Arrow returns to the form shown in the early days of its fifth season with "Second Chances," the episode that introduces a fresh refurbished take on an old favorite. Here now, the recap.
A flashback to the particle accelerator accident that kick-started The Flash details the origin of an “urban legend” vigilante kicking butts and splitting eardrums from state to state. It seems this lady crime-fighter got her start as an undercover cop held, with her partner, in the clutches of drug lord Sean Sonus when the particle wave is unleashed into the warehouse where they stand.
Oliver, along with Curtis and Rene, track down the vigilante to nearby Hub City and seek her out in hopes of convincing her to a) let them help her settle her vendetta against Sonus so that she can b) take up the mantle of Black Canary. The vigilante, operating under her old undercover identity of Tina Boland, has sonic abilities and fighting skills superior to the fallen Dinah Lance. Unfortunately, Sonus - also caught in the particle wave – has some devastating sonic based powers of his own.
A bit of the waffling back and forth (will they or won’t they team up) that Arrow does so well – not! – leads to a rooftop showdown with Sonus and his crew and a helicopter. Tina gets Sonus in her sights and, with his powers cancelled out by a portable sonic dampener whipped up by Curtis – promptly pumps half a clip into the drug lord. Then she dips. And Oliver lets her.
Having swapped identities with one another, its no surprise Tina shows up next at Mayor Oliver Queen’s office looking to take up his offer of joining Team Arrow. She then lets him in on the fact that ‘Tina Boland’ was her cover ‘on the job.’ Her actual name is Dinah Drake.
Meanwhile while scouring the Dark Net for classified NSA files that should exonerate Diggle, Felicity is digitally recognized and sought out by a fan of her hacktivist reputation. Meeting the fan – Jojo Sledgehammer – at a neutral spot, Felicity is proud yet wistful over the exalted place she holds in this young girl’s world. Jojo wants to be everything Felicity was in her college "Ghost Fox Goddess" days and sees her return to the Dark net as a sign that Felicity may yearn for those days as well. Maybe so, but not before using the files to get Diggle released on bail.
Talia al Ghul spends this week’s trip to Flashbackistan pumping Oliver up to kill a Russian allegedly guilty of child trafficking as the impetus and inspiration for him to become someone else, to become ‘something else.’
THE GOOD –
Juliana Harkavy (Tina Boland a/k/a Dinah Drake aka the new Black Canary) can throw hands, looks convincing with her Canary Cry and doesn’t cross her arms. That’s enough for me but she gives more. In fact, she’s already one of the strongest actors on the show. Good casting.
Dinah Drake. Once upon a time this was the Black Canary’s actual secret identity in the comics, complete with blonde wig to hide her originally short black hair. A new origin story that provides a nice nod to yesteryear. Well done!
Curtis stays in the Arrow Van. Curtis stays in the Arrow Van. Thank you!
THE BAD –
The borrowing from baby brother show The Flash continues with another particle accelerator accident providing the hero and villain du jour. Feels weird to be the once heralded older sibling now trying to find his way in the blinding light of the more successful kid brother, doesn’t it, Arrow Wahlberg?
THE UGLY –
That rooftop fight was sloppy. There was no sense of place, no sense of a threat, shooting straight from a G.I. Joe cartoon and someone tell me what Oliver was doing dangling from that helicopter, please? Why didn’t it just fly away with him? Why did he just blow it up over the streets of Hub City? Hub City Lives don’t matter?
THE VERDICT –
Episode 511 Second Chances – you’ve earned it but just because of Juliana. Score – C.