Arrow “Birds of Prey” Episode Review
I’ll be honest, when I heard the Huntress was going to return this year, I wasn’t all that thrilled. The Huntress was one of the more forgettable villains from season one, and her two episode story arc one of its worst. I understand the comic connection she shares with Black Canary created the perfect reason to bring her back now, but I honestly didn’t expect much from “Birds of Prey”. Which is good, because not much is what we got this week. The funny part is that this time the Huntress wasn’t really to blame for this episodes shortcomings. That credit falls squarely on the usually fantastic writer’s shoulders. To be fair, this isn’t a completely terrible episode, but with the rest of season two being so good this year, the bad dialog and leaps of logic this week just really stood out. Luckily for “Birds of Prey”, Arrow’s great cast, good action sequences, and fun villain still makes it enjoyable. Plus we finally get to see the first shot fired in the conflict we really want to see, Arrow vs Deathstroke.
One of the Huntresses biggest shortcomings last year was the character’s one dimensional quest for vengeance against her father, funny enough that actually played pretty well this time around with the pace of this weeks story. Right from the get-go this was about as straight forward an episode as we’ve had on Arrow. Helena’s father is in Starling City, so she comes to kill him, Team Arrow knows she’s coming and they get ready to stop her. Throw in a bad job by the police to try and trap her and you got this weeks story. That’s about it. The writers to their credit did try and layer the episode with some dramatic character moments, but most of them just ended up turning into Oliver trying to convince everyone that they weren’t killers. Which given that all of them are or were actual killers, just came off really corny (more on that in a minute). So like I said earlier, The Huntress doing her best terminator act actually was the better part of this episode. It kept the pace moving, and was really the most believable part of the episode. By the end, we even got to see a little emotion from Jessica De Gouw as Helena realized the death of her father really wouldn’t bring her peace, and gave us a tiny glimpse that maybe she might have a chance of redemption at some point. Even if that does happen it looks like a Suicide Squad appearance is much more likely than a true Birds of Prey team-up with Black Canary.
With “The Suicide Squad” being about all things Diggle last week, we never got a chance to see the aftermath of the assault on The Amazo. The flashbacks this week show just that, and even though they aren’t particularly exciting they do move along the back story, and answers at least one question in the process. We know why Oliver shares the same tattoo as Shado. Slade put it there as a reminder of Oliver’s so called crime against Shado. Slade has been channeling his inner Crixus ever since Shado died, but listening to him explain an ancient Roman tradition was great. If Slade really is gonna start busting out old Roman torture traditions though, Oliver is in for some unpleasant moments in the near future. Trust me, I saw every single episode of Spartacus. We also got to see Sara continue to slide down the slippery slope of doing the wrong thing for the right reason, which also happened to be the running theme of this weeks episode. The flashbacks seem to be starting the transition of Sara from hardened survivor to the ruthless killer she will eventually become when she joins the League of Assassins.
Which brings me to the biggest issue I had with “Birds of Prey”, Oliver trying to convince everyone that they weren’t killers. I get that on the surface that sounds like a strange thing to complain about a superhero, but considering the fact that they have all at one point been killers, it just made no sense and made for some real dumb logic and poor dialog. Sara basically pointed that much out to Oliver, when she reminded him that he had no problems asking Diggle to kill Slade, but kept telling her she couldn’t kill the Huntress because Sara’s not a killer. What??? This is the same Sara that used to be a member of the League of Assassins. You know, a group of assassins that kill people for money. Not to mention the fact that the Sara and Oliver both actually did kill members of the League when they came to take Sara. Then there was the Huntress. The woman killed like five or six people in this episode alone, but somehow if she killed her dad that was going to be the one thing she could never come back from. Really? Forget the cops or innocent people in the courtroom, if you kill your dirt bag murderer father, that is what there’s no turning back from. Oliver himself has killed people that have threatened his friends and family this season, so him continually trying to convince everyone not to kill just doesn’t hold water. I do understand that Oliver is trying to not be a killer, but given everyone’s history and the circumstances surrounding the Huntress this week, the writers should’ve done a better job showing us why killing crossed the line, and not just telling us it did.
Not everything this week was bad, on the plus side most the Arrow supporting cast got a chance to do something, except Diggle, he got to star last week. Laurel however, is thankfully finally starting to get her life together. She no longer is a drunk and even got her job back. Granted she had to unknowingly be used in a dangerous plan to capture the Huntress, then use that at a way to blackmail her new boss into hiring her back, but at least she’s finally doing something that is cool. I’m just glad that for one of the first times this season, she wasn’t annoying. Now Roy might still have anger issues, but it was cool to see him get shot through the hand, then pull a guy out a car and throw him through a fence. Unfortunately this lead to another head shaking moment as Oliver explains that after like a month of training maybe he made a mistake letting Roy go on missions so soon. Seriously, Roy’s hands have never quit shaking from the Mirakru, but when he throws a guy who shot him through a fence, that convinces you he’s not ready. Then there’s deciding now is the right time to ask Roy to dump Thea. I get why Oliver wouldn’t want Roy around Thea given his condition, but choosing to do it when Deathstroke is targeting your family doesn’t seem like the best time to take away her super-powered boyfriend. Which of course leads to Thea being taken by Deathstroke at the end of the episode. So much this week that didn’t make any logical sense. At least it means that there should be no more filler episodes coming our way, Slade has Oliver’s sister and that should get this showdown rolling.
This was not a strong week for Arrow. “Birds of Prey” wasted a decent appearance by the Huntress, and even more wasted an opportunity to lay the groundwork for any Black Canary/Huntress team-up that the title of the episode eluded to. The only plus side this week was that the Huntress showed she can actually be a fun character to watch, and I’m now much more interested to see what the future holds for her character than I was last season. Its just too bad the episode couldn’t overcome the clunky dialog and head scratching leaps of logic, so once again we are left with a below average episode staring the Huntress. Fortunately, with the season almost over there will be much better episodes coming, and truthfully it is fairly remarkable it took till episode eighteen before we got a clunker.
I give this 6.75/10 reasons that “Birds of Prey” never took flight.