Arrow – 5×11 – Second Chances
Directed by: Mark Bunting
Created by: Greg Berlanti
Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Echo Kellum, Rick Gonzalez

“Maybe this team is about finding second chances”

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After the set-back of last week’s episode, the excitement for this week’s episode of Arrow was severely dampened. However, they have managed to claw their way back to where they were before the midseason break (well, almost). When last we left Oliver and company, he had decided that after Black Siren’s antics, he needed to honour Laurel’s wish of finding a new Black Canary to carry on the mantel – which of course led to an immediate cut to the person who this would no doubt be. This week, we pick up with the Arrow team all suggesting Canary candidates to Oliver, who shuts down each and every option as quickly as they’re given. Until, Curtis shows him an “urban legend” who just so happens to be the woman we saw at the end of ‘Who Are You?’ and someone who has the exact same power as Black Siren.

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This leads to an episode of Green Arrow, Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific pitching the idea of joining the Arrow team to Tina (Juliana Harkavy), a woman who clearly has no interest in joining them at all, and continuously siren-screams in their face to prove it. Nevertheless, Oliver, being just as stubborn as Tina doesn’t give up, and with an excellent Flash cameo, he finds out a little more about the woman he is trying to befriend, her past as a cop and why it is that she has turned vigilante. And while this storyline has some interest, we don’t really know enough about Tina to actually care too much how the story plays out for her – and while Harkavy is incredible when it comes to the fight choreography, her acting is a little lacklustre.

 

However, finding that they have a common enemy, Tina accepts Oliver’s help to defeat a metahuman who apparently has the power to give people vertigo (and not the drug from earlier in the series, the vomit-inducing dizziness), before he can sell anymore of the drug ‘Slide’ to children. Yeah, the drug names are getting bad, and you’ll cringe every time you hear it, but stay with it. And through this battle, we can see that the fight choreography is right back to where it was before the break – with some brilliant flying acrobatics from Oliver in a three-on-fifteen fight that proves that last week’s boredom, thankfully, may just be a blip in this season.

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Elsewhere, Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) is still fighting for John’s release, enlisting some help from Mayor Queen when it seems that all might be lost, as it seems that having friends in high places may win, over John’s innocence. And this turn of events sees a return to form for Felicity, who, for the first time in a long time, is not taking the role of nagging love interest but returning to all her hacking glory. Through a conversation with Rory (who instead of being in the action with the others, inexplicably seems to be Felicity’s assistant at the moment) we find out that Felicity was a ‘hacktivist’ in her youth, under the name ‘Ghost Fox Goddess’. And while all this sounds like a bad Tumblr fanfiction, the premise of this insight into Felicity is actually very good, as it sees her receiving information from ‘hacktivist’ group Helix that actually helps plead John’s case, while simultaneously making it look like every hacker is a slightly nerdy-looking woman with verbal diarrhoea.

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Finally, it looks as though we may be coming to the end of Oliver’s 5-year flashbacks, as in this episode, we see Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig) encouraging Oliver to return to Starling City to right his father’s wrongs, accompanied by a lovely touch of nostalgia as he puts on the original Arrow costume he got from Yao Fei.

While ‘Second Chances’ was an excellent return to form for the Arrow team, the ending of the episode is likely to frustrate you as much as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s reveal at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, as it prompted me to yell a McEnroe-style “You cannot be serious!” at the screen.

We’re glad to see that Arrow is getting back to where it was before the midseason break, and we’ll give ‘Second Chances’ a 3.5 out of 5.

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