Arrow Season 5 Episode 10 – TV Review
After a season-so-far of joyous reversals of the disaster that was Season 4, will Arrow fix the greatest atrocity of last year and bring back Laurel?
Pfft. Nah. Felicity’s also been drinking from the Season 4 cup, again. So that’s not good.
TL;DR Laurel is cruelly shafted yet again, while Felicity reminds us just how frustrating she can be as a lead character; Curtis has some important realisations about his ineptitude; Adrian keeps Diggle above water through a legal technicality; flashback Oliver waits around for rescue.
But when your rescuer is Talia al Ghul, I’d like to think it’s worth the wait.
So Oliver wasn’t hallucinating when he saw Laurel last episode. But, unsurprisingly, it’s not our Laurel, and is in fact The Flash’s Earth-2 Laurel, Black Siren, and she’s on a mission from Prometheus to fuck our heroes up. Oliver, always the atoner, wants to believe in her claims that she’s operating under duress, but Felicity digs deep within herself to find the cuntishness that Season 5 tried to beat out of her, and mistrusts Black Siren at every turn. Sadly, Felicity is proven right (or is she!?), and the team takes her down. But don’t worry Katie Cassidy fans (myself included): there’s a random new chick in Hub City with a Canary Cry that the team will be looking to recruit. Blech. Meanwhile, Curtis finally clues into the fact that he’s fucking useless, and despite some pep talks from an earnest Wild Dog, he decides his tech skills are probably of more use to the team. I don’t know, bro. You wouldn’t call a punching bag useless, would you? Meanwhile, Oliver drafts Adrian to help Diggle in his legal scuffle against the corrupt general who’s framing him. And he does. And flashback Oliver gets beaten up for a bit by that Bratva executive who’s secretly in league with Kovar, before being saved by a bow-wielding (yes, there’s another one) Talia.
Al Ghul, I assume. Are there any other DC Talias I’m forgetting about?
Look, I’m happy to browse r/Arrow as much as the next virginal basement dweller. But the meltdown currently going on over there (only eclipsed by the meltdown from the last time Arrow took a scalding dump on Laurel) is pretty embarrassing.
Equally, though, I’m not blind to the Season 4 creep that is evident in Felicity returning to her intolerably self-righteous ways.
It only hurts all the more because Season 5 had, up until now, done away with all that.
Why bring it back now?
Why I hate this episode:
Again, I’m not an r/Arrow wristcutter, but I agree that Black Siren should stand more of a chance in a straight fight against Quirky IT Girl, screeching powers or no. Black Siren went a couple of blows with legit superhero The Flash, and then shrugged off getting hit by a car. Felicity’s flailing in with an obvious punch shouldn’t have put her down.
Black Siren could have also screamed Prometheus’ face off in an instant, so the fact that he was able to threaten her made no sense. Unless he’s meta or magic? Ugh.
And how did Prometheus know about the Legends and the Waverider, in specific detail, to be able to feed Black Siren her Laurel cover story? Maybe Artemis tipped him off, but damn, that’s a stretch. Hell, how did he know Black Siren was locked up in Star Labs?
Plot holes aside, the real downer this episode is the return of Felicity to her Untouchable Goddess pedestal that’s been collecting dust since last season ended. Get your fallout shelters ready, people (it’s a little late for you, Havenrock. Soz). Felicity’s back on top. And God save us if Donna’s not far behind.
And if having Felicity back to her shrill, nagging extremes wasn’t bad enough, Arrow gets her back in the field and has her deliver the knockout blow to Black Siren. It’s truly mystifying that the writers, with an entire squadron now of vigilantes (even Curtis can land a kick or two when he has to), have Felicity get out in the field to punch things. Stop it, show. Just stop it.
At least Felicity isn’t going to be a candidate for the next Black Canary. No, that honour is apparently going to be bestowed upon some random chick we get a glimpse of who beats up chauvanists using feminist stereotypes and a sonic scream. Why do we even need a replacement Black Canary? Can’t Oliver just look to recruit someone who has an original identity?
Thea is noticeably absent this episode, which is extra odd because she and Laurel had such a strong connection. Think of the drama that could have been mined when Thea found out it was Black Siren in disguise. But you know the real reason Thea isn’t here: because she would have disagreed with Felicity, natch. And we can’t have that.
Curtis makes yet more strained mentions about how he’s gay. In case we forgot. But we didn’t. Because he constantly makes strained mentions of it. So we don’t forget. And we haven’t. Because he constantly makes strained mentions of it.
Oh, and the gang are still convinced that Prometheus is that Justin Claybourne guy’s son. I refuse to believe the answer would be that banal, and so should the characters.
But it’s not all bad:
Prometheus is plot hole-creatingly resourceful, so good for him. I appreciate his competence as a villain.
But the real hero, who is a villain, of this episode is Katie Cassidy’s Black Siren. Unlike Felicity, who is just unbearable when she gets out the goth kit for her alter ego, Laurel’s evil doppelganger is every bit the acid-tongued, slinky minx you would expect. Inconsistent fighting ability aside, she’s a villain that I care about watching.
And just because Felicity bops her on the nose today, doesn’t mean we won’t see her tomorrow. It’s not confirmed just how much of Black Siren’s villainy was her own doing, or if she actually was operating in fear of Prometheus. And Oliver announces she’s going to be locked up at ARGUS from now on, not shipped back to Star Labs, and he’s not giving up on her. Please, Oliver. Don’t give up on her. Don’t give up on her like Arrow has time and again.
Black Siren also blasts that hideous Black Canary memorial statue into crumbs during one of the tussles against Team Arrow, so thank you for that, baby. You da real MVP.
Curtis comes to the conclusion that many of us had long ago: he’s pretty rubbish as a vigilante. So he pledges to use his skills with technology to help the team, instead. Think of the time he’ll save on doing his hair. Wise move.
The flashbacks don’t reveal anything, but Talia bursting in at the end scratched that old name recognition itch. Nyssa turned out to be a valuable addition to the Arrowverse. Let’s hope Talia’s the same.
One thing the flashbacks do nail, though, is the Bratva executive’s burn against Oliver for wasting his freedom from the island on coming to Russia to avenge OSG, when he could have instead returned home to his loved ones. He’s got you there, Oli.
Speaking of burns, Wild Dog lands a pretty sick (and cheesy) one on Black Siren during their brief showdown, which wins him best line of the episode: “Don’t move, Trinity.” When was the last time you heard a Matrix burn?
Oh, and Adrian Chase is his impossibly handsome self when finding a legal loophole to prevent Corrupt General from whisking away Diggle to quietly execute him. He tells Diggle to punch him in the face during an interview, which means Diggle can’t be moved from Star City until charges are settled. Smooth.