Wednesday, March 26, 2014

REVIEW: 'Arrow' - The Huntress Returns, the Lance Sisters Bond and Roy Has to Break Up with Thea in 'Birds of Prey'

The CW's Arrow - Episode 2.17 Birds of Prey

Oliver knows it's only a matter of time before The Huntress returns to town after her father is arrested. To make matters worse, Laurel is picked to try the case. Oliver tells Sara he will handle his ex-girlfriend, but when she takes hostages at the courthouse, including Laurel, the Canary will stop at nothing to save her sister and an epic battle begins. Meanwhile, Roy tries to keep Thea safe but doesn't like the way he is forced to do it.

The creation of The Huntress was one of the better stories from the first season. It occurred early in the run and showed just how creative and dynamic the series could be. The show has come a long way since then. Jessica de Gouw has spent some time on NBC's Dracula but now is back to finally conclude the hanging story arc. She returns to a show that has a much better sense of what it wants to be. It now has a strong center of characters bouncing off of each other in interesting and engaging ways.

In comparison, the Huntress doesn't seem like that much more satisfying as a villain. She has had more development than the typical villain-of-the-week. This is her fourth episode after all. And yet, the events of "Birds of Prey" do feel like a conclusion for The Huntress character. Her ultimate goal was to kill her father because he killed her fiancé. That became her one defining characteristic rather quickly. So, her return here to finish that mission seems very one-note. The action and hostage situation make for a great episodic story and are very entertaining to watch. However, things end just how you would expect them too - with Frank Bertinelli dying but at the hands of someone else and the Huntress not feeling any satisfaction from it. Her closing scene with Oliver offers a much more layered version of the character as she realizes how empty she still feels even after his death. But that was also such a small part of the episode.

Elsewhere, the Canary and Laurel bonded when forced together during the hostage situation. It feels extremely odd that Laurel doesn't recognize her sister - even in the mask and wig. And yet, she opens up to her exactly like a sister. She proves her strength to Canary even though she wants to do so for her sister. And yet, she's actually doing it for her sister now. It's all a bit too complex than it needed to be.

Lastly, Oliver told Roy to break up with Thea in order to better keep her out of harm's way. Personally, I think she would be in as much danger with or without him - so this development doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's all a way for her to feel devastated and open up to Oliver that he is the only person who doesn't lie to her - which we all know is such a big lie. But more importantly, she needed to end the episode on that street alone so Slade could roll up in his car to take her. It's a twist the show was written towards even though it had to force the characters to do unusual things to get into that situation. It sets up a really interesting episode next week. But it came from plot necessity and not character motivation.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Birds of Prey" was written by Mark Bemesderfer & A.C. Bradley and directed by John Behring.
  • Roy doesn't want to be called Speedy!
  • Who was that guy shooting during the trade-off anyway? One of The Huntress' men? If so, he did a really bad job keeping her plan intact. Or was it one of the S.W.A.T. law enforcement guys? Their addition was so weird and underserved. 
  • And Quentin Lance still has no clue that Oliver is the Arrow - even though he called him and Oliver's phone started ringing!