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