Breakups are messy. Breakups where your ex dies and then her evil Earth-2 double pops up and plays mind games with your other ex, whose boyfriend you just killed? Messy doesn’t begin cover it.
When last we were in the Arrow Cave, Laurel had unexpectedly turned up to greet Oliver. He’s gobsmacked: “I saw you die.” She says Sara and the Waverider teleported her and fixed the embolism. Enter a shocked Felicity, declaring it a miracle. Laurel waves away all their, “Um, how?” questions with “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.”
Felicity announces they’re having a party for her the next day. Oh, and she forgot what she was originally there to say: Diggle’s been taken into custody.
Let’s get this part out of the way quickly: Diggle wants to fight the trumped-up charges this time, so Oliver gets DA Chase to defend him, which… no. Prosecutors just don’t turn into defense attorneys for one case, particularly within the military system.
That framing SOB Gen. Walker shows up to transfer Diggle to Langham, where Dig’s pretty sure he’ll meet a fatal “accident.” So despite Walker’s threats to call in the attorney general and the president herself, Chase tells Diggle to hit him, which allows him to hold Dig to be prosecuted under Starling County jurisdiction… which he’ll do himself. NO! You cannot be Diggle’s defense attorney and his prosecutor! That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!
But whatever, Diggle’s safe and close to home for the time being. Oh, also, Chase covered up Prometheus/Green Arrow’s involvement with Billy’s death in order to keep the public calm. Oliver takes this news with an admirable poker face and makes the rest of us wonder what else Chase is covering up.
Okay, so back to the miracle. The B-team finds Laurel’s party the next night weird, not just because they haven’t buried Billy yet (seriously, how is Felicity even upright?), but also because she and Oliver aren’t that surprised about this resurrection. “The Lance sisters have a habit of coming back to life,” Oliver explains, blowing Rene’s mind.
Of course, the party is actually a ruse for Felicity to collect Laurel’s DNA, which matches their dead friend’s. But when Rory jokes about it being an evil twin, Felicity realizes that’s exactly the case. Enter Earth-2 Laurel, a.k.a. Black Siren, sighing about how much she hates playing weak, vulnerable Earth-1 Laurel. “She’s such a pill. It’s pathetic.”
Guys, I love evil Katie Cassidy. Evil Katie Cassidy is the best Katie Cassidy.
She screams everybody around the room, then runs off when Oliver enters. They soon learn that Prometheus broke her out of S.T.A.R. Labs so she could be another object lesson for Oliver about how he destroys everything he touches. Honestly, shake up your M.O., Prometheus. (Also, love to Curtis forever for imagining his double: “Oh God, what if I’m straight?”)
When Prometheus and Black Siren reconvene, he doesn’t care for her constructive criticism of his plan to leave Oliver alive, so he chokes her and reminds her that she’s only alive because she’s following his orders.
Faux Laurel then calls Oliver, sounding more like the real Laurel. She says Prometheus threatened to kill her if she didn’t do what he wanted, then asks to meet him at the Black Canary statue. Everyone suits up, and while Oliver orders nobody to move on Fauxrel, Felicity opens a separate channel and, when Fauxrel reaches for a phone, Fi jumps the gun and orders the B-team to move in. Fauxrel sonics everybody, destroying the Black Canary statue in the process. But Oliver’s able to tranq dart her and lock her up in the Arrow Cave.
NEXT: I know why the caged canary sings
While Felicity (and every single person watching) is deeply suspicious of Fauxrel, Oliver lets her sing her sob story from behind bars: Earth-2 Oliver, the man she loved, died 10 years ago, and then her fresh start devolved into plum-colored lipstick, a nose ring, a black leather duster, and a vicious canary cry. “It was just one bad choice after another,” she says. “And I guess once you let the darkness inside, it never comes out.”
Oh, how Oliver wants to believe her. It’s his chance at redemption, to tweak this Laurel’s circumstances and make her a better person. To save her like he couldn’t save his Laurel.
Felcity, though, is pretty sure that Oliver’s being played. She’s working out her frustrations with a punching bag when Oliver enters the room. “She’s not our Laurel,” she reminds him, but Oliver doesn’t care.
So Felicity takes matters into her own hands. She lets Fauxrel needle her about Oliver — “Did he find someone else, or were you not tall enough? Do you have a sister? Because I hear he loves sisters” — while secretly planting tracking nanites on Fauxrel and letting her escape so they can locate Prometheus. Oliver’s furious when he finds out, mostly because Felicity put her life on the line to get the guy who killed Billy.
