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ARROW Review: “Second Chances”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 6 years ago

ARROW Review:

By Justin Carter

Legacy heroes are a common thing in comic books. When a hero dies, someone eventually comes in to take their place, either in the short term or permanently. Currently, Wolverine is a woman, as is Thor, Doctor Doom is Iron Man, that sort of thing. (As far as DC’s concerned, there’s a Superman from another universe as the Man of Steel, Jim Gordon was Batman not too long ago, and the human Green Lantern name is shared by nearly 10 people.) With Arrow, the mantle of the Black Canary has passed on to multiple women over the last few years, the newest of which is our Meta of the week, Tina Boland.

Boland was originally a cop tortured for weeks alongside her partner after their cover was blown. She also happened to be in Central City the night the particle accelerator went off, conveniently giving her a sonic scream ability as she screamed while watching her partner get shot. Since then, she’s been traveling the country in search of the crime boss who offed her partner, in addition to taking the time to thwart any random crimes that cross her path.

Oliver thinks that she can be recruited by the team, thanks to his new outlook on life and his desire to find a woman who can live up to Laurel’s legacy. (Just ignore how the show never really gave Laurel the full respect she deserved when she was alive for this whole thing to work.) As far as bringing in new team members, Tina’s definitely the hardest of them all. Roy was easy to mold because he already wanted to be trained by the Arrow, and the New Recruits were either like Roy or in the right mindset to be guided. As much as the show wants to show that Oliver’s grown, it’s good that he also meets someone who isn’t there for his usual attempts to connect; when he tries to come to her unmasked after a failed attempt with the cowl on, she’s hilariously unimpressed and calls him out on the cliche of it all.

Oliver brings Rene and Curtis to Hub City to find Tina, and it’s a pairing that helps boost the episode. Rene’s slow shift from mischievous joker to sometimes big brother for the others returns this week, as he points out that the Team has helped give each of its members a second chance at life. It’s surprisingly profound coming from him, and also entirely accurate. It feels like a statement that, at one point, was intended for the series’ 100th episode, but its timing here doesn’t lessen the impact of his words. The New Team Arrow has worked this season largely because the show has done a good job rotating out its members and letting the new blood get time to form into fully realized characters while not forgetting those that are still with us.

The show does a little bit of remembering with Felicity’s storyline, wherein she gets the chance to hack the NSA to find evidence that will clear Diggle’s name. As she notes, it’s the first time in a long time that she’s gotten to really do some hacking that’s fun and a challenge for her, which leads to her getting caught up with a hacker who recognizes her old username. When the two women meet in the park, the other hacker feels very much like a callback to old Felicity — she’s very chatty and nostalgic for how Ms. Smoak used to be, and her mouth runs faster than her mind on that front. While the hacker does give Felicity information that will certainly help Diggle, there’s also plenty of other clandestine information ripe for leaking in the flash drive provided. Going off of Felicity’s face, the information can’t be good, and it’ll be interesting to see where that lands her for the rest of the season.

Towards the end of the episode, it turns out that Sonus, the crime lord who held Tina hostage before the accelerator explosion, gained Meta powers as well. The ability to apparently induce vertigo at whoever’s in his gaze sort of makes him the new Count Vertigo, but it’s a fairly minor point that’s nixed almost right after it’s revealed courtesy of the sonic dampener.

Still, it leads to a fun escalation for the final action scene of the night wherein Oliver shoots an arrow at a helicopter, hanging onto it while whacking any enemies coming toward him before he destroys the helicopter and looks away from the explosion. Tina gets her revenge and kills Sonus, but later tracks him down to Star City to formally accept his offer after admitting that it didn’t fully satisfy her as intended. She also reveals that Tina is her cover name and her real identity is Dinah Drake, the original Black Canary in the comics and mother of Dinah Laurel Lance, the more recent Canary.

What perhaps doesn’t work as well are the flashbacks. Oliver’s escapades over the years on Lian Yu drew the attention of one Talia al Ghul, Ra’s daughter. Her reasoning for tracking Oliver down is solid — she wants to teach him and have him continue his father’s work, since the last four years of flashbacks have truthfully made no sense for him to get involved in. There’s a fun action scene during the flashback as well in which Oliver basically has to John Wick his way through a Russian gangster’s guards, but the last sequence may be trying a bit too hard with the callbacks. It’s by no means a deal breaker, but there is a point where it feels like it’s perhaps building too fast to its conclusion. Time will tell, of course, and we still have to see her pull off a move that Prometheus will apparently learn from her.

I’m not going to reiterate what I’ve basically been doing since the season started. It’s clear that Arrow’s on an upswing this season thanks to how it’s handled its characters, and by now, it’s just become a given. And I’m glad that it’s gotten to that point.

Additional Notes

  • I don’t know what the hell Rene was eating at that burger place, but it looked monumental, and I kind of want it.
  • It’s great when the DCCW shows have some fun with the fact that they’re in a shared universe, such as when Oliver texts Barry to verify to Captain Singh that he’s the Green Arrow and Barry speeds a sticky note over confirming Oliver’s claim.
  • Seriously, though, I think it’s time we bring back Thea and Quentin. I know he’s in rehab, but I don’t think they ever explained her disappearance the last two episodes.
  • As someone who’s been playing Watch Dogs 2 recently, I halfway expecting the hacker girl to say something along the lines of “hack the planet” or a flashy hacker logo to pop up at some point.

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