This Week’s Arrow: Birds of Prey

Arrow Tv show logoWell, we finally got our Birds of Prey episode of Arrow and it was…OK.

Here’s some highlights:

The Island

The flashback section added nothing.  I already know Sara is capable of being ruthless.  She was an assassin, for crying out loud.  And there’s no indication that anything awful will happen to the guy she exchanges for Ollie’s life.  Plus, he’s a jerk, so it’s not like we saw Sara kill a puppy.  The only reason to have a flashback sequence was so that we could hear Slade say,  “I decapitated the engineer”.  which was, admittedly, a high point of the episode and, indeed, the entire season.

The Birds

This was a little disappointing.  Sara and Huntress fight each other which was kind of a bummer because I wanted them to team up.  Canary has some nice moments with Laurel, but I did not believe that Laurel would fail to recognize her sister, not did I believe that Sara would fail to recognize a potential weapon.  Take the bottle of bourbon with you, Laurel.  You don’t drink it – you hit people with it and then when it breaks you stab people with it, or you light it on fire and throw it.  Honestly, to have so much flammable liquid in Canary’s vicinity and not have it light up is so sad.

Look, I want Huntress, Canary, and Oracle fighting crime.  Sara and Huntress have a somewhat similar back story and Sara and Felicity have such a great friendship that I’m sort of shipping them instead of Ollie/Felicity or Ollie/Sara.  So please, give me Felicity, Huntress, and Canary fighting crime.  That’s Birds of Prey.  It’s not rocket science Hollywood.  Gimmie, now, or FACE MY WRATH.

My only hang up with this scenario is that I think having Barbara Gordon as Oracle is really important.  They could give Felicity a similar arc (she is humiliated and tortured and shot by bad guy, loses ability to walk, fights crime from wheelchair) but then Felicity would go through a period of time of being sad, and that can’t happen.  Every time Felicity makes a sad face, an angel loses his wings.  So I’m not sure how to make the Arrow Birds of Prey Spin-Off fit my Barbara Gordon as Oracle passion but somehow it must happen.

My point, and I do have one, is that this didn’t happen here, but what we did get was fine.  Lots of content about being dark and whether redemption is possible, lots of good moments between characters – it was OK.  The episode was very strong thematically and it was great to see that all these women have their own stories – they may involve Ollie, but they don’t revolve around him.

The Snark

So much snark.  This was a great episode for lines, which I almost missed because they were flying around so fast.  Felicity delivers a lengthy description of who Huntress is including a litany of violent crimes, and in the middle of this description she refers to Huntress as Ollie’s ex-girlfriend.  Sara perks up just like a Brittany Spaniel who hears a duck in the distance and says, “Old girlfriend, huh?” to which Ollie replies, “That’s what you took from that sentence?”

Felicity:  “Oh, I think if Huntress shows up you should definitely kick her ass”.  Digg’s nod of agreement deserves it’s very own Emmy.

Roy:  “Don’t call me Speedy”.

When Sara referred to Ollie as having “Baby arrows” I guffawed.

The Making of a Super-villan

It’s…prediction time!  First of all, I loved Thea’s reaction to Roy saying that they are breaking up (nope, she’s not having it).  And she just killed with her tearful breakdown when she realizes that they actually are breaking up.  But apparently neither Roy nor Ollie has ever read a comic book or seen any movie at all, ever, in their lives, because trying to protect your loved ones by having a secret identity never works.  Never, never, never.  Not one damn time.

So here’ my prediction.  There are two ways this season can end.  One is Thea survives whatever Slade has in mind and finds out that everyone, including Ollie (“The only one who never lies to me”) has lied to her.   She’ll find out about her parentage, Ollie’s crime fighting, the mirakuru – everything.  She’ll probably find out shit I don’t even know to ask about, like the combination of Ollie’s locker in high school.  Having discovered that everyone has bull-shitted her for months, she will go completely nuts and become the coolest villain ever.  She has brains and money and evil genetics and she will wander around letting people continue to think of her as a cute little sister while actually wreaking havoc on the world.  I can’t wait.

The other possibility is that Thea will die (NOOOOOOO!) which will cause Roy to lose it go all Hulk Smash and Ollie will have to fight him.  If the show wants to go super dark, Ollie will have to kill him but if they want to continue the theme of grief, healing, and redemption then Ollie will eventually calm Roy down and they will share many tears.

Also I doubt Sara is long for this world.  Please God, please let her ride off into the sunset so I can have the Birds of Prey sequel I crave.  Please don’t kill her off.  Pleeeeeeaaase!




