Second Chances was a fitting title for this episode. Not only was it the theme for Team Arrow, but a remarkably effective do-over from the showrunners in finally getting an established component of Green Arrow down correctly.
I wasn’t optimistic about tonight’s show. The search for a new Black Canary seemed like an odd and unnecessary distraction from tracking down Prometheus. By the end of Second Chances, I was more convinced that Season 5 is starting to rival Season 2 for best of the series.
Granted, the happy coincidence of finding a metahuman with sonic scream powers was a little forced. But by the episode’s conclusion, all that awkward set-up had a point and actually fell in line pretty close to the comic book origin of Black Canary II.
Tina Boland (Juliana Harkavy, The Walking Dead) had all the requirements to be Black Canary’s replacement thanks to her police training and fortune of being in Central City during the Particle Accelerator incident. And to further the comic book connection, her cop partner/boyfriend got killed on their last mission. It was pretty clever to have her screaming in grief being the catalyst to giving her powers during the incident.
Harkavy gave Tina a nice edge and more of a street smart vibe that was lacking in both Laurel and Sara incarnations of Black Canary. The recruitment pitch led to some fun interaction with Oliver, Rene and Curtis traveling to Hub City while Rory stayed behind to help Felicity find evidence to clear Diggle.
Splitting up Team Arrow helped establish some new bonds and quirks. Rene can seriously put down some hamburgers! It was a nice touch for Rory and Felicity to have some positive one on one time. And getting Diggle released from prison was a welcome bonus. While the show has leaned too heavily on Felicity in the past, giving her a tech based subplot that doesn’t revolve around boyfriends, her wacky family or Olicity is something I can get behind and want to see play out.
Flash’s quick cameo was exactly the kind of random ‘just because we can’ stunt the Arrowverse can pull off with its shared universe.
As both Green Arrow and Oliver Queen, he had to sell Tina on the ideas of second chances and being part of a team. The writers even showed off by having Tina’s rival, Sonus, being a metahuman with more Count Vertigo-like powers than anything we’ve seen on the show yet.
The final action sequence with Tina and Wild Dog taking out Sonus’ goons and Green Arrow hitching a ride on a helicopter was sweet. Season 5’s action sequences have been outstanding and I’m loving the creative ways to incorporate more arrow-warfare into the more traditional martial art fight scenes. Tina killing Sonus despite Oliver’s pep talk was a smart, sensible departure from the norm in those instances.
With little fanfare, this was the flashback episode that’s been in the works for five seasons. Talia al Ghul convinced Oliver to go after a truly awful crime lord (in another stellar fight scene) and encourages him to be a restrained monster — with a new identity and costume. It was a nice goosebumps moment hearing Talia reference Oliver’s mantra since the first season of being someone else.
Now in his familiar Hood costume for the first time, it should prove very interesting seeing where Talia’s training will take Oliver. The flashbacks had been much improved this season, but not waiting until the season finale to debut Oliver as The Hood definitely makes them more interesting.
Season 5 has had a ton of great moments, but few will top Tina’s reveal that she’d been going by her undercover name. And her real name was Dinah Drake. Special comic book shot out bonus. As clumsy as the setup was in giving the show the Black Canary it’s deserved all along, the end result was well worth it.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW