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Arrow #217 - Birds of Prey Review

3

Huntress returns to Starling City and it puts Laurel in danger.

*WARNING! Thar be spoilers in here!*

Frank Bertinelli is finally brought in, so you can bet that means his daughter, Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress, will make her way back to Starling City. I'll be blunt: her prior appearances didn't exactly generate the show's best moments, and, while this isn't the best episode around, it's certainly not bad, either.

First and foremost, Roy actually plays a role in this episode! Huzzah! It's almost like the writers knew the character was being neglected because he makes a remark along the lines of, "I thought you'd never ask me" when he's given the chance to go back out and help fight crime. To be totally honest, the development with him feels a little rushed. I understand where Ollie's coming from, but it felt like his decision regarding Thea was made pretty abruptly and wasn't given the full amount of thought it deserves. Yes, Oliver is afraid Roy could lash out and hurt his sister, but she's also the one thing keeping him in check. Also, keeping Roy distant from Thea means she's less likely to have a super-strong dude by her side a good amount of the time, and isn't that needed now more than ever? I mean, we all know this ultimately happened just so the end could occur, but it would have been cool to see this dynamic develop a little more over the past few episodes. Gripes aside, we can all agree his brief display of healing and strength was really cool, yes?

The plot that revolves around Huntress,Black Canary, and Laurel generated some good performances but came off feeling pretty safe. There were so many moments where I wanted them to take a risk and offer a reveal but they managed to dance around delivering one every time. After all, Laurel being in Sara's personal space and staring at her makes it a little tough to suspense disbelief and I was hoping she may be able to put together the pieces on her own. Still, these conversations were engaging, even if the overall message about killing felt a little too redundant at times.

The choreography during the action sequences were solid, but did anyone else want to do a double-take when someone did a crazy flip after taking an arrow to the leg? I mean, I get it looks cool, but that seemed a little over the top, right? The fights elsewhere were definitely enjoyable, but having fewer close-ups would maybe allow us to better appreciate each move that's made in the melee.

The writers packed a fair amount of fan service in this one, too. From a nickname to finding a way to work in Gail Simone's name, there were quite a few bits scattered here and there that served as a nice nod to the source material. And yes, we saw the return of the canary cry! Or at least the technological version of it.

Once again, Slade's reserved for the cliffhanger (in the modern era, that is). Don't get me wrong, what happens absolutely has a ton of promise for the upcoming episode, but saving him for the very end has happened so frequently that it's lost a good deal of impact. Also, I get the reason behind why Thea gets in the car, but didn't she say she wants to be alone and hasn't she walked that way plenty of other times before? Like I said, what goes down has a lot of potential, but teasing Slade at the end has become so common that it doesn't pack as much of a punch as it could. Oh, and I'm sure I'm not the only person a little letdown over zero follow-up with the uneasy alliance between Green Arrow and Amanda Waller/the Suicide Squad.

I know I have a lot of complaints about Birds of Prey, but I still think it's an alright episode. Tackling the subject of killing felt a little overdone and is something they've already addressed quite a few times before in the show, but given the scenario, it wound up producing some pretty good performances from the cast and included a few entertaining bits of action. Even though I think Slade is reserved for the cliffhanger far too often, I'd be a total liar if I said I wasn't excited for the next episode.