TV Review: Arrow - Season 3 Episode 13 "Canaries"

Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.

Episode 13: "Canaries"

Synopsis: Oliver is thrown by the changes within Team Arrow. He’s used to calling the shots but sees that the team has evolved in his absence and tensions quickly escalate in the lair. Oliver is furious that Laurel has been going out as the Black Canary and tells her to stop risking her life, but when Vertigo (guest star Peter Stormare) hits the streets again, Laurel goes against Oliver’s wishes and tracks down Vertigo who hits her with a full dose of the drug. 

In Starling City: Earlier this season, an episode of ARROW used the narrative trick of opening the episode with a sequence that was soon revealed to be the events from the close of the episode, then flashing back for the duration of the story.  This episode uses that same trick, opening the story with the culmination of a fight between Sara Lance and her sister Laurel, both in the guise of the Canary.  Obviously Sara is dead, so something is up here, right?

Flashing back 48 hours prior, Oliver and Roy are on patrol when they encounter Laurel.  Oliver chastises her and tells her she is not a hero and needs to stay off the street.  Laurel refuses.  Oliver, back at the Arrow Cave, asks Diggle how he could have signed off on Laurel becoming Canary when Malcom Merlyn arrives.  It has been a week since Oliver's televised return to Starling City and Merlyn feels they need to begin preparing to face R'as Al Ghul and that means bringing Thea into the fold.  Oliver doesn't feel she is ready to know his secret, but Merlyn disagrees.

At the Starling City Courthouse, Vertigo tells the media  he has the right to face his accuser and calls out the Arrow, but Laurel steps in to stop it.  As Vertigo's guard begins to walk him to the van, he hallucinates horrifying faces in the crowd and opens fire on the media.  Laurel quickly knocks him out but sees that Vertigo is nowhere to be found.  At Verdant, Chase hits on Thea again but she rebuffs him.  Oliver then arrives and tells his sister that he needs to show her something.  He takes her down to the basement and reveals to her that he is the Arrow.  Prepared for the worst, Thea instead embraces Oliver's secret and thanks him for saving everyone so many times, including her.

At her apartment, Oliver and Merlyn reveal that the three of them must team together to fight R'as Al Ghul together.  Thea realizes she was manipulated by her father and storms out.  At the Foundry, Oliver and the team realize that a reporter dosed Vertigo's guard and aided in his escape.  Oliver suits up and Laurel tries to but the two have an argument.  Oliver accuses Laurel of using the Canary like she did with alcohol, to escape her pain. Laurel returns with the same accusation of him.  Arrow and Arsenal go to the reporter's home and find him wired to a bomb.  He says Vertigo threatened to kill his wife and has to kill Arrow.  He detonates the bomb but Arrow and Arsenal jump out the window to safety while Vertigo watches.

Oliver meets back with Thea at the apartment and tells her about the evening's events.  They contemplate how nice it is to share all the truths of their lives.  Thea wonders how Oliver can do what he does every night and he says it is his job to protect everyone in Starling City.  He also tells her that he will always hate Malcolm Merlyn but the League of Assassins is pure evil.

Captain Lance brings some documents to Laurel and asks if she has seen Sara lately.  He says something seemed off about their encounter and that Sin said the Canary is not Sara.  Laurel plays dumb but it doesn't seem like the secret will last much longer.  Back at Verdant, Roy tells Thea he is glad she knows the truth now and asks her what she wants to do.  She says she wants nothing to do with Merlyn.  Oliver then pulls Roy away as the tracker he snuck onto Laurel is triggered at the Starling City docks to a ship registered to Vertigo.

As Laurel attacks Vertigo's men, he doses her with the drug and she begins to hallucinate visions of her dead sister as we saw in the opening scene.  Beaten, bleeding, and at the mercy of Vertigo, Arrow arrives just in time to knock the baton from his hand.  Vertigo escapes in his truck as Laurel yells out for help.  Bringing her back to The Foundry, Thea stumbles upon the team and Oliver snaps at her to leave, triggering Roy and Felicity to call out Oliver for being gone and presumed dead.  Things have changed in his absence and he cannot have absolute control over all of them.  Leaving the club, Thea finds Chase and kisses him as Roy watches from behind.

