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Black Canary and Green Arrow. They’re two iconic DC characters known as much for their heroics as they are their tumultuous relationship. On Arrow they’ve teased this pairing since day one, but always in a way longtime comic book fans wouldn’t expect. First, there was the twist of Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) love interest being named Laurel (Katie Cassidy) instead of Dinah. (Though Laurel is comic book Canary’s middle name.) Her father, Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) was still alive, though divorced from her mother, Dinah (Alex Kingston). See what they did there? Then the show went one step further and gave Laurel a sister.

That sister died on the Queen’s Gambit, the boat Oliver which crashed and left Oliver stranded on the island. Or did she? Last night’s episode, “Crucible” revealed that not only is Sarah (Caity Lotz) alive, but she’s the dame in the black mask and leather–Black Canary! On top of that, the far more surprising bit (Since I, like many of you, had already put it together BC would turn out to be Laurel’s sister. Come on, Arrow, that was kind of obvious.) was learning Oliver knew Sarah was alive, or rather, he knew she didn’t die when the boat sank.

And the plot thickens. Seems they’ve managed to do a real nice job of barely hinting at the experiences Oliver went through in those five years. It’s always been assumed he spent those years on the island, surviving, perfecting his archery skills, learning how not to be an entitled douche-canoe. Though beginning with last week’s episode in where we saw Oliver captured by the League of Assassins and taken away on a prison ship it’s clear there’s A LOT we don’t know about his time being “dead”.

Crucible

“No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men.”

This Canary is more ruthless than we typically see her. BC’s always been a grade “A” ass kicker, and Sarah’s a gal who knows how to handle herself, that’s for sure, but she has no qualms about killing or torture. A fact we learn in flashback where – Surprise! – Sarah was a bonafide League of Assassins’ interrogator! She also asks Oliver what happened to Slade, an obvious hint we’ll see her and Manu Bennet eventually interact in those flashbacks. Knowing she’s the dead Lance sister certainly amps up the drama already brewing between Oliver, Laurel, and Quentin. Especially when Sarah confronts Oliver to ask if he’d told her family she’s alive, only to have Quentin pop by unexpectedly. Lance doesn’t see his lost daughter and Oliver doesn’t give her up, but we know it’s a revelation that’s going to cause a shitstorm of family drama. One, I imagine, that will bring Kingston’s Dinah back in town for a family reunion.

Sarah (Is it spelled with an “h” or without? Whatever, I’m spelling it this way. The better way.) came back to Starling City after she learned of the earthquake that devastated much of the city, but she stayed to look after her family. In particular, Laurel, who’s having a really shitty time as of late, what with her near murder at the hands of The Dollmaker and that whole Tommy dying thing. And, I guess, they’ve decided to take Laurel down this path of addiction in order to give her something to do since they resolved – rather quickly, too – her wanting vengeance on The Hood–er, Arrow. It allows Lance a few nice moments as he airs his concerns about Laurel’s burgeoning substance abuse, but Laurel being an alcoholic and pill popper still feels like it comes out of left field. And it’s a pathetic excuse for “character development”.

Crucible

Back to the flashbacks on the island, though, I’m curious about those graves Oliver, Slade, and Shado (Celina Jade) found. Obviously the League of Assassins is very interested in them as that’s what led Oliver to being interrogated – read: tortured –  by Sarah. So what’s the deal? Could one of those bodies be Ra’s al Ghul!? Could we see him resurrected via Lazarus Pit sometime soon? I really wouldn’t figure considering how grounded they’ve tried to keep Arrow. Resurrecting decrepit bodies in smoldering pits of goo seems just a little too out there, y’know? But I can’t imagine they’d be introducing the League and not its famous leader.

Not that Arrow is without iconic DC characters. They’ve already introduced their new spin on BC and GA, they’ve had Deadshot, Deathstoke, Huntress, and now BROTHER BLOOD! I’d like to point out I called this when we first met the alderman, Sebastian Blood, but I don’t really expect much credit because, come on, his name is BLOOD. I don’t think he was ever intended to be taken for a good guy. The final reveal of what Blood is up to was all right (and I’m still a little confused about what that is), but his mask was far too reminiscent of the Scarecrow’s mask from Batman Begins. So much so, for a moment I’d thought I’d gotten the whole Brother Blood thing wrong. Then again, this isn’t the first time Arrow‘s taken more of its cues from the Nolan-verse than Green Arrow’s history.

Oh! And you know what’s also very Batman of this show? HATING GUNS. I’ve barely touched on this week’s villain because he’s easily forgettable, and like so many of the villains of the week now dead thanks to Brother Blood. The Mayor (Cle Bennett) was your typical power hungry gang leader empowered by his cache of automatic weapons. Him and his thugs allow for a cool moment where Arrow and Canary team up and bust their gun smuggling operation, but otherwise, anybody armed with grenade launchers would have been just as dangerous. Though we do get to see Oliver stop a grenade mid-air with an arrow, and that was neat. Plus, Arrow and Canary trade weapons at one point giving us a chance to see their equally capable with either bo staff or bow and arrow.

All in all I’ve been enjoying this season more than the last. They’ve provided an interesting twist on Black Canary, the needless drama hasn’t overstepped the plot, and I’m genuinely intrigued by the mystery they’re cooking up in those flashbacks. A mystery I’m sure we’ll learn much more about in next week’s episode, “League of Assassins.”

Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8pm EST on the CW.

Category: Comics, Featured, reviews, TV

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