Arrow: “Canaries” Season 3 Episode 13 Review

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This series has only aired four episodes since the New Year, but this run has been strong enough that I’m prepared to declare 2015 the year of Arrow.

Since Oliver’s nearly fatal defeat at the hands of Ra’s al Ghul, Team Arrow has been evolving into more than a ragtag group of heroes blindly following a vigilante. We witnessed first hand in the last three episodes how Oliver’s legacy inspired others to keep his mission going, even after he was supposedly deceased. Roy, Laurel, and the rest of the team more than did their part in fighting against Brick, all without Oliver.

So now that the team’s leader is back, the team isn’t so sure it needs a leader. Laurel refuses to listen even after Oliver barks at her about how dangerous the streets are. Roy stands up to him when he snaps at Thea. Felicity and Diggle tell him separately that the team has proved themselves without him and that he needs to understand and respect that. Ironically enough, Oliver is getting angry that he’s no longer the only person trying to do what he does. It’s only once he realizes that that he lets Laurel come along and fight alongside him.

With so much drama going on on the side of Team Arrow, it was smart of “Canaries” to bring back a familiar villain. Count Vertigo manages to escape, making him a good test for the new Canary to prove her skills. When doused with the drug, Laurel hallucinates her sister (in what I believe is Caity Lotz’ last episode of the season, possibly the series). This did feel a bit forced, especially once the sisters started fighting in costume. Felicity eventually tells Laurel that she needs to stop trying to be her sister and be the Canary for herself. After overcoming this, she and Arrow confront Vertigo. Since Laurel had so little to do with Brick’s defeat last week, it was great to see her finally take down a villain herself.

Elsewhere, Arrow finally dealt with a long-standing plot thread: Thea finally knows that Oliver is the Arrow. I would like to thank the writers for not subjecting us to Thea getting mad at her brother just to stir up some Queen family drama. It was also nice to see Oliver talking to someone outside of Team Arrow about his life as a vigilante. Despite Thea’s fighting skills, let’s keep her off the team for now, just so not every character on the show is part of the Starling City Superhero Squad. Her DJ boyfriend, revealed last week as part of the League of Assassins, tries to kill her, but Roy and Malcolm come to her rescue. The assassin takes a cyanide pill and that’s that. Now Malcolm is sending Oliver and Thea to the infamous island for some extra training.

“Canaries” featured a lot of great character work for Oliver, Laurel, and Thea, three of the show’s biggest players since the beginning. While the latter two are just coming into their own, Oliver has to learn to back off and trust his team. As the dynamics continue to shift on Team Arrow, the series keeps rewarding its characters with big moments. Arrow has never felt more confident or daring, great news for the patient viewers. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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