Comic Vine Review

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Arrow #205 - League of Assassins

4

Can Black Canary escape from the League of Assassins' grip? Meanwhile, Moira's offered a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Oliver often has the spotlight and rightfully so -- it's his name in the title, after all. But "League of Assassins" shifts focus and finally fleshes out Black Canary. Has she just been lingering around to make sure her family's safe and won't reveal herself because she doesn't want them to see what she's become or resurrect so many emotions? Thankfully, the writers avoid predictability with her path and what ensues is an episode filled with a whole lot of ninja action and some legitimately emotional moments. Laurel's still kind of a pain, but that's to be expected given all the weight she's putting on her shoulders.

You can't have an episode called "League of Assassins" and not have some legitimately solid melees, right? There's plenty of that this time around and there's a slight variation each time to keep things fresh. First is a straight up brawl that demolishes a room, then there's a fight for survival in a different location, and lastly, a fight which shows off Black Canary's tactical mind. I have some gripes with the action (we'll get to that later), but overall they're still entertaining and definitely enthralling.

Also surprisingly good this week was the drama. The heartfelt moments between Moira and her family are well-executed (sorry, poor choice of words), but the truly attention-grabbing stuff is whenever Sara or Quentin are on the screen. The script gives both the opportunity to show off their acting chops and reel us in for some feels. There's been a lot of drama which has felt forced or just fell flat over the course of this show, but "League of Assassins" has some honestly gripping material. And Felicity? Well, she just remains lovably awkward. Diggle doesn't get much focus here, but that's fine seeing as next week's episode will apparently revolve around him.

While this was quite a good episode, I do have some gripes. For one, the constant quick cuts and shaky cam makes it seriously difficult to appreciate some of the fight choreography. I know some say it's to "throw you into the chaos," but I'd much rather fully appreciate all of the hard work they're putting into these brawls. Additionally, there's some other minor gripes with the fight. For example, did Oliver really open with a kill-shot to the back of that guy's head? We know he's good, but how'd Oliver know for sure he'd catch that and he's that good? The dude didn't deal with projectiles in their first fight. Yes, it was a cool moment, but seeing as the guy is trying to go non-lethal, a shot to the back would have seemed more appropriate. Additionally, how'd that highly trained ninja not see the blatant rope trap on the ground? And for someone who trained the very dangerous Meryln, the main dude wasn't all that formidable (reflex feat aside), but hey, there's plenty of times where the student has become better than the master and all that, so it's not that big of a deal. Lastly, this show has been hitting us with some seriously great cliffhangers, but this week felt really weak in that regard. Ultimately, it was the "next week on..." preview which was needed to keep the hype going. Honestly, the flashbacks in this one weren't nearly as compelling as the current era material.

The script was impressive and the talent each did a more than engrossing job bringing the emotion front and center. This episode has without question had some of the most powerful moments in the show's history. When it's not all surprisingly good drama and sadness, there's thankfully some fairly rad ninja action to help even the mood. All in all, "League of Assassins" is a darn good episode. Oh, and how awesome was that Batman Begins reference?!

One Spoilery remark: I really hope this isn't the last we'll see of Sara or the League of Assassins. Her departure makes sense, but let's be honest, this was great and hopefully they'll reemerge sooner or later.

Viners, what do you think of "League of Assassins?" Get your elaboration on below. Just be considerate and remember to use spoiler tabs!