REVIEW: ‘Arrow,’ Season 8, Episode 9 – “Green Arrow & the Canaries”

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Arrow, CW’s long-running Green Arrow series, is in the penultimate episode of its final season, “Green Arrow & the Canaries.” During the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, our titular hero Oliver (Stephen Amell) became the Spectre and sacrificed himself to save the Multiverse. It also became clear during the fifth part of this crossover that this new Earth and reality had numerous alterations, which is where this episode picks up.

The year is 2040 and crime in Star City has practically been non-existent since Oliver Queen’s death 20 years prior. Unlike the bleak future that we had seen in the flash-forwards previously, this new version of Star City is an illuminated haven where recent graduate and socialite Mia Queen (Katherine McNamara) thrives from the comforts of Queen Mansion. With the perfect fiance in John Diggle Jr. (Charlie Barnett), her doting brother William (Ben Lewis) and friend Zoe Ramirez (Andrea Sixtos), Mia’s life is abruptly interrupted by the re-introduction of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) – armed with memories from another life.

After the devastating heartbreak that was Crisis, it could have been extremely easy for the writers of the show to spend the remaining two episodes of the season devoted to being sad about the elephant in the room – the death of the main hero, Oliver Queen. What the team behind Arrow have done is celebrated Oliver’s legacy and sacrifice in the best way possible, by showing the positive repercussions he has had on both his city and family. Katherine’s performance as Mia is on-point this week and the actress does a fantastic job as distinguishing ‘Mia Smoak’ from ‘Mia Queen’ and both characters’ differing backgrounds. The episode also does a fairly good job of making sure that the character developments and relationships from the original timeline still matter via the use of a ‘J’onn’ ring which restores memories from Pre-Crisis.

‘Green Arrow & The Canaries’ is fundamentally a back-door pilot for a new series that carries on telling stories about the world and characters of Arrow, because of this a lot of the episode is dedicated to setting up new mysteries and status quos. One of the most interesting of these new mysteries has to be Dinah’s place in 2040, having essentially been forgotten by the denizens of Star City and the world. Instead, Dinah finds herself waking up in the future and deciding to make the most out of this new life by setting up a bar. This interesting narrative allows for Juliana to dive into who Dinah is for the first time, showing off her incredible singing and piano-playing skills in the process – a nice nod to the comics!

Katie Cassidy’s portrayal of Laurel is once again superb and it’s clear how much these actors enjoy working with each other and the material that they’ve been given. Laurel’s status-quo is interesting, as she mentions the multiverse and her past on Earth-2 but it isn’t quite clear how this all works in the new timeline. Is she from the Earth that we see that the new Stargirl exists on? or is ‘her’ version of Earth-2 still destroyed, with her existence being a gift from Oliver? It’s an interesting question that hopefully, the show will delve into in the future if picked up.

The core trio of Mia, Laurel, and Dinah help to fill the hole that Oliver has left as the main character, with Mia being a worthy successor to the mantle of the Green Arrow. The only major issue with this episode is the fact that while there are subtle differences here and there, the show still fundamentally feels like Arrow. Hopefully, if the series is greenlit, the show will gain its own identity while continuing the legacy that Arrow has set up.

Without delving too much into spoilers, the writers have successfully managed to create an interesting narrative and series of big twists which leave the audience begging for more. The direction of the episode is also a highlight, featuring some kickass fight scenes and some of the best introduction shots in the Arrowverse – a highlight being the reveal of future ‘Star City’ in all its glory.

Overall, “Green Arrow and the Canaries” is a great starting off point for a series that looks to a brighter future while also keeping the show that made all this possible integral to its DNA. The Green Arrow is dead, long live The Green Arrow.

Arrow will conclude next Tuesday, at 9 PM ET on The CW (with a special retrospective airing an hour before at 8 PM).

 

Arrow Season 8, Episode 9 – “Green Arrow & the Canaries”
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, “Green Arrow and the Canaries” is a great starting off point for a series that looks to a brighter future while also keeping the show that made all this possible integral to its DNA. The Green Arrow is dead, long live The Green Arrow.