Episode 116 “Dead to Rights”
I’m going to slap myself on the wrist now for harping on the writers calling her “Laurel”. Now it makes sense, because two Dinahs on the show will get confusing a bit. And fanboys get a little more Felicity without the glasses. I think this is on purpose.
Onward with the spoilerish recap!
This is the week everything changes, and everyone gets a little play except Thea. John Barrowman gets to chew scenery. Paul Blackthorne gets to chew scenery. There’s some pretty decent fight choreography that almost plays like a dance. There’s intrigue. Danger. And Deadshot’s back!
All in all, it was a good mix of surprises and plot advancement. The flashbacks to the island show us Oliver’s deftness with electronics, and how he could possibly still be not completely worthless to Slade.
In the present day, we have a little eye candy for both halves of the audience as Diggle spars with Felicity — sans glasses — in the traditional Team Arrow Tank Top uniforms. Felicity, despite herself, is going to be a full-fledged member of the team before too long. And that’s a good thing, because she’s now the conscience of the outfit. That gives Diggle the freedom to be the tactical officer while Oliver does his thing as point man. It’s almost a Kirk-Spock-McCoy thing going, and it will be interesting to see this dynamic play out.
Of course, Oliver needs to get his eyes checked. He completely misses Felicity’s ‘wow’ factor — saying vigilantes don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to love interests? Really? His interest in McKenna is really just a plot complication; we all know this. And it plays into the Hood/Police dynamic that will eventually lead to a big complication between Oliver and McKenna. She’s either going to find out his secret identity, putting her in a moral quandary, or he’s going to break it off with her before she finds out, thus painting himself into the “jerk” corner with yet another woman.
Now, let’s get to the meat of the episode, and then to the really good stuff.
Malcolm is being honored with a big humanitarian award, and he wants Tommy to be there at the gala. This is not something Moira anticipated when she contracted the Triad to take out Malcolm at the gala. Too late, though. China White has already hired Deadshot, giving him a new Shiny to use in his work as a marksman — only in this version of the DC Universe, he’s not really all that great a shot, is he? His reputation as someone who never misses has kind of gone by the wayside before he ever got to Starling City. Because, let’s think about this: how many times has he missed?
But it’s a cool little toy China White gives him, and it brings him a little closer to his comic book look. Just a bit.
But he’s still a lousy shot. Even though he manages to get some rounds close to Malcolm, he doesn’t manage to kill his target. (Why don’t assassins ever go for a head shot? Really?) Now this where things dial up to about 9.
Oliver makes his escape from McKenna by shooting a fire extinguisher. If I were her, I’d have started taking educated guess shots, but she doesn’t, so Ollie is able to get upstairs in time to convince Tommy that Dad needs blood transfusion to get the poison out of his system. How does he do this?
By taking off the hood and revealing his identity. Zing number one. Honestly, I didn’t figure Oliver would tell Tommy, as the younger Merlyn is destined to become the villain. But perhaps it makes a certain amount of sense that the enemies would know each other’s true identity. It’s not like in the 1970s when some of the heroes didn’t even know each other behind the masks…
The buildup for this begins with the montage of “circling camera” shots, going from one story thread to another in an almost seamless movement of the camera. For some, this seems a bit of a trope, but it gives us a definite moment in the episode where the momentum shifts. Everything from this point builds to the finish. Amp goes up to 10 when Malcolm declares “There’s a traitor in the organization!” and then tells Moira to find whomever it is and eliminate them. Hm. Now, she’s in a bit of a pickle, isn’t she?
And then the true payoff of the night: as Laurel is off to the hospital, she’s met at the door by her mother. And this is what we’ve been waiting for: Alex Kingston as Dinah Drake Lance, the original Black Canary. This is after an Easter egg earlier in the episode where McKenna points out a photo of Sarah and a canary. This is after we’ve seen Laurel go Bruce Lee on home invaders and night club thugs. This is after Laurel mentioned those fishnets at Halloween. All of these pieces have been bread crumbs for the potential story arc that’s about to happen.
Dinah tells Laurel she’s back in town because there’s a chance Sarah may still be alive.
OK. Stay with me. They made Dinah a brunette, like in the comics. And now Dinah and Laurel have a mystery to solve, which means using detective skills. If this goes where fans want it to go, this could be the beginning of the Black Canary II arc that ends with Laurel following in her mother’s footsteps and joining Green Arrow in his quest for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
Please don’t screw this up, Arrow.