This Week’s Arrow: Suicide Squad

MV5BMTYzNDYxMTkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzMjMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_This week’s Arrow was basically a big love letter to comics fans.  Here’s my quick thoughts on this week’s highlights.

First of all, allow me to give you the Suicide Squad!


Anyone else have a disturbing crush on Deadshot?  No, just me?  Fine, less competition.  He’s mine, all mine!

He's like a cute, fluffy, snarky puppy dog of death!

He’s like a cute, fluffy, snarky puppy dog of death!

Amanda Waller was fat in the comics and animated series, skinny in DC’s New 52 line, and is skinny here.  I am so fricking angry at the way they took a perfectly great character who was heavy, middle-aged, and kick-ass and turned her into a sexual fantasy cutout that I could just spit.  Here’s a comparison of Amanda’s two comic book selves and Arrow’s Amanda Waller:

Please insert my usual rant about representation here.

Please insert my usual rant about representation here.

Diggle and Lyla

Oh, Diggle.  You can totally lose Lyla again.  Lose her, dude.  The fact that she didn’t flee at the words “spinal column” is a bad, bad sign.  Although Lyla clearly has a moral compass, wonky thought it may be, and is capable of great kindness, plus I love a tough woman.  We’ll see how this goes.

I thought this was one of the most improbable episodes of the whole series, and that’s saying a lot.  And what I thought was most improbable was the idea that you could just come and go from Amanda Waller’s employ with all that classified info in your head without getting shot as you walk out the door.  If Lyla does turn her back on her boss, I hope she wears some good quality Kevlar when she does it.

BTW, let’s have a moratorium on Arabic male villains.  OK?  It’s overdone.  Move on.

I say they are doomed.  you heard it here first.

I say they are doomed. you heard it here first.

Ollie and Sara

Sad Ollie is about the saddest thing ever.  He’s normally so stoic that seeing him start to crumble is heartbreaking.  While I remain a Ollie/Felicity shipper, I’m glad to see him growing a little and solidifying his relationship with Sara.  I like that she understands him and that she doesn’t necessarily need his protection.

Lines of the week:

Deadshot (on hearing that he’s about to be killed by a drone): How contemporary.

Laurel: Is it because of the whole cheating, shipwreck, drowning, not drowning, you’re back, she’s back thing?

Ollie:  I DETEST swimming!

Harley Quinn:  I’m a trained therapist!

Next week is Birds of Prey!

My only problem is that the antics of the Suicide Squad felt like a prep to a spin-off, not an actual part of Arrow.  I would totally watch the spin-off, but it felt shoehorned in to the series.  Meanwhile the thought of a Birds of Prey episode makes me pee my pants with excitement (not literally) but I’d really like that to be a spin off too.  Wouldn’t you watch a show about Canary, the Huntress, and Felicity?   Of COURSE you would!  Who;s with me!  Only please nobody shoot Felicity in the spine.  Sad Felicity makes me depressed.

Catching Up On Arrow: The Promise

MV5BMTYzNDYxMTkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzMjMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_I sat down this morning to watch Arrow and guess what – there was no new Arrow this week.  What the hey, Arrow?  I need my weekly fix!  Hurry up and get me to the upcoming Birds of Prey episode!  Also get a spinoff going, OK, because I need a Birds of Prey show like I need oxygen.  Make it so.

Anyway, last week, we did have a new Arrow, which I did not write about due to book revision drama.  So now I can catch up, yay.  The only problem is that last weeks’ episode, “The Promise” is basically just showing us lots of stuff we already knew.  I have two highlights:

Slade grabbing Ollie by the foot was pretty badass.  How I wish I had a gif for you.  My google-fu has failed me.  Basically the whole episode is worth watching for this one stunt.

Angry Slade needs a hug.

Angry Slade needs a hug.

The stunt in question is part of the Island storyline.  Ollie, Sara, and Slade try to take the freighter.  Mooks dying everywhere, new prisoners showing up, gambits galore – it’s all very exciting.  Ivo turns out to be trying to find a cure for his wife, which is supposed to make us feel sorry for him.  Alas, I continue to think he’s a sadistic crazy asshole, and my opinion does not change when he tries to convince Ollie and Slade that because Ollie chose to save Sara, Ollie holds full responsibility for killing Shado.  Oh, for the love of bunnies.  That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.  And since Slade and Ollie are both dumb as a bag of hair, they seem to buy it, at least in part.  End result:  Sara is back on the island, Ollie is locked up on the freighter, Slade is in charge of the freighter, and Slade promises to make Ollie feel complete despair.

