Arrow “Who Are You” Recap and Review
Last night, Arrow came back with a bang with the return of Laurel Lance, or should I say Black Siren. Quite literally, there was a lot of glass breaking in this episode due to Black Siren’s sonic scream. Just to recap the end of the most recent episode, Oliver comes back to the bunker only to discover Laurel Lance standing there like as if nothing had happened. She tells Oliver this almost spiritual story of how she was resurrected by Sara and given a second chance, which to be honest would actually still be a great story. If only any of it were true. Turns out, she’s really Laurel’s Earth-2 doppelganger, Black Siren (which we could already gather from watching the very spoiler filled trailer the CW released weeks ago) who escaped Star Labs with the help of Prometheus. But more on that later. Immediately after their conversation, Felicity shows up relieved but suspicious. Actually if there’s one constant theme in this episode is that Felicity is suspicious and jealous of her the whole episode. So much so that she has no hope for it actually being Laurel or that she has any sliver of good in her which I thought was more than just a little, for a lack of better terms, petty. (Warning: spoilers ahead)
Felicity throws a party for Laurel’s return except it’s actually just a ruse to get ahold of her DNA to confirm or deny whether or not it’s really Laurel. But at the party, Rene, or Wildog, is surprised that everyone is treating Laurel’s return as normal or at least not as surprising as he does to which Oliver responds, “The Lance sisters have a habit of coming back to life”. The first clue of it really being their Laurel is that she was this close to grabbing the champagne chute rather than the glass of water. Everyone gathers around to welcome who they think is this newly resurrected Laurel back home. What would’ve made this scene more memorable would be if Thea were there rather than Laurel just talking to her on the phone. Or having a scene of Laurel going to go see her father in rehab. It would’ve been more interesting than this week’s flashback scenes.
In the Arrow cave, Felicity tests Laurel’s DNA from her glass, during which she’s talking to Rory, or Ragman, about her suspicions when she starts to remember that Laurel has a doppelganger that is supposed to be locked in Star Labs. After she realizes that it’s not their Laurel Lance, Black Siren comes in with her sonic scream that throws Felicity and Ragman across the room (even though it should’ve done so much more that that, but I’ll explain why later). She comes in with this little speech about how pathetic it was to keep up with the act of pretending to be, what she called, this “weak vulnerable Laurel”. Seeing the visual effects and the sassy dialogue from Black Siren was pretty badass as it was later in the episode as well. Later, we see Black Siren going out to meet Prometheus and from this scene, it’s clear that Prometheus holds a very tight leash onto her much like when she was on the Flash under Zoom’s control. But she does say that she would’ve rather have killed the team rather than role play to which he responds by choking her to put her back in her place.
Black Siren is later captured by the Arrow team after she calls Oliver to talk at the Black Canary statue. She tells him how Prometheus threatened to kill her and wants to help them catch him but Felicity decides to take the situation into her own hands by having the team, who is supposed to just be there for backup in case something happens, attack if she looks like she’s about to double cross him. All she did was take out a phone and Rene started to shoot and as a response to this, Black Siren gives out her cry, destroying the Black Canary statue in the process. Oliver sees his chance and tranquilizes her as a way to put in her in a cell to figure out what her true intentions are. Back at the bunker, Oliver discovers that Felicity was the one who gave the team the orders to attack and expresses how he still has hope for her, which was honestly really nice to see the optimistic side of Oliver Queen.
He goes to see Black Siren in the replicated cell they’ve created in the cave and she tells him a little more of about her history of how she became the Black Siren on Earth-2. Apparently on her earth, she went to Central City for a fresh start after Oliver died 10 years ago. Then the particle accelerator gave her her sonic cry. After she got her powers, “it was just one bad choice after another”, as like many other meta-humans. She even said the same quote that the Huntress said to Laurel in episode 17 of Season 2: “once you let the darkness inside, it never comes out”. Black Siren talks about her current situation of being stuck on this earth talking to the doppelganger of the man she used to love. By that line, you can tell that even on a different universe, Oliver and Laurel still had a love story, one that had gotten cut short. Unfortunately though, Felicity lets Laurel go later in the episode after telling her that all that she was to Oliver was “a shot of redemption”. The writer’s intentions for Black Siren’s character are a little unclear given that we get an insight of her history on Earth-2 but then pushes her to become a villain again by having Felicity poke at her to try to get it back out after Oliver sees proof of what could’ve been an amazing character arc for her.
