This has been an episode more or less a half season in the making. “Canaries” brought numerous storylines to a close, and open Pandora’s box for what may or may not happen next.
With Team Arrow back in full force with Ollie at the lead, you’d think things would go back to normal…you would be wrong! Right off the bat there was tension, as Laurel and Ollie went at it about whether she was worthy of donning the Canary mask and jacket. I found it interesting that instead of citing Sara as the reason Laurel shouldn’t do it, he cited Quentin, which was honestly a bolder move. And one I approve of.
Yet the real message here came later, as Team Arrow stood up to Ollie and showed that they were stronger than they were when he “died”. Roy and Felicity really showed their stuff today, especially Roy (for reasons I’ll get to soon). Diggle also had a great scene, bringing up something that is said in the intro dialogue. This isn’t Oliver’s crusade anymore, it’s his AND Team Arrow’s. That’s a big difference, and one he needs to both accept and appreciate.
Which brings us to Laurel, who was a focus in this episode as she had to decide why she was Black Canary. The fights with Vertigo allowed her (somewhat predictably) to face her demons and realize that she needs to be Black Canary for herself and for others, not for Sara. This is Felicity shined in the episode, as she was able to bring Laurel from a dark place to where she needed to be. Yes, it was a little cheesy, but it worked well.
The real takeaway from the episode in my mind was something that happened in the first six minutes of the episode. Thea knows Ollie’s secret! Though it was teased, I NEVER thought it would happen this quickly, but allowing it to created a whole new dynamic not only for Thea and Ollie, but for her and Malcolm as well.
I loved how Thea was totally accepting of Ollie being the Arrow. She even jested about how she went toe-to-toe with him earlier in the season. This is totally a different Thea than the one we met in Season 1, and I for one am grateful. Furthermore, her 180 about her trust with Malcolm was interesting. I do feel it was a little abrupt, especially after how he proved to her last week he was willing to change who he was.
The kicks kept coming when Thea’s training with Malcolm helped reveal Chase’s “true identity” as a member of the League of Assassins. Though short, the fight scenes with her, Roy, Chase, and Malcolm was great stuff. And further cemented the lengths Ra’s is willing to go in order to make them all pay. Now, with Ollie and Thea on board with Merlyn, it’s time to get to work on figuring out how to beat Ra’s, which meant a trip back to the island!
Thankfully, after two doses of Vertigo, Laurel was FINALLY able to tell her father about Sara. I was nervous at first because it seemed she was going to get a pass, but instead it played out beautifully, and it’ll be interesting to see how those two interact with each other now.
The flashback scenes were great, albeit with some kind of convenient moments. Ollie withstanding physical torture, only to be brought down by mental torture was powerful. It also went towards showing how far Amanda Waller is willing to go to get a target. It’s unclear how this flashback story will end, but it’s new destination was certainly an eye-opener.
This was yet another episode that flirted with a perfect score. Yet there were some small things that helped bring it down. Aside from some cheesy dialogue, the use of Count Vertigo here was somewhat wasted. It really felt like they used him just to drug Laurel into seeing Sara again. True, it’s better than what happened with “Three Ghosts” where Ollie randomly hallucinated Shado, Slade, and Tommy, but it just lost the impact. Also, i’m still not keen on Vertigo being a version of Scarecrow. Especially since we got a Scarecrow episode in Gotham the other day.
For me, that’s sad, because Vertigo had a BIG impact on episode one of the season, essentially forcing Ollie to admit he couldn’t have a life with Felicity as long as he was the Arrow. True, he kind of did the same thing to Laurel, but it just didn’t feel the same. Mainly because he didn’t have the chance to show the evil he had in the first episode of the season.
In the end, “Canaries” was another fantastic episode that continues to point Arrow in exciting directions. Next weeks episode appears to be the return of an “old friend” and I can’t wait to see it!