Arrow Episode 313 - "Canaries"

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k4tzm4n

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Edited By k4tzm4n  Moderator

"I felt pretty lame not recognizing my own brother just because he's wearing a hood."

If you haven't watched any promos and don't follow any news about the show online, then "Canaries" is going to have a jaw-dropping and attention-grabbing opening. You'll wonder how this is happening and odds are you'll be anxious to find out. However, seeing as you have the internet and watch the show (otherwise, how and why are you here?!), this opening mystery was spoiled to you at least a week ago. When an episode begins with a "how is this happening and how did we get here?" kind of mystery, it's kind of baffling that the promos did everything possible to spoil that. Still, that's a complaint about collaborating with the promos team and not the quality of the episode we're discussing, so I can't blame the episode itself for that one!

"Canaries" works for one simple reason: character. This isn't an episode that stuns you with brilliantly handled action sequences or wins you over because they dropped a gazillion exciting bits of fan service. No, this captivates you because it's focused on who these characters are. This is an episode that humanizes them instead of making them feel like they're just actors with a script. Oliver's alpha male mentality has to deal with team Arrow having more confidence; Laurel questions what she's doing; Thea is forced to react to drastic situations. Ray? Well, he's too busy, I guess. Usually, the show has someone that many of us think is frustrating. I didn't think that's the case here. When Oliver says something that upsets me, I think he's acting like a total jerk but I understand why he's acting that way. It all makes sense, even in someone's most aggravating moments.

Katie Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne have a scene that allows them to give really powerful performances. I admit it was getting to me, but then a single line took me completely out of the moment. "Not again." Those two words made the situation suddenly feel surreal instead of relatable. It's a minor criticism and what's important to take away here is the two did a mighty fine job with the material.

Without spoiling anything, I'll just say this is an important episode for Thea and her arc is a good one. My only complaint is how quickly she shifts to hating someone, but everything else was enjoyable. From the heart-to-heart conversations to showing how sharp she's become, this was a really good episode for Speedy -- one which totally went against what I expected. You also thought it would conclude with the DJ bringing her to Ra's, right? So happy they didn't take that obvious route.

Team Arrow had some standout moments in this one. Watching Roy stand up to Oliver made me cheer on the inside. I know Oliver means well, but man, the dude could use some manners. The way he tried to help Laurel made me want to jump in there and say, "Dude, not cool." However, there is one person who gave Laurel a good talk: Felicity. Their scene wasn't that extensive but it sure was engrossing. It's always nice to see characters supporting each other instead of clashing. It's a little surprising we didn't get to see more of Diggle chatting with Oliver, but what we did see was effective enough.

"Seriously, Laurel. Wear a hood or else you're not allowed to hang out with us."

I'm left with mixed feelings on Count Vertigo. Peter Stormare's a charismatic actor, but it feels like there isn't much to do with his character aside from "make the hero face their own fears!" Seeing as that's Scarecrow's act and they've used it twice now, it would be cool if they changed the character's direction moving forward. There's plenty to draw from in the comics, after all!

This episode makes an impact because of the character-driven material. The action, on the other hand, unfortunately didn't do anything for me. Nothing about the handling of the it really made it rise above what we've seen or even match previous sequences. From the various shots to the choreography, this one just didn't deliver any solid thrills. Little things like Laurel jumping into a shipping container or characters seemingly flailing didn't help. We know this show has an excellent stunt team and they can deliver some exciting action scenes. Sadly, that wasn't the case with this one.

I'm sorry, but I can't get over how easily Oliver has recovered from his insanely harsh encounter with Ra's al Ghul. At this point, it looks like we just need to accept it and move on, but honestly, that's very disappointing. In a world where the Lazarus Pit does exist, I'd much rather have them be predictable and use that instead of just glossing over Oliver survived a ridiculous amount of punishment. Maybe they'll eventually justify this, but as of right now, its a bummer. I won't bring it up in future reviews, but I was hoping we'd see he's still struggling a bit. Instead, he's running around and smashing into cars like nothing's wrong.

When you have such strong character dynamics going on elsewhere, the flashback feels like it's just slowly moving towards something important. I can't say I'm all that excited about the direction this storyline is taking, but let's wait and see how it plays out. At least it promises to switch things up. Oh, and Oliver was knocked out until he made it all the way back to Starling City?