Diggle sits down with Oliver and tells him how they are all fighting not just for him but for themselves and the city.  Diggle tells Oliver he started something that is now bigger than he is but questions if he can live with what it has become.  Laurel comes to and tells Felicity about her visions.  Felicity tells her that Sara used the mask to hide her demons but Laurel doesn't have the same darkness.  Felicity tells Laurel to not try to be Sara but to be herself.  As they hug, the tracker on Vertigo kicks back on.

At Thea's apartment, she and Chase lie on the couch having had sex.  Chase gets up to pour Thea a glass of red wine.  Thea remembers that Merlyn told her ancient warriors used wine to cover the scent of cyanide and then lunges at Chase with a knife and demands to know who he is.  He reveals he works for R'as Al Ghul when Arsenal arrives and they fight.  Merlyn then arrives and shoots him in the back before taking poison and killing himself.

Unable to reach Roy, Oliver enlists Laurel's help in going after Vertigo.  The two go after Vertigo at his laboratory where he sets the place ablaze.  Oliver and Laurel rescue the imprisoned chemists and Laurel goes after Vertigo herself.  She gets dosed a second time, seeing visions of Sara again.  The fight and the visions transform into Captain Lance, accusing Laurel of lying about Sara.  She fights back and Laurel is able to knock Vertigo to the ground and beats him unconscious while Oliver looks on.  Felicity then informs Oliver that Thea needs him right away.

At the police station, Laurel comes in to find her father getting a routine physical.  Laurel also decides that it is time to tell her father the truth about Sara.  He tells her he already knows the truth that Sara is off somewhere and that she is the new Canary.  He tells her they will figure out what they need to do, but Laurel reveals that Sara is dead and the two collapse into each other's arms in tears.  At Thea's apartment, Oliver arrives and Thea says she never asked for any of this but acknowledges that they cannot do this without Merlyn but she will never forget what he has done.  Merlyn says before they can begin, Thea and Oliver must do one thing before they can begin.  Oliver tells the team he will only be gone for a few days and it will be safe in all of their hands.  Thea says goodbye to Roy and gives him a kiss on the cheek to thank him for all he has done for her.  Oliver and Thea then make their way to Lian Yu.

Flashbacks: In Hong Kong, Maseo rushes Oliver out so they can get away before Amanda Waller or China White finds them.  Maseo thanks Oliver for saving them and urges Oliver to save himself.  In the streets, Oliver calls his mother and leaves her a voicemail but is cut off by an A.R.G.U.S. agent.  A fight ensues and Oliver is taken down and tazed.  Waller's team waterboards Oliver to try and break him to find Maseo and Tatsu.  Waller says they erased his voicemail before his mother heard it but then threatens Thea's life unless he reveals where the Yamashitos are.  Oliver owns up that they are on the ferry headed to Shanghai.  Waller arrives with Maseo in hand.  Oliver admits he told Waller about the ferry, but Maseo says it was a lie in case they tortured him.  Awaking in a car, Oliver and Maseo are greeted by Amanda Waller who says they have arrived in the one location Oliver can help them stop China White: Starling City.

Review: As much as I enjoyed the last few episodes of ARROW, this outing felt very uneven.  The closure to the secrets kept between Oliver and Thea as well as Laurel and her father were nice, emotional moments, but they were punctuated by weak events around them.  The character of Chase felt like a complete waste this season with his only purpose to forward Thea's learning about the reach of R'as Al Ghul.  Oliver's begrudging acceptance of Laurel and Roy as protectors of Starling had potential to be good, but once again the use of Vertigo felt more convenient than anything.  I like the development of Laurel as Canary and this episode furthered that but it could have been handled a bit more dramatically and over a longer period of time.  After a few progressive moves forward with the flashbacks, the somewhat useless Hong Kong scenes are now adding the even more incredibly dumb concept of Oliver having returned to Starling City during his five years missing.  For that alone I am disappointed in where this season has gone so far.  Hopefully this was just a misstep in a solid string of episodes.

Final Verdict:

Next on ARROW: "The Return" airs February 18th, 2015: Malcolm puts Oliver and Thea in a dangerous situation that lands them on Lian Yu with Oliver’s former enemy, Deathstroke. A flashback reveals when Oliver and Maseo returned to Starling City to retrieve the Omega bio weapon, and despite being under strict orders from Amanda Waller not to reveal himself to anyone, Oliver looks in on his family, Laurel and Tommy.

Source: JoBlo.com



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