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‘Arrow’ Review: The ‘Birds of Prey’ let in the Darkness

Cate Cameron/The CW

Last night, Arrow delivered its much hyped “Birds of Prey” episode and I’m going to go ahead and give credit where it’s due: the episode worked for me. It wasn’t perfect and I don’t have enough comic book knowledge to know whether it did the characters justice, but I enjoyed the show more than I have since it first returned from its winter hiatus. That’s literally all I’m asking for at this point – just entertain me for an hour without making my blood pressure spike.

Helena Bertinelli returned to Starling City where her father had been captured and was about to go on trial for his various mob activities. Since the last time we saw her, Helena has completely transformed into The Huntress and has left a trail of dead mobsters in her wake as she searched the world for her father. Team Arrow was prepared to capture her before she could do any further damage, but The Huntress was several steps ahead of them.

After getting fired and nearly disbarred, Laurel was summoned back to the DA’s office by Hot Paul Adam, who wanted her to try the Bertinelli case. This seemed pretty weird to me from the start and that’s probably because Adam has always come off as a sketchy character. Sure enough, Laurel was only there because Adam had a plan to lure out The Huntress and he put Laurel in charge because he didn’t mind her ending up collateral damage when Helena inevitably showed up and started killing people.

Cate Cameron/The CW

Cate Cameron/The CW

Of course that’s exactly what happened (my favorite part is when Helena ordered her minions to start taking hostages. How does one go about getting an entourage like that? Asking for a friend…). Oliver was there trying to keep Laurel safe, but that didn’t work out so well. He ended up outside with her father, who called the Arrow phone while standing next to Oliver. Okay, can we talk about how silly this is for a moment? Yes, it was a nice comic relief moment, but seriously? Oliver, here’s a pro tip: when you have a phone strictly for your secret identity, maybe try keeping it on vibrate? And I refuse to believe Lance doesn’t know that Oliver is the Arrow. He’s just not acknowledging it for some reason. Perhaps plausible deniability…?

Meanwhile, Sara as Canary was already inside and there was a lovely moment between the Lance sisters when Laurel was tempted to drink and Canary talked her down. I’m going to go ahead and buy the suspended disbelief on this one and give Laurel a pass for not recognizing her sister. Sara took some precautions and there was a lot going on so I’m not mad like I thought I’d be that Laurel didn’t put the pieces together. Instead, I enjoyed the sisterly moment.

But more than that, I enjoyed that Laurel is back to being Laurel. She had a near slip, but Sara reminded her that she was stronger than that and then Laurel not only took that to heart, she turned it into action. Arrow and Canary wanted to get Laurel to safety, but she stayed to help the other innocent people. She tried to talk Helena down and even after Helena threw Canary out of a window and took Laurel with her when she escaped dressed as a cop, Laurel still stepped in to stop Canary from killing The Huntress because she didn’t believe Canary was a killer.

Helena delivered an A+ line in the episode when she told Laurel that once you let the darkness in, it never comes out. Laurel quoted that to the DA when she more or less blackmailed her into giving her job back and I applauded her. I’m not one of those people who think Laurel should or will go dark – I think her moral compass is too accurate for that. But I’m fine with the character having shades of gray because we all do. I’m just happy Laurel has gotten her fighting spirit back and I look forward to seeing more good things from the character.

Elsewhere, Roy was back in the field for Team Arrow and things went bad right away. Oliver tossed out the nickname Speedy to remind him of Thea and calm him down. It worked, but Roy still wasn’t a fan of the nickname. Oliver told him that he needed to break up with Thea because he was a danger to her. Roy didn’t want to, but Oliver trusted that he loved her enough to do what was best for her.

Thea was not buying that Roy wanted to break up since he’d just given her an expensive present (Side note: Roy’s response that she couldn’t make him date her and the incredulous look on his face were hilarious). She begged him to tell her what was wrong and to trust her, but he couldn’t do it because it wasn’t safe for her to be around him. So he setup Thea to walk in on him making out with some random girl in the club. Thea knew it was a ploy, but it was still enough for her to push him away.

Later, Oliver found Thea crying and she told her big brother that she just wished people would start telling her the truth. She knew Roy was hiding something, she knew Moira was still hiding something and as far as she was concerned, Oliver was the only one who had ever been completely honest with her. Oliver looked pained through this entire conversation and he should since he’s keeping some major secrets from his little sister. While I do understand the secret identity one, I’m never going to be okay with him keeping the truth about Malcolm from her so Oliver deserves the guilt that he’s feeling.

Thea left and Sara arrived to have a quiet moment with Oliver. I have to admit that the episode surprised me with these two. Throughout the tension with The Huntress and the fear over Laurel’s safety, Oliver and Sara disagreed about what should happen to Helena. Sara wanted to kill her, but Oliver doesn’t do that anymore if he can help it. I assumed this would cause a rift between them, but instead, it seemed to strengthen their resolve to be a team. I was proud of Sara for making the right call, but something tells me this is not the last time these two will disagree about how to handle things.

Finally, Thea was walking home and guess whose car stopped to pick her up? Slade Wilson. He reminded her that the city isn’t safe and offered her a ride. Yikes. While I’m not okay with Thea being in danger, I am really excited that she finally gets something to do and there’s a solid chance she’s going to learn some major secrets in the next episode.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy “Birds of Prey?” How fun was the shout out to comic writer Gail Simone? Are you happy Helena is just in jail and not dead? Did Oliver make the right call with Roy? Were you impressed with Laurel getting her job back? How worried about Thea are you? Hit the comments below and share your thoughts and theories with us!

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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