Well, I am not sure that the Winter break did ‘Arrow’ any favors, as the first episode back felt like a little bit of a let-down after the good run the show was having in the first half of Season 5. Some of the B-plot points did not make sense, some of the reveals felt rushed, some of the action felt a little forced, and overall the episode felt like it was struggling very hard to get from Point A to Point B with very little thought put into how plausible the trip between the two really was.
Jumping into it, we very quickly figured out, mainly due to Felicity’s suspicions (and because the CW already ruined the surprise with all the promos they released during the Winter Break) that this is not actually Laurel Lance resurrected, but actually the Black Siren of Earth-2, with the twist being that she was freed from her imprisonment at Star Labs by Prometheus who is still trying to mess with Oliver, as that is his M.O. She does a good job of fooling everyone and even spins a pretty good story about being saved by Sara and the Waverider and some time travel nonsense (it seemed like a ridiculous enough explanation that it would have worked over on ‘Legends of Tomorrow’) but Felicity never really believes her and figures it out when Rory jokes about Laurel having an evil twin. At that moment Flaurel attacks, using her gnarly screech to take out everyone in the Arrow Cave and escape.
She meets back up with Prometheus, derides his plan of simply messing with the Quiver Crew instead of outright killing them (which I kind of agree with, how long does Prometheus really want to toy with Oliver before he just finally kills him), and Prometheus reminds her that she is only alive because of him. Later, she lures Oliver to a meeting at the ugly Black Canary statue by pretending that Prometheus has threatened her life. Oliver, still believing he might be able to save her, meets up, but brings along backup. As they talk, Flaurel takes out her phone, but Felicity, on a separate channel with the team, orders them to attack, thinking Flaurel was pulling out a weapon, and things get violent, with Flaurel’s screech destroying the statue (hooray!) and Oliver taking her down and bringing her back to HQ to be imprisoned. Long story short, Oliver thinks she can be saved and still has some Laurel Lance in her, especially after she spins her sob story of going dark after the love of her life, the Oliver Queen of Earth-2, died 10 years ago. Felicity thinks she is beyond saving.
Eventually, Felicity lets her escape so they can track her to Prometheus, and the plan works, except at the last minute, while Oliver is fighting Prometheus, he must choose between taking down Prometheus or saving Felicity from Flaurel, and of course, he chooses Felicity, letting the man villain escape. Fortunately, by this time Curtis has gotten a new gadget of his to work which shuts down Flaurel’s screech ability and Felicity knocks her out. Biggest problem with this story is that they basically made Flaurel unstoppable, with her screech taking down everyone, who if you watch the fight choreography, just seem to stop and wait for her ability to hit them instead of moving out of the way. Wild Dog even has opportunities to shoot his GUNS at her, and yet somehow her screech comes out faster than his fingers can pull the triggers of his guns, which makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s like all the other characters forgot how to fight, dodge, etc, when she is around.
Side stories for tonight also had some issues, starting with Diggle’s, where a city DA can magically become involved in a military case, and go to great lengths for a man that he only knows because of Oliver. Just seemed to me that DA Chase went above and beyond trying to keep Diggle in Star City and out of the hands of the military General (who apparently would have Dig killed behind the scenes if he left the city would him) and that seemed a little out of character. Chase barely knows Diggle, and has no reason to doubt the character of the General. And the resolution of the story, where he tells Diggle to punch him and then claims he needs to keep Dig within Star City so he can prosecute him just seems insane, as he is now both a defense attorney and prosecuting attorney for the same client. But whatever, I’m probably just reading too much into the law stuff.
The other side story was not nearly as bad, but it still had some faults. It involved Rene and Curtis, with Rene ribbing Curtis for being so bummed, and finding out that Curtis was down because he has gotten his butt kicked so many times this season (basically for sucking at being a crime-fighter, a point I’ve made a number of times in my reviews) and also losing his husband, saying he has nothing to show for his decision to become a crime fighter. Rene eventually convinces him to stop focusing on the stuff he is not as good at, and focus on the stuff he is good at, such as his gadgets and inventions, which is reinforced when Curtis comes up with the portable device to block Flaurel’s screech. My biggest problem with this story is that it took half a season for Mr. Terrific to realize he should be fighting crime with his gadgets, and even then, I still feel like Mr. Terrific is a better superhero in the comics than Wild Dog, and I don’t like that the show is positioning Wild Dog as superior to Curtis.
In tonight’s flashbacks, Oliver is being tortured by Gregor, the man who sent him to kill Kovar in the first place. Gregor tries to beat Oliver into being loyal to him, offering all kinds of excuses and explanations for why he is working with Kovar, the best being that he is playing Kovar so he can betray him later, which Oliver does not believe. Eventually, he finds Laurel’s picture. Gregor holds a gun to Oliver’s head and demands his loyalty, but before he can shoot, gunfire is heard upstairs, and Oliver is saved by a woman with who at first looks like Laurel, but eventually we realize is a woman we have never met before. She introduces herself as Talia, and we realize Oliver might just be on a whole other level of trouble.
The episode ends with Flaurel being sent to an ARGUS cell in Star City so Oliver can keep an eye on her, and try to see if maybe there is a chance for redemption, and Oliver and Felicity watching a clean-up crew pick-up the remains of Laurel’s old statue. Oliver then claims that he is going to find someone to be the new Black Canary, and the episode cuts to Hub City where a brunette stands up to two douchebag guys in a bar, knocking them through the windows when they start picking on a girl. Who the girl is I have no idea, but I am definitely intrigued.
- I cannot be the only one thrilled that the Black Siren destroyed the Black Canary statue. That thing was God-awful, and there was a reason the show has not featured it since it was unveiled. I’m sure Katie Cassidy also enjoyed destroying it, as it made her look hideous.
- So they have finally introduced Talia al Ghul – in a flashback. I have heard her origins tie into Prometheus, so I am hoping this is the beginning of a real explanation for just who the hell the villain is. And the whole thing where he is somehow immune to the drug Oliver hit him with tonight makes me feel like that is another clue to his origin, though I have no idea what exactly that means.
- I kind of wish we had gotten a scene with Detective Lance meeting with Flaurel, I know that would have really sucked for him to see Laurel alive again and find out it wasn’t her, but at least it would have given him something to do again, as I am not sure how they are going to bring him back this season and have a useful plot for him.
- Who could this new Canary girl be? Is she from the comics?
- I personally hope that there is a chance of redemption for Flaurel, as I do like Katie Cassidy and would like to see her remain on the show, and would like to see the show stay somewhat true to the comics of the Green Arrow having a Black Canary around (with actual powers) that is an important part of Oliver’s life.
Definitely not one of the stronger episodes of Season 5, but I guess after a break they need some time to get the ball rolling again. At least there are some plot elements they are putting in place that could pay dividends later, and Prometheus is still an interesting villain, though he needs to get down to real business soon, as he is quickly become a little cartoonish with the whole just messing with Oliver’s head stuff. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.