Random thoughts: How did Roy know when to step into the apartment? That would imply he's been watching and/or listening. A little creepy, yeah? And Roy did worse than Thea did against that dude. Just saying. Also, I couldn't help but say "ugh" when he was conveniently there to see Thea and epic DJ extraordinaire holding hands. Was anyone else wondering what Vertigo was doing as he was just holding Black Canary by the neck and giving her time to hallucinate an extended conversation? Aside from "because story" of course. Lastly, I understand why they're going to the island and I'm excited because that means more of Deathstroke, but I'd say Ra's al Ghul's advantage isn't fear; it's the fact he's ridiculously skilled. How about just switching to only trick arrows against the foe? That should do well!

Thanks to a strong focus on character dynamics and giving us a better insight into key characters, "Canaries" manages to impress. Sure, the action isn't all that great and I have plenty of minor criticisms, but when the episode's focused on humanizing these individuals, both the actors and the script delivers. Plus, the ending promises we'll see more of one of the show's best characters and we don't need to deal with characters blatantly lying anymore! Yay!

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SupBatz

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I’m actually a bit torn on this episode. While I did quite enjoy it, there were some flaws that dragged the rating down.

First, and most prominently, the drive for conflict in this episode seems to be really off. The most prominent example is Thea’s turning on Malcolm – who she has been almost irrationally devoted to throughout the entire season. I can respect her turning against him, but it seemed far too sudden and unwarranted here. The same goes for Roy’s outburst against Oliver. Again, it is warranted and in character, but the particular moment and drive for the outburst just felt lacking to me.

Secondly, I think things have gone a bit off-the-rails in terms of secrets. Laurel and Thea both not knowing the truth about Sara’s death just doesn’t fit anymore. Especially given how closely they’re all working together AND the fact that Oliver, Roy, Felicity, and Diggle all know the truth. We’re not even getting any internal conflict over whether or not they should be told, which just feels bizarre. It honestly feels like the mystery aspect of Sara’s death should have been put to bed episodes ago.

Also, while I’m not anti-Vertigo, I think they need to find a new angle for the character soon if they intend to make him a recurring antagonist. Twice so far he has been nothing but a gigantic plot device. Make him an actual character/adversary rather than a device for the main characters’ internal conflicts.

I’m not liking how readily people accept Merlyn. I can respect the fact that they need him to fight Ra’s, but it’s unsettling that they just let him stroll in and chat with him – even if the conversation is tense. The only character who should have been lax with Merlyn was Thea, and she was the only one who wasn’t.

Lastly, still not digging Hong Kong. Not much else to say there. It just really seems to detract from the main plot.

Negatives out of the way, I really enjoyed everything else in this episode. Laurel continues coming into her own moreso each episode. I think she was handled very tastefully here, and I enjoyed her interactions with Felicity and Oliver. Plus, that final scene with her father was a tearjerker.

Aside for her peculiar turn away from her father, Thea was enjoyable this episode. There were a few places that felt a bit off, but they were corrected as the episode went on for the most part. I’m glad that the Chase plot has been resolved, but honestly, it feels like a complete miss to me.

The entire dynamic in the Foundry was pretty great this episode. It was nice seeing Thea down there, and having a realistic discussion about how the team should work in the future.

All-in-all, I’d say this was a great-yet-flawed episode. I give it a 7.5/10. If the Hong Kong scenes had been replaced by scenes which made some of the conflict more fleshed out, this could have potentially been a 10.

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the_stegman

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#2 the_stegman  Moderator

Once again, the show in my area was canceled for stupid basketball...

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k4tzm4n

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#3 k4tzm4n  Moderator

@supbatz: It looks like we agree on a lot of things. However, the one point that doesn't bother me is the truth about Sara. I feel like they're caught up in such a big conflict that they haven't had a moment to think about how they'l handle that tricky topic. Everyone is so concerned with something and it's occupying their minds. I feel like they're in "Ra's is coming for us and we may die" mode. I imagine that'll blow up in their faces when the big conflict finally does happen, though.

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WarDishy_

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#4  Edited By WarDishy_

Despite some flaws I really enjoyed this episode. Like, probably one of the very best episodes of this season so far.

