Arrow: “Who Are You?” Season 5 Episode 10 Review

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The question on every Arrow fan’s lips since the mid-season finale has been “how could Laurel Lance possibly be back?” The answer is as simple as the one the writers gave to the press a few weeks ago. This is Black Siren, Laurel’s Earth-2 doppelganger, who first appeared last season on The Flash.

The narrative trickery is annoying. The cliffhanger obviously didn’t pay off and much of the episode in general felt like a chance to make headlines with a surprise return and up the ratings. But “Who Are You?” manages to have a few threads that save it. Chief among them is Oliver and Felicity’s disagreement on how to handle this new Laurel, and for once, it’s the latter who would prefer to use her fists.

But Oliver’s quests to find the Laurel he knows inside this literal supervillain is, if you’ve been following this whole CW DC universe, an interesting road for the character to go down. Any Arrow fans unfamiliar with The Flash, if they even exist, would likely find this plotline confusing and annoyingly interruptive of season five’s arc thus far. Dealing with parallel universes and doppelgangers is more Barry Allen’s thing than Oliver Queen’s, but they’re not that far apart in the world they live in. In the realm of these shows, Black Siren coming across Team Arrow feels essential in some manner. Maybe it’s that Katie Cassidy never got to play this more delicious version of Laurel on the show she started on. Maybe it’s that it’s just nice to see an old face in a season that has failed many of its new faces. Even if this episode initiates a collective eye roll, enough of it works that I can’t write it off completely.

Black Siren is rescued from S.T.A.R. Labs by Prometheus, with the worst special effects ever showing how she got out over a security camera. She toys with Team Arrow for a while as the Laurel they know before unleashing havoc and dividing the team’s senior members. In a way, I wanted both Oliver and Felicity to be right. On one hand, how cool would it be if the more fun to watch version of Laurel stuck around and went hero? On the other hand, how annoying would it be if this troublesome character stuck around as another version of herself only to became the first version of herself? In the end, it’s Felicity who lands a punch on Black Siren, putting her down and shipping her back to Central City for safe keeping.

Still, very little progress was made in the Prometheus conflict. This big bad is putting up a strong fight for worst on the series so far. Luckily for him, the new heroes aren’t really picking up the slack, so it’s less apparent. The subplot between Curtis and Rene was utterly dramaless and unnecessary. All this while Diggle is back in prison? A lot of Arrow just isn’t working this season. The show remains afloat because of Oliver and Felicity, who continue to own their scenes and drive the show. But with writing this shoddy, Arrow‘s fall from grace may officially be upon us. There’s just so little to care about anymore. Grade: B-

Some Other Notes:

  • All those mentions of Cisco and Central City, yet no Flash characters showed up. Not even for a cameo. It honestly felt awkward.
  • Katie Cassidy is great as Black Siren, and I want more of her, but in moderation.
  • Regardless, with a random new Black Canary closing out the episode, the team certainly won’t have a use for Earth-2 Laurel’s powers anytime soon. Let’s just hope this new addition goes smoother than the rest.
  • So Talia al Ghul is going to be in the flashbacks? Doesn’t that change Oliver’s relationship to Nyssa a bit? Either way, I’m curious. (Casual fans: Talia al Ghul is the same character that Marion Cotillard played in The Dark Knight Rises, the one who ended up being the mastermind behind Bane.)

By Matt Dougherty

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