Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) slow recovery prompts drastic measures as Laurel (Katie Cassidy) pours herself into the Black Canary catsuit.
Let’s bitch it out…
“The line between grief and guilt is a thin one.”
Last week’s episode of Arrow focused almost exclusively on how Team Arrow processed losing their fearless leader. ‘Midnight City’ lacks that focus, standing as the middle chapter of a trilogy of episodes. This one is notable solely for launching Katie Cassidy as the new Black Canary.
As far as (proper) debuts go, it’s an auspicious start. Laurel’s first solo mission earns her a sliced arm and requires a rescue from Roy (Colton Haynes). Even when she’s got back-up from Roy and Diggle (David Ramsey), she still fumbles right out of the gate, falling when she tries to jump on top of Brick’s (Vinnie Jones) van. It’s a completely believable moment, and, I’m not ashamed to admit, a pleasurable one. Not only does it confirm that Laurel is a super hero in training who will make mistakes, it feels like a nod to the audience’s built-up disdain for the character (not unlike Tom Cruise dying repeatedly in Edge of Tomorrow/Live.Die.Repeat). Arrow has some penance to pay for its dishonourable use of Laurel over the years and dishing out a bit of pain on the character will help to endear her eventual (inevitable) transformation into the Black Canary.
Aside from Laurel donning the leather outfit her sister used to instill fear, ‘Midnight City’ focuses on the others picking themselves up. After confronting Ray (Brandon Routh) about his desire to fight crime last week, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) eventually comes around to the idea that the fight must be carried on and that it must be fought for the living. It takes time, however; Felicity spends most of the episode in a fugue state, barely able to muster the energy to respond to others. It is only when Laurel hits her low point (after Brick tosses her aside and shoots Alderman Ford during the failed rescue mission) that Felicity decides to overcome her issues and embrace her responsibility as a protector of the city.
The fact that Team Arrow (minus Arrow) will defeat Brick and his army next week is undeniable. The man is a villain in the loosest of terms, a man with an undefined plan to take over the Glades for some reason that we don’t yet understand. He’s a stock caricature, played with charisma and physical presence by Jones, but ultimately he exists solely to drive Laurel’s transformation and force the team to regroup. Things will come to a head next week and then he’ll be gone. Until then, this is a passable episode that does what it needs to do to get everyone into position for the showdown next week.
- Honestly, how annoying is it that Lance (Paul Blackthorne) still doesn’t know about Sara? Every time he confronts Laurel about why Sara isn’t responding or Laurel pretends to be Sara (using Caity Lotz’ voice), it just seems more ridiculous. Honestly, Lance and Thea (Willa Holland) should form some kind of support group (except of course they don’t know they need it).
- No matter how much Malcolm (John Barrowman) tries to rationalize to Thea that they need to leave, she refuses to budge. After a few rounds of passive aggressive chat, Thea ultimately challenges her father to stay and fight. I…honestly don’t care.
- In the snowy mountains of somewhere (since we still don’t know where Stephen Amell’s Oliver went to battle Ra’s), Tatsu (Rila Fukushima) and Maseo (Karl Yune) tend to a wounded Oliver. The flashbacks highlight the circumstances that led to Tatsu’s rescue from China White (Kelly Hu), including a vigorously paced and edited action sequence. Oliver even uses a gun!
- I’ve never liked Oliver’s flashback hair, but the feathered look he sports tonight is particularly Farrah-esque (by which I mean bad).
- Dumb twist alert: douche DJ Chase (Austin Butler) is an informant for (or member of) the League of Assassins. Really? This is the reason why we have to deal with this deadbeat character? This story line is full of blech.
Your turn: how did you feel about this middle chapter of Arrow? Have you come around to Laurel as the Black Canary or does she need to take a few more tumbles? Is Brick a worthy villain or a necessary narrative construct? Do you care about Thea and Malcolm’s plight? And what can be said about the DJ angle? Sound off below.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW. Next week Ollie plans his return as Brick makes his play for power in the Glades.