Arrow Review: So Many Lies, At What Price?

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Once you let the darkness inside, it never comes out.

That's what Helena told Laurel and Laurel later repeated after bribing someone for her job back. The sentiment doesn't bode well for many on Arrow, and it seems to be at the heart of the so-called heroes running around Starling City.

By the end of Arrow Season 2 Episode 17 and after a heartbreaking discussion with Oliver about how many people are keeping secrets and the extent to which they are hurting people, Thea is in the clutches of Slade Wilson.

Things are about to go into overdrive for Oliver in his argument with Slade.

It's interesting that the hour in question was titled "Birds of Prey" and touted as an epic showdown between The Huntress and The Black Canary, but the story wasn't set up to let the two ladies shine in much other than their leather and masks. 

They had great fight scenes and Helena talked about darkness, revealing that at the core of herself, Oliver, Sara, Slade, Roy and now Laurel are people who have let enough darkness into them that they may never be free to have normal lives again. Or as normal as some of them get being masked crusaders.

But the big battle was tinged with sadness for so many people involved it was kind of hard to feel triumph as Canary nearly choked the life out of Helena (she didn't have on her mask, so he was just Helena). Laurel got Canary to stop her death grip just like Canary had earlier talked Laurel away from the bottle. Sadness and pain were prevalent.

It all comes down the lies. There are just too many of them. At one point someone said they were having a hard time remembering who knew whose secret identity.

I can't help thinking that this mask blindness makes for a very hard time at Halloween. How often do parents take home the wrong children after a party in Starling City merely because their kiddo propped up their hood or put on a simple around-the-eyes mask?

Suspension of disbelief is necessary for these shows to work, but good God if Laurel can't recognize her sister's lips and chin (which have to be some of the most easily recognized in the business) then there must be a lot of missing persons and impromptu (and unplanned) kidnappings in Starling.

Why wasn't the time to tell Laurel about Canary's secret when she got her to stop killing Helena?

It was the perfect time to reveal the sister Laurel had wanted to impress so badly by appearing strong and returning to work before she was ready was just as fallible as she was. It felt like a missed opportunity. Even if it had driven Laurel farther into that darkness, it would have worked.

Oliver, meanwhile, has lost all perspective. Sara called him on it when she noted he had no problem giving Diggle the green light to off Slade when his family was in danger, but he refused to let Sara look out for Laurel even if it meant killing Helena. Because he created the Huntress.

Sara easily reminded him that he created Slade, too, but didn't care if and when he was killed.

Sara: What do you guys think?
Felicity: Oh I think if the Huntress shows up you should totally kick her ass.

The support from Felicity for Sara was fantastic, and was only topped by Diggle's nodding head as he affirmed Felicity's statement. One of the highlights so far has been the connection between these two ladies. Let's not lose that!

Oliver used to be more perceptive, but it's not a skill he has right now as was evident when he told Roy to stop seeing Thea. The only thing keeping Roy grounded has been his love for Thea. Not hand slapping a bowl of water or Oliver looking over his shoulder. He's been thinking of his love for Thea and that keeps him from going all Mirakuru. 

Now that he's intentionally hurt Thea because Oliver made him second guess his own abilities and she's captured, I suspect we will see a little more Slade mixed in with our Roy. 

Other than the revelation of darkness being afoot and Thea's capture, there wasn't much by way of forward movement in this installment. Laurel is standing her ground and she's sober, but those around her are tumbling backward because lying to everyone and carrying such a heavy burden is literally bringing them down. 

With a world full of death in the Huntress' wake, she should be in prison for a long time. Helena feels no sense of peace after the Frank's death and even envies him possibly standing beside her fiance in the afterlife. Tears of regret don't redeem her character and bring about excitement that she might someday be added to the team, but if Amanda Waller gets her hands on her and she is incorporated into the Suicide Squad, perhaps her penance will be enough.

After the Diggle-centric Arrow Season 2 Episode 16 his absence was palpable. The time with the original team of Oliver, Diggle and Felicity has been steadily decreasing in favor of themed episodes and Lance family drama. Even the original passion that was shown between Oliver and Sara when they fell into each others arms in Arrow Season 2 Episode 13 is no longer evident.

The island flashbacks showed that Sara did what she felt was necessary when it comes to caring about those she loves. If she has to kill, she will. Oliver has been binding the hands of others while planning to kill Slade. Everyone is lying to Thea and Laurel and half of them are lying to Lance.

