Arrow: Birds of Prey

Thea: "Why is so hard for everyone to just tell the truth?"

Was this a Huntress episode that didn't suck? Maybe that whole Huntress spin-off idea isn't totally silly after all.

There was an interview earlier this week with a producer of Arrow that floated the idea of doing a Huntress spin-off. I don't know how viable that idea is though. Sure this was a marked improvement over the last time she showed up. I think she did much better with the emotional stuff after her father was dead. It gives me hope that perhaps the actress is strong enough to pull off the lead... that is, if they let her emote.

The basic problem with Huntress up till now has been her total lack of emotion. For someone hell bent on revenge, she should be angry. Instead she's been cold, shut down. As a character choice it isn't necessarily a bad one, especially for someone that has to be stoic to some degree. I just think it was taken a bit too far. Unfortunately it looks like that spin-off idea is gonna be set in the year where she was killing mobsters. That doesn't sound good to me.

The rest of the episode that wasn't focused on Huntress, which was a surprising amount, centered around siblings to our two superheroes. Laurel and Thea are still the only two characters in the cast that are completely in the dark (except for Moira who has other kinds of information so she doesn't count). Neither learned anything, but in both situations the truth might've been advantageous. Because they 'need' to be protected, they are subjected to confusion and pain.

I know I've said this before, but it just doesn't feel like the right way to deal with things. Yet, it's cool that the emotional toll of these kinds of lies are being explored. I'll admit I'm from the group of nerds who don't buy into the 'superhero lying for their loved one's own good' trope. I'm just glad it isn't being written off as one sided here.

I am curious though. Are both Laurel and Thea on a path towards finding out about their family's true identities? I swear it looked like Sara was about to come clean to Laurel. And Oliver might have to reveal himself to Thea during her rescue. At least I'm hopeful she's rescued. I'm very fond of Thea. Enough that the stuff with Roy was not fun to sit through. Poor Roy, you could see his emotions so clearly, and even Thea knew what he was doing. I'm pretty sure if she lives through this one, he's not going to be able to let go again.

Island Flashbacks:

Anatoly continued to be a good friend, this time to Sara. That entire situation was so awkward, but at least we know how Oliver got that tattoo on his back now. I'd always assumed it was in tribute to Shado, and in a way it is. Not too thrilled about the torture though, but I loved the shout out to Spartacus. Otherwise it wasn't a big Island flashback episode.

Comic Book Bits:

The Birds of Prey are a kind of continuing legacy title that has had several mini-series, series, and specials since the mid-90's. It's a primarily all female group with Barbara Gordon (as Oracle) and Black Canary as the central characters. Huntress has also been a fairly central character as well, essentially filling in for Black Canary when she left for a time.


I know we've seen them together before, but that shot of Team Arrow standing together struck me this time. The team is steadily growing.

Laurel magically got her job back. Sure that prick Assistant D.A. was playing her, but she still ended up employed again. That was too fast. At least they addressed it in the episode.

So the Mirakuru is so powerful that when Roy got shot in the hand, he was healed by the next day. That's distinctly in super-hero territory. Or are they building him up to be a villain? I'm honestly not sure at this point. One thing is for sure, what happens with Thea will probably be a decider.

Having Oliver call Roy Speedy was nice. Not only was it a way to get him to snap out of his rage by using Thea's nickname, but it was the first time he was called by his comic book alias.

That moment where Quentin called Oliver was a lot of fun. It was a good save, but at this point I'm seriously surprised Quentin hasn't figured it out.

Both Laurel and Thea said 'No' when they were given no real option. First when Roy tried to break up with Thea, and then when Sara tried to leave with Laurel.

I hate to say it, but Laurel is starting to grow on me again.

I wish Thea wasn't so underutilized. I think she's one of the most improved characters from last season.

I wonder if Slade might not just have Oliver to deal with. Papa Merlyn is still lurking out there in the shadows.

Small correction; in the last review I mentioned that Harley Quinn had never had a live action appearance. I was wrong -- she was a primary villain in the short lived series Birds of Prey (which is also, coincidentally, the title of this episode). Thank you, Zapdower, for pointing this out.


Diggle: "Helena Bertinelli. Daughter of Mafia boss Frank Bertinelli."
Felicity: "Or as I like to call her, Oliver's psycho ex-girlfriend hell-bent on revenge against her father."
Sara: "Ex-girlfriend?"
Oliver: "That's what you took from that sentence?"

Helena: "Oliver sure does like to dress up his girls."

Oliver: "I'm with Lance as Oliver and he just called the Arrow."
Felicity: "Oh. Oh! It's getting really hard to keep track of who knows whose secret identity."

Felicity: "Anyone with boobs can get a frat boy to do anything."

Roy: "For the record, don't call me Speedy."

Oliver: "I thought I was helping you control it."
Roy: "You are. I can't look at a bowl of water without slapping it."

I didn't love this one, but I was pleasantly surprised.

3 out of 4 Birds of Prey
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Freeman said...

I still don't like Huntress, but maybe now she'll have more to do than put innocent lives at risk for her obsession with killing her dad. An opportunity, mind you, that she squandered twice in this episode. You could say it was hesitation but that's not how it was indicated onscreen.

I thought it was funny that Ollie was giving Roy advice on how to handle his relationships. Sorry Ollie but that's not exactly your strongest area. It also was a bit off because Ollie's well aware Thea's practically Roy's only tether keeping him from going all ballistic. Pretty sure this is the first step to Roy becoming Arsenal. I just kinda hope they do a few more Arrow and Speedy episodes before Roy jumps ship.

Now that Thea's been put in the line of fire, I suspect Merlyn will show up for a little impromptu team up at some point. I've been feeling that it would be a pretty logical step considering his thing with family.

My biggest complaint with the episode was the Canary and Huntress showdown. Those two fights, particularly the first scrap were probably the weakest I've seen on this show. They were practically fighting in slow-motion and lacked the visceral impact and flow the fights usually have.

ChrisB said...

What struck me while watching this episode is how well women are portrayed in this series. The writers have avoided the angel/whore trap and shown their women to be human. Each has a defining characteristic, yet each has both dark and light sides. All kudos to the writing staff, especially in a series based on a superhero man.

I really liked this one. Unlike Freeman, I thought the fight scenes, especially the second, were kickass and fun.

CrazyCris said...

I'm with ChrisB on this. Love how the women are portrayed in this series!!! And the fights were fun. :o)

I'm pretty sure Lance has put 2 and 2 together by now. Come on, with Sara back from the dead all kick-ass and hanging out with Ollie and him knowing that Sara is the Canary and is always with the Arrow? If he hasn't figured it out on his own I'd be terribly disappointed... I'm picturing a future episode with Lance mortally wounded telling the Arrow "Oliver, take care of Laurel/Sara" and Ollie being "since when did you know?"

J.D. Balthazar said...

I will admit the action wasn't quite up to the same speed as the fights we've seen on this show before. It was still better than a lot of action scenes I've seen elsewhere though.

As for Huntress, I should clarify that I don't really like her yet either. I just feel this was a step in the right direction.

I also agree that Oliver forcing Roy to break up with Thea was a bit of a bad idea. Still, there's always a chance Roy could go off the deep end and hurt her. He's mildly unstable, and romantic relationships don't always lead to rational thoughts or actions. Combine the two, and Oliver has a point.

Onanymous said...

I loved the little shout-out to Gail Simone, the writer of the Birds of Prey comics.