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ARROW Finally Starts Moving On

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Episode 313 “Canaries”

[Photos: Cate Cameron/The CW]

It was a big night of payoffs, as we get resolutions of several hanging questions and story items, making way for new ones to crop up and be all twisty and surprising…

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For pretty much the entire season there have been two questions hanging by a thread: 1. When is Lance going to learn his daughter’s dead? and 2. When is Oliver going to tell Thea he’s Green Arrow?

Both happened here, and the results are mixed, but both are satisfying. As is the notion that Team Arrow has outgrown the Arrow.

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The catalyst for all of this is the escape of Vertigo, and he’s got a new trick — appearing as the personification of your fear. In Laurel’s case: Sara. While Laurel feels she still has something to prove, she still has a ways to go before having the necessary skills to really be Black Canary, and that’s OK. It’s realistic and believable. Even getting dosed with the toxin twice (“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…”) makes sense because Laurel’s head isn’t in the game. She’s fighting way too many demons.

Among them: Oliver Queen, who still doesn’t want her out on patrol. And while she’s somewhat effective, she’s still in a great deal of danger every time she goes out. And she’s a distraction because Roy has to keep one eye on her while trying to complete whatever mission they’re on. So Arsenal is compromised as well. Add that to the fact that New Daddy Diggle is sidelined, and you have the makings for things that go wrong more often than not.

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Team Arrow, of course, has gotten used to doing things differently in Oliver’s absence. Which makes it even more jarring for Oliver to get a little blowback from the team not only about Laurel, but also about Thea.

That’s the other prong in the fork jabbing Oliver this time: it’s long past time he tells Thea the truth about himself. Of course, the confession is forced out of him by circumstances. If the situation with Ra’s Al Ghul hadn’t made it necessary to train with Malcolm, I’m not sure Oliver would have ‘fessed up yet. Because that’s not how he does things. He’s spent a long time keeping secrets, so it’s not a comfortable position for him. Especially since he’s absolutely sure that Thea will be vexed that he wasn’t honest with her.

Of course, it’s a bit of a surprise (and a pleasant one) that Thea takes it in stride. Suddenly pieces fall into place, and she realizes just why Oliver has been a terribly dishonest brother — he was out saving people (well, when he wasn’t killing them…). And she does the unexpected: she thanks him for being a hero.

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It presents a solid contrast to the way Oliver is reacting to Laurel’s jaunts in black leather.

And Felicity’s claws are aimed squarely at Oliver over this. Not only is she angry that he’s working with Malcolm, but she also hasn’t forgiven him for dying and coming back the same as he was before — only now with a death wish, it seems. In one quick burst of scathing sentences, she cuts into him over Thea, over Laurel, and over his assumed authority over the team. It definitely sets him back, and he’s not ready to deal with the changes to what used to be his team.

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Laurel’s hallucination of Sara is a very telling one, letting loose her fears that she’s not good enough to replace Sara. In the end, with the second dose, she finally confronts her true stumbling blocks: Oliver’s lack of faith in her, and the sense that she’s betraying her father by keeping Sara’s death a secret. When she fights those fears and beats back Vertigo, it’s almost cathartic, in a sense. And in the same moment, she wins Oliver’s grudging respect and makes the decision to tell her father the truth.

Thea is well on her way to being Oliver’s next sidekick. As many times as she got called “Speedy” in this hour, it’s almost like the writers were trying to tell us something. Either that or hit us over the head with it. Thea gets the drug addiction and the reckless behavior Roy Harper had in the 1980s comics. Since TV Roy has skipped any Speedy days and gone straight to Arsenal as his code name, it’s a foregone conclusion that the show is setting up Thea as Speedy the Red Arrow.

Of course, Thea runs into the same issue as the rest of Team Arrow: Oliver’s high-handed “I’m the boss” stance. Which sends her off in a snit, taking DJ Chase with her back to the apartment. Where they have themselves a little conjugal visit, followed by Chase trying to kill Thea. She holds her own pretty well, but Malcolm and Roy are both through the door to rescue her, with Malcolm striking the killing blow.

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Thea’s training at the hands of Malcolm is just the beginning. Now that she knows Oliver’s secret, she also realizes that Malcolm has been manipulating her, and once she figures out that he brainwashed her into killing Sara Lance, the gloves will well and truly be off, and Speedy will be born. Not yet willing to guess that she’s going to kill Malcolm, but she’ll certainly try to make that play.

Flashbacks didn’t really do much, other than to re-emphasize Thea’s nickname and flip the show in locations. Now Oliver and Thea will train on the island, while the flashbacks have us in Starling City.

Now, the only remaining “big secrets” to reveal is Lance’s knowledge that Oliver is the Arrow (c’mon, he’s got to know by now) and Thea’s role in Sara’s death. Plus the fact that Thea’s been training with Malcolm, which Oliver doesn’t know yet. After that, we should be getting a whole new batch of secrets. Because that’s what keeps this family together. Right?

[Show web site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Uprising”]

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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