Alright Arrow, let’s see if you can somehow stick the back half or if you decide to shit the bed once again. If “Who Are You?” is any indication we are probably looking at a mostly decent back half. I mean Prometheus is still fun, Ollie is taking less and less shit, the flashbacks are filling out nicely, and the Diggle plot is decent. There are just some aspects on the fringes of the show that unfortunately seem like they are going to drag down the series for shits and giggles. “Who Are You?” is great example of tackling the bigger issues with the front half of the season while still managing to build the back half up. However, here we are starting the back half and just waiting to see if Arrow has finally gotten the message or if they are simply going to keep writing checks that they can’t cash.
So, for the good things it was definitely nice to see Black Siren again even if it was only for a brief moment. Katie Cassidy really enjoys playing this sadistic and mostly asshole-ish type of Laurel. Watching her toy with Oliver and aim to tear down the team at Prometheus’ behest definitely added something that was clearly missing in her first appearance. What was truly great is now we have this added layer of whether or not Siren can somehow be redeemed. Unfortunately this will probably go nowhere, but the idea of Oliver reforming one of his greatest failures is not a bad idea in principle. I am left wondering if and when Siren will be integrated or if the big failure of the episode is simply going to take up the Canary mantel. I mean Siren got nerfed pretty hard this week considering how powerful she is supposed to be.
Stephen Amell also manages to do some really nice work this weak with all of his material. You can see him striving to redeem himself for letting Laurel die, and it plays nicely with the idea of flashback Oliver becoming a monster during his time on the island. Even more you can see Oliver viewing himself in Siren and wanting to find redemption and a kernel of for both of them. Even his freak out at Felicity for disobeying orders was a great moment. I mean I completely understand why Felicity wants Prometheus dead, but unleashing a psychotic meta in order to track him down was super dangerous even for the team. I really hope we get to see this type of Oliver more in the back half as he needs the team to know that freelancing ends up putting everyone at risk.
Similarly you had a really nice arc resolving some of the larger issues with Curtis this season. I mean just how much has he gotten his as kicked this year, I have seriously lost track. Here we see, with a little help from Rene Curtis is finding a balanced role on the team. He is not a heavy like Rene or Rory, he has to be more subtle in how he helps the team deal with their problems. It was also strong for him to finally realize the cost of being a vigilante. He has seemingly lost the one person he loves because of his own selfish desires, so for Curtis to seek redemption in the eyes of Paul is a great motive for being a hero. Rick Gonzalez and Echo Kellum do some good work in hashing out their differences and Gonzalez in particular has done a great job of making Rene the weird moral center of the recruits.
Speaking of nice arcs, why didn’t we just do this whole Diggle and Adrian arc at the beginning of the year? I mean it is great seeing Josh Segarra really lean into being a tough DA and watching David Ramsey develop a strange kinship with the innocuous public defender. I mean sure, this is going to end badly with Diggle finding out Adrian is really Vigilante, but for the time being seeing Adrian outwit the sleezebag general was just awesome. I hope that Diggle is able to help Adrian find some sort of center as Vigilante, or at least not become an accessory to his outrageous murder spree. Seriously, this is going to be really fun to watch play out.
Unfortunately with all of this good there was just one majorly sucky moment in the reveal of a possible new Black Canary. It feels as if the writers are missing the point of why Laurel is important to Olivers story, you can’t just throw the costume and the cry onto some other character and have it work. You need there to be a serious emotion connection and belief in what the new Canary is doing. I am going to try and reserve judgement until we get to learn more about her, but not a strong start.
Overall it was a strong return, but the edges are beginning to fray and that might not be good.
Final Grade B+
+Black Siren being sadistic
+Oliver looking for redemption
-Siren being nerfed hard
-Apparently anyone can be Black Canary
-So Talia Al Ghul is her and apparently looking for Oliver. This should be fun.
-You know Star Labs Security is a running joke but Jesus. No one saw Prometheus at all?
-Lost in all this is ARGUS now has a new Suicide squad forming with Siren and King Shark being locked up. I want that episode.