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!

 

 

 

Watching Arrow: The Story So Far

MV5BMTYzNDYxMTkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzMjMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Welcome to the first Arrow mini-recap!  Arrow has been on winter hiatus and it returns next week.  I’ll be posting a short recap/highlights every week.  You can comment here, or hop on over to the Community Forums at Harlequin.com where we’ll be chatting about the show.

Arrow is impressive because it promises something to its audience and then it delivers on that promise every single week. It promises campy, crazy, fun superhero drama with beautiful people doing over the top things and by golly that’s what we get.  In the first episode of Season Two, Ollie swings around like Tarzan on a vine or similar object to save Felicity.  He does this twice in one episode.  The first time, he does it shirtless.  If that doesn’t sound like pure cracky goodness to you, then this will not be your show.

I thought it might be fun to bring everyone more or less up to speed on the show.  Obviously that means…SPOILERS FOR SEASONS ONE AND HALF OF SEASON TWO!  And all the recaps will contain spoilers, because duh, they are recaps.  You’ve been warned.

So here’s a quick look at the story so far.  This is just the big, broad strokes.  For more detailed recaps, the ones on io9.com are hilarious and detailed!

SEASON ONE

Once upon a time there was a selfish, irresponsible jerk named Oliver Queen.  Oliver is is dating Laurel Lance but he sneaks off to his yacht (he’s a billionaire, or at least, he’s the son of a billionaire) with Laurel’s sister, Sarah.  Just as sexy times are about to ensue, the yacht sinks.  Sarah dies right away and everyone else on the boat, including Ollie’s dad, dies shortly thereafter. But Ollie survives until his lifeboat washes up on the shores of a deserted island.

Cosy!

Cosy!

Lots of adventures happen on the island (shown in flashback) but the big thing you need to know is that Ollie becomes a badass.  He is mentored by Yao Fei, Yao’s daughter Shado, with whom he has a romantic relationship, and Slade Wilson.  By the end of Season One, we know that Yao Fei is dead but we don’t know the fates of anyone else from the island.

Five years later, Ollie is rescued from the island and returns home to Starling City with his mom (Moira) his mom’s new husband (Walter), his younger sister (Thea), and a very bitter Laurel.  Laurel’s father, Quentin, is even more bitter, which is a problem for Ollie since Quentin is the chief of police.  Ollie was given a list of names from his father of people who have conspired against the Queen family and who have committed crimes against Starling City (corruption, embezzlement, that kind of thing).

The Happy Family

The Happy Family

Ollie hunts down the people on the list in disguise.  The public refers to him as “The Vigilante”.  Meanwhile, he plays up his billionaire playboy facade in an attempt to avoid detection.  Ollie’s allies are John Diggle, his driver/bodyguard/deadpan snarker badass voice of reason, and Felicity Smoakes, tech genius, also deadpan snarker.

Ollie’s best friend from pre-island days, Tommy, is in love with Laurel Lance and they become romantically involved, but Tommy insists they break up because he think Laurel is meant to be with Ollie.  Please, Tommy, this is absurd, we all want Ollie to be with Felicity, because she’s so amazing and adorable.  Laurel has way too much baggage of her own.  She doesn’t need to be carrying Ollie’s around too.  Let that ship sail and buy the poor woman a puppy.

Yeah…they are doomed.

Yeah…they are doomed.

Anyway, there are big conspiracies and things (seriously, I’m leaving out buckets of stuff here) but basically, Tommy’s father, Malcolm Merlyn, is a criminal mastermind (played by John Barrowman!!!) who plots and schemes and ends up destroying a big chink of Starling City (an area called ‘The Glades’).  He is killed by Ollie, Tommy dies, Moira (Ollie’s mom) confesses to having helped Malcolm under duress, oh my god, the angst, the weeping, the remorse from all parties concerned except for Malcolm, the only completely guilty person, who cackles with glee before he dies (OR DOES HE???).  Ollie sobs over Tommy’s body, “It should have been me!”  As an aside, Walter and Moira broke up in the middle of the season.  So basically, Season One ends with everyone as dysfunctional as humanly possible.

The producers of Arrow stated that Ollie was not referred to as Arrow at any time in Season One, because he was not a hero yet.  Getting revenge on people by killing their bodyguards doth not a hero make.  But stay tuned for:

SEASON TWO

Ollie goes to the island to repent (as one does) but Felicity and Diggle make him come back to Starling City to save his family and the family business.  Ollie is able to save the company but he’s stuck with a co-president, Isobel Rochev (played by Summer Glau!!!).  Ollie decides that he will continue to fight crime and injustice, but he wants a new name, and he won’t kill unless it is absolutely necessary.  He’s also focused on the general good of the city, not a personal vendetta.

Thea is dating Roy, a street smart guy who tries to be a superhero by punching people.  This approach gets him beat up constantly.  Ollie agrees to let Roy help him (he doesn’t reveal that he’s Ollie, of course) but only by gathering information.  Meanwhile Moira is on trial for mass murder because of her involvement in the Glades destruction but, surprise!  She’s acquitted of everything!  And – surprise!  It’s because Malcolm is still alive!  And he rigged everything!  Also he’s Thea’s real father!  And he’s totally going to tell Thea!  Until Moira, who is a strong-willed woman indeed, sets a bunch of assassins on him so he flees town in shame, hee, hee.

Oh, Malcolm Merlyn, you are so pretty…but Moira does not have time for this crap.

Oh, Malcolm Merlyn, you are so pretty…but Moira does not have time for this crap.

Arrow (Ollie is going by ‘Arrow’ now) is quite chummy with Detective Lance, who got demoted to beat cop.  They grow even closer when it turns out that…wait for it…Sara is alive!  And she’s also a vigilante, named ‘Canary’, with a sidekick named Sin.  We love Sin because she refers to the overly clean-cut Roy as “Abercrombie”.  But after several fabulous episodes, Sara she has to leave town because the same pesky assassins that are after Malcolm are after her and she wants to protect her family.  Arrow convinced her to tell her father that she’s alive but she refuses to tell Laurel (for her own protection, blah, blah).

Canary - so very cool.

Canary – so very cool.

In the flashback world, we find out how Sara survived and became a badass, and Shado died (awww) and Slade was blown up, treated with a drug that seemed to kill him, but which actually brought him back to life.  Now he’s back in Starling City trying to use the drug to make an army of super soldiers.  They keep dying on him, but guess who gets captured and injected and survives?  Roy, that’s who!

The best moment in Arrow is when Barry Allan appears.  He will become The Flash with his own show soon (!) but meanwhile he gets a big crush on Felicity, makes a proper mask for Ollie, and saves Ollie’s life, leading to my favorite line in the entire series:  “Does the rat poison you injected me with have any side effects?”  Barry Allen leaves for his own show which I will surely watch with almost demonic levels of glee.

OK!  We’re caught up, kind of!  Arrow airs on CW (of course) and the next episode is  on Wednesday, January 15.  I’m hoping to have a quick mini-cap up sometime on Thursday both on geekgirlinlove.com and at Harlequin.com.  Let’s have some fun!

Billionaire superheros throw the best parties!  It's true!

Billionaire superheros throw the best parties! It’s true!