Review: Arrow – Ep. 13 “Canaries”

Oliver’s back! He’s really back! Thank God Almight, he’s back at last! Oops! What I meant to say was that it was nice to get off the diet of Arrow Lite and get back to more Oliver (Stephen Amell) and team fighting the baddies. Arrow may be able to last a few episodes focusing on the other supporting cast, but the vacuum created by Oliver Queen’s absence was deeply felt.

Ep. 13 “Canaries” was aptly named as Arrow opened this week with Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) fighting the other Canary, her deceased sister Sara (Caity Lotz). In a familiar twist, we see that the cause of this trouble is Laurel suffering from the devastating effects of Vertigo. This confrontation between the two blondes in black works as a double edged sword, not only allowing Laurel to to deal with her guilt after her sister’s death but also allows the writers to address the trepidation of the audience with Laurel taking up the Canary mantle. As one of those fans who feels that Laurel was thrust too quickly into the superhero world, I appreciated this dual purposed episode.

I may have mentioned that Oliver was really back in Starling City. Finally back to the Arrow cave, he seems good as new. Although I feel like a little more recovery time after being shishkabobbed by a scimtar and falling from the top of a mountain is necessary, I’ll suspend my disbelief because I am glad to see Oliver back. But nearly 3 episodes away from Starling City during the season brought about changes in Team Arrow and nearly dying can bring about changes in a man. As an audience, we have seen the transitions the characters have gone through, but this episode served as a conduit for them to come to terms with some of those changes themselves. But one thing that will never change – Diggle (David Ramsey) is still the sounding board for Oliver and the provider of excellent insight and advice. (I think everyone needs a little Diggle in their life.) And one of the things I love about Oliver is his willingness to listen and his adaptability. While some television characters come across as cocky and often difficult, Oliver shows an astounding maturity when confronted with situations he first appraises in one way, only to be proven wrong. Rather than being a stagnant character others revolve around and change for, our main protagonist is versatile and changes himself. This allows the audience to go on a transitional journey with him.

This episode brought many characters into the fold. Oliver accepts Laurel, after significant disapproval initially. Oliver then does something we’ve all been waiting for… He told his sister Thea (Willa Holland) his vigilante secret. And wisely, the writers gave her an accepting reaction, rather than creating another source of conflict for Oliver (since he and Felicity [Emily Bett Rickards] have been a bit on the rocks since his return). Her subsequent mistrust of Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) felt a bit uncharacteristic. However, a rocky road is to be expected with Merlyn, as any easy acceptance of him would feel ridiculous. In this case, if Oliver is willingly seeking out assistance from Merlyn and aligning himself with him, then there must be a conflict somewhere. Thea fulfills this purpose.

“Canaries” also brought Vertigo (Peter Stormare) back into the mix, pulling an oldie but a goodie out of the villain stores. This led to some action sequences, characteristic of Arrow, but the main focus of the episode was the relationships between characters. This is a great balance to strive toward given the riotous events of last week’s episode.

As the threat of Ra’s Al Guhl (Matt Noble) looms near, we ended the episode with Thea and Oliver on Lian Yu, Oliver’s home after his violent shipwreck, bringing him to his own origins once again. Next episode promises to be an exciting and unique experience. More about next week’s episode to come. Keep an eye on this page for further news and continue watching Arrow on CW on Wednesday nights at 8/7c.

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