Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 17 - Birds of Prey

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


When a police raid unearths mob boss Frank Bertinelli, Team Arrow is quick to drop everything and prepare for the inevitable return of The Huntress.  But the team's headache proves to be a boon to Laurel, who is rehired by the district attorney's office to bring Bertinelli to trial.  It seems too good to be true... until The Huntress and an armed gang take the courthouse and the people inside it hostage!

Now, as an increasingly vengeful Roy Harper struggles to end his relationship with Thea Queen, the rest of the team must cope with not only The Huntress but with a trigger-happy SWAT team leader who seems more concerned about bagging a vigilante than saving lives.  And somewhere in the shadows, Slade Wilson is waiting for the opportune moment to strike again...

In the island flashbacks, Slade discovers that the engines of the Amazo were damaged in his attack on the ship.  The one man who can fix them is among those who escaped to the island with Sara.  With Ollie being tortured under the threat of death if the mechanic does not return, how far will Sara go to save the man she loves? 


Green Arrow: Year One (the island sequences) Mike Grell's Green Arrow (Canary having to make a hard choice as Green Arrow is being tortured) and Gail Simone's run on Birds of Prey (story title and the interactions between the female characters).


Kate Spencer has to be the most incompetent district attorney this side of Hamilton Burger and it is a wonder that it took assistant D.A. Adam Donner this long to be fired considering his failure to share evidence with the defense in Moira Queen's murder trial and the whole incident with Count Vertigo.  Ignoring that, it doesn't speak well of D.A. Spencer that her right-hand struck a deal with a noted mob boss to bait a trap for a dangerous vigilante and rehired a disgraced former member of her staff to prosecute the case without her knowing anything about it, given that Laurel's rehiring and appointment to the Bertinelli prosecution was announced on the news and Laurel was given a desk in Spencer's offices!

How can Laurel blackmail Spencer into keeping her job anyway?  Ignoring the difficulty in hiding the real reasons for Donner being fired at this point, Laurel is hardly a credible witness if she does go to the press. 


As good as the fight scenes on this show usually are, the opening action scene is particularly good.  The fight scenes between Huntress and Canary are notable for a complete lack of overt fan-service - unlike 95% of the fights between two attractive women in most action series.

Writers Mark Bemesderfer and A.C. Bradley wrote a rich and multilayered script for this episode.  The most noteworthy aspect is that much of the conflict is born between the similarities of the three main female characters.  Helena and Laurel have both been brought low by their inability to cope with the loss of the man they loved, though Helena's rage turned outward while Laurel's anger was largely internalized.  Sara and Helena have both been pushed to extremes by their love and both are willing to kill in the name of love... at least until the of end of the episode.  There's also a nice parallel on that theme between the Sara of today and the Sara of five years ago, as the young Sara discovers how far she'll go to save Ollie.  Finally, there's the conflict between Sara and Laurel - both of whom stop the other from giving into their vices as the episode progresses.


The episode title, Birds of Prey, was taken from a comic book focused upon a group of all-female vigilantes.  While the membership has changed over time, two of the most steadfast members were Black Canary and The Huntress.

The gangster the SCPD is moving in on as the episode starts is Hugo Mannheim.  This is close to Bruno Mannheim - a powerful gangster in the Superman comics and the leader of Intergang.

Laurel's phone is traced to the corner of Gail and Simone.  This is a reference to writer Gail Simone, who wrote what many consider to be the definitive run on Birds of Prey.


Ollie makes use of a bola arrow to catch Frank Bertinelli. 

Sara uses the Canary Cry for the first time since 213She also uses a voice modulator, to change her voice around Laurel.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Quentin Lance tries to call The Arrow while Oliver Queen stands next to him.)
*Quentin glances at Ollie, as Ollie's phone rings at the exact same instant*
Ollie: (holding up his phone) It's my mom!

Numerous repeated lines, including...

"Show me."

"I am what I need to be,"

"Once you let the darkness inside, it never comes out."

Thea's entire "Why is it so hard for everyone just to tell the truth?" speech.


First appearance of The Huntress and Frank Bertinelli since 117.

Roy hasn't been active in the field since 212.  He still has trouble controlling his anger.

The dragon tattoo on Ollie's back is a copy of the one Shado had.  Slade had it put on him as a reminder of his "crime".

Untelevised Adventures

Reference is made to The Huntress having spent the last year killing Mafia members in Italy over the past year.

The Bottom Line

An interesting episode which puts Ollie in shadows for most of the episode in order to focus on three women he's loved and the common ground between them.  Despite some great character work in this regard, the action sequences are also top notch.  Most impressively, it almost redeems Laurel completely.

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