I believe I have already said this before, but this season of Arrow is my favorite since season 2 and I am liking it better than the current seasons of the other CW superhero shows. This episode, titled “Second Chances” is unfortunately not a shining example of why. It wasn’t a bad episode, but there just wasn’t a whole lot there, save for a couple of cool scenes.
The bulk of this episode dealt with Oliver and the rest of the team trying to track down this ex-cop who gained powers much like Black Canary’s when the particle accelerator exploded in Central City. At the beginning of the episode, Oliver is hesitant to approve of anyone the team is showing him as a possible replacement for Laurel. Felicity then tells Oliver that he can’t keep holding these candidates up to the standard of Laurel, because that will be almost impossible to match. I genuinely had a good chuckle to myself at that line. Listen, I always liked Laurel for the most part, and I was never one of the Arrow fans who constantly bashed on her character all the time, but the reality is her fight scenes never looked convincing. She trained with Ted Grant for a couple months and then all of a sudden we are supposed to believe she was right up there with her sister Sarah in skill level? No madam, I reject that. Anyways, moving on now from that little rant.
Once Oliver agrees to track down this ex-cop, they travel to Hub City, where she has been working as a vigilante. Through flashbacks, we get to see what happened to her the night of the particle accelerator explosion. She was being tortured by a group of men, and then had her partner murdered right in front of her just as the energy wave hit her and bestowed her with those Black Canary like screaming powers. In the present day, she is now hunting down the men who killed her partner and tortured her. When Oliver and Rene first track down Boland, she gives off the whole loner, tortured soul vibe. She even gives her rendition of the whole “don’t get in my way or I will take you down too” line. I mean, I expected that I guess, but it’s just so tired at this point that I kind of wish they would have gone a different route with it. Like maybe have her immediately agree to join the team, just as soon as she finishes getting her vengeance. It would have been something different at least. However, that’s not what happens, and instead we then spend the rest of the episode with Oliver trying to convince her to let them help her finish this. As it turns out, the main guy she is after got powers from the explosion as well, allowing him to induce some kind of vertigo like state in people, making them feel sick and whatnot.
Eventually, Boland tracks down the man responsible for her partner’s death, and although Oliver tries to convince her not to kill him, she doesn’t listen and puts about three or four rounds in him to finish him off. I’m glad that she killed him, it was consistent with the tone and feel of her character throughout the episode. Also, I am getting pretty tired of Oliver always giving other vigilantes shit for killing these awful people, especially now that he is killing again too. Afterwards, Oliver tries appealing to Boland one more time, but she takes off, presumably not interested in taking Oliver up on his offer. This of course changes when she suddenly shows up at the Mayor’s office in Star City and tells Oliver that she will now join the team. Her fight scenes looked pretty decent in the episode, so here’s hoping she makes a more convincing Black Canary than Laurel did.
In this week’s flashbacks, we get a whole lot more of Talia Al Ghul, which I can at this point say is a good thing. I was nervous about how she would be played, but I am liking it thus far. She has some good scenes in this episode, usually consisting of her telling Oliver how things need to go, which shows that take charge attitude that I was hoping to see from her character. I am still curious to see if Oliver ever finds out who Talia is in the flashbacks. I would guess not, since that would bring into question why her name never came up during season three, when we were dealing with all of the Ras Al Ghul stuff. I am definitely looking forward to seeing how these flashbacks play out, and I hope that Talia appears in the present timeline at some point.
As far as subplots go, there was really only one in this episode. It had Felicity trying to use her hacker skills to find dirt on the man who is trying to frame Diggle for the crimes he is being charged with. She eventually is contacted by someone who says they have something that could help her. Felicity decides to meet this person in public, and it turns out to be a girl who was inspired by Felicity’s hacktivist ways back in the day before she stopped that kind of stuff. She gives Felicity the information, but also tells her there is other information on the flash drive, and insinuates that she expects Felicity to put it to good use. Felicity then gives the information to Oliver and he uses it to seemingly end this side story for good. At least the episode made it seem like this was pretty much the death blow to the general’s frame job. Now that we have covered the storylines in this episode, let’s talk about some of my favorite scenes.
- In one scene, Boland uses her screaming power on one of her torturers at super close range. Not only does this kill him, but we get a close up of his face, seeing blood coming out of his nose, eyes, and ears. This woman isn’t fucking about.
- Seeing Diggle’s reaction when they tell him that this nightmare is pretty much over, and that he is going to go home, is pretty great. You can see genuine emotion on his face. The scene is played great by David Ramsey.
- I think my favorite scene this week was one of the flashback scenes. In the scene, Oliver channels his inner John Wick and just systematically guns down a whole mess of folks in what is a pretty badass sequence.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but once again it did nothing to further the Prometheus storyline, and there wasn’t even really a villain this week, other than the guy that Boland was hunting down. Oh, and before I forget, the fact that she reveals at the end of the episode that her real name is actually Dinah, honestly just feels way too on the nose and unnecessary. I enjoyed this episode, but I feel like it wasn’t as strong as most of the episodes this season have been.