Arrow S:03, E:13

Episode Title: Canaries
Original Airdate: 2-11-15

This week’s outing marked a turning point for most of the characters and a significant shift to status quo as long held secrets finally came to the forefront that drastically impacts Team Arrow.

Most importantly, Merlyn convinced Oliver he had to finally admit to Thea he’s the Arrow so Merlyn can most effectively train them. I was dreading a long second half of the season arc where Thea is bitter and upset with Oliver, but surprisingly she’s incredibly grateful knowing he was sacrificing so much to protect the citizens of Starling. Their easygoing banter about Oliver’s crime-fighting exploits further indicated it was a great time for the show to pull the trigger on the last big reveal of Oliver’s secret identity. Quentin doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

arrow-canaries-canary-vs-black-canaryOliver’s reveal does lead to some dissension with Thea/Merlyn as she’s upset that he manipulated her — and that’s with her not knowing the gist of his machinations — and she wants little to do with Merlyn. We get the payoff of the Chase subplot as he tries to kill Thea, but Arsenal arrives to fend him off and Merlyn shoots him with an arrow. Like a good assassin who’s failed in his mission, Chase kills himself rather than being taken in.

Oliver isn’t fond of the idea of Laurel running around as Canary, but the rest of Team Arrow vouches for her and forces him to realize Team Arrow is no longer an Arrow-run dictatorship as they all have an obligation and calling to protect the city. This pays off the whole “Arrow is dead” storyline and effectively no longer makes the team Arrow’s support staff, but heroes in their own right.

In other revelations, after nearly lying to Quentin about Sara’s death all season, Laurel finally told him she’s dead. I liked that Quentin already figured out that Laurel was running around as Canary yet was still blindsided by the news of Sara’s death.

As Count Vertigo is one of Arrow’s main villains, I’m still disappointed that he gets treated like such an easily dispatched opponent — in this case just as a vessel to force Laurel to face her doubts of living in Sara’s shadow and lying to Quentin — but it’s a minor quibble. And any excuse to have Caity Lotz return as Canary is welcome.

The first step in Merlyn’s training has Oliver and Thea head to the island, a theme echoed in the Hong Kong flashback that sees Oliver and Maseo captured by Waller’s forces and brought to Starling City to carry out a mission.

I’ve dug the steady character progression this season and amazed at how Laurel is stealing the show even in a season where Oliver was killed. With Arrow away again, it’ll be fun to see how the rest of Team Arrow hold things together in Starling.

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