Warning: This article contains major spoilers from Arrow's mid-season premiere "Who Are You?" Be warned, the results will be deafening!
As a longtime fan of Arrow, I had major hopes for the show's mid-season return. After all, the #TV show had finally clawed its way back into our good graces with Season 5, which managed to receive much more praise than the previous two seasons. Furthermore, the mid-season finale was one of the show's strongest outings in recent memory, and featured the return of our beloved Black Canary — Laurel Lance.
As Laurel's death was a major lowpoint for the show in Season 4, we were thrilled to see actress Katie Cassidy back. And even though it turned out to be Laurel's deadly Earth-2 doppelgänger Black Siren, she was still incredible.
However, despite some standout moments, such as Black Siren's scenes and Chase aiding Diggle escape the military's clutches, "Who Are You?" ended up setting Arrow back to the unmentionable depths it stooped to in Season 4. And because of this, what should have been an amazing episode was soured by inconsistencies and certain characters. Let's take a look at exactly how it set the show back.
Now first off, let me point out that Black Siren was easily the best thing about the episode. Watching Katie Cassidy reprise her role as the villainous Earth-2 doppelgänger was a really fun experience as she delivered an exhilarating performance. Plus, it was also great to finally learn more about why Siren had become villainous. Furthermore, it was nice to finally see the Canary Cry effects on Arrow — where they should have been featured all along. However, the episode suffered from some drastic plot inconsistencies.
Back when Black Siren made her debut on #TheFlash last year, her version of the Canary Cry was powerful enough to take down entire buildings. Furthermore, it was so powerful that it had some severe effects on The Flash himself, who ended up quite wobbly after the altercation. Yet somehow on Arrow, she screamed directly at Felicity, Green Arrow and Curtis three times in a row and they got up completely unscathed. If the cry has the ability to literally crush the human anatomy, why did Team Arrow walk away without a scratch when The Flash — a metahuman — struggled to withstand the effects of the scream?
Moreover, Black Siren's physical skills also fell victim to the inconsistent writing. When she appeared on The Flash, she defeated the scarlet speedster with ease thanks to her impressive combat skills. Yet on Arrow, when she met with Prometheus, she was manhandled and threatened by the human archer. Now, we know why she was working for Zoom on The Flash — he was one of the most powerful metahumans and was downright terrifying — but why on earth would she waste her time on Prometheus? He may be skilled, but judging from the fighting skills she conveyed on The Flash, she could have easily taken him down without the Canary Cry.
The same also applies to her run-in with Felicity. Fans of the #Arrowverse have established that Black Siren is a skilled fighter, yet she looked completely defeated when Curtis removed her powers. She could have easily taken down the #superheroes team and eventually went down in a great battle with the Green Arrow, but the show missed this amazing opportunity and instead offered us a chance to see Felicity — who has no fighting skills — blindside an incredibly skilled, highly deadly adversary. It was disrespectful to the legendary character and just felt like the show used her to further Felicity's arc — something she was furthering just fine on her own.
While Black Siren was an amazing addition to Arrow, make no mistake about it, this was all down to Katie Cassidy's performance and her ability to convey the badass elements that the character deserved. It was the writing, plot inconsistencies and the use of the character that let the episode down here.
If you're a fan of Arrow, check these out:
- Black Siren's Tragic Origin Reveals How She Could Return One Day As Black Canary
- Why Felicity Must Not Become The Next Canary On Arrow Season 5
Season 4 of Arrow was mainly criticized for its heavy reliance on the character of Felicity. And due to that reliance, that the character ended up completely straying from who she was. Instead of being the level-headed, independent bubbly go to girl we knew her as, she became an overly emotional other half who quite literally made all of the show's important moments about her. The constant drama gave the show a soap opera-like feel and was partly responsible for the backlash Season 4 — and Oliver and Felicity's relationship — received.
However, when Season 5 came along, Felicity was back to her fun-loving self. She could crack a joke, fix a problem and be in a fully functioning stable relationship without any of the Season 4 drama. And it reminded me why I fell in love with Felicity. Personally, I have always liked her and never really got the hate for her — until the mid-season premiere. "Who Are You?" single-handedly undid all that hard work and made Felicity the mistrusting, reckless character from Season 4 — only this time, she was so much worse.
When Black Siren reached out to the Green Arrow, Oliver attempted to reach her on an emotional level. But as he offered them Intel on Prometheus, Felicity spoke to Team Arrow on a separate channel and ordered them to attack Siren, thinking she was taking out a harmful device. This reckless command forced the team to pounce, without Green Arrow's authorization, and the cornered Black Siren retaliated and was eventually imprisoned. We will never know if Siren really was in need of help — Prometheus did threaten her — or she was just playing them and that is down to Felicity's reckless behavior and mistrust of Black Siren.
Moreover, despite constantly referring to Laurel as her "friend", she berated Oliver for his attempts to save Black Siren, going so far as to refer to Earth-1 Laurel as Oliver's "ex." The reference didn't do Felicity any favors and made her seem completely unsympathetic.
After a great half season of character building, "Who Are You?" just assassinated Felicity's character all over again.
Where Does Arrow Go From Here?
While Arrow never truly recovered from Laurel's death, the first half of Season 5 had finally given us some hope that the Emerald Archer's story would rise once more. However, the first episode gave us both the best and worst that the show had to offer. While it did deliver some incredibly powerful performances — mainly from Katie Cassidy and Emily Bett Rickards — the episode was overflowing with inconsistencies and plot holes. Moreover, the conclusion which introduced us to a potential new Black Canary — and the subsequent negative reaction it received — just solidified the fact that Arrow is set to continue this downward spiral. But the question is — can it be saved?
In order to win back fans, Arrow is going to have to face some major changes — first and foremost by realizing that nobody wants to see another Black Canary. We all theorized on the potentially awesome idea that Black Siren would take up the mantle, but instead of using that, the show dangled the hope in our faces before revealing a new candidate for the mantle in the exact same episode. If Arrow truly wants to win its fans back, the show must realize that short of bringing Laurel back from the dead, the only acceptable option for the next Black Canary is Black Siren. And as they alluded to that when Oliver commented that he's keeping her close just in case he can reach her, there's still hope that it might happen.
Moreover, the show could also benefit from making Felicity less polarizing. They were on the right track, but the mid-season premiere completely killed her character once again — she came across as reckless and immature. Now this damage isn't reversible — they proved that already with the early Season 5 episodes. If the show can come up with a way to successfully introduce Black Siren as the next Canary and curtail Felicity's jealousy, perhaps it can win back some of the support it lost after the mid-season premiere.
Were you disappointed with the mid-season premiere? Let us know in the comments!