Category Archives: black canary
My mantra in the review of last week’s episode was Who is the Black Canary? and now we know. For those of you who already know or figured it out on your own, you’ll just have to wait a couple paragraphs, and for those who don’t, you’ll have to sizzle too. I’ll get to it. All that said, I enjoy a little mystery surprise, and “Arrow” gave us a nice one to ponder last week.
Our opening has Oliver and Sebastian Blood parrying once again verbally. I know it’s leading up to Oliver running for mayor just like in the comics, and I know that Sebastian is Brother Blood, but I’m just not finding this storyline all that exciting. Oh, we might get references to great inspiring dialogue by Denny O’Neil or Elliot S! Maggin about ‘what one man can do,’ but on the other hand, I highly doubt that Sebastian is going to pull out the prayer shawl of Jesus or call upon Trigon.
Meanwhile Felicity figures out that the Black Canary (though not yet named so) is following Laurel, not Oliver. Knowing this, our hero ambushes and unmasks her. It’s the late Sara Lance, who supposedly died in the shipwreck that stranded Oliver on the island. At least it’s a Lance in the leather, oh, and she knows Oliver is The Hood.
Cue painful memory music, and island flashback, it turns out Oliver knew she wasn’t dead. On board the Amazo (the boat, not the one man Justice League), he encounters a Russian man in the next cell – will the Bat-connections never end? – it’s the KGBeast. I guess we know where Oliver got the tattoo and Russian mob contacts now. And Sara is there too, but not in the way we expect…
Meanwhile a new villain has arisen from the ashes and wreckage of The Glades, a man who ironically calls himself The Mayor, a merciless sociopath who is carving out a territory and a reputation in the city. He’s played by an actor I like a bit named Cle Bennett. The Mayor is running guns in Starling City. It seems like even after The Undertaking, Starling City is getting its groove back.
Diggle meets with Lyla of A.R.G.U.S. again regarding Deadshot. Summer Glau continues not to impress. I love her, but I just don’t find her believable in this role. I just don’t buy it. Laurel is drinking a bit and gets stopped by the cops. It seems that being demoted to beat cop has humbled Quentin Lance as he’s now trying to make amends with The Hood and Oliver both. I have the feeling this is an interim episode, just moving the pieces around the board for the big strike.
After a heart to heart chat between Oliver and Blood that invokes the title of the episode, The Mayor attacks a Cash for Guns rally. Our hero saves Blood, but Sin is caught in the crossfire. As you might imagine, this launches both our ersatz Green Arrow and Black Canary at the same target. Yeah, fangasm, baby. Best parts of the clash are tied, when the two trade weapons, and when The Hood deflects a rocket with an arrow.
In the odds and ends department, we had a Jack Kirby shout out, as Marvel’s King Kirby did a brief but brilliant stint on Green Arrow in the 1950s. On the bad side, I cringed at the continuity of Black Canary having black eye make up when her mask is on, yet it disappears when the mask comes off. Uncool.
In the end, we see The Mayor bound, but not by the police. He’s needle injected with some sort of drug by a man in a weird mask. Remember what I said about the ability of this show to surprise? Yeah, baby, Brother Blood is here, and is that venom?
Next: The League of Assassins!
The winds of change from the last episode sweep in in the first seconds of this one, as Oliver Queen’s opening narrative has changed. No longer a killer, striving to be a hero, yet still unnamed, even without a name (Oliver swore off The Hood monicker last time), this is a change for the better.
Our secondary opening has Roy Harper, in his red hoodie, driving a red car (nice, but when’s he going to get a red costume and red arrows?), trying to save a FEMA truck from China White. He’s really not good at this vigilante stuff, Roy should get a… mentor, or something…
Laurel questions him once he gets hauled to the police station. She seems to have developed her father’s fixation on capturing The Hood, at all costs. She also scoffs at Roy’s mention of a certain Black Canary-like vigilante. If “Smallville” has taught us fanboys anything, it’s that the rules change in the jump from comics to TV. While I doubt it, there is a chance that Laurel Lance is not the Black Canary.
Maybe he’s not Brother Blood yet, as I posited last time, but Alderman Sebastian Blood, defender of The Glades, certainly is a thorn in Oliver’s side. Perhaps this will lead to our hero running for mayor as he did in the comics?
Green arrows, red arrows, black canaries, and brothers blood, that’s all good, but that’s not the big comics surprise in this episode. That would be the Bronze Tiger, played by Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite” and Spawn). Here, he’s China White’s new partner, but in the comics, he was a member of the League of Assassins, and served in the Suicide Squad, ironically alongside Deadshot and Count Vertigo. More Wolverine than Bronze Tiger, he’s still bad ass.