Normally I'm fairly stoic watching TV, even when enjoying it, but this episode definitely brought out some feelings. My heart was racing when Thea and Ollie had their moment at the start, and the final scene with Laurel and Quentin was a slight tearjerker. In general, there were a lot of little character moments which don't necessarily stand out on their own but which made me appreciate the episode a lot. I feel like most of the actors brought their top game today, and there was a pleasantly surprising lack of the kind of conflict and soap-type performances that normally hurt my brain.

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Lurkero

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#5  Edited By Lurkero

I'm happy and disappointed that the plot with Oliver being injured was dropped. I never liked the idea of Oliver facing Ra's by himself because Oliver would never be ready to face Ra's. When they used this entirely convoluted plot to stop the city from getting attacked it seemed over-dramatic. Sara could have easily abandoned her Black Canary name to go back to Ra's, Laurel picks it up, and the city could have been in danger some other way.

If the plot spent much more time on Oliver being injured it would have made the experience worse.

And yeah, Vertigo definitely needs a new angle and writers need to come up with better plots for characters to face their fears.

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mak13131313

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@k4tzm4n: Red creeper. Hilarious Gregg! Loved the episode and the review.

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TrueMarvel

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where the flip is the Agent Carter review? I expected it to be out before the Arrow review at least

Not asking YOU specifically. It was more of a thinking out loud kind of post

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jackcryan

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Thea decides to tell Chase about her experience with cyanide in wine instead of, I don't know, killing him before she obviously lets him know she smelled the poison with her dumb story.

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Gotham331

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I'm surprised this got 4 stars. It was a decent episode. Great emotion when Laurel told her dad about Sara

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Rixec

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Really? The line felt surreal to you? I thought it was very powerful in how they had already been forced to go through this and had to live with the pain for years but then things were revealed to be fine. The line he said brought out not only the pain from this incident, but from what led to it in the first place. Years of pain fell upon him in one instant.

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godzilla44

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Solid episode like where it's leading up too. Slade is back baby !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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graftn

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I'm fully convinced that this show is now being written as a sequence of scenes pandering to the fanbase. Not a single thing felt natural except Lance's reaction. These are the most inconsistent characters I've ever seen. There's no logic or reasoning informing their decisions and actions.

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SynCig

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@graftn said:

I'm fully convinced that this show is now being written as a sequence of scenes pandering to the fanbase. Not a single thing felt natural except Lance's reaction. These are the most inconsistent characters I've ever seen. There's no logic or reasoning informing their decisions and actions.

I agree completely. I am actually somewhat surprised that this episode has gotten positive reviews from both sites I look at (Comicvine and IGN). I felt like this episode was filled with character inconsistencies and melodrama. The CW specializes in more soap opera style story telling and I've come to accept that Arrow will contain a decent amount of that but this episode, in my opinion, was way over the top. Instead of telling a compelling story with believable character development this season, they have fully dived into melodrama mixed with illogical character choices and constantly shifting personalities. Just look how different Felicity is here than she was 3 episodes ago. Not because she has evolved as a character but because the writers decided to change her to fit the story they want to tell. It doesn't feel natural. Also, I am quite sick of literally everyone siding against Ollie constantly. He is the most experienced and deserves to have respect but instead his team is undercutting him every step of the way. Anyway, this quickly devolved into a rant and I apologize but this episode would rank in my bottom 5 or so episodes of the entire series. 2 out of 5 for me. Unfortunate too because I loved this show last season but I've only really loved 3 episodes of this season and the rest have been mediocre to bad.

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charlieboy

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I thought it was a pretty great ep. I love Laurel as BC. Nice to see her finally getting some respect.

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#16  Edited By MrMazz

Not letting Thea come out and say she knew Ollie was the Arrow either by putting it together ala her mother or something feels like a disverice to the character. Season 2 was really good for her, she had the club she had some autonomy she was doing things. But by still having her kept in the dark robs a lot of that agency away from her. In a show where everyone important seems in on the secret the fact that someone wasn't rings false.

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vinomonster

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One of the best episode so far this season.

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Dernman

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Totally agree on how it felt when she turned on her father.

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NightFang3

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I caught the episode near the end, so i'm gonna have to watch it on CW website.

