by Ryan Rigley
Family comes before all else, even if that means systematically killing a whole list of crooked business men as per your father’s dying wish. This week’s episode of “Arrow” kicked off with a bang as immediately we were introduced to the main antagonists of “Legacies,” the Royal Flush Gang, as they robbed a bank full of innocent people and murdered an off-duty cop in cold blood.
Although these card-themed criminals aren’t initially on Robert Queen’s list, Oliver decides to make them his top priority after his next target (Scott Morgan) attempts to commit suicide. “Legacies” not only marks the first time that we see Oliver and Diggle actually working together in order to take down a target, but it also sheds some light on the budding romance between Laurel and Tommy that’s been left untouched for the past few episodes.
Spoilers past the jump!
Throughout the course of last night’s episode, Diggle constantly questions Oliver’s motives for acting as the vigilante; clearly, their team-up is beneficial for both Oliver’s physical and mental security. During their training session together, in which they whack each other with metal rods, we learn that Oliver doesn’t consider himself to be a hero and that the mysterious bearded Asian man from his flashbacks is named Yao Fei.
Back at home, Moira makes the Queen kids promise to attend a brunch the next day with family friends, the Bowens. Tommy shows up just as Oliver is leaving, politely declining Tommy’s offer to take a spin in his new sports car. After speaking with Thea about his relationship woes, Tommy decides to throw an elaborate fundraiser for Laurel’s law-firm, CNRI, with the help of his own personal enterprises, the Merlyn Local Group.
Meanwhile, Oliver breaks into the Starling City police department obtaining evidence that enables him to uncover the true identities of the Royal Flush Gang. Realizing that they’re, in fact, a family struggling to make ends meet rather than a gang of thugs, Oliver decides to give the criminals a shot at redemption. Meeting with King (of the Royal Flush Gang) at a local bar, Oliver offers him a job with the hopes that he and his family will give up their life of crime and start anew. King, however, declines Oliver’s offer, claiming that he still has his dignity. As he exits the bar, Oliver drops a small microphone into King’s jacket pocket.
Back at the Arrowcave, Oliver and Diggle learn that the Royal Flush Gang plans on going through with one last big heist. In a flashback, Oliver talks to the ghost of his dead father pleading for forgiveness for not following through with his promise and attempting to kill himself. Later, a grieving Oliver discovers that his father’s empty notebook is actually full of hidden notes written in an invisible ink that is only revealed when in the vicinity of an open flame.
At Tommy’s fundraiser, Laurel dances with Carter Bowen much to Tommy’s dismay, being as he had just declared his love for her earlier in the episode. Thea shows up, realizing that Tommy has feelings for Laurel and that her feelings for him are unrequited. She proceeds to drink way too much (as per usual) and causes a scene by trying to kiss Tommy and then accidentally knocking several champagne glasses out of a waiter’s hands.
Oliver, who had shown up to the fundraiser to support his friends and family, leaves upon Diggle’s request with the Royal Flush Gang in the process of robbing another bank across town. Suiting up, the Hood shows up to the scene of the crime; subduing Ace while a frazzled security guard shoots King in the chest with a shotgun. Oliver reveals himself to a dying King, marking the first time that he’s ever felt sympathy for one of his targets.
Outside of the fundraiser, Thea throws up against a wall as Tommy and Laurel flirt with each other. She kisses him, hinting that the two of them are going to have a relationship after all. Tommy then proceeds to drive a wasted Thea home. That night, Oliver apologizes to his mother for skipping out on her brunch with the Bowens and for abandoning her at the fundraiser. The two of them make amends and share a meal of burgers and milkshakes at the local diner.
Two things really stuck out to me about last night’s episode, particularly with the decision to make “Merlyn” Tommy’s last name and “Speedy” Thea’s nickname. In the comics, Speedy is the name given to the Green Arrow’s trusty sidekick. While Diggle is aiding Oliver in his vigilantism, he is by no means a sidekick. The two of them seem more like equals, with Diggle acting as Oliver’s moral compass. Could this mean that Thea might eventually come to act as the Hood’s sidekick?
As for Tommy Merlyn, the name “Merlyn” seems fairly daunting to me being that Merlyn is the name of the Green Arrow’s comic book arch-nemesis. In the comics, Merlyn is a highly-skilled archer (who actually inspires Oliver Queen to take up archery) before becoming a freelance assassin. With that said, what does the future of “Arrow” hold for Tommy Merlyn? Will he and Oliver be butting heads at some point, eventually causing Tommy to resort to a life of crime? It doesn’t seem very likely at the moment, but only time will tell!