There were many things I didn’t like. Laurel is annoying in hunter mode. If she is the Black Canary, I hope she’s not mining this personality. Thea is not making a believable grown-up, no matter how adult her dresses are. And I prefer Felicity as nerd girl rather than pretty whiner. Is she shopping at the same fashion designer as Thea?
There was a nice namedrop for writer Jeff Lemire this episode. I also loved the use of the first trick arrows – the electric arrow and the handcuff arrow. Can the Arrowcar and the boxing glove arrow be far behind? Next week, we get the resolution to our juicy cliffhanger, the Dollmaker, and the Canary uncaged…
We begin, as always, on the island, but much like how things are on Joss Whedon’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” nothing is what it seems. This isn’t a flashback, this is the present day. Oliver is on the island, yes, but Diggle and Felicity are coming to find him.
Some time has passed since last season. Well, obviously. Oliver ran away after failing Starling City and losing his best friend. His mom is now in prison, Iron Heights, and Queen Consolidated is ripe for hostile takeover by a company called Stellmoor International. So Diggle and Felicity have come to bring our hero home.
It’s worth noting that in the comics, the New 52 continuity specifically, Stellmoor International does in fact buy out Queen Industries. CEO Simon Lacroix, an enemy of Robert Queen, Oliver’s father, is also the super-villain called Komodo, one of Green Arrow’s rogues gallery. Notably in the comics, the evil archer known as Komodo also killed Robert Queen.
Speaking of comics parallels, there’s an opening for mayor of the city, a position Oliver Queen has held, and there’s a church and a guy named Blood in the Glades… it couldn’t be Brother Blood, and the Church of Blood, could it?
There are also more than a few name drops of Central City. I guess they are already prepping for the Flash two-parter in December and planned spin-off. Speaking of masked vigilantes, in the wake of the destruction of the Glades and the missing Hood, it seems others have taken up the slack. Roy Harper is one, a gang called the Hoods are others.
Genre and fan favorite Summer Glau plays Isobel Rochev, head of acquisitions for Stellmoor. As much as I like her, she’s unconvincing here, but I guess we’ll be seeing more of her. The returning cast is excellent as always, more comfortable in their roles, Emily Bett Rickards continues to be my breakout favorite, and Stephen Amell’s bare chest should still get its own credit.
“City of Heroes” is a very angsty episode. Thea won’t visit her mom in prison. Laurel won’t get back with Oliver because of Tommy. Oliver won’t become the Hood again. That last one is because of guilt, and Tommy’s calling him a murderer. It’s so good that they are finally facing up to that factor of this version of Green Arrow. I don’t like my heroes to be serial killers. This is a good thing.
Speaking of good things, the best part of the episode is in the last five minutes. It’s not just Oliver deciding on a new name for his non-vigilante hero identity. While Roy is out amateur vigilant-ing, he gets in over his head and is saved by a masked blonde in black leather. Could this be… the Black Canary?
Tune in next week, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel… for the return of China White, and rumor has it… the Bronze Tiger!
In a season which also promises The Flash, and possibly Black Canary, Speedy, and Ras al Ghul, this looks like it’s going to be a good one!
“Arrow” season two starts Wednesday, October 9th.
Didn’t Deadshot take an arrow to the eye rather nastily waaay back in the third episode? Well, he’s back. How exactly does one live through something like that anyway?
The episode begins with a bang. Guillermo Barrera, known to comics fans as Nightwing villain, the knife wielding Brutale, shows up in Starling City via helicopter only to be immediately confronted by The Hood. He’s got his knives but no costume or bad guy codename. Maybe that’s why he lasts less than a minute with our ‘hero’ before he takes an arrow in the chest.
More scenes with Tommy and Laurel interacting with Oliver and a date, in this case, McKenna – it works out better this time, even though Tommy’s dad AKA Merlyn the Magician AKA Captain Jack shows up to spoil the fun. There’s also a great bit where Laurel shows McKenna a photo of her sister as a little girl… with a black canary. Other shout outs to the comics this episode include Deadshot living at the Bludhaven apartments, and of course… the first appearance of Riversong herself, Alex Kingston, as Laurel’s mom, Dinah Lance.