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AwesomePerson

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This was one of the best episodes of Season 3...

Am I the only one who feel Ra's is not really a villain this season??? I mean what are his goals...

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Hyperlight

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1. Thea turned on Malcolm way to quickly, I feel like that would be something that season 1 Thea would do, not badass season 3 Thea

2. I understand where Roy and felicity was coming from when they had the disagreement with liver but I found it a tad bit disrespectful on their parts. That is his sister! I think Felicity is just angry at Oliver for a number of reasons. You don't see Diggle talking to Oliver any kind of way.. Ollie should have gave Roy a two-piece in the throat haha jk.

3. I think Laurel is going to drop the mask

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Anjon

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I think people are too quick to rule out the Lazarus Pit, or rather this universe's equivalent, being involved in Oliver's "resurrection". Don't forget that we didn't actually see or get an explanation of how Tatsu brought Ollie back from the dead, Masao simply implied it was a mysterious skill and that Tatsu was the one to do it. He also implicitly used to phrase "bring you back to life" instead of "heal" or something normal people would usually say. It's safe to say that Tatsu was originally in the League, but left to become a hermit, bringing the secrets of the Lazarus Pit with her.

Does anyone else think it's super strange that everyone omits the actual reason for the war with the League of Assassins? It's strange enough that Thea doesn't hound anyone for the answer and just goes "All right, I'll go through hellish training to do battle with a group of super ninjas." It's even more baffling that everyone keeps bringing up how awful this battle is going to be without ever explaining why the battle is happening. I'm assuming this is building towards a huge reveal at the end of the season where Thea learns she killed Sara, but holy crap, are they really going to take this training/ninja war all the way to the end before anyone actually tells Thea why they're fighting?

To take it one step further, in urging Ollie to tell Thea his secret, Malcolm has thrown away his leverage for avoiding the League in the first place. They could easily overpower Malcolm and hand him over to the League and be done with it, right? Nissa and the rest of the League already believe he killed Sara anyway (which he kind of did).

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Koays

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Yea i liked this episode alot.

Though i got to say my whole living room busted out in laughter at the idea that Roy was watching the DJ and Thea the whole time....and it only got louder when Malcolm showed up.

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Snape

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Met Manu Bennett once at a Wizard World show so I'm excited to see him come back as Deathstroke. Really nice dude.

As for the episode,Thea turning on Merylin was quick but I'm glad it happened. Also,I hope we're over the drama between Ollie and Laurel concerning her as Black Canary.

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FearTheLiving

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4 Stars? Really? I thought this episode was terrible. Laurel should have died twice. Both Thea and Roy were useless. Felicity was annoying, and the flashbacks are taking a new low. Not to mention like others have said the acting feels worse than usual.

I'm not expecting Shakespeare for this show but this season has been either mediocre or bad. Maybe Slade can save it.

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MICKEY-MOUSE

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@feartheliving: That was Thea's first fight, and she had just had sex and was unarmed fighting a guy with a knife. Roy has no excuse and he now has dropped in the Arrow fighter rankings. That was embarrassing.

@koays said:

Yea i liked this episode alot.

Though i got to say my whole living room busted out in laughter at the idea that Roy was watching the DJ and Thea the whole time....and it only got louder when Malcolm showed up.

I laughed like a mother freaker. I was like, you to pervs were watching them have sex? Malcolm, seriously? Ewwh Man, Ewwh.

Anywho, Roy you wanna talk back?

No Caption Provided

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FearTheLiving

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#27  Edited By FearTheLiving

@lukehero: He was above someone before? What use has he been at all? Aside from random flips that is. As for Thea that's no excuse she's been training with Meryln who hasn't been going easy on her so I expected her to at least last a minute and not beg two seconds later.

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MICKEY-MOUSE

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#28  Edited By MICKEY-MOUSE

@feartheliving: He was at least above Luarel and I had him above Diggle, but after tonight he and Laurel might be in the same boat and I am moving Diggle up clearly above him.

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deactivated-5d3f071d30d9f

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I like this episode. But i feel that Felicity and Dinah Laurel are acting too much like Gail Simone´s Birds of Prey Oracle and Black Canary.