In current time, Ollide discovers a nicely cleaned up Slade chatting up Ollie’s mom and viewing landscape art (not a euphemism) with Ollie’s sister.  The amount of stink-eye delivered in this storyline is magnificent.  Ulitmately the team swoops in but Diggle is knocked out before he can shoot Slade (which honestly, shooting Slade in cold blood seems pragmatic but out of character).  Ollie, Roy and Sara surrounding Slade at Moira’s house was pretty beautiful.  Stephen Arnell’s delivery of the line, “So what would you like to do now, Mr. Wilson?” deserves to be worked in crosstich and hung in a frame.

And yet, still less awkward than dinner with the Lance family.

And yet, still less awkward than dinner with the Lance family.

I enjoyed this episode but it didn’t move us forward.  The flashback stuff moved forward but only to places we already knew we were going.  This seems to be the pattern with Arrow – an episode that sets up a tower of blocks, and an episode that knocks them down.  As long as the set up episodes remain entertaining I’m good with that.  We have a new episode next week that looks to be Diggle-centric, YAY!  See you then!  Meanwhile I leave you with a question.  Why is Roy practicing archery without a shirt?  Yes, he works out, God knows I appreciate it, but what possible reason could he have for being semi-nude at this moment?  Not even an arm guard?  Dude, I actually have practiced archery, years ago, and that’s gonna hurt.  I’m just saying.


Arrow: Talk Amongst Yourselves!

I’m so sorry but I’m in the throes of book revisions (stay tuned!!!!) and not only have I not recapped last night’s Arrow – I haven’t even watched it yet.  Am hoping for a little weekend mini-binge since I’ve heard last week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was also good.

to tide you over in my absence, I give you:

Click if you dare the cast of Arrow sing “Summer Lovin'” in the bathroom.  Off key yet adorable.  See you next week!

This Week’s Arrow: “Time of Death”

MV5BMTYzNDYxMTkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzMjMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Holy crap, you guys, I have ALL THE FEELS.  I’ve always had a certain grudging sympathy for Laurel, who kept the ball rolling for years only to turn into the loser of the world, and now she actually made me all teary.  Also, Felicity is sad.  I repeat, Felicity is sad.  This is not OK.  Sad Felicity makes my heart hurt.  I feel like E.T. going “Oooooouch…”.

So here’s a pretty scattered look at the ups and downs of this episode.  It’s scattered because I’m still recovering.  First of all:

Dude, there is an awful lot going on in the show right now.  They may over-stuffed things a bit.  There were scenes in which so many people told so many lies of omission, implication, or just, you know, bald-faced lies so quickly to so many people that it was like a French farce of lying.  I seriously thought that at one point the Queen Mansion might just collapse into a sinkhole or possibly explode or at least be hit by lightning, because of the vast preponderance of epic bullshit going on.

Thank God nothing awkward is happening with the Lance family (she said, sarcastically)

Thank God nothing awkward is happening with the Lance family (she said, sarcastically)

Plus, there are approximately 1000 plot lines all of which are getting more and more interconnected.  They can’t possibly all happen at once, so someone is always short-changed.  Has Diggle gotten anything to do or say since he rescued his ex-wife in Russia?  Can we please, please, give this guy something to do other than be a comforting voice of sanity and a token Person of Color?  I know people have to wait their turn for screen time (Roy is apparently locked in a closet until next week) but this is getting ridiculous.  More Diggle, please.

Since there are so many, many things to talk about let’s focus on Felicity and Sara.  I liked it that Felicity is jealous – but she’s not primarily jealous because Oliver is having a semi-romantic relationship with someone else.  Oh, I’m sure she’s jealous of that, but that’s the not the source of her malaise.  She’s jealous because Super-Sara is super.  Sara is good with the science stuff.  She’s good at fighting.  She can relate to Ollie and Diggle in a way that Felicity can’t.  Felicity can’t even hate her, because Sara is also great at being nice to Felicity.  She appreciates Feleicity’s talents, she asks before she touches the equipment, she encourages her to work on building self-defense skills, and she’s just basically a decent person to Felicity despite having her own grounds for jealousy.  Although her calling Felicity “cute” is a little passive-aggressive, I don’t think she intends it condescendingly.

It makes sense that Felicity would question her role on the team right now.  Her crush is doomed (or so she thinks).  She and Ollie have lingering tension because she revealed his mom’s secret, so her role as the person who provides emotional support is shaky.  Her tech skills have been unreliable lately so the one quantifiable thing she has to offer is in doubt.  Frankly, if I were Felicity, I would have packed my bags and headed off to date Barry months ago.  But Ollie reassures her that “She’ll always be his girl”.