There are also some nice moments with Oliver and Tommy as they celebrate the latter’s birthday at a Chinese restaurant (a front fir the Tongs, but that’s beside the point). For once we get a real sense of why they are friends, and also why Tommy always seems to be at the Queens’ home. It’s all blown to hell when Tommy finds out Oliver’s big secret. I really wonder where they’re going with this character, is he being groomed to become the next Merlyn the Magician? Or simply a casualty in the war between The Hood and the Dark Archer?
Last episode Moira hired China White to kill Merlyn, and this time, it seems that she’s farming that work out to Deadshot. Not dead, but blind, however she provides him with a vision boost eyesight that more properly resembles his comic book appearance. And China White sure can kick ass in an evening gown and heels. Go, Kelly Hu!
Back on the island, Slade and Oliver continue their Odd Couple routine, get a radio working and learn more about Fyers’ Odyssey obsession. Next time on “Arrow, ” three weeks from now, why does the Huntress return (groan), did Malcolm Merlyn meet Ras al Ghul in Nanda Parbat, and who doesn’t know Oliver is the vigilante?
Lots of stuff going on in this episode, even though it seems a bit like a fill-in issue from the comics. First and foremost there’s a new baddie in town, the Dodger, who uses hostages to do his dirty work in robberies. Basically if the hostage doesn’t do what he says, he blows their head off by remote control. He also has a nifty taser stick similar to the old TV Green Hornet’s Hornet Sting. For the record, Dodger is a minor Green Arrow villain from the comics, notably affiliated with the League of Assassins – the group headed by Ras al Ghul over in the Batman universe.
Also thrown in for good measure is Moira meeting with an old family friend named Frank who I suspect could be China White’s father. Whatever the folks on The List are up to, it’s coming soon, and the writers have given it a name – The Undertaking. Supposedly, according to Moira at least, it started as a way to help the Glades, the dilapidated area of Starling City where the ‘Arrowcave’ is.
Then there’s also the grumbling fit Felicity has made on the Arrow team. For a temporary member, all she seems to be doing is causing trouble. She not only interferes with tactics in pursuing The List, she makes Diggle ask out his widowed sister-in-law Carly from Big Belly Burger, and Oliver ask out the beautiful Detective McKenna Hall from a few episodes back. Felicity has some kind of pull, eh? Neither date goes very well, sadly, at first at least.
And then, yeah, then there’s the kid in the red hood. He steals Thea’s purse while she’s walking with Laurel. His name? Yeah, you guessed it. Who else would be wearing red in a show about Green Arrow? His name is Roy Harper.
For those who read the comics, Roy Harper was Oliver Queen’s ward, Green Arrow’s sidekick in red, and the first hero to go by the name Speedy. He later became addicted to heroin, which Black Canary (Laurel in the show) helped him kick. He was later known as Arsenal and then Red Arrow when he took his mentor’s place in the Justice League. Just for the record, Green Arrow later trained a second Speedy – her name was Mia Dearborn. “Arrow” has a close counterpart in Oliver’s sister Thea Dearborn Queen.
The TV version of Roy Harper survives on petty theft, neglected by his parents. In a switch, mom is addicted to Vertigo, and dad is dead, buried in Norris Cemetery, a nod to Paul Norris, the artist who co-created Speedy back in 1941 with writer Mort Weisinger. Other comics call outs this episode include the corner of Adams and O’Neil, the writer/artist team that brought us the award winning Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the early 1970s.
Apparently the Starling City Police, except McKenna, but Lance is included, are a lot like the old Philly cops or Gotham’s cops. They have lots of ammo and don’t give a crap about property damage. When they try to ambush the Dodger, they just open fire on an illegal fence’s warehouse like they were in a Rambo movie. Who knows what kind of priceless antiquities were destroyed forever?
Emily Bett Rickards cleans up really nice as Felicity later in the episode when the Dodger turns her into a human bomb. I’d like to see her like this more often. As a bombshell that is, not as a bomb. And as far as bombshells go – our cliffhanger this episode? Moira has hired China White to take out Merlyn. Oh yeah, this is going to be bad… for everyone…
Before I start my review of this episode, I want to backtrack to something I missed initially in last week’s “Damaged.” The attorney prosecuting Oliver in that episode was none other than Kate Spencer. In the DC Comics source material, crusading attorney Spencer is the secret identity of the crime fighting superheroine Manhunter. Perhaps that’s a hint to an upcoming encounter.
“Legacies” represents a turning point for Oliver in his vigilante mission, going from personal vendetta to full-on crimefighter and protector of Starling City. To make that transformation, enter the Royal Flush Gang. In the comics these high tech card-themed villains regularly took on the Justice League with a revolving cast of thugs behind the masks. Here in “Arrow,” they are a family of bank robbing terrorists in painted hockey masks. Same as they ever were, just with less special effects.
