Arrow S05E11 “Second Chances” Review

“Second Chances”

Warning Contains Spoilers

As the title would suggest, this episode was about second chances across the board. That’s what Rene, aka Wild Dog, says about the team: they are about giving each other a second chance. I think this whole season is Arrow’s second chance.

Last episode we briefly met a brunette-canary-crying-bar fighter right after Oliver said he needed to make good on his promise to Laurel. If you recall, Laurel’s dying wish was for Oliver to not let her be the last Black Canary. So the team goes on a search to find the perfect candidate. They find tremendous choices, like third degree black belts and activists. However, no matter who they find, no matter how many puppies they may have saved, none of them are good enough for Oliver; none of them are Laurel. He can’t get passed that fact. I’m with him there– none of these women are going to be as good as Laurel, so what’s the point? The point of this is Laurel’s legacy. This is what she wanted in her last dying wish.

Curtis finds the canary crier–whose name is Tina Boland–mentioned above and she checks all the right boxes. Oliver, Curtis, and Rene go to Hub City to find out more about this contender in hopes of bringing her on board. It is revealed earlier in the episode that Tina is a metahuman from Central City (The Flash’s City) who got her power three years ago, the day the particle accelerator exploded; this was a cool tie in to The Flash. She is a former cop who was deep undercover at the time of the explosion and her partner/lover, Vinny, was killed right in front of her. When the explosion hit her, she was crying out in agony–hence why she has the sonic cry. I was happy they showed all of this in the opening of the episode so that we can understand her actions a bit more; she comes off very cold so it was good to get her backstory early on.

When the Team arrives, she is in the midst of her revenge plot against those who killed her partner– every good vigilante has a revenge plot. She has been following this mob boss, Sean Sonus, trying to make him pay for her suffering. The Team tries, unsuccessfully, to get through to her. Oliver goes into his I-need-to-save-this-girl mode and does not let up. I’m like, “Oliver! Take a hint, this isn’t someone you can save with a pep talk about how great the light side is.” He even reveals his identity to her. That was so fascinating to me, because for so long, keeping his identity was the most important thing to him; here he is just taking his mask off without knowing if this girl was evil or not. This is a completely new Oliver and it’s very weird to see him so trusting, when trust issues are one of his defining characteristics.

Tina eventually needs the Team’s help because Sonus is also a metahuman! The battle ends with Tina about to shoot Sonus and Oliver asks her, “What would Vinny want you to do?” and then she kills Sonus and says, “This is what he would want me to do”! Bam! What an awesome stick it to Oliver moment! She is not going to take his crap, and she is very reminiscent of how Oliver was in his early days. This is going to bring up some interesting dynamics between Oliver and her when she eventually begins training. Speaking of training, we get to see more of Talia al Ghul!

She is amazing! Her age doesn’t really add up though, so she must have gone through a few sessions in the Lazarus Pit. She appeared 8-12 in 1960 in that one episode of Legends of Tomorrow, so she would be like 60 years old at this time in Russia. That detail isn’t really important to the overall story– it just bothered me. It is revealed that Talia is the one that trained Oliver in the art of the bow and arrow, and she also coined the phrase, “become someone else, something else.” So I think I will be less annoyed now when I hear that phrase every episode. Talia convinces Oliver to follow his only true fight: saving his city like his father wished. So I assume that he is going to train Tina the same way Talia trained him: it makes these flashbacks relevant; it’s what the people want and Arrow is delivering. Oliver even donned the hood for his first time and the Arrow theme played in the background, right then I knew the flashbacks were soon over! I’m excited to see even more of Talia in her role as trainer; it is awesome that Oliver learns everything he knows from a bad ass woman.

Meanwhile in Felicity’s storyline, she is trying to find a way to exonerate Diggle. She ends up finding a person who was  inspired by Felicity’s college days to become a hacktivist (hacking activist). If you recall, Felicity had her dark days in college where she was the queen of the hackers; I loved the Dark Felicity arc and I’m so excited that it’s coming back somewhat. The girl Felicity meets is a total fangirl; she followed everything Felicity did in her hacktivism days, but was disappointed in her for going legit. She is in a group called Helix which is trying to recruit Felicity. She idolized Felicity, which probably felt good seeing as she’s often taken for granted at her current role in Team Arrow. The fangirl gives her a flash drive with everything they need to free Diggle, but when Felicity opens it, a whole new world of possibilities is shown. Felicity loved remembering the good old days, so I think she might jump back into it. It would be amazing to see that side of her again in present day. However, I’m interested to see what Helix really wants from Felicity. I’m also excited for Diggle to be free so he can actually get some better storylines this season!

At the end, Tina seeks out Oliver in his Mayoral office to discuss joining the team. She reveals that her name isn’t Tina, but Dinah Drake. For comic book fans this was a big reveal since Dinah Drake was the original Black Canary. Immediately when she said her real name, Oliver was ready for her to join the team. Laurel’s name is actually Dinah, too, so of course Oliver thought it was a sign. This reveal pretty much confirms that Laurel isn’t coming back in any form; they have the original Black Canary, now. Although I’m excited for some new training montages, we all know how I feel about them brushing Laurel to the side like she wasn’t the most interesting character. Forever bitter, party of hopefully all of us.

I’m enjoying these new characters being introduced this season, but Arrow has neglected some of the originals in doing so. This is why I’m glad Felicity is revisiting her hacking days as ‘Ghost Fox Goddess’ and that Diggle is now free of that boring storyline of being in prison. Also, where is Thea? She was away at a conference last episode, but is she still there? They didn’t really talk about her this episode. I guess because she isn’t officially back on the team, they didn’t need her input on the new Black Canary, but I think they would want it. I hope they aren’t pushing her aside the way they did with Laurel!

I enjoyed the theme of this episode: giving others a second chance. It was heartfelt and character driven. A lot was set up this episode that I’m interested to see play out in the rest of season. I feel dynamics and relationships will shift in a big way. I gave Arrow a another chance this season too, and they have come a long way. I just continue to hope that Arrow doesn’t take that second chance for granted.

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