ARROW Review: “Who Are You?”


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Arrow’s 2016 midseason episode ended with a doozy of a cliffhanger, with Laurel Lance’s apparent return. Is the Black Canary really back? Kind of. Much like Supergirl did on Monday, Arrow’s “Who Are You?” last night also drew from the zany soup of that four day DC crossover event before the holidays. So what’s the deal here? Well, the seemingly back from the dead Laurel concocts a story about her sister teleporting her away from danger and getting help just before she died. She was gone for a few months but now warped back right into Ollie’s lair. In truth, this Laurel we’re seeing is actually from an alternate universe, one where, among other things, Oliver Queen died on the Gambit.

A stubborn and guilt-ridden Oliver tries to redeem this more darker version of Laurel, even as evidence racks up that she’s actually in cahoots with Prometheus. Despite these off the wall circumstances, I totally buy Ollie’s desperation here, because it’s always been a huge part of his character. If Oliver couldn’t save the Laurel we all knew and loved, maybe he can save this version and redeem himself.

arrow laurel

While Oliver struggles to deal with this blast from the past, for Felicity, it’s as if her boyfriend didn’t just die. For a time, in part because of the month long hiatus, I actually even forgot that this happened, and that Oliver had an unwitting hand in his death as well. I think this is a pretty big problem. On the other hand, Felicity is very active in this episode, working alongside Oliver in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time. She even defies Oliver a few times, sending the team in to take down Alternate Reality Black Canary in one instance, and telling Fake Laurel off in another. She also gets in a boxing session with Oliver, which later pays off nicely with Felicity landing the final blow that takes down Laurel. Overall Felicity is strong and active in this episode, but it’s a shame the show totally glosses over the tragedy that just happened to her.

Is Arrow gearing up for a Felicity Oliver reunion? Tough to say, but this episode felt like the good ol days as far as their relationship.

It’s not too long before Team Arrow discovers that Prometheus is the puppeteer that pulls this Laurel’s strings. I was a bit disappointed, though, that we didn’t get to learn a bit more about Season 5’s main villain this episode. There’s one point where Ollie almost has Prometheus cornered, but then makes the decision to go save Felicity instead. Away from the main action, John Diggle is about to be taken away from that evil and corrupt general who framed him and locked him up. Oliver dispatches District Adrian Chase to help.

It doesn’t feel totally credible that Star City bound Chase would get involved with a high-level military matter, but the show mostly sells this. Dig and Chase work well together and come up with a clever way to delay Dig’s fate for a bit. This general is a solid antagonist in his own right, and I wasn’t sure for a while how Dig and Chase would outlast him.

Curtis also gets some much needed character this episode, with the trauma of working for Team Oliver finally catching up with him. However, after blowing up at Rene, Curtis mostly reverts back to normal mode for the rest of the episode.  In a later scene, for instance, Curtis deferentially tells the rest of the new recruits to give Oliver and Felicity space when they argue. It seems that a more tormented Curtis would want to stir the pot a bit, but the episode totally loses Curtis’ emotional state.

I did like that the episode ended in an ambiguous way as far as whether Laurel was actually redeemable or not. For now, she’s locked up where presumably Oliver will try to get through to her. At the end of the episode, a woman named Talia appears on the scene who also has a connection to Oliver’s past. If Arrow’s strong treatment of Nyssa al-Ghul was any indication, Talia should be a great addition to Season 5’s already solid effort.

Season 5, Episode 10 (S05E10)
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8PM on CW

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Ade writes about the philanthropy of billionaires and millionaires by day, and writes screenplays by night.
Follow Ade on Twitter: @derekadeniji
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