Arrow 3.13: Canaries
The latest [UK-paced] episode of Arrow opened with Laurel, the new Black Canary, fighting her sister Sara, the original Black Canary. But this was no dramatic return from the dead scenario despite what the rumours of an Arrow/The Flash spin off has suggested. This was a drug-fuelled hallucination and that made the whole Canary versus Canary fight little more than a gimmick.
Indeed, the weakest part of the episode was the return of Peter Stormare as Count Vertigo. He is a fairly decent enough villain but I had no desire to see him again and the Vertigo on the streets story line had been done before. As for the second time Laurel got hit with Vertigo and hallucinated Sara, I actually groaned. They used this gimmick a total of three times; the opening tease, her first encounter with the count and the final battle.
Thankfully there was still a lot of great stuff in this episode in what has been a consistently strong season. After his return last week, I was most looking forward to seeing how Oliver dealt with Laurel becoming a masked hero on team Arrow. Unsurprisingly, not well at all. As the audience, I did feel a little cheated over not seeing his first reaction to learning that she had become the Black Canary but the series had to progressed and we picked up a couple of weeks after Uprising with an angry Oliver getting consistently exasperated that Laurel was still taking up the battle despite his protests. An interesting analogy to have Oliver class her desire to fight another form of addiction though I liked that Laurel called him up on that as the last person who should judge her for wearing a mask.
Even better; those ridiculous secrets that Oliver and Laurel have finally been keeping were finally revealed. At Malcolm Merlyn's request, Oliver finally brought Thea to the Arrow-cave and the result was surprising. She was thankful what he had done - even that one incident when he attacked her - and learning that he was the hero saving the people of Starling City actually brought them closer. I also noticed a number of references to her nickname 'Speedy' - are we now to assume she will join the team by the season's end?
It was also interesting to see Thea's story line heart up with Chase, the baby-faced DJ and secret member of the League of Shadows. Her training obviously came to good use as she detected the cyanide in the wine just before he poisoned her and fought him off long enough for her ex and dad to come charging in to save her!
At least there was the whole 'protecting the people closest to me' motive with Oliver. Laurel keeping Sara's death from her father wore thin long ago and I am glad - as heartbreaking as it was - that he knows. Like Barry Allen's father realising he was the The Flash a couple of weeks back, Quentin Lance had quickly figured out that it was his other daughter running around the streets of Starling City in a black mask. I was worried that this secret being out would stop Laurel from telling him what really happened to Sara, so kudos for actually going through with it.
It was quite refreshing to the end episode with all the secrets out and everyone seemingly united to take down Ra's Al Ghul. Everyone still hates Malcolm Merlyn - Thea included - but these dangerous alliances are going to make for some interesting television ahead. Hopefully the flashbacks too; Oliver returning to Starling City with Amanda Waller will hopefully gives this story the momentum it needs. The episode ended with Oliver and Thea on the island, between that and the flashback, next week is sure to have some big surprises in store!