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TV REVIEW: FTN reviews Arrow S02E17 “Birds of Prey”

March 27th, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

Hot off the heels of the “Suicide Squad” debuting, came another team, or at least a possible foreshadowing of one in “Birds of Prey”. Unlike “Suicide Squad”, the episode did fair better and highlighted some strong character moments for Canary, Huntress, and Laurel. And of course, there’s that ending. Yet it still left a big question in the process.

When Frank Bertinelli makes a surprise return to Starling City, Ollie and crew know it’s only a matter of time before his daughter, the Huntress returns to try and kill him.

It was really fun to see Team Arrow split on what to think about Huntress. Mainly because Roy and Sara didn’t know who she was, until Felicity mentioned that’s she’s Ollie psycho ex-girlfriend (“that’s what you take from that?”).

How Huntress came into play was the interesting part though. As Laurel got brought in to try her father for the prosecution, a plotline that may have felt forced…if not for the twist. Right on cue Huntress appeared to get her revenge, only to find herself in a trap. Too bad for all, Helena was ready and she took hostages to ensure she got what she wanted. One of which, was Laurel.

This was where the episode took off, as Sara went on a one-woman crusade to try and save her sister. No matter the cost.

In shows like this, dialogue says a lot. It can show off how strong or weak a character is. Or in the case of Felicity, of funny a character is. “Birds of Prey” had some strong dialogue, but also some weak ones. The one that stands out to me is when Ollie said to Sara, “You’re not a killer!” Really? Because she was with the League of Assassins, and was quite good there. And she killed the Dollmaker in their first encounter. How is she not a killer? Thankfully Sara responded strongly and it tied into the running theme of the episode. Sometimes, you need to change in order to adapt, and protect the ones you love.

This episode was the first true interaction between Laurel and Canary, and you must have wondered how they were going to pull that off. Voice distorter for the win! You could tell that Sara wanted desperately to show Laurel she was there for her, but obviously she couldn’t. The great dialogue though carried the scene as Laurel struggled with her sobriety, and Sara pulled her out.

And then there’s Huntress. To many, Huntress has been a character that Arrow honestly hasn’t done well. Huntress was always an angry person in the comics, and violent. Batman (in his own way) was afraid of Huntress, because of what she knew she would do to her enemies. That being said, she always knew where to draw the line, even if it took her a while (see Justice League Unlimited episode: Double Date). This would lead to her going straight and becoming a member of the Justice League, and the, wait for it…, Birds of Prey, with Black Canary and others.

With this version though, no matter how many chances (and episodes) she was given, Helena always chose poorly. That’s frustrating, especially for those who know she’s a hero in the comics and other media. Here, she’s a straight up villain. Even with her “remorse” at the end, you know she can’t come back from where she is. Literally! She’s committed too many crimes.

Which brings us to that big question I teased earlier. “Will the Birds of Prey come together in Arrow?” With (most likely) Canary, Huntress, and Felicity as the team. The answer (at least to me), is no. For two reasons. One, though it would be cool, I’m not sure that would be a good team. Sara and Felicity aren’t fully bonded yet, and there honestly should be three birds + Oracle…I mean Felicity, to be Birds of Prey. The second one is more obvious. Huntress is a bad guy! And now she’s in prison! She’s committed murders, taken hostages, and shot friends of Ollie’s. Even if he could somehow trust her (I’m not sure he can), how could the others? How could we? More importantly, how would she get out of jail? Short of a jailbreak, WHICH SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!!!

This episode was a tease, Canary and Huntress were two big members of the Birds of Prey. But a team with them is unlikely at this point. I will give the writers this. The episode was the strongest of the Huntress episodes, she came off as calm and fierce when needed. Yet her scene with Ollie at the end was very well done. Not sure if we’ll see her again, but if not, this was a good way to send her off.

Before I go to the other story lines, I want to commend the stunt people and fight choreographers for Arrow. They are top notch, and the fights here were some of the best all season. The Huntress/Canary fights in particular were well done, and showed just how deadly the two can be.

Ok, back to the show. The other main storyline was Roy dealing with the Mirakuru. He’s struggling still, and it showed. Ollie even had to call him “Speedy” to get him to focus (Don’t call me that!). This led to a heartbreaking moment when Ollie told Roy to dump Thea, for her own protection. Seriously, how many times is he going to be asked to do that? Anyway, the result was a little bit of a shock, yet it lent to both how much Thea cared about Roy, and how much Roy cared for Thea to do what he did.

The TRUE result though was a shocker! Depressed, Thea walked home, only to be found by…who else? SLADE!!! Tell me truly, how many of you were screaming “Don’t get in the car!!!!” This is truly the first shot in the war of Slade vs. Ollie. Let’s see what happens next.

The island sequences were brief, but really did tie into the episode. Sara having to make a hard choice, else listen to Ollie die was very gripping. It showed off some of the new island castaways very nicely. Including our old/new Russian friend. And Sara got to show her first steps in becoming Canary. Yet the true reveal was seeing how Ollie got the dragon tattoo (which Shado had) on his back.

Overall, “Birds of Prey” showed off a lot that Arrow fans will be happy for. Great action, great character moments, some jaw dropping reveals, and a cliffhanger that’ll make us wish it was next Wednesday already. Just like “Suicide Squad”, it didn’t live up to its full potential, but it got dang close.

One final thought, special props to the writers who name-dropped Gail Simone (the current Birds of Prey writer) in a very cool way. I tip my hat to you all, she deserved to be mentioned!

4 out of 5 nerds


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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!