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TV Review: Arrow - Season 5 Episode 11 "Second Chances"

02.02.2017

Episode 11: "Second Chances"

Synopsis: In his quest to take down Kovar, Oliver gets help from a surprising source – Talia al Ghul. However, when she reveals what she wants from him in exchange, Oliver isn’t sure he can accept her help. Felicity attempts to hack the NSA to help free Diggle but when her online efforts are flagged, she faces off against an unknown adversary. Meanwhile, Curtis tells the team about a female vigilante, Tina Boland, he uncovered online who has been wreaking havoc all over the country.

Arrow, DC Comics, TV Review, The CW, Green Arrow, Stephen Amell

Review: When Arrow had a soft reboot this season that featured Oliver Queen training a new team of vigilantes, it came off feeling a bit forced. Outside of the well executed use of Ragman, the rest of the new Team Arrow were a forgettable bunch of characters who have struggled to gel as a unit over the course of the year. But, with the focus over the last couple of episodes on the legacy of Black Canary, the show has regained some direction and focus. Of course, this means the Prometheus arc has been put on hold a bit but it happens for a good reason and that is the introduction of Tina Boland who will pick up the mantle vacated by the deceased Laurel Lance. By the end of this hour, Oliver has finally found his touch as a mentor and team leader which has been sorely lacking over the first dozen episodes of this season.

In a brief flashback, we learn that Tina Boland was a former Central City police officer under deep cover. Three years ago, she witnessed her partner (and lover) die at the hands of a gangster at the same time as the Star Labs particle acceletator explosion. That's right, Tina Boland is a meta-human who just so happens to have the same screech ability as the Earth-2 Black Siren whom the team faced off with in last week's episode. Tina Boland is a troubled and broken character who shares a lot in common with both Laurel and Sara Lance and may be the most interesting addition to the Arrow cast in quite some time. At the conclusion of tonight's episode, we even learn that Tina Boland is her cover name and her real one is Dinah Drake. For those unfamiliar, Dinah is actually the first name of the Black Canary's alter ego in DC Comics while Drake is the surname of one of the people who served as Robin.

Arrow, DC Comics, TV Review, The CW, Green Arrow, Stephen Amell

Boland/Drake is a take on the Black Canary character that we have been waiting for since Arrow debuted. I have always enjoyed the White Canary/Sara Lance character and she fits in well on Legends of Tomorrow but I never really bought into the Laurel Lance transformation into vigilante. With the romance between Laurel and Oliver put to bed on this show, Katie Cassidy's role was neutured and we needed someone with some edge to come in and serve alongside Green Arrow but also be a potential new love interest. Boland fits that perfectly as her damaged side is a compliment to Oliver Queen's. Making her a meta-human also adds to the universe-building that this small screen DC Universe has been handling so well. That also reminds me that setting this episode in Central City provided a great cameo from some Flash characters, including a streak only appearance from Barry Allen.

While Rene and Curtis had their hands full this week helping Oliver recruit Tina, Rory and Felicity had their own mission trying to help exonerate John Diggle. Felicity looked happier than she had in years as she hacked into government servers to try and find dirt on the general framing Diggle but it ended up leading her to a secret admirer who works for a collective known as Helix. The biggest shortcoming this season has presented is what hurt prior years and that is too many characters. Like Laurel, Felicity is quickly feeling like she has run out of storylines and this week was no exception. Rory also felt out of place and has barely donned his Ragman regalia which is a damn shame because of how cool his character appears on screen. I wonder what the plan will be for both of these characters and if Arrow can sustain more subplots. This week brings to an end John Diggle's boring incarceration which was shaping up as a solid arc earlier this season. Hopefully everyone can put their masks back on to fight Prometheus.

Arrow, DC Comics, TV Review, The CW, Green Arrow, Stephen Amell

While the masked villain made no appearance this week, his presence was felt. In the Russian set flashbacks, we meet an iconic character introduced last week in the form of Talia Al Ghul. Talia, well known to DC Comics fans, here represents the final push that flashback Oliver needs to go from himself to the proto-Arrow known as The Hood. Talia is the darkest mentor Oliver has yet had on the show and her teachings and motivations push Queen to kill and then don his trademark gear seen in the first season of the show. If this flashback is an indicator of anything, it could be that this narrative device may be soon coming to an end and we can focus on present day concerns. The flashbacks themselves were pretty interesting this week, something I have not said about them in quite some time, but mainly due to the excellent execution of Talia Al Ghul as a character. Far more interesting than Nyssa and a perfect compliment to Matt Nable's take on R'as Al Ghul, Talia has a lot of potential to make these scenes worth watching for the rest of this season.

My prediction, based on the tone and style of this episode, is that Talia may be Prometheus. While the physical build of the characters could not be more different, Talia's long history as a DC villain would make her a perfect candidate to be the masked archer intent to reveal Oliver's identity and make him suffer. Talia could be avenging the death of her father which would be a nice connection back to the third season of the show but it would require a great deal of suspension of disbelief. Overall, this was a very enjoyable hour but one that opens the potential for a lot of balance concerns for the series. While Thea and Quentin Lance are MIA this week, next week could see the main cast of the show balloon to almost twelve characters. Even shows with large ensembles struggle with casts that big. Arrow had better find a way to keep the focus where it belongs or someone is going to have to die.

Next on ARROW: "Bratva" airs February 8th - A mission takes Oliver, Felicity and team to Russia where they meet up with Oliver’s old friend, Anatoly. Meanwhile, fresh out of rehab, Lance returns to the mayor’s office ready to get back to work. However, when Susan asks for an interview with Lance to discuss his addiction, he balks and it’s up to Rene to help keep things on track.

Source: JoBlo.com

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