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“Green Arrow & The Canaries,” a backdoor pilot for a potential Arrow spin-off, definitely succeeds at its main purpose: getting me excited about watching an entire show about this. The episode does a good job of building on what Arrow has done before while also offering several new things and setting up some very interesting mysteries. That being said, as I watched, I couldn’t stop thinking about how odd it is that this is Arrow’s penultimate episode. When it ended, it didn’t feel like we were heading toward the series finale. Nevertheless, I still had a lot of fun watching it. Let’s dig in.

Written by Beth Schwartz, Marc Guggenheim, Jill Blankenship, and Oscar Balderrama, the episode opens with Laurel arriving in Star City 2040 and failing to stop Helena Bertinelli’s daughter Bianca from being kidnapped. Starting the hour with Laurel was a great decision; this is very much Katie Cassidy’s hour. Sure, this is an ensemble show, but Cassidy steals every scene with her hilarious and snarky performance as Earth-2 Laurel and livens up the already exciting proceedings. It seemed as though Cassidy was having the time of her life throughout the whole episode.

Arrow — “Green Arrow & The Canaries” — Image Number: AR809b_0627r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary, Katherine McNamara as Mia and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW

After the cold open, the pilot introduces us to this new Star City. It turns out Star City has been crime-free for 20 years. That fact is repeated several times in the dialogue; however, it’s also conveyed visually. The grit of present-day Star City has been replaced by a glossy sheen, and the episode doesn’t spend time in any abandoned warehouses. Instead, every location looks and feels new and shiny.

Laurel heads to a bar called the Fishnet where she finds present-day Dinah playing a piano and singing. It turns out Dinah simply woke up in the future the day after Oliver’s funeral and has no idea how she got here. No one in the future knows who she is, so she just decided to open up a bar and chill. All of this bores Laurel, who needs Dinah’s help finding Bianca before she dies because her death apparently causes Star City to fall into chaos in 2041. So immediately, the episode sets up a couple of mysteries that I want answers to: How the hell did Dinah get here? How is Bianca’s death connected to Star City’s future?

With Dinah on board, it’s time to get their Green Arrow: Mia Queen. Except this Mia is completely different than the one we’ve known for the past season and a half. See, in this new post-“Crisis” timeline, Mia grew up with Felicity and William, lives a very comfortable life, is about to graduate college, and never went through any of those traumatic experiences the other version did. Not only that but Zoe is alive and Mia is engaged to JJ, who never became Deathstroke. All in all, it seems as though Oliver’s sacrifice gave Mia the perfect life.

Unfortunately, Mia’s life is turned upside down when Laurel and Dinah, whom she has never met, show up at her graduation party and use a device that restores all of her memories from the old timeline. Now, Mia has two sets of memories in her head, which makes things very awkward, especially for her relationship with JJ. And she’s not happy about having these memories back either because they’re painful and she’s not equipped to handle that trauma. Of course, Laurel doesn’t care and is focused on the mission at hand.

Even though Mia enjoyed not being a hero, she agrees to help the Canaries find Bianca. So, the trio starts investigating, which gives us a chance to see Mia use her newly acquired social skills to subtly question Bianca’s family. Eventually, they discover that Bianca’s cousin is moving something out of the city, and they go after the convoy. Unfortunately, someone in a Deathstroke mask shows up and attacks them.

With the arrival of Deathstroke, Laurel immediately assumes JJ is the one behind Bianca’s kidnapping. Even though Mia refuses to believe that, she still goes along with their plan to investigate him. When JJ catches her digging through his computer, she accuses him of kidnapping Bianca, which obviously ruins their relationship. JJ, who is blissfully unaware of what’s going on, assumes that this is symptomatic of Mia’s fear of commitment. So, he basically breaks things off because he’s tired of being kept at an arm’s distance.

Meanwhile, Dinah and Laurel work on finding Bianca’s location, which leads to them having a heart-to-heart. Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy have amazing chemistry, which is on full display in every scene in the episode but especially this one. There’s a warmth between them. Dinah wonders why Laurel is pushing Mia so hard to become the Green Arrow, and Laurel explains she doesn’t want Mia to make the same mistake she did by pretending to be someone she’s not. Eventually, Laurel decides to say all of that to Mia, who reveals that she hadn’t done anything with her life in this timeline because she didn’t know how she could possibly live up to her father’s legacy. Nevertheless, Mia agrees to help them because Laurel makes a point that she needs a purpose and this could be it.

So the trio suits up and heads out to save Bianca. It turns out her boyfriend Trevor is the one behind the Deathstroke mask and kidnapped Bianca at the behest of some mysterious woman. Alas, he dies before he can give up any more information about what he or his boss was planning. But before his death, Mia noticed he had a familiar tattoo on his wrist.

As the episode wraps up, Dinah decides to get up off of the sidelines and start the Canary Network with Laurel, and Laurel reveals she was so insistent on making sure Mia became the Green Arrow because somehow Mia is connected to Star City’s fall in 2041. Elsewhere, Mia and William visit their father’s memorial statue, and Mia realizes that Trevor’s tattoo matches the etchings on the Queen family’s hōzen. Right as she has that epiphany, a bunch of masked men knock her out and kidnap William. Meanwhile across town, another hooded figure breaks into JJ’s apartment and restores his memory of his past life, which can’t mean anything good.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. As I said above, it set up many interesting mysteries. I’m very intrigued by what this tattoo means and what will happen now that JJ’s memories are back. I really hope The CW orders this show because I want those answers. That being said, it’s weird that this is Arrow’s penultimate episode because it feels separated from the rest of the season, and I doubt that the series finale will actually pick up on any of the threads here.

Wall of Weird:

  • Apparently, Sara is the one who found Dinah in the future several months ago.
  • Dinah lives in a clocktower, which is a cool homage to the Birds of Prey series.
  • The Green Arrow and the Canaries vs. Deathstroke’s goons fight was so fun and dynamic and didn’t feel like just another Arrow fight scene.

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Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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