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ARROW Has Some Pretty Tough "Birds"

Episode 217 “Birds of Prey”

[photos: Cate Cameron/CW]

And so, friends, Helena Bertinelli begins her off-screen redemption arc…

OK. Let me back up and catch up, because it’s been a couple of weeks since I did the last one of these, and quite a bit has happened — the first face-to-face confrontation between Oliver Queen and Slade Wilson in the Queen mansion, of all places; the continuing tutelage of Roy Harper as the Arrow’s sidekick, and the birth of the Suicide Squad in an episode that was very Oliver-light last week.

Before we continue, it should be noted that yes, that was Tara Strong in a Harley Quinn cameo, and as of right now there are no plans to bring the character to the show. But keep the dream alive. It would be cool to have Strong actually play the part — and yes, Arleen Sorkin was the inspiration (and the original voice) for the character — but the part is pretty much Strong’s for now, and she’s the right age to make it work.

Now. To the recap. The episode many fans have been anticipating since Jessica De Gouw first showed up as Huntress. And “Birds of Prey” is much better than Birds of Prey.

Birds of Prey

Following the nice little family visit at the Luthor Queen mansion a couple of episodes back, Slade Wilson is now the burr under Oliver’s saddle, and Ollie wants a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in Starling City. He’s even gone to Amanda Waller for help, and she told him they’re tracking a new player in town, calling him Deathstroke. Dun-dun-dunnnn.

Birds of Prey

Meanwhile, the Starling City police have apprehended Dad Bertinelli, who was back in town for a deal that didn’t quite go the way he expected. Naturally, that puts him back on the digital map, leaving Team Arrow with the foregone conclusion that the Huntress will be back in town shortly. And in order to flush her out, the justice department in our fair burg re-instates Laurel so she can be first chair on prosecuting the gangster. Only it’s just a sham put together by the Assistant District Attorney, who had “no authorization” (uh huh) to put together the sting. Huntress, of course, misses her target because Oliver just happens to be there. So in her rampage she takes hostages.

And did you catch the shout-out to Gail Simone? Nice touch, writers.

Birds of Prey

In the chaos that ensues, Oliver gets Bertinelli out, but gets separated from Laurel, who is now wandering the courthouse looking for a way out. The ensuing encounter between her and Black Canary stretches credulity really thin, especially since Katy Loitz has that cute dimple in her chin. Granted, Laurel’s primary concern is staying alive, but when the person next to you has the same facial features and hair color as your sister, you really think a domino mask will keep you from recognizing her? And then they start talking about sisters… ugh. This is comic book logic on display here.

Birds of Prey

On the other hand, we do get a glimpse of Laurel’s ability to wield a weapon, so there’s that…

In the end, of course, the Arrow and Black Canary — with the unauthorized help of Officer Lance — manage to ambush Huntress and take her into custody. But at the expense of her father’s life, as he’s gunned down by a rather enthusiastic “if they wear a mask, they get a bullet” SWAT captain. It’s interesting to see Helena’s reaction here — it certainly starts to play out that she regrets his death and is realizing how wrong she’s been, but when she says “It should have been me” you know she’s far from starting her redemption arc.

We get a hint of that arc in the interrogation room, as Oliver realizes he can’t help everyone. Even explaining to Helena that he’s turned a corner and isn’t a killer anymore, it just feels like closure, not the beginning of anything. But given that we’ve now seen Future Black Canary, Black Canary I, Huntress, and Future Oracle all in the same episode, I think the ground work is being laid to form a new team — and maybe another spinoff?


[Official Show Site at CW]




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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