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Arrow - Lost Canary & Spartan - Review

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Arrow has officially become a shadow of its former self. With apologies for doubling up on my reviews again, it seems that this ship is seeing everyone flee. These last two episodes tied for the lowest ratings ever for the show – perhaps not surprising, given that we know Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity) is soon to leave, even before next year’s final 10 episodes. But let’s jump in anyway…

“Lost Canary” was written by the team of Jill Blankenship and Eliza Delson and was directed by Kristin Windell. Delson joins the writing staff with previous credits on Wendy, Beyond the Break, and One Tree Hill – not exactly action/superhero dramas. I certainly appreciated that this episode was a woman-focused episode, written, acted and directed by women. However, I can’t say that the plot was terrific, and once again, we see Katie Cassidy Rodgers (Laurel) written off the show.

What I did like about this episode was seeing Laurel back in that Black Siren outfit! And I liked that we saw her in the Black Canary outfit in the future storyline. I loved seeing Caity Lotz guest star as White Canary/Sara – and doing the salmon ladder – even if we do only really see her from the waist up. The chemistry between Lotz and Cassidy Rodgers was as good as it always is, so the scenes at Quentin’s grave were very well done. The fight scenes were good – as always – but it’s increasingly difficult to make them actually stand out anymore.

I did like Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) standing up for Laurel – and clearing her by exposing Emiko as the real killer who framed Laurel. I also liked the idea of Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) forming the Canaries – largely as a support group for women – even if we’d never heard anything about this before. Perfect that future Laurel would have done the same. Also great that Felicity modified the original canary cry collar for Sara – and I suppose inevitable that she would give it to Dinah. I also really liked that cute scene with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity at home after a busy day of hero-ing!

Unfortunately, there were a lot of things that bugged me about this episode. Laurel teaming up with Shadow Thief (Carmel Amit) and using her DA contacts – which resulted in at least 2 deaths – had no ramifications for her? Dinah is simply willing to let those murders slide? And of course, Dinah’s entire holier-than-thou attitude through most of the episode. Felicity wasn’t wrong on calling Dinah on her own past. Maybe slightly less annoying then that Dinah finally does relent at the end.

I didn’t like Oliver and Diggle (David Ramsey) being shunted into the subplot. I would have minded a lot less if we’d had more Oliver all season – a definite major symptom of why this show is ending. Also annoying was that in addition to a tattoo in the future, Dinah also has pins to wear to honor a promise. And Mia (Katherine McNamara) being stupid and pouty and having to be saved… so over that. And Oliver insisting that he go off on his own at the beginning of the series is NOTHING like this pouty, willful teenager.

Let’s move on to “Spartan” which was written by the team of Benjamin Raab and Deric A Hughes and was directed by Avi Youabian, whose other credits include MacGyver and The Walking Dead. Once again, this episode did have a nice underlying thread of family that actually cut through both the present and future storylines. It’s mind-boggling to me, given the prevalence of the Felicity storyline here that Emily Bett Rickards has chosen to leave the show.

Once again there’s very little of Oliver in this episode as it focuses on Diggle, but we do get treated to two excellent scenes between these two characters. There is, of course, speculation that Ramsey is also planning to exit the show before the end – but no confirmation of it just yet. I did love guest star Ernie Hudson as General Stewart – Diggle’s step-father who no one has heard of! Yeah. That was a bit stupid after we’ve heard so much about the rest of his family. You’d think that Diggle having a nightmare step-father who practiced tough love might have come up before…

Other things that I actually did like in this episode? I was very happy to Dante (Adrian Paul) killed. Really. If you want an evil mastermind to be creepy by whistling as he works – um… Negan from The Walking Dead anyone? And Check Youabian’s other credits – the actor needs to be able to whistle… ugh! However, at least we now have some focus for the end of the season as they will have to work to get back the Sigmus X-1 bio-weapon.

And unfortunately, now we’re back to the things that I found particularly annoying. Of course, Stewart was hiding the truth from Diggle. And as heart-warming as their final scene was, it was totally cliché. Felicity having to destroy Archer – annoying. More annoying? Alena (Kacey Rohl) saving the root code – and you know she’s selling it to the Magnus Corp and selling out Felicity and is going to be the big bad at Galaxy One, right? Also? When did Alena become a dithering assistant? I was going to call her a fangirl – but that’s an insult to fangirls.

I did like Felicity realizing that she’d turned into her Dad – and Alena talking her back from it. And that is another thread that ran through – such as the strain between Diggle and his sons in the future. But I really, really disliked JJ becoming the leader of a gang – the Deathstroke gang – really? And no one has a problem with them all running around with katanas on their backs? And what did that remind me of? Oh yeah – Michonne’s on The Walking Dead. I do continue to like Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke – and feel badly for him that he’s being set up as Mia’s love interest….

Another good fight between Emiko (Sea Shimooka) and Oliver, but another re-tread of plot. The guy you think is helping you actually betrayed you and turned you evil. Follow me and become good again… ugh.

I have a few main thoughts about these two episodes. First, I did like the themes in both of them, regardless of the success of the actual execution. Secondly, I did feel like we were finally getting some focus on where this season and the finale are headed. Finally, I’m still not happy with them clearly cleaning character house in the present storyline in order to focus more attention on the future. Did we really need this entirely new show, focused on a younger demographic? Well, CW, if you wanted to chase away the older demographic, you’re doing a fine job. What did you think of the last two episodes? Will you be watching to the bitter end? Would you like to see more or less of the future storyline? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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