The inclusion of John Diggle (David Ramsey) into Arrow’s vendetta against the corruption ruining Starling City helped transition what was quickly becoming a repetitive – if not unsuccessful – attempt at levity into a device that would alter the formula of Arrow (in this episode, at least). It also provides an additional direction for the show to take as it continues along the narrative path of the first season.

As Oliver (Stephen Amell) learns during ‘Legacies,’ there is a whole other level of crime plaguing the streets of the city he’s so intent on saving that has gone unnoticed by the vigilante. It’s sort of ironic that in trying to protect the little people who’ve been victimized by the city’s wealthy elite, Oliver Queen has overlooked just how devastating certain “street crimes” can be.

Arrow has been too myopic in his duties, referring to a group of bank robbers as a “symptom,” not the cause of the problem. But after the Royal Flush Gang hits Starling City and an off-duty cop is critically injured during a robbery, Diggle implores his new partner to look beyond the names on his list and act more like a hero.

In doing so, Oliver takes it upon himself to not only stop the gang, but to do it by first extending an offer to cease and desist to the group’s ostensible leader, Derrick Reston (Currie Graham) – who has earned some sympathy from Oliver after he learns Derrick’s job and benefits were lost as a result of Robert Queen’s (Jamey Sheridan) outsourcing. It’s an act that illustrates the kind of hero Arrow could be if Oliver were to give himself half the chance. First he attempts to right his father’s wrong – which is basically what Arrow has been doing, but on a far more lethal level – but failing that, Arrow’s endeavor to stop the gang’s final heist was also his first real attempt to prevent the criminal in question from being killed. Of course, he fails, but as is the point of the episode, sometimes heroes come up short in trying to do the right thing; what they do after is what makes them a hero.

Ollie’s more compassionate and lighter touch in ‘Legacies’ actually extends beyond those carrying automatic weapons and includes an attempt at rebuilding the fractured relationship he was with his mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson). This likely has something to do with the fact that Moira is feeling a bit lonely since her husband Walter (Colin Salmon) found out that she’d been lying to him and took off for Australia. Still, it’s an effort, and considering what the hallucination of his father puts him through during this week’s flashback, Moira’s small attempt manages to come up with the win.

Elsewhere, the escapades of Thea (Willa Holland) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) manage to converge on one Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnel), as Thea confuses his request for lady advice as a passive attempt to woo his best friend’s little sister. Of course, it’s just that Tommy’s been so shallow for so long, he needs a helping hand in doing the right thing – which is to put on a fundraiser so Laurel’s legal service doesn’t go down the drain. It’s a nice bit of synergy with the Arrow-centric themes of the episode, but most importantly, it gives the episode’s main narrative room to breathe, while maintaining some interest in the characters that don’t wear a green hood.

Ultimately, though, ‘Legacies’ managed to successfully integrate villains from the DCU into the more “grounded” world of Arrow, while presenting the character with a real opportunity to grow and change, which will go a long way in keeping Oliver Queen’s alter ego the most interesting element of the series.

Highlights from the episode:

  • The majority of Tommy’s wisecracks must be intentionally awful – there’s no other way to explain them. That being said, it’s too bad no one was around to hear, “Did you know, as a doctor, I was able to diagnose myself as a giant tool?”
  • “Not even a Myspace account. It was a very dark time.” Maybe everyone’s jokes are just awful.
  • “Why would he want you to be a wizard?” At some point, Ollie is going to have to gain some rudimentary knowledge of pop culture from the last five years.
  • Kyle Reston/Ace was actually played by Kyle Schmid of BBC America’s Copper and not a random Stephen Dorff look-alike.

Arrow continues Wednesday, November 28 with ‘Muse of Fire’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview for the episode below: