A member of Team Arrow made its long-awaited return in tonight’s Birds of Prey-inspired episode, “Lost Canary.” Of course, I’m talking about our beloved salmon ladder, which achieved series regular status in Arrow’s first couple of years. Let me tell you, I screamed the moment we saw Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) doing the salmon ladder in the bunker because it has been so long since we’ve seen the show’s favorite exercise device in use.
But, if we’re being completely serious, the biggest return in the episode was obviously Lotz, who came home to lend Felicity and Dinah a hand in their quest to save Laurel from herself. This episode has been touted as Arrow’s major female-centric hour, and the episode definitely didn’t disappoint on that front.
At the top of the episode, director Kristin Windell takes your standard badass-confronts-goons scenes, the type of thing Arrow does all the time, and livens it up by shooting it in one take. So, the hour opens with Laurel mowing her way through a bunch of armed goons. Sure, the show has executed oners many times before (see almost every episode James Bamford has directed), but it was pretty cool to see Katie Cassidy Rodgers, who has been with the show since the beginning, at the center of one and get a moment to shine like this.
Anyway, Laurel makes quick work of the goons and reunites with her former partner-in-crime Shadow Thief via some clunky but forgivable exposition about Diaz connecting them. As the two catch up, Laurel receives a call from her bestie Felicity, but she ignores her because Laurel can’t come to the phone now since Black Siren is back in action.
Why has Laurel suddenly gone to the bad side? In addition to revealing her criminal past to the world, Emiko Queen also framed Laurel for murdering a witness. Dinah orders a city-wide manhunt for Laurel because of the overwhelming evidence against her and, let’s be honest, Dinah never really believed in Laurel’s redemption arc to begin with. Thankfully, Felicity refuses to give up on her friend and calls Sara Lance, a.k.a. White Canary, in for back-up. Sara’s grand entrance using a modified version of Earth-1 Laurel’s canary cry device was appropriately badass.
Look, I’m a sucker for any scenes on this show that remind me of the good ol’ season 2 days. Needless to say, I loved Felicity and Sara’s reunion in the bunker, which not only included Sara putting in some work on the salmon ladder, but also Sara teasing Felicity about crushing on Oliver way back when and Felicity joking about whether or not Sara was ever into her. It was appropriately cute. Once the feel-good stuff ends, though, Sara shares some important wisdom with Felicity about Laurel: “You can’t force redemption on people.”
Felicity almost gives up hope on her friend when she and Dinah find a bomb waiting for them at Black Siren and Shadow Thief’s hideout, but Sara realizes the bomb’s delayed detonation wasn’t a mistake and that Laurel probably did it to save them. Her suspicions are somewhat confirmed when she finds Laurel at Quentin’s grave. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy Lotz’s scenes with Cassidy Rodgers as much as I did here. While there was a warmth and familiarity between Felicity and Sara in their reunion scene, that feeling was missing from this Laurel-Sara scene, which makes sense because these two women don’t have any kind of history. Both Lotz and Cassidy Rodgers did a great job of making these two women feel like strangers to each other.
Standing by Quentin’s grave, Sara opens up about her own struggle to redeem her past action as a way of showing that redemption is possible but takes a lot of work. “Redemption isn’t a destination. It’s a journey,” Sara tells Laurel. Not to make this female-centric episode about the men, but I think that sentence applies to Oliver’s journey over these past seven seasons. His journey to redeem himself has been just that, a journey, and there’s still a ways to go even for him. I like the way the show is taking that idea and exploring it through Laurel here. Unfortunately, Laurel still thinks it’s too late for her now.
Recognizing that Laurel is acting out because she didn’t realize how much she needed their support until she lost it, Felicity, Sara, and Dinah follow Laurel to her next job with Shadow Thief and make it very clear that she’s going to have to kill them if she wants them to give up on her. That’s enough to change Laurel’s heart (it’s a bit too hasty for my liking but whatever), and she decides to sonic blast Shadow Thief. Of course, Shadow Thief was expecting Laurel’s change of heart and brought some mercenaries to take her and the other three women out. Cue a series of fun oners that show Dinah, Laurel, and Caity being ultimate badasses against the gunmen as Felicity tries to disable a bomb. And by disable it, I mean make it sure it goes off in there instead of somewhere actually dangerous. In the end, the day and Laurel’s soul are saved.
In the wake of all this, Laurel realizes that she needs to commit to redeeming herself, which means returning to Earth-2 and taking responsibility for what she did. Before she leaves, though, Felicity gives Earth-1 Laurel’s old Black Canary suit in the hopes that she’ll find some use for it. And we don’t have to wait too long to see her put it on, because a greying Laurel shows up in this week’s flashforwards and saves Mia, who was about to be killed by Galaxy One’s Anti-Vigilante robot thing. Seeing Cassidy Rodgers suit back up as Black Siren was pretty awesome and probably the best use of the flash-forwards yet.
Wall of Weird:
- While the women were busy with Laurel, Oliver and Diggle figured out that Dante hired Longbow Hunter Kodiak (remember him?!) to murder Emiko’s mother. Oliver hopes he can use that info to drive a wedge between Emiko and the Ninth Circle. I highly doubt that’ll work since Emiko is the Ninth Circle’s leader.
- In the flash-forwards, most of Dinah’s canaries were taken out by Galaxy One. Dinah tries to convince Mia not to go after them alone and to depend on her Canaries, which are both a superhero team and female empowerment group, but Mia initially rejects her. Thankfully, Mia doesn’t die because Black Canary has her back.