a big donor and they may have to shut down, which would be bad because without CNRI what else would Laurel do on this show? To her rescue is Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), whom I’m waiting to either turn evil or go away. He plans to throw a benefit for CNRI in true billionaire fashion, but it’s all part of his plan to get back in Laurel’s good graces, which is sort of weird because I thought they were cool now, but I must admit the love life of Tommy Merlyn is not high on my list of priorities. Unless it involves Thea (Willa Holland).
He comes to Thea for girl advice, she mistakes it as him being interested in her, and boom, we’ve got another awkward love triangle you’ll struggle to care about. The only thing that makes this one somewhat interesting is spunky Thea, I just love the little brat. At CNRI’s benefit when she realizes Tommy’s more interested in Laurel she gets drunk and throws a celebutante fit and ends up puking behind a dumpster in an alley. It’s classy. But Tommy takes care of his friend’s drunk little sister and when Laurel notices, she’s touched to see Tommy caring for someone.
The other Thea highlight, she’s called Speedy again which is leading me to hope this nickname becomes more than a nickname. I’m talking crime-fighting identity, and I know it’s asking a lot because even Diggle has only had one outing as a masked vigilante, but come on, Thea sounds a lot like Mia. Plus, she’s already exhibiting Roy’s drug problem. Hopefully she won’t lose an arm, go mad and start carrying around some dead cat she mistakes for her daughter, but I’m getting waaaay off track here.
Diggle tricks Ollie into caring about the little people by telling him the next man on their list tried to kill himself. When Ollie rushes to the hospital he meets the wife of a cop shot during the earlier robbery. He’s guilted into tracking down The Royal Flush Gang and bringing them to justice. This gives Ollie the chance to show of his uber detective skills we never knew he had. Man, what didn’t this guy learn on that not-so-deserted island? It’s laughable how quickly Ollie is able to put all the pieces together and figure out these crooks are a family. And it’s only weirder when he seeks out cute and quirky I.T. girl, Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) to figure out the few, important details he couldn’t figure out himself.
Like the fact The Royal Flush Gang’s father used to work at one of Queen Industies’ steel mills and was let go without a stipend or pension when Papa Queen outsourced the company oversees. Really, Oliver? You could deduce who these people were because of an imprint the son’s class ring left on the face of a guard at the bank when he punched him, but you couldn’t search a little longer to learn your dad royally screwed this family when he closed the factory? Batman would be so disappointed.
This moment of moral crisis gives Amell one of his best scenes thus far. Oliver goes to a bar he’s sure to find the gang’s dad at and offers him a job to make up for his dad being an ass and to hopefully steer this family away from a life of crime. The scene ends up being rather touching. Oliver is trying hard to keep this family together and it’s in this moment it clicks how much Arrow is about family. Rarely do we see a comic book hero have to deal with their family. Most are orphans, or they abandon their family for fear they’ll become a liability, but Oliver is trying to juggle reconnecting with his family and honoring his father’s last wishes.
In an island flashback Ollie hallucinates his father, who challenges him not to give up and die on the island. It’s an intense hallucination going as far as Ollie’s hallucinated father handing him a hallucinated gun so he can kill himself. Obviously, it doesn’t work, but it allows Ollie to imagine his dad being dissapointed in him for giving up and taking the easy way out. The scene solidifies Ollie’s determination to not only survive the island, but continue the crusade once he’s home. Also his father’s list’s origin is revealed! It was written in that book all along with invisible ink! What crafty guys, those Queens.
Ollie’s mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson) is a whole ‘nother matter. She’s been depressed since her husband, second husband anyway, left her for a “business trip.” Her son who miraculously came back from the dead continues to avoid her, and chances are she’s still a little peeved the “Well-Dressed Man” tried to have him assassinated last episode, too. Ollie makes an effort to be nicer to his mom and takes her out for burgers. It’s pretty hilarious when she first attempts to cut the burger with a fork and knife, but it ends up being a heartfelt scene as mother and son seem to finally get a moment together. Which is a shame, because this could be last of those nice moments once we learn how connected Moira is to her husband and Ollie’s father’s death.
Arrow returns in two weeks, but it’ll be worth the wait ’cause HUNTRESS!