Arrow: ‘Second Chances’ Review
Team Arrow seeks to catch a new Black Canary.
Warning: This is a spoiler review, period.
Arrow has been kicking ass in its fifth season. Yes, occasionally they have some slip ups, not going to lie. That, however, was not the case with the episode ‘Second Chances’. This was an action-packed episode with some really good developments, and a pleasant surprise for DC comic book fans.
The random woman we encountered at the end of last week’s episode now has a name, Tina Boland (Juliana Harkavy). Tina had the spotlight this week. It was obvious she was a metahuman since she had the ability to let out a sonic scream without the use of a device. Last week, I thought her appearance was incredibly convenient since Oliver was going on about fulfilling his promise to Laurel on finding a new Black Canary for the team. After trying to get Black Siren to use her powers for good, and failing to convince her to do so, Tina’s introduction seemed ridiculously convenient. Thankfully, she turned out to be a complex character with some bad ass fighting skills. Although it was starting to get annoying watching her constantly reject Oliver’s proposal to join Team Arrow, it became clearer as the episode progressed that she had a clear mission to kill the man who killed her partner and lover, and no one was going to stop her. Not to mention, homegirl clearly had trust issues. I’m actually glad she ended up killing Sonus by brutally shooting him after Oliver couldn’t talk her out of it. Not feeling better about killing her enemy is just what was needed to get her to join the team. It made the second chance theme make more sense because now she can do some good after committing so many violent acts. Harkavy’s performance is what elevated the character’s motivations. I was convinced I was looking at a true tortured soul who could only progress by finishing what she set out to do.
Then she dropped a bombshell when she revealed Tina was her undercover name. That her real name was (drumroll) Dinah Drake. Yes, the original Black Canary from the DC comics. That is super awesome. They have made Dinah Drake cannon for the show. This opens the door to so many possibilities. I’m not an expert on Green Arrow cannon in the comics, but Oliver and Dinah become very close.
For now, I’d like to see Dinah as a valuable asset to the team. I don’t want to see her and Oliver become anything more than teammates for now. They clearly have a connection, being that they both have dark pasts and a lot to atone for. He sees her as his second chance, and she needs Team Arrow to get hers. So there’s a lot to work with just by that notion alone. A love affair is the last thing Oliver needs right now. Actually, now that I think of it, what happened to that reporter chick?
Talia al Ghul is already making the flashbacks a whole lot more interesting. Lexa Doig is really good as this character. Her knowledge on Oliver shows how resourceful she is. That can also prove how dangerous she can be. Turns out after all these years, she was Oliver’s final push to become the Arrow, or rather, The Hood. She gave him the first suit. Apparently, Oliver lacks originality since this whole time he’s been saying Talia’s words every time he says his “someone else/something else” line. Having Talia be the one to have trained Oliver to become the Arrow makes a lot of sense. Every though Oliver has gone through so many adventures with these flashbacks, his fighting technique has always seemed a bit more rough than the graceful warrior he was when the series started. Even way, I’m already anticipating more interaction between Ollie and Talia. I’m hoping we get more Russian gangster killing from these two. There’s even a chance she’ll find her way into the present day. Possibly a new foe for Oliver once he deals with Prometheus. Then again, she has proven she’s capable of doing her homework on people. Is it possible she might be Prometheus? Or could she have provided Prometheus with the information he has on Oliver? It’s going to be very interesting seeing how this plays out. We might even get a cameo from Ra’s al Ghul somewhere in the past.
I gotta say, I really enjoyed the sight of seeing Oliver Queen, Rene and Curtis chilling at Big Belly Burger while staying in Hub City. The fact that there were two scenes at this location makes it even funnier. I loved the subtle humor of Oliver’s disapproval towards Rene eating habits.
Speaking of Rene, with the interaction he had with Curtis last week, I was happy to see them share another scene of dialogue. It was a brief scene, but it gave Rene a better understanding on why he’s a part of the team. It was also cool to see Curtis embrace his tech skills once again, creating a dampener device for meta powers, and spending his time in the field on coms doing surveillance work. I love that these characters feel important now. They have a purpose. It’s just a shame that Ragman’s worth keeps lessening every week. For two weeks, he hasn’t even worn his costume, man.
Diggle is still in prison and the corrupt general is still out to have him killed. Ugh… Thankfully, steps are being taken to not only get Dig out of prison, but also take down the general for his crimes. By next week Diggle should be back as Spartan, fighting by Oliver’s side. I truly wonder if the writers came to the conclusion that their treatment of Diggle this season has been lackluster, and now they are trying to do away with this dull storyline, and getting back to what works. Which is Spartan kicking ass.
Diggle’s imprisonment called for Felicity to push her hacking skills to the limit in order to get dirt of the general. She hit a brick wall and required help from a mini-Felicity calling herself Kojo Sledgehammer. Kojo was part of a hacktivist group out to hack into powerful organizations, similar to what Felicity did when she was a goth chick in college. This development may take down the general, but Felicity’s freedom may be at stake. Apparently, there are rumors suggesting Felicity is headed towards some dark times. In last week’s review, I mentioned I’d like to see the character take on some dark themes. Looks like they might go that route after all.
It felt like there was action every five minutes in this episode. Naturally, I loved that. The stunt work was outstanding. There was a lot of exciting gunplay, giving Wild Dog plenty of opportunity to spray bad guys with his dual automatic pistols. The Bratva flashback had Oliver capping off a gang of Russian baddies in a beautifully choreographed gun battle which may have been a single take shot. I question that because there was a moment the camera zoomed into Oliver’s back, leaving it open for a cut. Either way, very impressive scene. Green Arrow versus the helicopter though! That was one of the coolest stunts Green Arrow has ever done. I hope it was really Stephen Amell himself, swinging around, kicking bad guys. And then to have him blow up the damn helicopter with an explosive arrow, looking all bad ass as he turned his back during the explosion. ‘Cause that’s what bad asses do. Oliver was on top of his game this week. We also got as close to the boxing glove arrow as we’re ever going to get when he shot a rubber tipped arrow to knock down Tina during a pursuit. Every action set piece was terrific. I had a blast watching this episode.
‘Second Chances’ was another season best, delivering awesome action, and plenty of intrigue. We were given not only a new Black Canary, but THE Black Canary from the comics. We also got to know this version of Talia al Ghul, and she was great. Both new characters made impressive debuts. They have a lot of potential, and they’ll both have a strong impact on Oliver. I am so excited to see how Dinah will fit in with the team.