‘Arrow’ delivered pretty well this week, definitely a lot better than the mid-season premiere and the episode featured some great reveals. We got to meet some new characters, had some humorous moments, and even had a little surprise at the end with the true identity of Tina Boland which I honestly did not see coming.
Jumping right in, the main story tonight dealt with Oliver, Rene and Curtis heading to Hub City to recruit an “urban legend” to be the new Black Canary, chosen after a lot of research revealed candidates that Oliver was not fond of. Fortunately, Curtis happened to hear of a woman with a sonic scream traveling the country fighting crime, so they just happened to track down the woman in Hub City, and off they went, leaving Rory behind with Felicity.
They approach her as she is tracking down a criminal gang, and she is not impressed, turning down their offering and warning them to stay out of her way. So of course, Oliver ignores her and they learn what the audience already found out during the episode’s open, that Tina was once a Central City undercover cop who was found out by the gang leader Sean Sonos, who has her tied up on the night 3 years ago when the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerater blew up. Sonos brings in her partner, Vince, who also just happens to be Tina’s lover, and kills him right in front of Tina, and at that moment the accelerator blows, and the Central City is awash in the meta-human creating aftermath. When it hits her, Tina is busy screaming about the death of Vince, and her scream eventually becomes the sonic Canary Cry, hence how she got her powers. Since then, she has spent the last three years hunting Sonos and his men, which is why she is now in Hub City, having finally tracked Sonos himself down, who moved there to sell drugs to kids, filling the void left after the Quiver Crew took down Tobias Church earlier this season, Church having been the primary criminal power in Hub City. Needing to track down Tina, Oliver calls Officer Singh of the CCPD to get more information on her, claiming to be the Green Arrow and needing assistance, but Singh does not believe him.
Fortunately, Oliver can talk and text at once, and we get a VERY brief (and awesome) Flash cameo as a red and gold blur streaks into Singh’s office and leaves a post-it note saying “He’s legit.” Singh gives the Green Arrow the intel he needs, and Oliver and company witness Tina accidentally use her sonic cry to kill one of Sonos’ henchmen while she tries to hold off Team Arrow, and they know she is not afraid to use lethal means to get her revenge, which would be a problem for any hero except for Oliver.
However, after another attempt to convince Tina, during which Wild Dog shows off a more portable sonic dampener made by Mr. Terrific which nullifies her power, Tina still turns down their offer and she escapes. After a brief discussion about how dark Tina is, especially after she killed the henchmen, Rene points out that joining Team Arrow gives everyone a second chance (’cause you know, that’s the name/ theme of the episode), and Oliver takes that to heart.
When they next meet up with Tina, she has finally confronted Sonos but learns that he too is now a metahuman with a sonic ability, only his disorients the victim and causes them to pass out. Oliver and Rene save Tina from Sonos and they escape, and she agrees to work with them to take down Sonos, but only after Oliver reveals his true identity to her, and states that at this point he just wants to take down Sonos, and he will not bother her afterwards if she does not decide to come back to Star City with them. So they track down Sonos once again (makes me wonder why it took her 3 years to find him in the first place, but I digress) and in a cool but somewhat over-the-top rooftop battle with Sonos and like twenty of his men, they take down the gang – the most ridiculous part being Oliver deciding to shoot an arrow with a rope attached into a helicopter that was hovering above laying down cover fire for the gang, and then basically swinging around the roof haphazardly taking shots at the gang, before finally shooting an exploding arrow at the helicopter.
As we suspected would happen, Tina eventually comes face to face with Sonos, both having powers now blocked by the sonic dampener Rene is carrying, and Tina has him at gun-point, ready to end her vengeful quest. Oliver tries to stop her by asking what Vince would have wanted, and she shoots Sonos, repeatedly, and basically says “That’s what Vince would have wanted.” And then they all go their separate ways, with Tina choosing not to join the team. Right.
In the B story, before leaving, Oliver and DA Chase learn there was a federal case against the General who is going after Diggle that could clear their friend’s name, but the General has friends in high places and the case magically disappeared. So while Chase despairs, Oliver informs Felicity (who knows she can hack the NSA and find those files) giving her something to do while everyone else is out Canary hunting.