Felicity is firmly in the "Little Sister Zone" but she seems OK with that for now.  The painkillers really take the edge off.

Felicity is firmly in the “Little Sister Zone” but she seems OK with that for now. The painkillers really take the edge off.

What I like about this arc is that Sara and Felicity absolutely refuse to be catty to each other.  Think how often we get the “women fight over a guy” story.  Sara and Felicity have larger goals.  They need the team to work.  Plus, they are both fundamentally nice people.  What I don’t like is that everyone treats Felicity like an adorable small child.  Felicity, I’ve been in the little sister zone.  When you know that’s the most affection you’re gonna get from your beloved, it’s tempting to hang out there.  But you’re not “cute” and you’re not a “girl”.  For God’s sake, you’re a brilliant, competent adult.  Make people treat you like one.  And keep up on learning self-defense – Sara seems like a good teacher and everyone should know some basics, even when they don’t hang out with vigilantes in a high-tech basement.

OK everyone, jump on the comments.  What did you think about Ollie telling Laurel that he’s “done chasing her?”  The photo of Sin – contrived, or adorable, or both?  Can we just have a show about Sin and Thea?  Their super-power is snark!  Isn’t The Clockmaker a great villain?  Will he escape justice and wreak further havoc?    Make it happen!  Is Sara doomed since she told Sin that Sin will never have to get along without her?  Let’s see – Sara has reconciled with the family, escaped the League of Baddies, and she and Ollie are getting along so, I’m gonna go with…yes.  Sara is toast.

This Week’s Arrow: “Heir to the Demon”

MV5BMTYzNDYxMTkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzMjMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_OK, so there was a LOT going on in this episode.  Crazy fight scenes, but mostly people saying real stuff – a lot of which was hard to hear because it was partly true, and also hard to hear, because it was partly untrue (or unfair).

For a full recap, you guys really should hop over to io9 which comes complete with a crying guide.  Seriously, I had no idea that I could get so emotionally worked up over an episode which not once but frequently involves the phrase “Tibetan Pit Viper Venom”.

So now that you are all back from reading the full-length io9 recap that I am not recapping, let’s talk about four big scenes SPOILERS DUH!  In these scenes, we see why a show that is so very fun and amazingly ridiculous (Tibetan Pit Viper!) is also emotionally engaging – the characters have layers.  They have actual motivations that make sense given their circumstances, even when their circumstances are “fell in love with the daughter of an assassin who is also an assassin and a very good one at that”.  They make mistakes and achieve triumphs that fit the complicated, flawed people that they are – and they are often right and wrong at the same time.  So here goes:

1.  Felicity tells Ollie Moira’s big secret.

Is it any of Felicity’s business who Thea’s father is?  Nope.  Should Felicity expose Moira’s secret to Ollie?  Not on the basis of paternity alone – it’s nobody’s business but Moira’s and Thea’s.  But here’s where things suddenly become Ollie’s business – Ollie is running the family company and publicly supporting his mother’s campaign for Mayor (I’m still not over how bizarre it is that Moira is running for Mayor).  Moira is a corrupt politician.  Bribing someone with large amounts of money in secret is corrupt.  Moira has a history of secret corruption.  So on the face of it, Felicity is so over the line.  But in terms of the fact that Moira could be drag  the company Felicity works for and everyone Felicity cares about into a pit of illegal corrupt activity – Felicity is absolutely right to tell Ollie.  Hell yeah.

2.  Ollie is furious with Moira.

So Moira had an affair (that she admitted to) ages ago and had a daughter with a psycho guy (that she hadn’t admitted to but was smart to keep secret given how abysmal a parent psycho guy was to his son).  Ollie’s rage that his mother lied is both totally off the scale considering what she actually did and breathtakingly hypocritical.  Really Ollie?  You’re going to be angry at someone about lying?  You, who refuse to tell your mom or Thea about your crime fighting life?  Jesus, guy.

I think that Ollie’s anger with his Mom has nothing to do with the affair (he took it pretty well when he heard about it earlier this season).  It has to do with all of last season, which basically consisted of Ollie defending his mom while with every episode her complicity in crimes against him, his father, and his city grew more and more obvious.  Ollie is right that Moira doesn’t lie to protect Thea – she lies because it what she does.  In a series about how people learn to survive, Moira has learned to survive by lying all the time, to everyone.  And Ollie doesn’t want to get sucked back into a whole other season/lifetime of trying to cover up his mom’s lies.

Is Ollie’s outrage fair, given that Ollie is scarcely forthright and forthcoming?  Nope.  He survives by lying, too.  Is his anger in character, especially given what his mom’s duplicity has already put him through?  Yup.

