Arrow Review: “Birds of Prey”

The blend of superheroics and soap opera hijinks continues on Arrow.

Title: “Birds of Prey”

Cast and Crew
Director: John Behring
Writers: Mark Bemesderfer, A.C. Bradley

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
Jessica De Gouw as Helen Bertinelli/The Huntress
Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak
Katie Cassidy as Dinah “Laurel” Lance
Caity Lotz as Sara Lance / Black Canary
David Ramsay as John “Dig” Diggle
Willa Holland as Thea Queen
Colton Haynes as Roy Harper
Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance
Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke
Jeffrey Nordling as Frank Bertinelli
Lochlyn Munro as Captain Stein
Dylan Bruce as Adam Donner
Chelah Horsdal as Kate Spencer
David Nykl as Anatoli Knyazev

Full cast and crew may be found here.

Premise

The Huntress returns to take down her mobster father, and Laurel gets trapped among the hostages.

In the past, Slade Wilson tortures Ollie.

Roy gets called “Speedy” by accident, but rejects the name. Later, he will make a speedy decision based on Ollie’s order that he stay away from Thea in order to keep her safe.

High Points

We’re getting humor as well as teamwork again at the Arrow office, and Ollie’s superhero support staff continues to be a series strength.

A number of things felt forced this week, but the parallels between the hero, Arrow, and the villain, Huntress, developed organically out of their stories.

Low Point

One might legitimately ask why the Huntress wears a mask, given that everyone knows her identity. Then again, the convention of tiny masks rendering people unrecognizable, even to their closest friends and family members gets taken to ridiculous lengths in “Birds of Prey,’ as Laurel discusses her sister with the Canary. I know this is a convention borrowed from the comics, but I wish they had done something—anything—to make the convention at least remotely plausible. These scenes play as a distracting meta-joke.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Someone important to the heroes gets captured when a villain takes a stand. Later, the villain wonders if she shouldn’t change the path she has chosen to follow. Since it’s Arrow, soap opera drama sporadically intrudes.

Effects: 5/6 The action effects were fine. Is it just me, or did the daytime appearance of the Starling City Courthouse sign look charmingly like a drawn matte?

Acting: 4/6 The principals were fine, but they were challenged by the show’s trademark cheesy dialogue (I wonder if we should just accept this as a comic-book flourish?) A bigger problem, found, was Jessica De Gouw’s over-the-top Huntress. We’re supposed to relate to her, particularly at the end, but her performance felt too reminiscent of the Adam West Batman villains.

Story: 4/6 The plot moved along at a good pace, and the flashbacks were better integrated than last week’s. They are a story unto themselves, however, and very much designed to set up the forthcoming confrontation with Deathstroke.

The shenanigans at the District Attorney’s office seem a little forced to reset status quo.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Production: 5/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Birds of Prey” receives 29/42

6 replies on “Arrow Review: “Birds of Prey””

  1. Fez says:

    Last night’s episode was pretty good, way better than last week. I was a bit preoccupied since the Psych series finale was on right after (different channel) but I don’t recall anything in particular standing out as a low point aside from the Laurel/Canary conversation. Even with a disguised voice there is no way she shouldn’t have known her own sister. Her chin alone should make her stand out from a mile away. (Not saying it’s big or bad, just distinctive)

    I really didn’t care for Jessica De Gouw when she was on the first time but for whatever reason this time around I thought she did alright. The wife and I watched Dracula and she was OK on there as well, perhaps she learned a few things along the way, or maybe it was because her stay was fairly short.

    Everything seemed to fit/flow a lot better this week than last week, especially the island parts, and the humor was a good touch.

    The bit with Laurel going back to work seemed a bit too easy, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt there to see if it leads somewhere more interesting for Laurel.

    • Jethro says:

      Fez wrote:

      I really didn’t care for Jessica De Gouw when she was on the first time but for whatever reason this time around I thought she did alright.

      That was one of my takeaways from this episode. She did a LOT better than in previous episodes.

  2. Jethro says:

    First, I wish this thing had a preview button (:

    I agree about the mask thing – I mean, with Oliver it’s semi plausible if you don’t get close enough because of the hood and all, but Sara looks like Sara with a tiny mask. The lampshading of that was the only good part of the Green Lantern movie…

    I’m still not happy about the whole Evil Slade thing. I like Slade, and I don’t like seeing him being insane. Then again… he is a good villain, I guess. The way this episode ended made me fairly uncomfortable…

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