But instead, Felicity puts nanites in her water so that she can lead the Arrow team directly to Prometheus which ended up working out for her and the team in finding him. Felicity and Curtis bring a mobile version of the dampner from Star Labs that he’s created to drown out her screams which ends up working just in time. After which, Felicity takes out by one single punch, which comparing it to Black Siren’s abilities, both her powers and her hand-to-hand combat, from the Flash, seems very insulting in my opinion. Black Siren is then sent to a secure Argus facility where Oliver can keep a close eye on her in hopes of finding the good in her, if it exists which I believe that it does. Near the end of the episode as Oliver and Felicity are standing next to the destroyed Black Canary statue, Oliver decides that it’s time to find a new Black Canary to fulfill Laurel’s dying wish to him and then the screen cuts to this new Tina character who has the same sonic cry who will probably (and unfortunately) become the next Black Canary.
There were three different subplots going on in this episode: the flashbacks of Oliver in Russia, Diggle in prison, and Curtis’s low self-esteem. The three good thing I can say about the flashback scenes is the return of the Laurel’s photograph, which I feel has been more than just a little absent, the one line the guy says about differences being caused by circumstances, and Talia Al Ghul’s first appearance at the end of the episode. One thing that made a few brief appearances throughout the episode was District Attorney Adrian Chase representing Diggle by helping him avoid being transferred into the hands of General Walker, the man who framed him for a crime he didn’t commit. At the end of that plot, Adrian stops Walker from taking Diggle by having Diggle punch him in the face in the interrogation room, therefore giving him the jurisdiction to handle Diggle’s second offense. The other thing that’s worth mentioning is the lack of confidence issue that Curtis deals with in this episode as the aftermath of his husband leaving him in the previous episode. Throughout the entirety of the episode though, Rene successfully helps him find it again.
Seeing Katie Cassidy on my screen again was extremely satisfying but the storyline given to her by the writers proved to be disappointing and a bit confusing. The main plot of the episode itself proves to have multiple holes. For starters, Felicity shouldn’t even know about Earth-2 Laurel. When the Flash team locked her up, they all agreed that it would be a good idea not to tell anybody about her given the fact that she was the complete opposite of the Laurel Lance they had all gone to know and love. It was also hard to decipher whether or not Black Siren was really a good person who had made the wrong decisions and became a villain or if she was just playing everyone the entire time. The character they have written, or rewritten rather, is confusing because of how the events played out. What would’ve been a lot more helpful would be if this were a multi-episode arc where we could learn more about her and her intentions so that we, as an audience, could decide whether or not she was a distinct villain or someone who’s just stumbled on to being one like the Huntress. But the biggest hole in the story was how the writers or producers or director of the episode decided to portray her powers. For anyone who saw her on the Flash, she clearly had the skills to fight but the only thing we got to see was her using her sonic cry which was cool but it would’ve been better to see a great fight scene like the one between her and the Flash. Another problem was the force of her powers. On the Flash, her cry could take down entire buildings and it even damaged Barry’s hearing temporarily and he’s a meta-human who has the ability to heal quicker than average people. I mean, Barry was temporarily deaf and his ears bled from her screaming for God’s sake. However in this episode of Arrow, all her powers seemed to do was throw people across the room and hurt people’s ears like as if it were a fire alarm which dumbs down what it was originally. Overall, I think the writers brought her back just to get back an audience they had lost when they killed her off, which I think worked in terms of this episode but it didn’t work enough to keep them around. If the writers wanted the audience they had before, they’d bring Katie back full-time and give the Black Canary mantle the respect it deserves, rather than giving it to some nobody named Tina.
Samantha Nguyen covers entertainment news for MFST. You can follow her on Twitter @thelegendarykc