“Green Arrow and the Canaries” Review
By Justin Carter
The CW’s track record with spinoffs has yielded more successes than failures. The Arrowverse has largely consisted of spinoffs, while Riverdale is about to have its own, thanks to Katy Keene.Truly, the only black mark has been the two occasions Supernatural tried to launch new extensions of their universe. With Arrow ending in just a week, the penultimate episode, a backdoor pilot for a spinoff called “Green Arrow & the Canaries” has a lot riding on it.
As it is, the plot sees Mia living as a socialite in 2040 with no memories of Crisis and living the happy life that Oliver wanted for her and William. When her friend Bianca Bertinelli is kidnapped, Laurel pops in from 2020 to bring Dinah and Mia back into the fold, having restarted the latter’s memory thanks to a ring and creating a real identity crisis. Doubly so because her fiancé is JJ, whom she last saw become Deathstroke and kill a currently very much alive Zoe.
The worry has never really been if Arrow’s first actual spinoff featuring characters from its arm of the Arrowverse would fail, but more about what it would bring to the table, and the answer to that is to just be Arrow, with a focus on the women for once. That’s not a complaint, but it’s a key distinction that sets it apart; in the same way Supergirl and Batwoman take time to show the relationship between the titular women and their sisters or other female friends, this Arrow episode is largely about how its trio of women relate to and interact with one another.
Yes, the best parts of the episode are when two or all three of them are just bantering; Katie Cassidy is a lot of fun playing the stern but also just constantly annoyed aunt/BFF to Mia and Dinah. If nothing else, this hypothetical series can get by on her charm alone. She and Juliana Harkavy continue to be a lot of fun together, and it’s clear their interactions will drive a lot of the dramatic moments in their eventual show. They’ve got one of the most natural buddy duo vibes in the whole series, and it’s important given how they’ll both eventually come to lead a legion of women inspired by them. Katherine McNamara’s asked to do a lot of work as two different kinds of Mia fighting against each other, and it works well enough for someone who knows and doesn’t really know who they are anymore.
As always, the character stuff is what works and elevates the material, but some flaws stand out. It’s unclear as to how Dinah wound up in 2040 without remembering how or why, but that I’m willing to table in case it gets answered next week. Likewise, it feels jarring for the show to ask us to buy into Mia and JJ as a couple when most of their interactions together have been the two actively trying to kill one another. It’s clear the drama between them both will be the pre and post-Crisis memories they share for one another will be what keeps them in each other’s orbit, but it feels too artificial, at least right now.
Still, the flaws are minor and Green Arrow & the Canaries is pretty strong in spite of them. As a backdoor pilot, it’s pretty good; it’s harder to gauge as a penultimate episode of Arrow, but I enjoyed it overall. Unless something happens drastically in the next few months, I can’t imagine this show not being picked up. After all, they’ll need someone to look broody in a hood for future crossovers.
- Any guesses on who else can restore memories?
- The other Arrow kids are present and accounted for, though I’m wondering how the Diggles managed to get screwed out of two good sons again when nothing about them screams “neglectful parents.”
- Dinah: “I got married when I was 21.” Laurel: “Oh my god, who are you?”
- Legends of Tomorrow had a strong premiere this week; in fact, all the returning shows (with the exception of Flash which reappears Feb. 4) had pretty good returns.
- Next week: The end!