Friday, February 13, 2015

Arrow - Canaries

No more secrets. Finding a way to work through major plot points naturally over the course of a single episode "Canaries" continues a shift in the show as Oliver (Stephen Amell) must face the fact that the war on crime in Starling City isn't only his any more. It takes a fight with Laurel (Katie Cassidy), an argument with Roy (Colton Haynes), and some sound advice by Diggle (David Ramsey) to force the green-hooded hero to realize the city and team he's returned to isn't the same one he left.

The villain of the week turns out to be Count Vertigo (Peter Stormare) whose escape from trial forces the various members of the team to work together and one in particular to deal with her darkest fears. Stormare is fine, but the drug Vertigo is more necessary to the plot the villain himself whose reappearance works well as a simple plot device and catalyst to cause change inside Team Arrow. This week's flashbacks also bring an end to Oliver's time in Hong Kong setting up a surprise new destination for him beginning next week.

The aptly-named "Canaries" forces Laurel and Thea (Willa Holland) to deal with the limitations of their training so far as Thea gets in over her head with the club's new DJ (Austin Butler) who is actually part of the League of Assassins and Laurel, drugged with Vertigo, finds herself in a hallucinatory battle against Sara (Caity Lotz) while working out issues about her right to wear her sister's costume. And as for revelations, "Canaries" has that as well as Oliver reveals his secret to Thea and Laurel tells her father the truth about not only her crime-fighting but the fate of her sister as well.

Given what it accomplishes in a single episode while fitting it all seamlessly into a single hour "Canaries" is easily one of the best episodes of the series so far. It not leaves the group stronger than it found them but with a new sense of shared purpose. With everyone's secret identity revealed and Sara's fate shared with Captain Lance the show can move away from those subplots while focusing on Thea and Oliver's training with Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) in a familiar location and the new Black Canary getting openly welcomed to the team including Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) whose words of wisdom help Laurel do battle with the ghost of her sister and accept the mantle as her own rather than just as a stand-in for Sara.

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