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REVIEW: Arrow 5×11 “Second Chances”

If an episode title could ever actually be representative of a shows trajectory here you have it, Arrow basically begging to be forgiven for all of the shit we have had to endure. Well, I guess its time to earn their third chance. So, “Second Chances” takes a brand new character we have no formal relationship with and basically forces us to maybe kinda of like her. I mean there is theoretically nothing wrong with Tina as a character, she is a badass who doesn’t take any of Ollie’s shit and is clearly working in a moral gray area. All the while we have some classic season one shenanigans going on in the flashbacks as Oliver meets his new mentor Talia Al Ghul and learns he needs to become something else. Realistically this all should have felt like heavy pandering to a skeptical fanbase, but here it just manages to skate by enough to not make me question its outright existence.

So, lets talk about the big elephant in the room Tina Boland or as she will now be referred to Dinah Drake. Lazy? Sure, but at this point there is a certain amount of laziness I have come to expect from the writers. I mean Dinah is everything Laurel should have been: confident, a well trained badass, a snarky asshole, and having a sweet Canary Cry. Juliana Harkavay does a solid job of making Oliver feel like an immature hypocrite and discovering her own path towards vengeance. I mean Oliver constantly is lecturing about not killing people to her and yet he manages to have a way higher body count by the end of the episode. Hopefully this will be addressed by someone Ollie needs to lead by example rather than simply saying not to murder. Either way I am excited to see Dinah integrate with the team, she actually seems fun.

While all of this is going on we managed to get a nice little flashback with Talia introducing herself and becoming Oliver’s new mentor. We gained a lot of new facts this week like the fact Talia trained Yao Fei, she has been watching Oliver, and that she is the one who persuaded him to don the moniker of the hood. However, with all of these answers we are left with more questions such as why the hell does Talia care so much about Oliver and the List? Lexa Doig does a great job of building up the mystery of Talia and I am left wondering what her endgame is, is it simply to get Oliver back to Starling and to take up his fathers quest? I mean this is Talia Al Ghul, she tends to play a much deeper and more elaborate game than most.

Unfortunately for the episode with a bunch of great material we were saddled with the worst possible way to get Diggle released from prison, having Felicity hack. I mean we set up just a really fun dynamic between Adrian and Diggle last week and now we sideline the fun idea of a Vigilante/Diggle storyline only to have Felicity hack our way out of it. It just feels so cheap not only to her as a character but to Diggle as well. I mean Diggle and Adrian could have schemed something up and created a gone the full A Few Good Men on this story, but now everything is about Felicity and the dark web rather than developing Diggle as a character outside the confines of the military. It just feels like shoddy use of both characters.

Despite that fact, the large majority of the episode was good and there was the added benefit of some great action in both the present and the past. Watching past Ollie basically mow down Kovar’s men was a pretty great sight with the added bonus of Ollie bashing that one dudes head in with his gun. However, for sheer ridiculousness I have to give it to Oliver firing an arrow into a helicopter and beating people up while being dragged by said helicopter. It was both awesome and hilarious to see Oliver being dragged around and punching people out. He also somehow managed to fire an arrow while being grappled to the helicopter because physics doesn’t exist anymore.

Overall It was a pretty strong episode, just couldn’t shed the dead weight unfortunately.

Final Grade B+

+Talia was great

+Dinah seems like a fun character

+Ridiculous action

-Felicity/Diggle subplot was super underwhelming

Extra Thoughts

-So I had to google who the hell Helix are. They are so D league its not even funny.

-Wild Dog’s love of cheeseburgers may need to be a running gag because I could not stop laughing.

-Most extraneous and funny Flash cameo yet “He’s Legit”. HA

-I feel like Ragman has gotten more annoying and every other word out of his mouth is to remind us he is jewish. I want psychopath Ragman back.

About the author

Scott Swartz