“Well, now that you’re killing again, I thought, ‘Why not put it to use?’” WHOA. Oliver promises they’ll get justice for Billy, “but first we need to take care of your ex who’s not even your ex,” Felicity snarks. This is the most honest, uncomfortable conversation we’ve seen these two have in ages, and I love it.
Then Oliver admits that Felicity’s right. “I failed Laurel before. I can’t fail her again.” He knows it isn’t really her, but he’s still going to try.
When the trackers go live, the team moves out. Curtis and Felicity have a canary cry dampener that may or may not work, while the rest of the group prepares to fight.
Wild Dog engages Black Siren, and she screams him, Felicity, and Curtis off their feet. Meanwhile, Green Arrow hits Prometheus with a diazepam arrow, but he shakes it off, claiming he has a tolerance. Presumably that’s a clue of some sort to his identity?
Apparently, Prometheus and Black Siren have coordinated this plan, because she moves to kill Felicity as Prometheus tells Green Arrow to choose: “Felicity or me.” Oliver chooses Felicity, of course, begging Fauxrel not to kill her because then there’d be no bringing the good Laurel back.
“She was never there,” Fauxrel spits. Thankfully, Curtis gets the dampener up and running, and Felicity socks Fauxrel in the face. Get it, girl.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Felicity ices her punching hand, then looks at the Black Canary costume. “I’m sorry she wasn’t her,” she says. Oliver in turn says he’s sorry about Billy, and I guess that makes everything okay.
NEXT: A new canary rises
Ugh, but then we find out that Fauxrel’s locked up at Argus so Oliver can keep trying to find the Laurel inside of her. Felicity appreciates his newfound optimism, but we can’t really appreciate why he’s clinging to the hope of rehabilitating Fauxrel without a little bit of flashback time.
So. Oliver and his wig have escaped Kovar’s clutches, and he’s back in the hands of Gregor, the Bratva who sent him in to blow up the casino in the first place.
Gregor starts to beat loyalty into Oliver when Laurel’s picture falls from what I can only assume is Oliver’s shirt. Gregor can’t figure out why Oliver carried Laurel’s picture all through his island ordeal but chose to stick around Russia and avenge some other woman’s death.
Oliver tells him Laurel wouldn’t recognize the man he’s become. Then again, better a monster than that a sellout, Ollie tells Gregor, whom he accuses of working for Kovar.
Gregor says he could also be playing Kovar, explaining, “circumstances are what makes a thing poison or nectar.” Then he tells Oliver to choose obedience or death when gunfire erupts upstairs and a hooded woman appears in the doorway. At first, she has Laurel’s face, and then it turns into a woman we haven’t seen before. She tells Oliver that her name is Talia, and she’s been looking for him. Gird your loins for more training montages, people!
Finally, in the present, a maintenance crew is picking up the pieces of the destroyed Back Canary statue. “I think we can do better,” Oliver says. YA THINK? The blank eyes of that statue haunt my dreams.
Oh, but what he really means is this: He wants to train a new Black Canary, because somewhere out there is a woman worthy of Laurel’s legacy. They just have to find her.
And what do you know, we cut to Hub City, where a no-nonsense brunette in a bar takes on two predatory pool players, sonic screaming them right out the window. Gee, wonder how long before she makes her way to the Arrow Cave?
Thoughts for your quiver:
- Talia… Talia… Talia. That’s got a nice ring to it. Hmm. Wonder what her last name is?
- Do you suppose Linda Carter’s also the president of Earth-1? With all the Berlantiverse timelines, I can’t remember if we’ve seen the current Arrow commander in chief.
- Nice touch with Rene helping Curtis through his crisis of confidence this week. He’s tired of getting stabbed, shot, put in a coma, being worked over by magic and super powers and only having blood, sweat, and a broken marriage to show for it. “I’m never gonna make it because I don’t have what it takes. So now I don’t have anything,” he tells Rene. Thankfully, Rene urges him to focus on what he does well — sciencing! —because it’s “pretty badass.”
- Very little Rory tonight, but he does get one amazing line: “I don’t sleep much. Or at all, really. Side effects of wearing haunted rags, I guess.” Good to know!
- All in all, this episode was a bit frustrating. Everyone — the rest of the team, the audience, the bacteria living in the soil of Mars — can see that there’s nothing to redeem in Fauxrel, and it’s difficult to watch our hero stubbornly cling to hope despite overwhelming evidence that the doubles are who the doubles are, no matter how hard you try to turn their poison into nectar.
- So what do you think? Am I giving up on Fauxrel too soon? Or like me, do you prefer your Katie Cassidy with a dark streak?