Speaking of lying, I’m rooting for Thea to finally find out that basically no one treats her as a person.  Everyone lies to her constantly because they think she’s a fragile decorative item, and I hope she responds by becoming a supervillian,  and I hope she kicks everyone ass.

3.  Laurel is furious with Sara.

This is another case of someone being both unfair and yet completely in character and at least somewhat justified.  Sara was the family flake.  Then she did a really bad thing (betrayed Laurel by cheating with Ollie).  She then let her family believe she was dead for years.  Sara has paid a disproportionate price – but Laurel doesn’t know that.  What Laurel does know is that when Sara left her parents stopped parenting.  Laurel’s mom left and her dad became an alcoholic.  We never seen alcoholic Quentin, so we think of him as dad of the year.  But anyone who’s lived with an alcoholic parent knows that practicing alcoholics are not parents, they are big, heavy, puking babies.  And who took care of everything and cleaned up all that barf while also saving the downtrodden of Starling City from injustice?  Laurel.

Now here comes Sara, and she seems to have it all together (she doesn’t but Laurel can’t see that).  What Laurel sees is that suddenly she, Laurel is the screw-up, and the person who actually screwed everything upon the first place is being hailed as the prodigal daughter and trying to fix Laurel up.  If I were Laurel, I’d be pissed, too.

But alas, although Laurel has a point, Laurel is also wrong, because this show is about how people survive, and Laurel chose to survive by numbing her pain with alcohol and drugs.  That was her choice (her Dad made the same choice, but eventually chose to work a program of sobriety).  Laurel blames Sara for her current state, but Laurel is the one who chose the bottle and who has chosen to refuse all offers of help.  Sara, Quentin, and Ollie have all taken some degree of responsibility for their past destructive and self-destructive choices but Laurel has not.

4. Ollie and Sara have sex.

I know all you Felicity/Ollie shippers are freaking out, but I think Ollie sees sex as a recreational activity and I think Sara does too.   They have a real bond, they care about each other, but I see this as more of a Friends With Benefits situation.  Ollie has told Felicity that he can’t have a romantic relationship given his crazy life – hence the sex with Isobel (I miss Isobel!)  We’ll see where this goes, but my money is on mutual affection, not true love.

Tragically, there’s no Arrow for two weeks because of the Olympics.  If you haven’t been watching the shown here’s a great essay by Jennifer Crusie about why it works so well.  Read it and enjoy, and we’ll see you in two weeks!

This Week’s Arrow: “Tremors”

MV5BMTYzNDYxMTkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzMjMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_I missed the first ten minutes of this episode.  I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that probably five of these ten minutes was devoted to “Previously, on Arrow…”   Apparently I missed Roy slapping water as part of a training montage – see, that’s why you gotta be on time, people.  I regret missing that deeply.

Also, like everyone else on the planet, I am sick, so this is the shortest short list of highlights ever.  I thought this was a fun episode, with the plot zipping along, revelations dropping right and left, and so very many pretty outfits to look at.  Here’s some highlights:

Line of the week:

Ollie:  “Do you have one of those hoodies with you?”

Roy:  “Seriously, do you even need to ask?”

Too funny – but boys, a hoodie does not a disguise make.  Roy couldn’t even keep that stupid thing on.  Gotta work on the costume, Roy.

This fools no one.

This fools no one.

Runner up line of the week:

Felicity:  “Oooh, you have angry face”.

Love you, Felicity, never change.

Plot stuff:

Oh, look, there’s Moira and Walter!  I always liked them.  Get them back together, show.  In other news, Moira is going to run for Mayor.  What could go wrong?

Am both confused and delighted by super-mature Thea.

Laurel, Laurel, Laurel, Laurel, Laurel.  I was amused by the fact that when her Dad pointed out that she’s not the only person to have lost somebody and been fired, she restrained herself from replying, “Oh yeah?  How many people have survived being tied to a chair and threatened with a gruesome death by an insane serial-killer taxidermist?  Huh?  I’ll tell you – NOBODY!”  See, Laurel, that’s the kind of sharp comeback you could come up with if you weren’t drunk all the time.  Work on that.

Oooh, we’re getting a squad!  A squad of bad guys!  Oh hey, Sara’s back!  Woah, someone stole an earthquake machine!  Back on the island, Slade and Ollie are hugging it out – that’s sweet.  But doomed.  So much plot excitement!

They hug in a manly way.

They hug in a manly way.

OK everyone, I’m going back to bed. Leave your comments here!