On the D/L – Arrow
Season 3 Episode 13 – “Canaries”
Team Arrow is back to full strength with the return of their leader as Laurel tries to find her own style as a hero.
Oliver’s disapproval of Laurel’s decision to suit up and take on her sister’s mantle made for some interesting scenes between the two of them. Oliver has come back to a different city to the one he left and has to deal with a few things he isn’t comfortable with.
His discussion with Laurel where he basically tells her that what she is doing is insane and he gets chewed out for being the last person who should be lecturing her. Oliver’s face is always amusing to see when he has his own self righteousness thrown back in his face. In this instance I’m forced to agree with Laurel. He hasn’t been around and everyone has been pulling together to protect the city in his absence. If Oliver hadn’t been presumed dead then maybe Laurel would have spent more time training before attempting this but her sense of responsibility seems to have gotten in the way here.
This conversation fed into a really good scene that Oliver shared with Diggle. Oliver pointed out a flaw in his previous assumption that his mission to protect the city was his burden alone. Certainly in his absence everyone has found their own reasons to fight and have definitely made it their crusade. Diggle, Felicity, Roy and Laurel have as much invested in protecting the city as Oliver does and the sooner he realises that the better off he will be.
Now Thea has been let in on Oliver’s big secret which basically means that Quentin Lance is the only series regular in the dark on this. I liked how the reveal was handled for the most part and Willa Holland played the wide array of emotions well. I could almost see the dots connecting in her head as everything started to make sense to her. For a second I was concerned that she was going to resent him for a while but it was a nice touch that she accepted it and was proud of her brother for what he had been doing.
Her snap decision that Malcolm Merlyn isn’t to be trusted didn’t sit right with me though. She was happy enough to travel the world with him and learn some sweet ninja skills as well as accept the blood he has on his hands but a quick suggestion as to how manipulative he can be and she suddenly hates him. She’s seen him do worse and stood by him so this didn’t quite work.
Thea being in on the secret brings some really interesting potential to the series. It allows her and Roy to be back on more friendly terms as shown by their scene together that was completely lacking in angst and felt like their earliest scenes together way back in season 1.
It was clever how she was used as an external observer of Team Arrow who sees them in a different light to others. The horror on her face when she saw how injured Laurel was said it all as it seemed to hit home how dangerous life was for her brother and by extension her. Especially since she is going to be directly involved in the inevitable battle against Ra’s Al Ghul. It changes up the dynamic nicely and I’m excited to see where this goes.
Team Arrow’s strained relationship was handled really well here as well. It was great to see Roy stand up to Oliver in defense of Thea. It reinforces how well he knows her and acts as a reminder of the advice he gave to Malcolm about not underestimating her. She doesn’t need the level of protecting that everyone seems to assume she does. I also enjoyed how cold Felicity was. It seems that she now sees this as just a job she has to do and really isn’t invested to the level of making jokes and letting herself babble. It’s a fresh side to Felicity and it really is great to see. I hope this continues for a while longer.
Much of this episode was devoted to Laurel’s development through the plot device of our old friend Vertigo (Drug and man). Peter Stormare reprises his role as the new Count Vertigo and chews the scenery impressively. It’s just a shame that he was more there to service the plot rather than seem like a threatening villain in his own right. He was threatening enough but didn’t really get the development I would have liked.
Laurel’s exposure to Vertigo bringing out her innermost fear of Sara’s disapproval was nicely handled though. Laurel’s inspiration for becoming Black Canary has always been to honour her sister and this episode lets her realise that this isn’t the right way to do it. She needs to find her own reasons to fight and the realisation of this is what ultimately lets her become a stronger person.
It was great to see Caity Lotz even if it was only in a hallucination. I still want to see the flashback episode about her training but it might never come at this rate. There was definitely a sense of passing the torch to their scenes and the symbolism of the internal struggle within Laurel really worked.
There was a lot of symmetry in this episode. Oliver admitted the truth to Thea while Laurel finally told the truth about Sara’s death to her father. I have to applaud Paul Blackthorne and Katie Cassidy for their performance in that scene. It was positively heartbreaking to see Quentin’s reaction to Sara’s death. There was so much vulnerability to him in the way that be broke down which made it really upsetting to watch. Bravo to them!
More symmetry exists from the flashbacks to the present day. In the flashbacks it turns out that Oliver came back to Starling City for a while during his exile. I’m not sure that works given what he’s said before but it remains to be seen what they do with it. His return home in the flashbacks tied nicely with his return to Lian Yu in the present day. The connection between Oliver at different stages of his life returning home for reasons that will test him was really effective.
Good riddance to bad rubbish with Chase in this episode. I’ve never seen the point of this character but had some hope once his connection to the League of Assassin’s was revealed. It turned out that all this amounted to was him sleeping with Thea before trying to poison her. Why he didn’t just stab her when she wasn’t looking is beyond me. Either way, it’s good to be rid of this pointless and forgettable addition to the show.
A strong episode that deals with Team Arrow returning to full strength with their leader back on the job as well as Laurel’s growth as a hero.
Oliver and Laurel’s disagreement over Laurel taking on the Black Canary mantle was really strong. Laurel called Oliver out on his hypocrisy when he was lecturing her about what he thinks she should do. It is good to see Oliver put in his place sometimes and Laurel’s growing confidence is fantastic to see.
It’s also interesting to see that Team Arrow have all got their own reasons to continue the crusade. It’s no longer just Oliver’s mission which has increased the scope of the character potential.
Thea learning Oliver’s secret is very much a game changer for everyone. She sees Team Arrow from a perspective that is very unique and I like how horrified she is when she sees Laurel injured. Her reaction to Oliver’s identity is nicely handled and I’m glad that it hasn’t manufactured some tedious conflict between Thea and Oliver.
Roy standing up to Oliver in defense of Thea was a great scene and nicely reinforced a similar moment last week where Malcolm Merlyn underestimated her in a similar way. I also really liked that Felicity adopted a very professional attitude after her relationship with Oliver took a negative turn last week.
Laurel’s realisation that she needs to be a different hero to her sister and find her own reasons to fight was handled really well. The plot device of Vertigo coupled with hallucinations of a disapproving Sara were really effective ways to explore this idea.
There was a great scene between Laurel and Quentin where he finally finds out that Sara is dead. It was so heartbreaking to watch and the two actors did a fantastic job of putting that across.
I couldn’t be more glad to be rid of Chase, the character was such a pointless addition and dragged down every episode he was in. He will not be missed at all.