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SupBatz

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@k4tzm4n said:

@supbatz: It looks like we agree on a lot of things. However, the one point that doesn't bother me is the truth about Sara. I feel like they're caught up in such a big conflict that they haven't had a moment to think about how they'l handle that tricky topic. Everyone is so concerned with something and it's occupying their minds. I feel like they're in "Ra's is coming for us and we may die" mode. I imagine that'll blow up in their faces when the big conflict finally does happen, though.

I can respect too much going on as being the reason that the truth isn't being revealed, but I find it odd that nobody is even thinking about it.

Laurel and Thea are both a part of Team Arrow (to some extent now). Yet neither is curious why Ra's is coming to kill everybody. Additionally, Laurel hasn't really mentioned her sister's killer lately, which is strange considering how determined she was to find him/her.

And also strange is Ollie, Roy, Felicity, and Diggle not discussing amongst themselves whether or not to tell Laurel and/or Thea. I can understand them deciding to keep the secret under wraps given the complexity of the situation, but the fact that they're not even talking about it with one another is unsettling. Especially given that last episode Laurel was willing to ally herself with Merlyn without knowledge of his involvement in Sara's murder. It all just plays off weird to me.

I do agree that it'll probably blow up in their faces sometime soon. I expect Laurel will be more understanding that we would expect (given recent changes in her character) while the truth being revealed will be the impetus for Thea not officially joining Team Arrow and perhaps leaving off on her own at the end of the season.

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joshua755

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#31  Edited By joshua755

I felt that this episode was good I really did not like the chase character so I am glad they got rid of him and Laurel need training I don’t know if Olie is going to do something or if wildcat comeback and train her but she need it she can not keep going on like this if they are going to face Ra’s al ghoul and the league than yea she need all the training she can get and speaking of wildcat what happen to him I thought we was going to get a lot more of him like join team arrow and I think Roy is starting to want to do things on his own I have been feeling this for a few episodes now what do you think?

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Scarbearer

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@k4tzm4n: I have a bit of a crazy theory on why Ollie recovered so fast, and I will admit... it's a little tin foil hatty and very convoluted so I won't try and list the whole theory here, but it hinges on this:

I think Maseo took Oliver and dipped him in a Lazarus pool before taking him to Tatsu to help him finish healing/recovering. And I think he might be part of a plan that Ra's has him playing his part in.

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Koop

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I'm not really liking the flashback scenes. I wish they would have stopped in season 2 and left his past on the island a mystery because this season has been really underwhelming in the flashback scenes. The fact that he's back in Starling City just made me roll my eyes and how is it that in the 3 years he's been "dead" has he not grown a full beard but in 2 years we're supposed to believe he grew one? Idk this season has been very underwhelming, unfortunately.

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justice teen

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where is the character of the month posts?

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the_stegman

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#39 the_stegman  Moderator

@koop said:

I'm not really liking the flashback scenes. I wish they would have stopped in season 2 and left his past on the island a mystery because this season has been really underwhelming in the flashback scenes. The fact that he's back in Starling City just made me roll my eyes and how is it that in the 3 years he's been "dead" has he not grown a full beard but in 2 years we're supposed to believe he grew one? Idk this season has been very underwhelming, unfortunately.

This. The flashbacks this season have completely lost my interest. And the season as a whole just feels like one filler episode after another.

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Kyle_Dornez

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I didn't like this episode. I feel it was made of ass. Brick is boring and unappealing villain, tanks god knows what damage at one point, gets beaten by a girl in another. Characters flip attitudes at a drop of a hat, and there's no real progress. All good villains were done and spent -___-

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Manwhohaseverything

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With Gotham, I'm always telling folks to "be patient", things that seem odd do work themselves out (and will continue to) it's how that show is paced. Alas, many folks still complain. ("What the use of Selina/Barbara/Fish, etc..) just give it time folks. So, I was wondering if people would like the "anti-Gotham feel" of this show. Canary gets her ass kicked all show, they question if she should even be on the streets... and then suddenly she's a great fighter. Thea (whose character overall has undergone a nice transformation.) is loyal to Merlin..then she's not. Ollie doesn't trust the team to work without him...then he does. Everything got tied into a neat little package in this episode. The storyline in and of itself was okay, but I wish some of those events would've still been at least 2-3 episodes away.

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captain_batman_FTW

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Arrow and Flash are becoming boring to be honest. It's pretty much the same almost every episode now.

