Arrow: “Second Chances”

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Jim’s Thoughts

I want to start off with some good things about “Second Chances,” but “things” is a plurality, and I’m not sure I can fill that quota. Let me just say that fans of DC Comics might be happy that we have a slightly more true-to-the-comics version of Black Canary, even if buying in means believing it’s raining “Dinahs” in the world.

Last week I mentioned these writers don’t know much about The Uniform Code of Military Justice, and I excused them because they aren’t writing a Tom Clancy novel. This week they pushed that forgiveness pretty far. Having Felicity hack the NSA, then get that flash drive from the “hacktivist” group was lazy. It’s not the UCMJ at this point that’s being ignored, it’s common sense. Does anyone really think a court (ANY court) would permit a defendant to be exonerated using hacked (illegally obtained) information from a government database? Simply being in possession of that flash drive wouldn’t just get Diggle’s lawyer disbarred, it’d make him Diggle’s cellmate. Also, generals being investigated for treason aren’t allowed to launch special forces missions to begin with, so the whole thing asks too much of me in suspending disbelief.

On the Felicity front, her entire subplot was unbearable, even by her standards. Seeing a fangirl ooze over her was hard to watch. The dialogue was unnatural and uninteresting. My only hope at this point is that Felicity will take her call to action to return to hacktivism and leave the show.

The story with the new Black Canary didn’t do much for me. Recruiting her went pretty much the same as recruiting all the others in the new team. There was nothing surprising about it, and there isn’t much to her character beyond angry/revenge-driven person that we’ve seen from almost everyone.

The Talia flashback didn’t offer much. I’m not sure why we’re supposed to believe Talia cares about Oliver taking up the role of vigilante. Maybe they’ll explain it, but I have my doubts.

This episode wasn’t a step back, but it didn’t do anything to advance the story of Prometheus. As with Flash, I get the feeling the writers are dragging their feet.

Kyle’s Take

“Second Chances” came off as a desperate attempt to recapture a little bit of Arrow’s, and even DC’s, glory days. I’m okay with the attempt but it reeked of desperation.

Felicity’s flashback episode was one of the most highly rated episodes a few seasons ago. This week’s Arrow resurrected her past life as a “hacktivist,” and it’s clear her backstory is meant to replace Diggle’s incarceration, no matter how ridiculous the conclusion to Diggle’s arc. Arrow wanted Diggle back on the team, recapturing a little of what made Arrow popular. Having Diggle in prison was doomed to fail. Arrow and the CW was never going to express the military court system effectively. It was done poorly. I’m not sure if it could’ve been handled worse, but how Diggle factors into the show going forward remains problematic. Will Felicity’s “hacktivism” suck the air from any other side stories? We’ll have to see.

The show also spikes in popularity whenever a popular, new hero is revealed or when a new Black Canary (or Siren) is announced. Enter a new Black Canary. Her origin is a paint-by-numbers new recruit story. The show already has a large cast—and I’m still not convinced some things will be undone after Flashpoint is resolved—so added new characters makes Arrow even more bloated. We haven’t seen the last of (Laurel) Katie Cassidy.

And then there’s the callback to one of the cinematic DC’s glory days: an Al’ Ghul training a vigilante. Arrow teased that Talia Al’ Ghul trained Ollie. That doesn’t sound like Ras Al’ Ghul (Talia’s daddy) training Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins at all.

Arrow’s regurgitating story lines from its—and DC cinema’s—glory days. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not original and I’m not sure how much tension can be achieved with numerous episodes ignoring Prometheus.

P.S. Jim’s reference of “it’s raining Dinahs” got me singing and dancing. It’s raining Dinahs. Hallelujah! It’s raining Dinahs. Hey, hey, hey!

Thanks for reading.

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