"Canaries" was an odd episode. Characters did a lot of zig-zagging, sometimes emotionally, sometimes geographically. But within the chaos, here are five perfect moments for us to savor.
Thea Queen: Superbrat
If there's ever an episode of Arrow in which Thea Queen doesn't stomp around and glare at people I don't want to watch it. After considering the wave of acrobatic annihilation coming their way, Oliver decides to tell Thea that he's the Arrow, and he's been saving lives all these years since he came back. Thea reacts to that exactly the way she should. She is proud of him and concerned for his safety. There are even hugs.
Oh, but wait. When Thea learns that Merlyn knew Ollie was the Arrow all along, she's mad at him for manipulating her, and doesn't want to train with him anymore. Even later, when he saves her life — and we will get to that — she grumps, "I hope you don't expect a thank you." Oh, it is delicious. This kind of thing from Thea never stops being fun, and by now it's lasted so long that it's also kind of comforting to know that it will always be there. But still, Thea, your dad's both an assassin and your only hope of survival. Which makes him the fourth-worst person to talk to in that tone of voice, after your waiter, your boss, and your gynecologist.
(A quick digression. It looks like this show is pushing the Merlyn-redemption plotline hard. And that's great. I love watching John Barrowman. There are times, when I'm in danger or in pain, that I know nothing that bad can truly happen to me, because John Barrowman is somewhere out there, cradling my heart in his strong yet gentle hands. But is this guy ever going to face any punishment for killing five hundred people in the first season? It seems like all we hear about is him manipulating Thea and killing Sara. He's a mass murderer, and all the League of Assassins really wants is for him to pay for that.)
Laurel Gains True Insight Through Drugs
Laurel is still in uniform — against Ollie's wishes — and fighting Count Vertigo. In principle, I am on Ollie's side on this one. I have seen piñatas defend themselves more ably. She gets dosed with fear gas and hallucinates Sara saying horrible things, like how Laurel isn't a hero, and Laurel is just a junkie. So at first it looks like Laurel has a problem with the memory of her sister.
Through the story we learn that these aren't Sara's words, they're Ollie's. That's why I am not, in practice, on his side. He never seems to miss a chance to take her by the arm and say absolutely unforgivable things. So the drug hallucinations have to be about him.
Wrong. At the end, just before Laurel finally breaks out of the hallucinations and smacks Vertigo around, she sees her dad yelling at her, demanding to know what gave her the right to keep his child's death from him. This prompts her to go and, at last, confess to Quentin. He thinks, at first, that she's just confessing to taking Sara's place, and so she has to really struggle to break the news. Here's the thing. I have seen Sara die four times. I have seen people mourn her over 10 times. It's a testament to the writing and acting that this realization scene is still wrenching.
Digg Slaps Some Sense Into Ollie
Ollie is having a bad day. Laurel's getting kicked around by refuses to stop hero-ing. Thea doesn't want to work with Merlyn. Roy's giving him attitude about pressuring Thea. Felicity is just straight-up pissed. In short, he left for a couple of weeks and came back to find that his team isn't really his team anymore.
In a great scene, Digg flips the situation on his head, pointing out that all of this is happening because people were so inspired by Ollie's work that they made his mission their own. He "built something strong enough to live on past him." That's not a bad thing. It's not a big moment, but it is a good one.
The DJ Assassin's Brief Yet Beautiful Life
Thea sleeps with the DJ assassin, he tries to kill her with poison immediately afterward, and then Malcolm and Roy come in to save her. I love everything about this. I love that the two barely have their pants on before he's trying to kill her. I love that Thea gives him flirty eyes when she spots cyanide in her drink.
And I love both Thea's ex and her father come through the door the moment things get too rough. And when I say "the moment," I mean that I didn't even have the time to turn the volume down on the television because of the fight sounds before they were through the door. Where the hell were they? Were they both just awkwardly standing outside her door, listening to faint humping sounds and staring at the carpeting? Because if so, I want that scene.
The Old Switcheroo
Okay. This episode had Amanda Waller, and I can't. I just can't. Any plot ine with her in it is just so stupid and evil and pointless that watching it is like being shoved inside Martin Sheen's head during the filming of Apocalypse Now. I just -—no. No more.
But here's the end of the show. Thea and Ollie and Merlyn head to the Island to train, while Amanda Waller brings Maseo and Ollie to Starling City in the flashback. So now the flashbacks are in Starling and the current story is on the Island. Good one!