Warning: the following recap contains spoilers from the season five premiere of Arrow, “Legacy,” because it’s, well, a recap! And that’s what recaps do. Don’t say you weren’t warned …
It’s been a long summer, but we finally made it, folks. Arrow‘s back! And I’m also back, recapping all the punches, kisses, and flashbacks for you once again. Did you miss me? Because I sure missed you and this show. And based on the action-packed premiere alone, this season is promising to be the bloodiest, most brutal and ruthless year yet. You thought they couldn’t top an all-out nuclear apocalypse from last year? Think again! Let’s get to recapping “Legacy,” shall we?
Welcome back to the world of Arrow, where one man can act as both mayor and vigilante! Somehow, some way, Oliver is actually pulling off the double duty job of a lifetime and no one suspects a thing. Sure, he’s not exactly doing both jobs well—everyone thinks he’s slacking off as mayor in favor of his old party boy lifestyle—but he’s still getting both jobs done. That’s impressive all on its own.
And while Thea is still staying far away from Team Arrow, she’s working for him during the day as his … assistant? Job title is unclear. However, she’s getting frustrated with his attitude about being mayor – he claims it’s only a front so he can get actionable intel for “the other guy” aka Green Arrow, but she reminds him he actually wanted to be mayor once upon a time. He also said at one point during the hour that he could focus more on being mayor when the old team gets back together, but everyone knew that wasn’t going to happen, so I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually mean it.
Oliver spent the entire hour in denial about Thea and Diggle rejoining Team Arrow, and even tried to get Thea back in her Speedy uniform (which she did for a night, and it only reinforced her desire to put vigilante work behind her) and video chatted with Dig, trying to convince him to come home. Of course, he failed on both counts, so Felicity eventually finally wore him down about recruiting some new members. First up was wannabe vigilante Wild Dog who Oliver had previously put an arrow in his leg when he tried to “help” during the fight with Lonnie Machin. Then, there was Black Canary impersonator from season four, Evelyn Sharp. And after Curtis got jumped on the street by two knife-wielding criminals, he was ready to sign up as trainee number three.
It’s a good thing that Oliver is filling out his ranks, since there’s a new gangster in town, and his name is Tobias Church, a.k.a. Charon. After tearing up Hub City and Bloodhaven with his crew, Tobias decided to come to Star City, and he wants to rule the criminal world there. That includes killing some of the SCPD cops who are dirty, something that the city has been struggling with a lot lately. And now that Quentin Lance is no longer on the force, Oliver lost his best SCPD liaison, so when he heard Lance was back in town, he paid him a visit. He was shocked to see Lance off the wagon, hungover and a mess, and Lance told him he was no longer with Donna (“Opposites attract, but not that much,” he told Oliver with a grimace) and with Laurel gone and Sara time traveling who knows where, he was all alone. But Oliver convinced him to come to the city’s memorial for Black Canary, and his speech moved the grieving father.
That is, until Tobias and his men unleashed a spray of bullets onto the crowd and kidnapped some hostages, including Oliver who wasn’t able to fight back because of all the cameras pointed at him. He has to keep up the ruse that Oliver Queen can’t fight! You could tell that holding back was absolutely killing him. Tobias wanted to follow prison yard etiquette and take down the biggest player in Star City, aka the Green Arrow, so he used his hostages to try and call him out. While in captivity, Oliver killed his kidnapper (while saying his badass line from the pilot: “No one can know my secret”) just as Thea arrived to help him out as Speedy. She was shocked to see him kill so many of the gunmen while they escaped, but he told her that if he showed a little less restraint when it came to his no killing rule, then maybe Laurel would still be alive. Ouch. Clearly he’s still blaming himself for her death, and it’s making him the most ruthless version of himself. We haven’t seen him drop this many bodies since season one! Is it bad that I’m really excited about this? I love me some ruthless Oliver Queen.
But unlike Oliver, Quentin was inspired to keep moving forward instead of going backwards, so he decided to help Oliver clean up the SCPD with a few officers that he trusts. And Oliver knew that Laurel would have wanted them to work together, so he agreed. We also got to see a flashback to Laurel’s final moments in the hospital and the promise she made Oliver agree to before she died: “Please don’t let me be the last Canary.” She wanted Oliver to train a new Canary, and he actually agreed!
Who is going to be the new Canary? Is it … possibly … Felicity? Is that crazy to even think? What is a little crazy to watch is how “in love” she seems to be with her new boyfriend, Detective Malone. Something tells me Oliver has no idea this dude even exists, let alone is potentially living with Felicity. Here’s to hoping he’s a dirty cop so we have a quick and easy reason to hate him and get him out of the picture to clear the way for Olicity to get back together.
Working with his new team of trusted SCPD officers with Lance and Felicity running point in the Arrow Lair, Oliver returned to fight Tobias and free the three hostages. The next morning, as mayor, he gave a speech about the proposed Anti-Crime Initiative he had previously spoken out against, and decided to put into effect the Anti-Crime Unit with the four officers Green Arrow worked with the night before. And they’re going to need all the help they can get, since Tobias united all the crime families under his leadership to take out the Green Arrow, and another, masked archer killed one of the four ACU cops right outside the SCPD station later that night. Hello, Prometheus! Welcome season five villain number two. This dude seems way scarier than Tobias, but that might just be the fact that we can’t see his face.
And here’s the best part of the season five premiere: this year’s flashback storyline is actually interesting! And has stakes! Whoa! We finally are going to see just how Oliver became such a high-ranking member of the Bratva, the Russian Mob. When we pick up with him in the premiere, he’s keeping his promise to the late Taiana to find and kill Mr. Kovar, the government strongman who was responsible for her and her brother Vlad getting sent off to Lian Yu.
Oliver worked his way through the Russian underground fighting ring to try and get an audience with Kovar, but when he messed with the Bratva’s gambling (he killed a man that was supposed to win the fight, and he was the Bratva’s top earner), they tried to kill him. Luckily, his friend from Lian Yu, Anatoli, was a high-ranking captain of the Bratva and was able to intervene just in time. Oliver told Anatoli all about his promise to kill Kovar, and he agreed to help even though he didn’t agree with it and thought it would get Oliver killed. And since the only men who can get through Kovar’s government army are Bratva, it was time for Oliver to get initiated. And it was a hell of a bloody process.
Buckle up, kids, we’re in for a brutal season, and I could not be more excited about it. What did you think of the Arrow premiere? Tweet me your thoughts @SydneyBucksbaum!
Images: The CW