Arrow – Season V- Ep. 11 “Second Chances”: A Review

Posted: 02/06/2017 in Uncategorized

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Well, Arrow’s “Second Chances” was a terrific offering. The set up, delivery and payoff with this episode citing both flashback and present day arcs were superb. Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) search for the New Canary leads him and his team to a field trip in Hub City. The villain “Sonus” was simply a villain du jour but the journey to Detective Tina Boland’s (Juliana Harkavy) discovery by Green Arrow is one well worth taking. My opening comments presented, I move on to my review.

Season V of “Arrow” has been a reinvigoration of this series. While many consider seasons 3 & 4 as missteps, though both unquestionably had a lot of good moments, this latest series has been both a return to form and a reinvention of sorts. The group dynamic featuring Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum), Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) and Rory Ragan/Ragman (Joe Dinicol) has very much refreshed the series, presenting new perspectives and individual stories worth telling.

We open with Felicity (Emily Bett-Rickards) heading the search for the new Black Canary, fulfilling the promise he made to Laurel (Katie Cassidy). As expected, Oliver is impossible to please and shoots down most of their selection. Rory’s ‘discovery’ of a soup kitchen merc who is also an astronaut was pretty hilarious but made his point succinctly. Oliver’s revelation that his decision will be as much instinctual and “feeling based” as reliant on research for a right fit, seems more like a denial than an attempt to move forward. Enter Tina Boland. The ep opens with her story including how she obtained her own ‘canary cry’. We develop empathy for her fairly quickly seeing the situation she is in. Curtis showing cell phone images he has discovered of Boland, as yet unnamed, peaks Oliver’s interest enough to take a suited up road trip with Rene and Curtis.

The ep remains on course from this point onward. Already a more capable fighter than Laurel was at her peak, Boland demonstrates tons of raw potential. Her mission guided out of pure vengeance mirrors GA’s own original course and has due resonance with him. The Russian/Bratva flashbacks featuring Talia Al Ghul (Lexa Doig) work assuredly well in establishing Oliver’s rise as “the Vigilante” as well as presenting a path very similar to Tina’s own in present time. Talia’s role references Oliver’s original instructor, Yau Fe – drawing the connection with the series’ beginning. The linking of past and present this season works amazingly well and even the most critical fan cannot complain about the use of the flashback plot device in this regard. Doig thus far is selling her performance as the elder daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul.

A sub arc involving Felicity’s return as a “hacktavist” could go either way. While her skills and ‘overwatch’ of the new team is invaluable, she is still grieving and angry regarding the loss of her boyfriend, Billy (Jason Ritter), at the hands of Prometheus. While her search and motives to help clear John Diggle’s (David Ramsey) name are noble, the interest she shows in the Pandora drive might lead her toward a path that conflicts with Team Arrow’s goal of protecting the innocent rather than tearing down what is perceived to be unjust. I will make no prediction on this arc as honestly I am willing to go on a little faith with the show runners this season.

The Hub city moments deliver including diner scenes in which Rene attempts to eat more meat in a burger than is reasonable. The banter between Rene, Oliver and Curtis illustrates the growing bond of fellowship not seen since earlier times when the OG (old guard-original three) met at “Big Belly Burger” with due regularity. Curtis’ tech brilliance again comes into play with his dampening device effectively neutralizing the meta humans in this run.

The real heart of the episode, however, is Tina Boland’s journey for vengeance. Her reaction to GA and his team is volatile. The demonstration of her physical battle skills plays well. The presentation of her Canary Cry illustrates how truly lethal she can be. Rene sees her in action questions why they should want to reach her, as she is actually eliminating some very bad people. The notion of second chances is offered throughout the episode including moments between Oliver and Tina. Watching her in action removes any doubt that she can be the next Black Canary. Despite her later decision, Oliver’s reaching out to her, revealing his identity freely, has powerful impact. The end sequence moment in which Tina advises Oliver that “Tina Boland” is her undercover police officer name leads to an awesome reveal in which her true identity is a shout out to long time DC fans.

This latest run again delivered. Despite its darker content, “Second Chances” presented one of the funniest sight gags ever as Oliver speaks with Captain Singh (Patrick Sabonghi) of the CCPD while texting to a friend to help confirm his identity when he attempts to get information on the former police officer and Canary potential. Arrow Season V remains focused and very entertaining. It also is still simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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