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Vincent_Valjean

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#43  Edited By Vincent_Valjean

Am I the only one who finds this season really bad and un-interesting??(except from episodes 1 and 9). What's going on with those guys in CW?Do they think we are 12 or something?Most of the episodes are lame and full of unexplained incidents.

They killed Oliver in episode 9(which was kinda cool) and they brought him back the very next episode without any fearther explanation.Also,they had him healing from that fatal injure for a month but when he returned to Starling City he had no problem to jump over cars and do some acrobats like nothing happened.On the episode with Cupid(Really?Cupid???)they had him dislocate his thumb in order to free himself from those handcuffs and avoing being squashed from the train that was coming.That means at least a month without archery but Oliver needed just to put his hand into some ice for only 10 minutes and -bang!- back to action!Seriously guys??

We also saw Laurel becoming the Canary having only 2 weeks of martial arts training when Sarah had years of training in combat with the League of Assassins.Worst superhero origin ever!

Also,Daniel Brickwell is a metahuman who can take a shot on the head but he bleeds when someone throws an arrow on him or punch him??

And on top of that we have all that melodrama with Oliver,Felicity,Ray Palmer and Barry.Oliver kissed Felicity but they can't be together,then she kissed Barry but they can't be together either(because...reasons!!) and then she kissed Ray Palmer but guess what?She doesn't know if she can be with him because she's still in love with Oliver who was dating Laurel but cheated on her with her sister but later he told Laurel that she was the one he was in love with!!!(Jesus,what is this,Beverly Hills 90210?)

Finally,what's with Stephen Amell,Catie Kassidy and Colton Haynes?Did they miss acting class or something?Really really poor performances.I'm not impressed.

They say they want to keep the show as realistic as it gets but even Constantine is closer to reality than Arrow.

So far the show is as lame as that Batman show in the 60's was(it wouldn't surprise me if they decided to make Oliver use ridiculous gadgets like the famous shark repeller)Writers should make a huge amount of changes if they want to keep the show interesting.

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Pelykan

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Laurel just let three people get shot by a guard she was standing next to. She knocked him out with a single punch but waited for him to shoot those people first.

You can do better writers.

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Harryvine

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On what planet would The League of Assassins and Ra's al Ghul have anything to do with Green Arrow? I still can't wrap my head around the stupidity of crossing these two. Season 3 is the most blatant attempt so far to "Batify" the Arrow character. It's clearly failing because Ollie is no match for this kind of threat. And don't try to tickle me with Deathstroke because he straight up sucks. Deathstroke is like the Big Show, just another impressive notch on the belt.

Season 3 is a train wreck. Nothing makes sense and Roy can't even beat up a DJ. Screw this....to the island!

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hyperman

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i'm starting to hate Oliver. He's been such a liar. He 's still hiding the truth from Thea and the way Malcom used her to kill Sara.

It took almost two seasons for Oliver to take on Roy and turn him into his sidekick. And now It's benn only three or four episodes since Laurel decided to become Black Canary and now everyone seems to be Ok 'bout that!!!!

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GalacticFork

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I thought the "not again" line was great, and I thought Paul Blackthorne really sold the soul crushing despair of facing the death of his daughter a second time. That scene hit me hard. Before that though, he took Laurel as the new Canary too well. Is he just so inundated with vigilantes he just doesn't care anymore?

I wasn't super surprised Thea did better than Roy against M.C. Assassin, her training was more focused on one on one close combat, where Roy was given more general fighting training.

While I kinda liked the Laurel/Felicity scene... Has Felicity always been the inspirational ra-ra cheerleader type?

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Owie

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So glad these tired secrets are over!

Thea really did turn against her dad very quickly. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that was weird.

And I can't buy all this movement Oliver had in the past, even going to Starling City. It just makes his struggles in the first season hard to buy.

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GalacticFork

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#49  Edited By GalacticFork

@owie said:

And I can't buy all this movement Oliver had in the past, even going to Starling City. It just makes his struggles in the first season hard to buy.

I know! for all his complaining about how hellish the island was, and how much it changed him, he seems to have spent relatively little time there in those 5 years. The time working for Waller probably messed with his mind the most.

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anarrowintheheart10

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