Previously on Arrow, the mystery of who was in the grave was finally revealed, to much consternation from the fandom. Viewers have had a few weeks to come to grips with the loss of one of the show’s longest-running characters and one of Team Arrow’s resources both in and out of her crimefighting costume. I’m speaking, of course, about Laurel Lance, a.k.a. Black Canary. R.I.P.
Katie Cassidy, however, was afforded at least one more go-round with the Arrow cast on tonight’s episode, “Canary Cry”, an hour that had its soap opera knob dialed up to full melodrama. The writers could have used the gap between this and the previous episode to allow Team Arrow to grieve and move on; instead, “Canary Cry” was a grievous example of this show stretching its story for all it’s worth without moving things forward whatsoever. Let’s get into it.
We’ll start with the flashback sequences tonight because they’re used as a bit of a fake-out for viewers. No, we’re not tripping back to magical times on Lian Yu in this episode. Instead, we go back to 2013 at a time when Tommy Merlyn had just died in the assault on The Glades and Quentin Lance had curiously sprouted an untidy mop of hair. These flashbacks exist solely for Oliver and Laurel to spend some more screen-time together, saying their final goodbyes out of time and out of sync with the flow of the rest of the episode and the series overall. This could have been a sweet send-off for Cassidy if the rest of the episode had been anything but dull, dreary, and depressing.
For the bulk of this episode, Team Arrow is grieving the loss of Laurel and/or fuming over the betrayal of Diggle’s brother, Andy. Damien Darhk is on the run, now magically powered once again and with a small army of convicts to act out his plans. His wife, Ruvé Adams, is now Mayor of Star City and she has a particular interest in knocking off the vigilantes who oppose her husband and his plans for Genesis. Add to that the fact that a copycat Canary is running around the city stealing guns and using Laurel’s stolen sonic device to wreak havoc.
Sounds interesting, right? And yet somehow “Canary Cry” took all of the interesting elements and drowned them out in a sad slog of expositional dialogue about how each and everyone of them was feeling. The only one that opted for action over talk therapy was Diggle, who took the fight directly to Mayor Adams and nearly put her down for good as Spartan. He was stopped in the nick of time by Green Arrow, but rather than have a bro brawl in the street, Oliver simply talked him down. It’s a tactic he repeated later on in both of his encounters with the imposter Canary, essentially opting out of any stunt sequences whatsoever.
The new Canary’s origin story was a needed twist to Arrow’s stagnating plot. Unfortunately, it was a mystery that was completely unraveled and explained away in the same episode it was introduced in. Evelyn Sharp was the daughter of an athletically gifted family who was kidnapped and held hostage by Damien Darhk at the Reddington Industrial plant. Though Team Arrow attempted to save them, Evelyn’s parents were ultimately killed. She saw Black Canary in action and decided to pick up her mantle, as well as her sonic device. Evelyn clearly had some technical aptitude since she modified the device to be able to use it (Cisco has previously tuned it to Laurel’s vocal chords so that only she could wield it) and even powered it up to deadly decibel levels.
And yet, this new Canary was brushed aside so easily. Yes, the team was worried about her violent nature tarnishing Sara/Laurel Lance’s run as the various Canaries, but they seemed less concerned with her actually killing someone (ie the Mayor) or with capturing her to turn her over to the authorities. Oh well, I guess the new Canary can live to fight crime another day? I thought for a moment that perhaps The CW was setting up a new, younger generation of Team Arrow members in case of the ultimate fallout, so it’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on in future episodes.
Oliver outs Laurel as the Black Canary to the world at episode’s end, which not only cements the idea that Laurel is actually gone in Quentin and Dinah’s minds (welcome back, Alex Kingston!), it prevents Mayor Adams from dragging her name through the mud based on Evelyn’s behavior. We also wrap up this episode with the same closing moments that closed out the Season 4 premiere, except that the gravestone is now revealed as Dinah Laurel Lance’s, which also reads Black Canary. Farewell, for real this time.
I really hope Arrow gets itself turned around in the final four episodes of the season. They have a long way to go (and hopefully some budget banked) to bring Darhk down in an epic fashion, which is the only way that Season 4 will be salvaged. Like Oliver says at the episode’s end, Darhk is quite powerful now and Oliver has no clue how to fight back against the darkness that powers him. As long as he decides to fight rather than philosophize, it’ll be a step in the right direction.
Review: ★★ Fair
Laurel: “He was so much more than just a billionaire playboy.” This line right here…
More ridiculous was Quentin Lance’s hair. This is 2013. We don’t need Legends of Tomorrow wigs popping up and screwing up the canon.
Canary: “You have failed this city!”
So this episode is the first time we’re hearing of Reddington Industrial, yes?
Why was Felicity wearing a mo-cap sweater?
Oliver: “Sometimes we just need a reason when the situation is unreasonable.” … what?
Is it time for a Spartan spin-off series?
So it seems our new resident Canary is inspired by none other than Evelyn Crawford, a.k.a. Starling.
Drink every time someone says, “That girl.”
Thea: “As far as the rest of the world’s concerned, the Black Canary is a gun-toting, would-be murderer.”
The scene transitions are normally okay on this show, but the idea that Laurel Lance had a framed picture of an angel-topped tombstone in her house is…strange. Is it supposed to be Tommy’s or are we not supposed to ask questions? (Mustn’t ask us; not it’s business.)
This episode ends the same way Season 4’s premiere ended, with the arrival of Barry Allen at Laurel’s graveside. But how does Barry have his speed back at this point? The timing, among other things, must be a bit off between the series.