Jessie Robertson reviews the eleventh episode of Arrow season 5…
I wish I had a Nickname with as many initials as the OG GHG……
Tonight’s ‘Second Chances’ highlights a growing theme of the show and the title hit it on the head. Arrow, can sometimes, be a little too on the nose, but that’s just Oliver’s style. In a world of Batman v Superman, where characters never state what they are doing or thinking, but instead speak in rhyme and poetry, Arrow hits you over the head with its intentions and themes. Rene says (and Oliver repeats) this team is made for second chances and they’re all experiencing them at once during tonight’s episode. Oliver, constantly transitioning from a ruthless killer to a hero, Rene, trying to learn to become a hero, John, out of prison and back with his family, Felicity, perhaps rekindling a hacktivist career and more importantly, our new member, Dinah Drake, former undercover police officer who was discovered by the gang she infiltrated and held prisoner and tortured for 2 weeks before seeing her partner (and lover) murdered right in front of her. This isn’t for the weak of heart or Batman ’66 fans. Between that and Oliver beating someone to death with a gun, this episode ticks up considerably in the violence category.
The process of finding a new Black Canary, in these modern times, isn’t as hard or drawn out as I thought it would be. With the world practically at Felicity’s fingertips, it’s just a matter of choosing the right person. Oliver is rejecting every single applicant presented and it’s not hard to see why. But, when a woman who beats up thugs and has the sonic scream power Laurel used a device to replicate comes along, even for Oliver, fate draws an easy line. Dinah is a tough character, someone Oliver sees himself in, as he tries to stop her from starting down the path of revenge he’s taken. This echoes nicely in the flashbacks this week as well. She is on a killing spree, going through the old gang she was apart of , member by member, until she gets to the top dog, Sean Sonus. Unfortunately, when she received her powers (through the particle accelerator blast) so did Sonus. And his work directly in opposition to hers. The special effects are really something cool too. So, it’s lucky for her Team Arrow came along when they did as she would not do well against Sonus without them. When it comes down to it, it’s Oliver himself, mask off, that I believe gets through to her, showing her there’s a person that she still has to live as when this is all over. Now, like Oliver, she gives into the darkness when confronted with it; she kills Sonus point-blank. She has a blank expression on her face, before and after, one Oliver knows well. Nothing is done about this. Nothing needs to be said.
Our flashbacks this week may have been one of the more illuminating we’ve ever had; Talia (yes, al Ghul) has been watching Oliver, and knows his exact movements and whereabouts for the last 4 years. She reveals Yao Fei was one of her students and she wants to help Oliver complete his mission; but only if he’ll listen to what she has to say when they do. The first strike is to take down a man who sells children on the black market for Kovar; again, dark, dark stuff. She shows him why she carries a bow into battle with her when everyone else has guns. It takes patience to do this. Patience he will need to learn. In a somewhat hokey Woo type action sequence, Oliver fights and shoots the thugs protecting this Russian lowlife until he hops in the limo with him and proceeds to beat him to death with the butt of his gun. It’s truly violent, but completely deserved. Talia doesn’t bat an eye; she’s no doubt seen worse. The parallels are so obvious a 1st grader could draw them in crayon, but it doesn’t make it any less effective: She instructs him that the monster is not him, but does reside there when it’s needed; instead, he needs to become something else, someone else (mic drop on the opening tag line) and awards him the bow and green costume he wears season one.
Other stuff happens too: John is freed after Felicity receives crucial documents on General Walker from a hacker fan of hers from way back, Curtis and Rene bond even further (and kill some delicious looking Big Belly Burger) as Felicity seems to consider becoming more of her anarchist self from college (minus the goth apparel.) But, the crux of the episode is all in the title and it’s a complete, solid story. 9/10
– Our team (Oliver, Rene, Curits) spent the majority of this week in Hub City, which is beginning to take on a history of its own in the Arrowverse. They were last here when trying to learn how to fight against Damien Dahrk’s magic; but if you are a true DC TV fan, you’ll know Ray and Kendra were trapped there for a few years on Legends.
– Where is Thea????
– Nice Flash cameo tonight, and Capt. Singh.