So, it turns out I don't have that many things to say about Arrow when it turns in a quietly solid episode. I LOVED Birds of Prey. And not just because it passed the Bechdel Test with flying colours.
The problem with having a great episode after a few lackluster ones is that it highlights all the things that didn't quite work in the previous episodes. Like Laurel hanging around in a bar when she's been barely a month sober. Or Felicity not being very Felicity, and Dig as a foil for Oliver.
The plot is pretty basic: Helena shows up again, kicks ass, takes hostages, Oliver mopes a lot and Sara and Laurel save the day together. But the episode stand out on all the character moments and the badass action scenes. Sara showing that she's just as, if not more, dangerous than Oliver, Laurel connecting with Helena on an emotional level, and then blackmailing herself into her old job. And all of the Laurel and Canary scenes are great, and I think that by the end Laurel knows who Canary is. Most importantly, this episode showed me I'd watch the hell out of a Canary-Helena-Laurel spin-off.
And if Det. Lance doesn't know The Arrow's identity after that call then he deserves that demotion. Also, I want to know what went through Oliver's head when he saved Lance's number as his mother.
Felicity telling it like it is.
How epic was Felicity this episode? It was great having her back to her competent and hilarious self!
What I really hated this episode was Oliver telling Roy to break up with Thea to protect her. It was stupid last week, it's just as stupid this week and incredibly cliche. It's like Oliver never learns, and it's maddening because they've established he's not a complete idiot.
(Well, a little bit.)
(there's a story there, I just know it)
(gif credit: felicitysmoak.tumblr.com)
First: it didn't work with Sara, why did he think it would work with Thea? Second: he knows losing Shado drove Slade mad, why is he trying to separate Roy form the one person he loves?! Writers, please stop making characters behave like idiots for the sake of Plot.
I know a lot of people hate the Thea and Roy stuff because it's "teenage drama", but I for one love it. Thea is one of the characters with the most development over the whole series, and she shines again in this episode. She's handled everything that's been thrown at her with grace and maturity and she's only 18 (or 19 at this point). She's stood by her mother for the trial, she's been standing next to Roy and trying to help him and her "I;m not letting you break up with me" was both funny and badass in a different way from everyone else. Her confession to Oliver is heartbreaking, all the more because we know Oliver is the person keeping two pretty big secrets from her.
So now I'm pretty anxiously awaiting the next episode (tonight!) which is part of why I've been putting off this recap.
DISCUSSION OF STUFF THAT'S BEEN IN MORNING SPOILERS
We know there will be a funeral and I'm really really afraid they will fridge one of the women just to make for more angst for Oliver. The most likely candidates are Sara and Thea, possibly Moira or Laurel. And I love every one of them. I think they all have interesting stories left to tell.
I hope the writers are wise enough to realize that stories change as you write them (especially serialized TV when the actors have a lot of input on what a character is actually like onscreen) and don't feel the need to conform to a predetermined outcome that the story no longer supports (Sara dies and Laurel picks up the mantle), unlike the writers of HIMYM.
Thea becoming Speedy and Laurel being the Oracle to Sara and Helena would be so much more interesting stories.