Episode Title: Midnight City
Original Airdate: 1-28-15
While Oliver is still recuperating after his duel with Ra’s al Ghul, the rest of Team Arrow are still trying to pick up the pieces and determine if they will continue to carry on his mission. But this week, they get some unexpected reinforcements.
After a solid build-up, Laurel debuted as Black Canary II this week in a subtle nod to the old comic continuity where Dinah (Laurel) Lance followed in her mother’s footsteps to be the second Black Canary. Diggle and Arsenal are a bit apprehensive about her joining the team in a costumed capacity, but after Brick attacks the mayor’s office and kidnaps a trio of aldermen they welcome her help.
As in the previous week, the show is solidly showing how difficult Oliver is to replace for the team. They can carry out his mission, but Arrow’s absence is felt in different ways from emotional to crime fighting efficiency. After witnessing Ray’s attempts to fight off Brick’s gang and his declaration of fighting for the people he cares about, Felicity realizes she can’t stay on the sidelines any longer and returns to the team to help find the missing aldermen.
Vinnie Jones’ Brick has been a welcome addition to the series and a perfect stopgap villain before Arrow’s rematch with Ra’s. Over the last two episodes, Brick has proved too much for Diggle, Arsenal and now Black Canary. Unless the writers are teasing a fake-out and having Atom beat him, defeating Brick looks like a job for Arrow.
I’m withholding judgment until the subplot is resolved, but Laurel is taking the lying to Quentin about Sara too far as she uses a device to sound like Sara while having a phone conversation with him. It was cool to at least hear Caity Lotz again. Arsenal and Canary manage to outsmart Brick long enough to rescue the aldermen and Felicity agrees to help Ray with his ATOM suit.
The most intriguing aspect came in the Oliver segments as current day Oliver is recuperating under the watch of the now estranged Maseo and Tatsu while in the flashbacks, Maseo and Oliver meet China White to rescue Tatsu. The flashback establishes that Maseo will do anything for his family, even betraying his mission by turning over the dangerous chemical CW wants to get Tatsu back. Present day, Maseo and Tatsu defeat League of Assassin members searching for Oliver, but of greater significance, Maseo gets a phone call from Starling City.
Chase, Thea’s new love-interest, is not the snarky hipster DJ he’s pretending to be — he’s actually a League of Assassins member reporting back to his mentor Maseo that Thea and Merlyn are not fleeing Starling City. I sense a showdown. Next week, it looks like Oliver will be back, but is he in any shape to resume being the Arrow?