Last Night’s “Arrow” Recap: Canary Hunting

Black Canary’s ex-coworkers come to give her her severance package. And another major DC bad guy comes into the story.

Before I get to tonight’s episode, I wanted to mention that TBL’s esteemed entertainment editor, Jim Halterman, did a round table discussion on how Arrow is doing so far. He invited some of the finest critics of the land and even let me join in. So, if you want to debate the highs and lows of S2 so far, have a look see.

Sooo…. The show picks up with a flashback, and it’s kind of clever. Because it seems at first just more of the reshooting of Sara’s scenes on the Queen’s Gambit before it sank, but it’s actually about her, and not Oliver. It’s the point where their paths diverged—the first time. And while it’s interesting to see how the little betrayer survived, I did let out a groan of despair at the thought of adding her backstory to the already unwieldy flashback gimmick.

I’m a little unclear on why she didn’t swim in the direction of Oliver’s wailing and holler for him. I mean, she couldn’t be that far away. Instead, she is rescued by a canary. I think. Or maybe she was hallucinating.

Anyway, Sara was just having a nightmare. I recommend a warm glass of milk and canoodles with Oliver. Well, you can skip the milk. Canoodles with Oliver will fix pretty much anything.

Given that she has moved into Oliver’s house, it shouldn’t be hard to fill that, um, prescription. Thea is apparently staying with Bad Boy Roy in her endless and sad efforts to turn him straight so Oliver has the mansion to himself. And of course there is just no way that hiding the woman who everyone believes you got killed, who you have lied to her entire family about her not-deadness, who is tied to your SUPER SECRET alter ego, could ever possibly go wrong.

It’s a good thing Oliver is so pretty. Because sometimes he’s impossibly dumb.

Even as he is dealing with Sara’s craziness, he is trying to get his mom to defend herself against the charges that will put her away for life. Laurel has joined the prosecution team, which makes little to no sense. But I think Laurel’s character has been abandoned by the writers in favor of things they actually care about.

Anyway, the jackass DA, who is clearly just out to further his political ambitions by landing this high-profile conviction, offers Moira a plea deal. I kind of wish the DA was less of a D-Bag. I would prefer to feel conflicted on whether or not Moira should go to jail.

Moira doesn’t seem conflicted. In fact, she seems ready to throw herself on the mercy of the court. I really need to believe this is all some master plan of hers. I’ll be very disappointed otherwise.

An old friend of Sara’s drops by the mansion and tries to kill her. I guess it’s because she decided to talk about Fight Club. In any case, he’s dressed up in the same outfit Malcolm Merlyn wore, so it freaks Oliver all the heck out. He thinks it’s a disciple or something and he wants to find a way to shut that whole thing down.

Sara reluctantly fesses up that the assassin was after her and that they totally used be besties and that she may have accidentally been a member of an infamous league of murderers.

Oliver, to his credit, only gets a little mad. He’s usually much crankier with people (who aren’t him) who break the rules. But he’s been going easy on her, probably because he kind of sort of ruined her whole life just because he didn’t have the stones to break up with Laurel.

Our crime-fighting duo runs off to stomp on the assassin whose name sounds, incongruously, like LOL.

LOL is not impressed by Oliver’s arrows. He scorns them as inadequate. And he goes on to say he trained Malcolm. If he did, and he thinks archery is lame, then why was Malcolm such a good archer? Who trained him? Is this a question I shouldn’t bother asking?

LOL calls in some pals and fisticuffs ensue. The fight is quite acrobatic, but very brief as the heroes run off to fight another day.

Team Arrow then surmises that the Lance family will become targets of the assassins, which is a weird guess out of the blue and actually makes no sense. I don’t see how killing her father and sister will accomplish the goal of getting Sara to return to Panda Bear City (yes, I know it’s called Nanda Parbat).

Oh, one thing I just love is that we see some truly horrifying scars on Sara’s back. It’s nice that the show isn’t shying away from making their pretty actress a little ugly.

Since Sara is wounded, Oliver goes to protect Laurel and Felicity goes to tell Patrolman Quentin Lance to get out of town. As plans go, this one seems to be a little weak. But okay.

Lance, of course, doesn’t listen to Felicity, which is foolish. Felicity is perfect and you should take every bit of advice she gives you on any topic she wants to discuss. But alas, Lance is macho and stubborn.

So Sara has to finally go see her daddy.

One of the things I said repeatedly last year while complaining about Quentin is that I know the actor is better than what we were seeing. And this season, we are finally getting to see Paul Blackthorne shine. When he wrapped Sara in his arms, it was one of the most moving moments on this show.

Sara takes him out for coffee, which I don’t understand. And then she takes him to her Canary nest.

Lance, being the ace detective he is, puts it all together—well, most of it. He figures out she’s the Canary, that she’s been back for weeks and that she’s the one the assassins are after.

The assassins show up and it turns out Canary has a few traps set up. But Quentin doesn’t let his baby girl face the meanies all by herself. Nope. He leaps into the fray, even though he is hopelessly out of his league.

The Arrow, though, is more up to their level. He shows up and evens the odds very quickly. Though, to his credit, Quentin does get to kill one of the bad guys. Sara kills LOL, and she’s very sorry for doing that in front of her daddy, but she is and will always be his princess so even murdering mysterious assassins doesn’t diminish his love for her.

Afterwards, she announced she’s leaving. Wait, what? I thought she was going to be around for a while! Aw, man, this means we’re back to more Laurel, doesn’t it?

Quentin is distraught, but he agrees to keep her secret from Laurel. Oh, show, you so clever. You’re making it so he knows what it’s like to have to keep this secret before he finds out that Oliver’s been lying to him since he got back.

Meanwhile, in the past, a much less kick-ass Sara is handed over to one Anthony Ivo. Yikes and double yikes. He is one of DC’s most brilliant and dangerous mad scientists. And he’s the one behind the search for the mutated bodies on Magical Ninja Island.

Oh hell, now I have to start paying attention to Island Time. Damn it show!

In terms of plot, this was not a fabulous episode. In terms of character moments, it was truly epic. Contrasting the fragile, terrified and, you know, sane Sara of six years ago with today was really effective. Caity Lotz needs to bring up her acting a little bit, but she did great work with Paul this episode. That’s part of why I was so unhappy to see her go.

I am starting to think the writers have bitten off more than they can chew, though. With the Island Time story now expanding in scope, with Moira now on trial, and Sebastian Blood up to his tricks and who knows what Isabel Rochev is up to, and now with this expansive Canary plot line, it seems like it’s too much.

What do you guys think, hmmm?