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‘Arrow’ Season 2 Episode 17 Recap: “Birds of Prey”

Let’s delve right into the action this week, because that’s what Arrow always does, and there’s a lot to discuss.

Quentin Lance and a bunch of nameless cops ready to do his bidding and maybe die for no reason have surrounded a building, and are about to make their move on Hugo Manheim, or a BS criminal name we don’t have to remember. So, of course I do. There is a Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim from the Superman comics, but I doubt that this is an Easter Egg, even if it is fast approaching Easter time. Arrow and Canary are also there, because they have Lance’s back, and because the police in Starling City are helpless. Things quickly devolve into a gunfight, bullets blazing, and one even finds their mark: Lance is shot!

But that’s what bullet proof vests are for, though it takes Canary off her game. The cops and Arrow find Frank Bertinelli, or Helena Bertinelli’s criminal no-good father (Helena also goes by the Huntress moniker) involved in the bust, and quickly bring him into custody. This means that the Huntress, bent on revenge and killing her father (and fully committed to crazy town at this point), will find herself in Starling City for a little reunion. I doubt Ollie and her will make whoopee, but I’ll be honest, after Felicity, she’s my #2 choice for the guy in green. And she’s a murdering psychopath.

That tells you all you need to know about my opinion of Sara, who takes charge  on Tom Sawyer’s Island this week. Her and the rest of the survivors who managed to escape Slade’s takeover of the Amazo retreat to Slade and Ollie’s former camo-ridden hideout. Slade radios them, demanding for Mr. Hendrick, some random guy who apparently is an engineer, which is convenient, because Slade accidentally beheaded the previous engineer. Hendrick obviously doesn’t want to go work for this madman, but Slade threatens to murder Ollie if Sara doesn’t send him over. Because everyone would rather rally around a buxom blonde lass than some asshole, Hendrick is quickly tied up and ready to be sent to the Amazo. 

Laurel learns some hard truths in this episode, so naturally, her character finds herself in AA to start. Here’s Laurel Lesson #1:

She’s thankful for being there, but doesn’t know how else to control herself when she’s not in meetings, because she’s no longer a lawyer and has nothing to do. Idle hands are the devil’s playground. The devil being booze in this scenario, because Etrigan the Demon hasn’t arrived yet. Luckily for her, the fates are listening, and she gets a cell phone call IMMEDIATELY after her share, with former boss Adam Donner calling her in. Why? Because for some reason, Laurel is the most qualified not-lawyer he can think of to prosecute Frank Bertinelli. Adam explains that he has a friend in the DA that squared away her issues with the Bar Association, which is hilarious, eye-rolling stuff, but actually has a sweet payoff (in that it leads to more suffering for Laurel).

It’s time for Roy to get back in the field, as they need him to help track and take down the Huntress. Bad idea: Roy gets shot in the hand immediately, and almost goes Mr. Hyde/Hulk/emo/to the dark side. How does Ollie get him to snap out of it? He calls him Speedy, the affectionate nickname he has for Thea.

It’s hilarious, a great nod to the comics, and better yet, it works. Roy doesn’t kill the joy rider who shot him, who was really just a distraction hired by Helena (who happened to have a gun), and only exists so Stephen Amell can become Batman even more than he already has, when he grabs a hold of him and growls, “WHERE IS SHE?!”, the oft-quoted Christian Bale-ism from The Dark KnightBecause Christopher Nolan.

Back at the Arrow-Cave, Roy’s sure about one thing:

It’s clear that Thea is the only thing that brought him back from killer land. Plus, Roy thought Ollie was giving him a stupid nickname. You’d think that Ollie could use this attachment to Thea to help alleve his Mirakuru madness, that it’s really his tether to reality…but instead, Ollie demands him to cut the cord: break up with Thea, because it’s clearly unsafe to be around her. To his credit, Roy doesn’t make a stink. He owns it, and tries to make that happen.

They learn that Laurel’s taken the Frank Bertinelli case, which means that Sara has to come by and warn her that it’s unsafe, which she’s absolutely right about, but Laurel needs to be back in the saddle, and ignores the advice.

Ollie and Sara bicker over whether or not they should kill Helena, family and what lengths they’ll go to protect them. Ollie decides that family clouds their judgment, so he should take charge with Laurel in danger…because he’d for one second let Sara do the same thing for him if the situation was reversed (he wouldn’t). Afterwards, Sara asks Diggle and Felicity what they think, which is kinda nice, since they’re a part of the team too (sorta):

Thanks guys.

It’s the day of the case, because justice moves swiftly in Starling City, but it becomes clear it’s all a trap for the Huntress. She arrives to kidnap and kill her father, and the feds are on the scene in moments. Ollie gets Laurel out of harm’s way, and then saves Frank’s life. Of course, he also left Laurel in the building, as the Huntress takes hostages and threatens to kill them unless they relinquish her father.