Unfortunately, as she informs Rory, the files apparently were completely wiped, meaning no amount of hacking will be able to retrieve them. Fortunately, she knows nothing is ever completely gone from the internet, so she hits the Dark Web to search for help, and gets pinged by a user who recognizes her coding, and asks for a meet-up, claiming she can help. Felicity is wary and brings along Rory as backup in case the new hacker is scary and dangerous, but when Felicity meets her new friend, she discovers it is essential a younger version of herself, Felicity 2.0 you might say. The woman says she got into the hacktivist game because of Felicity’s work while she was in college and was disappointed when Felicity went corporate. You know Felicity was just itching to tell her about all of her illegal exploits on Team Arrow. Nonetheless, the woman gives Felicity a flashdrive full of copies of stolen government documents that she and her associates (I believe they were calling themselves HELIX) are going to use to do some good in the world (you know, bring down corrupt politicians, expose government lies, NBD). Felicity easily finds the files on the General and sends them to DA Chase, but her eyes light up at the other information on the drive, and it seems as though she is mighty tempted to get back into the world of being a hacktivist.
In tonight’s flashback, Talia brings Oliver to her hide-out, where we learn she has amassed quite a dossier on him and has even gone so far as to collect all of his belongings from his quarters at the Bratva. When asked why she is so interested in his exploits, Talia explains that he wears the hood of one of her students, Yao Fei, which Oliver says is impossible as she is half Yao Fei’s age, to which she retorts her age is a “family secret.” (ha) The flashback details her helping Oliver take out a business associate of Kovan’s named Yurievich, whose death will severely hurt the man’s business, a take-down that is arguably the best action scene of the night. After chiding Talia for going into the action with a bow and arrow (to which she replies that “to use a bow and arrow requires patience and discipline), Oliver takes down Yurievich’s guards with a gun (which he is even more deadly with than a bow and arrow), ending with him beating the man to death in the back of his limo. They return to the hide-out where Talia demands to know why Oliver is traveling the world looking for villains to face when his father gave him a list of people to hunt back in Star City. Oliver explains that he could never go back home because of actions like what he did in the back of the limo, because he is a monster now, to which Talia replies that he should channel that monster into something different, “someone different.” She plants the seeds for him taking an alter-ego, saying that in doing so the dark side of his personality, his monster, his rage, could manifest in that person, while Oliver Queen could continue to live his normal life. She then pulls out the first Hood costume, which Oliver dons, and we see at last where he got the costume from, and why he felt he needed to put it on. After saying that he is not sure if he is ready for this, Talia says she will help him become ready, and it seems as though she will be his final mentor to prepare him for life as a vigilante.
The episode wrap-up includes DA Chase getting Diggle freed on bail due to an “anonymous” source giving him the files they needed on the General, which still feels a little too easy to me. As Oliver returns to his office, he is visited by Tina Boland, who says she did not feel any better following the death of Sonos and has decided to take Oliver up on his offer of having a team, and friends, and a home. He says he can help her, and as much as they can give her a second chance, she in a way is a second chance for him as well (to mention the big meta “second chance” of the show to finally get the Black Canary right). Lastly, she reveals that Tina Boland was just the name she took while undercover, while her real name is Dinah Drake, a fact that Oliver comments is pretty surprising since Laurel’s real name was also Dinah. He says she would be proud of both of them.
- Where the hell was Thea in this episode? Is Willa Holland about to be written off the show? Or is there a sub-plot going on that we don’t know about, and when she returns we’ll get a nice long flashback detailing where’s she’s been. I mean, its weird that this season only Oliver, Diggle and Felicity have been in every episode, with Thea being absent a lot, Detective Lance being in rehab for the past 4 or 5 episodes, and Laurel being dead (and only guest starring every now and again).
- So Tina’s real name being Dinah Drake makes her an actual Black Canary from the comics, and not some made up one from the show, which I like, a lot. Dinah Drake was the first Black Canary, and in some versions the mother of Dinah Laurel Lance, so its great to see them tweak the character to use her here. Add in the fact that in the comics she was a cop who worked undercover a lot, and this fits perfectly, and I cannot believe I did not see it coming. Good job writers.
- No Prometheus this episode, though they did mention Artemis, though with each passing week it seems less and less likely that her betrayal is just for show, as I had hoped. ‘Arrow’ has a lot of loose ends out there right now, I’m hoping that now that they’ve closed the doors of the Canary Chronicles we can get back to business.
- Is that new vigilante stilling running around Star City? We saw him for one episode, he was a bad-ass and a major threat to villains and a real challenge for Team Arrow, and then we never heard from him again. Are they saving him for sweeps week or what?
The show feels like it is back on track after a shaky start, and for that I am very grateful. And I love the new Canary, and I think she will make an excellent addition to the team. I like that she already knows how to fight, wield her ability, and in some ways is darker than Oliver, making her different and fun, while finally staying true to the Black Canary of the comics. Here’s hoping that fans like her enough to MAYBE allow Oliver and her to have a romantic sub-plot so we can finally get out of the Olicity love-circle, as I’m really tired of that and kind of like the two better as friends. 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.