Arrow: 2×17 “Birds of Prey” (EPISODE REVIEW)

For anyone with any culturing in DC Comics lore/history, it was fun to note that this episode’s title was “Birds of Prey,” but alas after watching it and realizing the title was a misnomer to draw in ratings I’m sure it let a few nerds down. For anyone with no idea what the reference is in the title, it impacted their viewing none. In fact, it didn’t affect my viewing in the slightest… but I do wish they would’ve left that title open for a more fitting episode. Now, let me explain. The Birds of Prey are a team of vigilantes within the DC universe whose notable members were/are Black Canary, the Huntress, and Oracle. There were two such members in this episode, but I’d hardly refer to them as a “team.” As for Oracle (aka Batgirl) the daughter of Gotham’s Detective Gordon, I doubt they’ll introduce her because of her ties with the Batman name (although yes, we were subtly introduced to Harley Quinn last week). Spoilers below.

Helena is back in Starling, and she’s on a mission to finish off her dad once and for all. No surprise there. My only issue with her returning is that she’s such a 1-dimensional character! But it seems like this excursion with her was pivotal in her changing course of life, so hopefully during return appearances she’ll be less vengeful and more of a character you want on your screens. Laurel takes the lead role throughout the first act, coming back from a bad alcohol/pill addiction to begin work as a lawyer. She’s tasked with being Bertinelli’s lawyer in the case, but this turns out to be a public sham to bring down Helena in a trap. What was the point of bringing Laurel back into work for a sham though? Plot hole, or ulterior motives? Plot hole.

In their search for Helena, who’s now frequently being referred to as “The Huntress,” (YAY) Roy gets a bullet through his hand and he attempts to kill the man, until Ollie stops him. The bullet wound heals quickly due to the mirakuru. Back at the base Roy makes a passing joke that they need to stop calling him “Speedy,” which is his masked name in the comics (DOUBLE YAY). Oliver isn’t amused and requests that if he loves Thea he end it with her. Later we find he cheats on her with the intention of her walking in on it – a breakup too harshly done in my opinion. In other news Officer Lance still doesn’t realize Oliver is the Arrow after he catches him in a suspicious phone all right next to him, and Laurel can’t recognize Sarah in a mask that covers nothing but her eyes while talking to her for some minutes about her sister. The dark side is clouding their judgement.

After we find the trial to be a sham, The Huntress takes hostages, threatening to kill one each hour until her father is returned to her. Laurel is among them. We get two really decent cat-fights in this episode, both obviously involving Black Canary and The Huntress. Both choreographed beautifully and one involving a very cool piece of tech by Black Canary. Eventually Helena’s father is shot to death by a wayward bullet instead of by her own hand, and that kills her inside even more so.

The episode paralleled the events on the island again. I can’t stress how old that’s getting. We get it – the events paralleled the island’s so that it would make sense Oliver and friends to be capable of overcoming the same situations on land. The idea is over and done with. Personally I find the island scenes boring, and they take away from the leveling hype of the present. By the end of the episode however, we’re left with a VERY tantalizing teaser for next week as Thea gets kidnapped.

Overall, however, Birds of Prey was undoubtedly a good episode, and perhaps my favorite of the episodes featuring The Huntress – I just really dislike how they’ve developed her character. But now that her objective to take revenge on her father is null and void, I expect greater things from her. In my notes for the episode I wrote down a quote that was repeated a few times with the subtext that it was the worst line ever. It is “once you let the darkness inside it never comes out.” Looking back on writing it, I can’t say why I thought it was the worst line ever (had a drink), but it is more than a little profoundly corny. Come on guys, get better script editors!

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