The more people lie, the darker they become and the darker they become the less likely they are to keep their emotions in check and when those run free all hell is going to break loose. 

I will be surprised if we don't hear some word about Malcolm Merlyn next week for two reasons. First, Thea is his only remaining child and if he learns she's in trouble, he should come running. Second, Moira knows that Malcolm is a badass and if she has no other options to help keep Thea safe, she could turn to the one person she most fears being in Thea's life to keep her alive.

Moira doesn't know about Arrow and Canary and soon-to-be Arsenal. Will she even learn Thea's been kidnapped? How angry will she be if she discovers a connection between Slade and Oliver? Another lie just lying in wait to jump up and bite someone on the ass.

Don't get me wrong; Arrow continues to be one of the best shows on television. It can sit happily on a successful plateau and enjoy its story with solid writing and attention to characters we have grown to love. Not every hour has to feel like a finale.

You can catch "Birds of Prey" and all of the other episodes when you watch Arrow online. Then hit the comments and chat about the hour. What worked, what didn't and what do you hope comes next?

Would you watch a Huntress spin-off?

Here is your first look at Arrow Season 2 Episode 18:


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (62 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


The episode was okay. The Huntress vs Black Canary was not as great as it could have been. Oliver was wrong and Sara telling him was interesting. But he does that a lot. He can do things, but when it come to others to do the same, they can't.
Also, taking Thea away from Roy was a BIG mistake. She was the only thing keeping him from going crazy. Now, that she's been taken, no one will be able to control him.
Felicity and Diggle, as brief their scene was, they had me laughing. Gosh, these 2 need MORE SCREEN TIME !!!!
Now, honestly, Laurel not realizing BC was her sister was just wrong. However, she is definitely sorting her life out and when she blackmailed the DA, I had to give her props. She is standing her ground.
Thea telling Ollie he was the only not keeping secrets from her had me laughing. Man when she finds out, there's gonna be hell to pay and then some. Slade took Thea... Yeah, now the game is starting. And I agree, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Malcolm Merlin in the next few episodes.


im just waiting for Malcolm Merlyn to show up. cant wait for him pester oliver with not being able to help his sister. or even having her involved with this.

Fearless diva

I suspect characters like Sebastian Blood and Isabel Rochev will be gone come season 2 finale. Either they will die or go to jail. I suspect Merlyn, Nyssa, Amanda Waller(and Suicide Squad) and Slade will still be around next season. However, I don't think we will get a death necessarily out of Team Arrow. If anything, I feel like Felicity might take a leave of absence so he can see Barry when he wakes up in The Flash and Sara will most likely run away(because The League will once again be after her). To be honest, I think Sara/Oliver will break up either in episode 22 or in the season finale. But to make Slade's threat come true, I think he will end up corrupting either Thea, Roy or Laurel. Lastly(and sorry for the long comment), it be interesting to have a scene in the Flash where Barry asks her to be part of his team and Oliver finds out. P.S.: If The Flash gets ordered to series, do you guys think The CW will do what they did with TVD/The Originals and have them premiere on the same day(in this case a Wednesday) but then have them on separate nights. Or is it more likely they will both be on Wednesday?

Spindae 2o
@ Fearless Diva

Hey Diva ;-) glad we have the same opinion and I'm bit mad how they are neglecting Felicity since her moving confession to Oliver about Moira's secret.
And about your Flash/Arrow premier question! If Fel would appear in the Flash pilot, what maybe would explain her low scene count in the recent episodes, I could see them make a connection between the 2 premiers. And I hope Thea will switch to Central aswell after finding ut about the betrayal.


I so agree with you Carissa....come on! Laurel does not recognize her own sister!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Oliver????!!!! Let's see when Thea finds out that Oliver is keeping even worse secrets than her mom...and we will thank Mr. Wilson for that...

@ Fra

I thought that was so bad ! She was sitting so close to her and yet did not recognize her sister ! BS.


I didn't enjoy this episode as much as everyone else. Mostly because of one pet peeve that I have: "deep" conversations in the middle of an action crisis. Laurel and Sara were slowly sharing their feelings over a bottle while there was a room full of hostages at gunpoint - really? NOW?! It happens all the time in TV, movies and it drives me crazy every time. The best thing about this episode was Thea. She was amazing. And the last 30 seconds to me were more exciting and nerve-wracking than the entire episode. I feel awful about the fall-out that's gonna happen when Thea finds out that Oliver has more secrets than anyone. Poor Thea.

@ Robin Harry

I agree with you! not that exciting as an episode!


I was so excited to see The Huntress return in this episode. She is hot! Jessica was the only reason I watched Dracula. Even though her dad is dead and she's been arrested, I really hope Helena returns again, not this season but hopefully next year.

@ ryan jones

I agree. I absolutely loved Jessica in Dracula. I liked the show but it figures that if it isn't "horrorl lite", like does not last on mainstream TV


felicity definitely needs to let her hair down more often. she looks smokin hot like that.


Overall I enjoyed this episode. I am a fan of the Huntress. There is still a bit of humanity in Helena. I hope Amanda Waller recruits the Huntress to the Suicide Squad. I think Mr. Lance does know realize Oliver is the Arrow. He has now. He knows his daughter Sara is the Black Canary. Surely being a cop he has figured it out already. Laurel should have recognized Sara. Sara has a well defined chin and a way about her. Perhaps Laura will realize it in hind site? (Rolling my eyes) Laurel getting her job back...I wondered from the beginning of this episode if she was just "bait" and turns out she was. She embraced a bit of darkness in keeping the job. I hope Laurel goes dark and villainy. I would like Laurel so much better if she was a villain. I would like her to become corrupt....maybe be in cahoots with Slade. Oliver did a foolish thing telling Roy to break up with Thea. Roy is gonna regret it and blame Oliver and maybe distance himself from the Arrow Team; Be a lone hero before returning to the team. I don't think Slade will be able to corrupt Roy. This episode disappointed with loose ends that shouldn't have happened. Like not keeping tabs on Thea just letting her walk out all alone with Slade out there and a serious threat. Slade now having Thea in custody is going to bring back Merlin Malcolm? And close behind his return will bring back the League of Assassins....I hope so. Thea is going to learn all the lies at once and I expect she will turn against her mother, Oliver and Roy for lying to her. Slade Wilson....heart felt sigh...I hope Felicity and Diggle scheme together to find a cure for the Mirakuru.


I really loved the Oliver/Helena interaction in the end- that was the best part of the entire episode for me(the writers made her too crazy the last time she showed up and this humanized her again and they have history together which is always interesting to watch). Am hoping she’ll show up in the season finale to help Oliver somehow… I am sick of laurel/sara- too much screen time and its ridiculous she didn’t know canary was her sister sara! Why have they made the relationship with oliver/sara look so platonic- the chemistry they had in the beginning is just not there which is sad coz i like them as a couple. How on earth did Slade Have the tattoo on Oliver match the one on Shado? Didn't like the fact that he got him branded would have preferred Oliver getting it done as a tribute to her and why cant he just tell him Shado didn't love slade!

Spindae 2o

This episode really should change it's title than besides being a marketing thing it really hadn't much to do with the Birds of Prey. Yes the Canary vs Huntress battles were entertaining but it was just that nothing more. I loved Helena in her first Arrow appearence cause of the connection she established with Oliver and the way it ended but the one by season 1 end was just awfull. But this appearence was perfect she and Laurel, she and Oli just great. Kudos for Katie Cassidy aswell cause this was her 2nd best Arrow performance(after the one in 2x14). You just saw how that surviver instict came to life when she talked Kate about her job.
Sara not revealing herself to Laurel was for her own good, Laurel as proven last night wouldn't just stamd by she would want to become a hero and it would curve on the Oli Laurel Sara triangle and that should be resting now.
And Willa Holland got maybe 2 Minutes screen time but ruled over it. I love the way she acts it's so great and looks so easy to ger. I really felt her heart break.
Can't wait the freyter situation to escalate, next week looks storng.

Fearless diva
@ Spindae 2.0

Couldn't agree with you more. Spindae 2.0. If Arrow ever had a filler episode, Birds of Prey would be it. I was expecting more Girl Power, even if not all the girls work together. I remember a while back , when this was announced it, one of the writers said that while Felicity still would be just Felicity in this episode(and not Oracle) that she be her own Birds of Prey. But, I fear that we're getting real close to loosing the spark between Oliver, Felicity and Diggle we had up until Sara came back. While it's nice to see Laurel be part of the plot again, it seems like focusing so much on the Lance sisters is taking away from the Arrow Trinity.

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 17 Quotes

Laurel: Helena, you don't have to do this.
Helena: Yes, I do. Because once you let the darkness inside, it never comes out.

Oliver: Roy, you're dangerous. I thought I was helping you control it.
Roy: You are. I can't look at a bowl of water without slapping it.