jedi_of_urth: (wwjsd)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Arrow 1x06: Legacies

I was considering going on a continued ramble about episode titles, since Legacies is hardly descriptive of this one to let people know what it is but I don’t think it’s a bad title exactly. It is thematically fitting even if no one is going to remember what you mean if you refer to the episode by title rather than “that one with the Royal Flush Gang.” Also, this episode is a little weird in that it feels kind of like the writers were working to figure out the show they were writing, especially in the rest of the plot besides the RFG where there were lots of scraps of plot but no consistent tone.

The one with Royal Flush Gang
There’s quite a few logical problems with this one, but I also kind of let it slide, because its point is not the case of the week, it’s about changing Oliver’s focus. This episode is sort of odd to watch right now (we’ll see how that may change by the end of s5) because it both proves my point that Oliver already knows all the crap about himself that Chase “made him realize” but is also his first real step away from that which again makes the “revelations” ring hollow. Oliver here knows he’s not a hero, when Digg suggests that he’s trying to be one, Oliver straight up says that he isn’t a hero and does not pretend that he is. This is why he needed Digg (and later Felicity and the rest of the team), that’s what this episode is about; that any hope Oliver has of becoming a hero, of moving beyond the darkness, is all going to because of other people, even if he does have to ultimately take the steps that direction of his own choice.

But this episode is smart in that it doesn’t just put the moral high ground on Digg, Oliver’s own sense of responsibility is key to the heart of what they’re dealing with. As much as Digg makes Oliver realize that the saving the city part of Oliver’s plan means more than atoning for Robert’s mistakes, Oliver realizes for himself that atoning for Robert’s mistakes doesn’t just mean saving the city. Both are about the same idea: that Oliver is going to have to start caring about people rather than just the mission, and this is the first step in the path towards actually being a hero.

Lian Yu
I actually wanted to discuss the flashbacks second since the themes are mostly meaningful in relation to the present day plot. But before I talk about the big thought stuff here, I cannot just let Oliver’s terrible paper burning pass without comment. The first time could have just been a dream, but then he goes to do the same thing at the end and all I can do is question what if any good that’s actually going to do. Granted, it’s not much of a fire but lose pieces of paper aren’t going to do anything for it.

The big thematic tie with the A-plot is with ghost-Robert (I’d say dream-Robert but he makes reference to “the things I was about to do” that Oliver was unlikely to dream about, plus the island is magic right?) forcing Oliver to take the first steps toward picking up the quest Robert left him. This really works better as just a dream since ghost-Robert is a kind of a dick to Oliver, but if it’s mostly Oliver’s subconscious talking to him I see no problem with it; because Oliver weighing the pros and cons of hard survival vs. giving into death seems quite reasonable and something he’s dealt with a lot over the last ten years.

But the other reason I have to at least consider treating it as more than a dream is how the climax of the flashbacks lines up with the A-plot, Oliver viewing the person he’s become as a product of what his father turned him into. I think it still mostly works as a dream with some suspicious placement, Robert did put this burden on him with his dying breath, and Ollie’s ‘dream’ plays that up, but I can’t quite write it off completely.

The rest of the gang
Tommy does refer to Thea as being like his little sister in this one and it makes me sad that he never got to find out the truth. He would certainly have been creeped out since he definitely checked her out, but mostly I just miss Tommy. Going on four years I’ve been telling myself this is a comic book universe (and getting more comic booky all the time) so he could always come back but they stubbornly refuse to do so; and to be fair bringing him back now that Laurel is dead would seem kind of cruel.

I would say there are times when Tommy seems written inconsistently this episode, but it all fits with my newly considered reading of him, that Tommy isn’t really the guy he acts like he is around Oliver. He was, no denying that, and that part of him is still there, but besides around Ollie he mostly isn’t; his story to Laurel about what pushed him to step things up between them isn’t something the regressed version would consider. He’s a surrogate (though also actual) big brother to Thea, he’s fully capable of planning events in a matter of days (he threw Oliver’s party last ep on the fly and seems to know what he’s doing planning charity events), he wants something real in a relationship; yes we know from the next eps that he’s still coasting on Malcolm’s money, but there’s a difference between having been late to the growing up game and the completely arrested development he displays around Ollie.

Is this the first episode that doesn’t do anything with the conspiracy? Moira’s plot revolves around the family this time, missing Walter and getting annoyed with Oliver, but none of the bigger issues. Also, Moira questions why Oliver “bothered coming home” which seemed super harsh at the time, in the sense that it seems badly worded like she must have meant ‘when will you choose to really come home?’ but now I think it really must have slapped Oliver in the head because he *did* choose to come home (and chose not to for a while before that). and he’s still on his island.


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