I’m impressed that Diggle is able to turn Oliver’s head in this way. He can’t just fight the cause of his city’s sickness, he has to fight the symptoms as well – and this week, the symptoms are the Royal Flush Gang. I did not however dig Diggle’s Alfred impersonation when he saved Oliver from brunch to stop a bank robbery. Speaking of Batman, I loved seeing Oliver stealthily break into police headquarters, kinda part Batman, part Dexter.
We get more trick arrows this time around as well as more Felicity Smoak. Tommy Merlyn has a bigger part, trying to get back into Laurel’s pants. I’m not sure which is creepier – Tommy and Laurel or Tommy and Thea. Maybe the latter is what pushes him and Oliver apart? Get to it already, when is he finally putting on the black leather and crossing bows with our hero?
Tidbits from the quiver: Yao Fei is finally named in the show, Keystone City, Coast City, a pseudo Legion ring, and Stagg Industries are among the comics name drops this time around. I see that Philadelphia’s Comcast building has been added to Starling City’s skyline. And there’s also the fact that Laurel’s law firm is abbreviated CNRI – yeah, that’s right, Canary.
The initial excitement is over. Last time I was just thrilled that the show was as good as it was. I was expecting a train wreck. This week, I have questions, and observations.
Before seeing the show, and basing my opinions on just the previews, it seemed to me that Oliver Queen was a killer at least, and a serial killer at worse. From the opening of “Honor Thy Father,” my fears may have been true. Ever get shot through the chest with an arrow? I haven’t, but an easy guess says it’s a kill shot. There’s a couple on this rooftop. I also wonder if Oliver retrieves his arrows? How hard could it be for police to track down a guy buying lots of arrows in the city recently? Detective Lance already has several in his possession, what’s the hold up?
As far as the serial killer angle, there is ritual, there is method, I can’t help but wonder if Oliver is taking trophies. Was he disturbed a along or did Dad’s suicide in front of him push him over the edge? Was it the island, or something that happened on the island? Did Deathstroke teach him to be a killer? Yeah, I went there. We all saw his mask in the first episode.
And then there’s the problem with motivation. Sure, I understand trying to right his father’s wrongs, but didn’t Dad blow his brains out in front of him? That is an act of both cowardice and spiteful revenge. Obviously Dad didn’t think much of Oliver to do that to me, so why is he trying to clean up Dad’s mess for him? Something is just not clicking for me there.
Stephen Amell’s scarred and tattooed body continues to be the star of the show. That’s just based on the opinions of the straight women and gay men I know who are watching. And also by the serious amount of screen time Amell’s bare torso gets. I’m also starting to warm to him as an actor. Amell is almost a likable and talented Matt Damon. He’s no Justin Hartley, but really, who is?
I am continuing to enjoy the comics creator name drops in the scripts. Last week we had Judge Grell and Oliver’s bodyguard Diggle, and this week we’re introduced to one of Laurel’s clients, a Miss Nocenti. For the record, Ann Nocenti is the current writer on DC Comics’ Green Arrow ongoing title.
And I’m still loving Oliver’s Batman-like disappearing act he keeps pulling on Diggle. And yeah, I am digging David Ramsey’s Diggle. Good to finally see him in action this episode. Another thing I like is Oliver’s internal dialogue. It’s a comic book device which is fitting, but it’s also pretty unique in the world of television. Nice. More, please.
Arrow’s tagline of “You have failed this city.” will get old quickly, and is already starting to in the second episode. The plot point that follows the line could get old real quick as well, much like the meteor freak of the week on “Smallville.” I hope Dad’s list of names is a short one.
This episode introduces Kelly Hu as China White from the comics. China White is the first villainess Green Arrow ever encounters, as she is running heroin from the island where Queen was shipwrecked. Here she’s a Chinese Triad assassin, and a formidable adversary. The fight between her and Arrow is awesome.
I am also warming to Katie Cassidy as Laurel even though she’s no Black Canary (or would that be just Canary?) yet, and Paul Blackthorne as her dad. His blame game act could get old quickly too though. But I am starting to like them both. And I am waiting patiently to see what turns Colin Donnell’s Tommy Merlyn into Merlyn the Magician.
Okay, two episodes in and I’m hooked. Despite questions, fears, and reservations, I want more and can’t wait ’til next week. Rumor is, next time, we get Deadshot. And speaking of villains from the comics, based on the symbol on Dad’s notebook, could the mystery character John Barrowman will be playing be… Count Vertigo?