DISCLAIMER: FULL SPOILERS FOR ARROW S03E13 'CANARIES' BELOW
By now, Arrow has established itself as a great show. Because of it's success we got The Flash, and we're going to get a Supergirl show, for which I thank it. However, season 3 has fallen a bit behind the first two seasons. Ollie's fight with Ra's was great, but his return (and especially the reaction of Team Arrow) felt rushed. Although not a perfect episode, 'Canaries' definitely has it's moments, and most importantly, it opens up the possibility of a great second half of the season.
The episode kicks off with the Canaries fighting. It was a nice flash forward to start the episode with, but unfortunately the fight felt dull. Usually Arrow has some great choreography, but something about this scene just didn't work. The fighting was stale, and the acting even worse so.
We saw in the preview that Vertigo was getting back in business, so it was no surprise that it was the result that we saw in the opening scene. It was supposed to show Laurel's inner conflict with losing Sara, donning her jacket, and basically becoming her. The truth is, it didn't really do anything.
However, and let's skip ahead a bit, the second time she fights Vertigo it gets better. This is mostly thanks to Paul Blackthorne (Cap. Lance), since he delivers a great performance in this scene. The only issue I had here was that Vertigo had Laurel in a choke for what felt like two minutes, just so she could go through her issues, come out stronger on the other side, and take him down.
Talking about Captain Lance, after Laurel has a nice heart-to-heart with Felicity, goes back out there to show the 'light' in her, and faces her demons, she decides it's finally tell her father the truth about Sara. Even with everything that went on with the rest, which I'll definitely talk about below!! This was my personal favorite scene of the episode. Not only was it perfectly written so that it makes you feel for a bit like Laurel isn't going to tell her dad after all, the acting was spot on. I am personally not a fan of Laurel and how Katie Cassidy portrays the badass Black Canary, but this was my favorite scene from her so far. A lot of the criticism Arrow gets is because of it's 'plain acting', and while I get where people are coming from, this scene was nowhere near there. Paul Blackthorne was able to deliver another great performance here, as we see him waiting till he's able to tell Laurel he knows she's the Canary, and completely and utterly breaking down once Laurel tells him Sara is dead. On Katie Cassidy's side she was able to (finally) convey the struggle going on inside her of wanting to tell her dad, whilst also wishing she could save him the hurt. To the point where it feels like she nearly doesn't tell him.
Afterwards Ollie acknowledges her as a real part of Team Arrow, and everyone's happy.
Now on to the good stuff.
Okay, it might not be thát big of a surprise, but still. This is a really big deal, mostly because this is the first step to the boss fight, literally. Ollie needs Merlyn's help because he was trained by Ra's. So Ollie needs Merlyn to train him, but wait a second! Merlyn also trained Thea! And that's why this is a big deal. With Ollie and Thea off on Lian Yu to face their fears, part one of the bad guy training the good guys to defeat the even worse guy? More bad guy? Badder bad guy? Worse bad guy? I don't know, all I know is: it has commenced.
While Laurel was dealing with her issues, and Roy was trying to be the man for once, Thea had some tough situations to deal with. First she saw Laurel beaten half to death, so she went home to have some sexual relief, only to have her lover try and poison her right after he got the goods. Lucky for us, Roy did actually step up to the plate, and came to her rescue, only to get beaten himself. But yes, there he was, Merlyn came back to save his daughter.
Wait. So they need three guys to kill one of Ra's' guys? Yikes.....
And then there were the flashbacks. Maseo leaving and lying about where he was going; Ollie staying to send a message to his mom, only to be captured, tortured, and have the message be interrupted and deleted; and Maseo coming back to save Ollie. It all didn't really come as a surprise. However, one again, I'm going to let it slide because COME ON, OLLIE'S BACK IN STARLING?!?!?
Okay, it was bound to happen at some point, but it'll be really great to see Tommy again, and exactly what's happening in Starling that Waller needs Ollie there. There's also a nice parallel there, with the flashbacks and real-time events switching places in terms of location, with Ollie and Thea going to Lian Yu, and past Ollie going coming to Starling.
And finally, some last remarks. What bugged me the most about this episode of Arrow was the fact that Thea had such an out of proportions reaction after Ollie revealed he was the Arrow. I'm not entirely sure that she's showing close to bipolar traits, but the one moment she wanted her distance from Ollie because he lied to her a ton, then he reveals another lie and she turns on Malcolm. I get that Malcolm betrayed her, but to suddenly want to have nothing to do with him, because a (not even that influential on the matter) fact has come to light, while almost worshiping Ollie out of nowhere doesn't add up. However, it does make me look forward to her facing her fears on Lian Yu, because she sure seems to have trust issues.
And then to end on a more positive note: the argument. It begins with Thea walking in on Team Arrow helping Laurel after she went into shock, and Ollie shouting at Thea to go upstairs. Roy tries to defend Thea by standing up to Ollie, and then things get interesting. After Thea leaves Roy and Oliver go head to head and Diggle jumps in, only to have Felicity come out and say that they need this. And I couldn't agree more.
Sure, all Olicity fans got their hearts broken last week, but the reaction of Team Arrow to Ollie's return was sub-par. Now everyone has the chance to say what's on their mind, which basically means Roy and Felicity shouting and directing some emotions at Oliver. And although Diggle takes a step back during the argument, he comes up to Ollie right after and gives him one of those heartfelt speeches we've come to love.
Up next! Team Arrow teaming up with Merlyn, Oliver and Thea hanging out with Deathstroke on Lian Yu, Oliver stalking family and friends in the flashbacks, and seeing Superman don his suit. Woops, wrong superhero. Wrong format even... But yes! After we saw F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. in all of it's glory on the previous episode of The Flash, it's nearly time for A.T.O.M.!
Gotta love those acronyms.