After revealing the identity of the Canary (Caity Lotz) last week, Arrow dedicates an episode to her backstory and current predicament as the men who made her into a killing machine come calling.
Let’s bitch it out…In all honesty ‘League Of Assassins’ plays like a condensed origin story for the show’s most compelling new character. Unfortunately it doesn’t reveal much that we didn’t already know: Sara was lost at sea after the Queen’s Gambit went down six years ago, and she was “rescued” by the group of men we’ve seen torturing Oliver (Stephen Amell) in this year’s Island flashbacks. This includes new character Dr. Anthony Ivo (Dylan Neal) who initially seems like a saviour and is quickly revealed to be the psycho/evil genius behind everything. Presumably after this he transforms her from a sniveling mess to a human weapon, etc, etc…
As with other tales of assassins, Sara’s defection from the League has left her with a bullseye on her back. Initially I thought that the leader of the League’s advance team, Al-Owal (Homeland‘s Navid Negahban) would stick around as a new foe in the vein of Malcolm Merlyn (an unseen John Barrowman). That idea got tossed pretty quickly as Owal’s killed almost as soon as he’s introduced. The appearance of the League also means a hasty exit for Sara, who leaves in order to ensure her family is no longer targeted (this happens after she has revealed herself to Paul Blackthorne’s Lance, naturally). It all standard stock, executed with style and panache (serious kudos to the stunt choreographers this week). And yet the episode left me cold – probably because it’s clear from the offset that the reason we’re learning about Sara is because she’s already got one foot out the door (though I don’t doubt that she’ll return later).
The result is a well-executed episode packed with great action and yet another parallel between Oliver and a damaged female avenger. It does feel more than a little cliché, though. We’ll see Sara again soon, so let’s hope that when she returns Arrow won’t take the easy, obvious route again.
- Despite leaving Starling City, it seems likely that we’ll continue to see Lotz in flashbacks as we discover why she’s forgotten that she brutalized Oliver on that boat
- I do like how quickly Sara fits in with Ollie’s support team (even calling David Ramsey’s Diggle “Dig”). The little scenes as she realizes that Oliver has managed to reconnect and trust others is well done, even if is obvious that this is simply there to anticipate her reunion her with father
- Obviously it’s big news that Lance knows his youngest daughter is alive. This feels like another baby step towards revealing Oliver’s true identity to him – Lance knows that Sara’s alive, and that she knows Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) as well as the Arrow. The best thing that this show ever did (like pretty much every other series featuring a character with a hidden identity) is to bring people like Lance closer to the truth
- Arrow‘s penchant for attracting interesting guest stars and then using them in a middling to poor fashion continues in S2. In all honesty Homeland didn’t do much with Negahban either, but between the stock villain dialogue and covering his face for about 75% of his screentime, Al-Owal is basically a nonentity
- Everyone’s least favourite character, Laurel (Katie Cassidy), remains an uber-bitch/idiot this week. But hey gang, at least she’s cut out the booze! Now she’s just got a pill problem. Le sigh
- Finally, Moira’s (Susanna Thompson) decided to take a plea bargain from DA Donner (Dylan Bruce) for life in prison rather than have her children find out the truth about…something. Clearly we’re building up to a big revelation about some of the other things that she did when Malcolm was still alive, but this has already dragged out too long. Get to the good stuff already!
- Felicity (relating to Sara’s status in the League): “We all join clubs we wish we hadn’t. It took me a year to get out of that gym membership”
- Lance (when assassin asks what he is without a gun): “Guy with a spare”
What did you think of Sara’s League of Assassins history? Did you find the episode too cliché? How long before you think we’ll see her again in the present? How will Lance deal with the knowledge that his daughter is alive and out there avoiding ninjas? And finally, any ideas about what Moira’s big secret is? Speculate away below
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW