Many Truths Come to Light in Arrow “Canaries”
From seeing dead siblings to learning new things about live ones, this episode was all about seeing old, comfortable and often familiar things in a new light. Laurel hallucinates an angryÂ Sara and realizes what’s holding her back. Thea learns her brother isn’t actually a flaky playboy. Detective Lance discovers the truth about Sara. Oliver is forced to put himself in Team Arrow’s shoes. And Thea suddenly (finally!) sees Merlyn forÂ who heÂ really is.Â Clearly this episode was packed, so let’s start at the beginning.
When we first saw Sara, it was pretty obvious that we weren’t actually seeing Sara. I mean, sure, people coming back to lifeÂ on this show isn’t out of the ordinary, but after such a heart-breaking, gut-wreching death, I felt pretty certain that if she were to be revived for real, they wouldn’t throw that in at the beginning of the episode. That is a total, last second, cliffhanger kind of revelation. Plus, this Sara was mean. Far meaner than I could ever imagine real Sara being to her sister.
And myÂ assumption was proven right a short time later when we discovered that Laurel’s “Sara sighting” was actually a hallucination thanks to Vertigo. But that being said, it didn’t make the experience any less real or any less important.Â Laurel clearly feels guilt for taking over the Black Canary title and not being able to do her sister justice. And let’s be honest, she should. She’s trying to be Sara without having actually lived any of Sara’s experiences, which obviously means both her motivation and her approach can’t possibly fall in line with Sara’s. However, after a waking from a brutal beat down by psuedo-Sara, Laurel had a heart to heart with Felicity and came to realize that fighting as Sara doesn’t mean having to be Sara.
Laurel: When ZytleÂ hit me with Vertigo, I saw Sara. She was alive. She was calling me a fraud. I was crazy to think I was fit to wear Sara’s jacket. So much as follow in her footsteps.
Felicity: You’re right. I hope I’m not out of line here but I think Sara wore her mask just as much to hide her demons as she did to help people. And I don’t see that with you. You have a light inside of you that Sara never had. So maybe you should stop trying to be Sara and just be yourself.
After their sweet moment a few weeks ago, I like that Felicity was once again ableÂ to support Laurel and help her see her purpose and her feelings towards her sister in a new light. Laurel doesn’t have to be Sara. Just because she wears the mask and the jacket, she doesn’t have to do things the way Sara did them. And in realizing that she can still be effective, or potentially even more effective, by doing things her own way, I think Laurel will have a lot more to contribute to Team Arrow in the future.
And yet, thisÂ wasn’t the only Sara-related revelation of the night. After his chat with Cyn last week, it’s clear Detective Lance is catching onÂ to the fact that the current Black Canary is not really Sara. And in this episode, he even called Laurel out on it, putting two and two together and recognizing that she must be the oneÂ taking her sister’s place.
Lance: Sara is off god knows where and there’s another blond in mask running around tuning up the bad guys. And it’s you, isn’t it?
However, his revelation isn’t entirely accurate. He believesÂ that LaurelÂ must be doing this because Sara is off in some other part of the world, which is entirely possible but also not the most obvious answer. Maybe it’s just me, but if someone replaces someone else, its usually because that person is dead. And after a heartbreaking conversation, Lance is forced to see that truth. Sure, it would have been easier to continue believing that Sara was off fighting crime on the other side of the world, but that would’ve required keeping his blinders on. Instead, a heartbreaking sceneÂ with LaurelÂ forces himÂ to see the situation in another light. The true light. Unfortunately, we didn’t to see much after his initial reaction, but I’m curious to see how and what happens in upcoming episodes once he realizes that everyone has been lying to him.
From one sister to another, this episode also gave Thea the chance to see two people in a new light. The first was, of course, Oliver. I have to admit, I was kind of shocked how little hesitation he had about telling Thea the truth. That being said, I loved her reaction. I’ll be honest, I haven’t always agreed with the choices made by or for this character, but her calmness and understanding and genuine appreciation when she discovered that Oliver is the Arrow in some ways redeemed this character for me.
Thea:Â All those times I got mad at you for being a flake or telling me something that I knew had to be a lie, you were saving someone’s life. Thank you.
Time and time again, Thea hasÂ gotten mad and flown off the handle over little (and sometimes big) things without thinking. And boy oh boy, that girl can hold a grudge. So I was pleasantly surprised when she chose not to yell, scream, throw things orÂ stomp out. I don’t know if it’s her training or if she’s just maturing but this rational response was exactly what this revelation (and Oliver) needed.
That being said, her calmness and acceptance didn’t last for long. After seeing her brother in this new heroic light, she wasÂ also forced to see her father in a new darker light. Shortly after the revelation, Oliver explains that he told her the truth because they must team up with Merlyn in orderÂ to fight Ra’s al Ghul and survive.
Oliver: The only chance we have to survive is to work together. To trust each other.
Merlyn: He’s right.
Thea: No, no, he’s not. I turned my back on everyone I know, including my own brother because you told me there was nobody else I could trust.
Merlyn: I was only trying to protect you.
Thea: By driving a wedge between me and Ollie? You manipulated me.
Obviously Thea puts two and two together and realizes that Merlyn has been pitting her against the Arrow aka Oliver. Sure, I get that realizing this might be upsetting, but I can’t help but feel that Thea was being a little over the top. I mean, it’s a widely known fact that Merlyn isn’tÂ exactly a saint and she’s known thatÂ he’s been pitting her against the city’s hero in a hood, which is my opinion is pretty crappy regardless if he’s your brother or not. And, if she’sÂ chosen to turn herÂ back on herÂ brother, that’s on her. Sure Merlyn can influenceÂ herÂ opinion, but he can’t makeÂ her do anything she doesn’t want to do. Â Sorry, I know that’s a bit of a rant, but I can’t help it, the basis for her anger feels far too weak for me to get on board. Plus, if it’s the lying she’s upset about, then shouldn’t she be upset with Oliver too?
Oliver: You have to trust me on this.
Thea: I do. But I don’t trust him. I can’t. I won’t.
So Oliver lies to “protect her” but she can still trust him. However when Merlyn lies to “protect her,” she can’t? Confusing.Â And I don’t understandÂ how she didn’t see Merlyn in this “evil” light before. But I guess you can only ask for so much understanding from her in one episode.
Last, but not least, Oliver was also forced to pull offÂ his hood and see the lightÂ in this episode. Sure, he was gone and now he’s back, but since his return, he’s hardly taken a moment to realize what everyone went through in his absence. Instead, he’s been laser-focused on making up for what happened to Starling City in his absence and preparing to take down Ra’s. AndÂ after Roy stands up for Thea when she comes down to the basement to check on Laurel, OliverÂ was forced to faceÂ the truth thanks to a harsh reality check from Felicity.
Oliver: What the hell was that?
Roy: You think you’re the only person who can stand up for Thea?
Oliver: I’m trying to figure out why you’re standing up to me?
Diggle: Okay, maybe we just need to throttle back.
Felicity: No, we need this. Oliver, you were gone. Dead. At least we thought you were. And we had to go on with our lives. And doing that meant doing things not your way.
Oliver: Fine, I’m back now.
Felicity: That doesn’t mean we can go back. And you do not have the right to come back here and question everyone’s choices.
As much as I hate to see Team Arrow fight, I feel like this was a necessary battle. I don’t think Felicity was being selfish or inconsiderate, instead she was being realistic. Oliver has only seen things from his own point of view and its about time he sees what other’s had to face and how they had to adapt in his absence. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I think that all their decisionsÂ were right, but they were in a tough spot and they were forced to make necessary choices. And since time travel hasn’t yet been invented, they can’t go back and change themÂ soÂ everyone needsÂ to accept that and move forward from where they are now, not where they were before Oliver left. Luckily, Oliver took this stern talking-to to heart (I think this is largely because it came from Felicity…when someone who hardly ever yells actually yells, people listen) but it was his follow up with Diggle that really painted the bigger picture and pointed outÂ the true scopeÂ of his work.
Oliver: The first time we went after Zytle, I told you that this was my crusade. Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Diggle: You’re right, it isn’t.
Oliver: Diggle, I get that I was gone.
Diggle: No, you weren’t gone,Â you were dead. And all of us, including me, we were ready to hang it up.
Oliver: Why didn’t you?
Diggle: Because we realized we weren’t just fighting for you, we were fighting for ourselves too. That includes Roy. And yes, that includes Laurel.
Oliver: She’s not a soldier
Diggle: Neither were you.
Oliver: It’s not the same thing and you know that.
Diggle: What I know, Oliver, is that you started something. Something strong enough to live on past you. The question is, can you live with what its become?
Well, we didn’t really get an answer, but considering that the Arrow will continue to fight another day, I think that the answer is yes. At least for now.
Clearly this was a jam-packed episode, but I also think all these revelations, regardless if they were internal or external, were necessary to propel the story to the next level. And I know that I, for one, am interested to see how all the characters change, react and progress with their new-found information.
Be sure to catch Arrow next Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW.
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