Then there’s this hilarious moment:

Quentin Lance is the dumbest man on the planet, as Oliver quickly disappears and then talks back to Lance in his “Arrow voice.” Felicity’s summation of the situation:

Troof. It gets even sillier, because the Canary arrives to save Laurel. The Canary has the same exact hair and body as her sister, but Laurel plays along, or doesn’t make the connection (she even says “Sara’s right” in front of Sara, referring to the conversation they had earlier). Laurel is terrified, but more distraught over Laurel Lesson #2:

This is what we’ve been saying all along. Of course, she merely means because Adam Donner hired her to make the trial seem legitimate and not just a ruse to bring the Huntress out in the open.

She grabs a bottle of whiskey, and is about to take a swig, when the Canary asks about her sobriety. “How do you know about that?” Thankfully, Laurel is one of those drunks with her AA badges on her key chain, denoting that she’s 30 days sober. Canary’s going to free her from the court room, but after the solid pep talk, Laurel refuses to leave without saving the rest of the hostages. And so, that means it’s Huntress vs. Canary time!

And the Huntress kicks her ass, throwing her out of the window and on her ass, and Laurel joins the hostages. Helena, familiar with the troubled lass, offers Laurel’s life for her father.

At Verdant, Roy tried to break up with Thea by, you know, breaking up with her, but Thea refused, because Roy’s clearly going through something and he shouldn’t have to alone (aw/stubborn). So…Roy takes it one step further and makes out with a co-worker in the back, knowing that Thea would walk in on them, breaking up with him in the process. Well done (and resourceful), Roy. It’s nice to be a guy with that kind of options at his disposal.

Back at the court room, Laurel tries to connect with the Huntress, and find common ground. The Huntress lost her fiancee, and she lost Tommy after all.

But it doesn’t work. Helena is too far gone. Sara, Ollie and Lance are willing to make the transfer, and agree to do so at the intersection of Gail and Simone, which is a clever reference to one of the more notable Birds of Prey comic book writers (who totally rocks). These are the references I love. I don’t need lines and scenes carbon copied from The Dark Knight, because it just reminds me that I’m watching a pale imitation.

The meet merely sets up Huntress vs. Canary, Round 2. This time…

The Feds show up to make everything crazy again, and we learn that Sara totally was holding back, because she’s about to kill the Huntress, before Ollie stops her (which happens 100 times in every episode, it feels like). In the aftermath, Helena discovers that her father was caught in the cross hairs…and is dead. Don’t you hate when you can’t murder the people you want to murder? That’s the empty hollow feeling that Helena now feels, but don’t worry, she’s not alone, Ollie insists, as she’s taken away to prison for a very long time (or until Amanda Waller enlists her into the Suicide Squad).

On the Amazo, Slade brands Ollie with Shado’s tattoo, to remind him of his failures, as they did in Roman times. It’s in the same location as Shado’s tattoo…but he could’ve picked a better place if he wanted a tattoo that he’d see (and therefore haunt him) often.

Laurel returns to work, and learns that Adam’s been fired (thank God), and that nothing’s changed, Adam didn’t have the authority to change her standing with the bar. Laurel promises to reveal the circumstances behind the trial, blackmailing her way to a full-time position at the law firm again, something AA would frown upon. Kate, the boss, is impressed (because lawyers are scum), believing the maneuver a tad “dark for you.” But, this comes on the heels of Laurel Lesson #3:

Because Arrow and Once Upon A Time share the same universe.

At Verdant, Ollie comes to console Thea, who’s crying about the events that Ollie made happen. Thea wonders why everybody is lying: her Mom, Roy…but not you Ollie, “you’re the only one that doesn’t lie…” OOF. Ollie better feel like the biggest dick after this scene, and surely will after…

…The Patented Slade Wilson Terrifies Us At The End of the Episode Cliffhanger:

While I actually loved what happens to Laurel in this episode, am continually a sucker for the Slade Wilson endings, and Roy’s totally cliche but sad superhero decision with his girl, it was hard not to be distracted by the nuttiness of Ollie and Sara’s secret identities. I’m also growing a little tired of the repeated themes that the folks behind Arrow hammer into us every week, less subtle than a Larry the Cable Guy stand up routine. I get that heroes don’t kill, and that Ollie is trying to fix Sara and Helena…but it’s been done a million times before this show, and now on this show. I like that Arrow takes its characters into the darkness, and works to redeem them, believing no one is beyond saving, but there’s gotta be more unique ways of showing this than what’s transpired so far.

GRADE: B+

All Arrow gifs courtesy of tumblr user Queen's Arrow.