Team Arrow seeks out Tina Boland - a metahuman vigilante with a sonic scream who Oliver believes may be a worthy heir to the Black Canary legacy. Meanwhile, in order to retrieve evidence of John's innocence, Felicity must hack the computers of the NSA.
Five years earlier, Talia Al Ghul agrees to help Oliver in his efforts to kill Kovar but the price for her aid may be more than he can afford.
Mike Grell's The Longbow Hunters (sequence of Tina being tortured parallels similar scene of Dinah Lance being tortured), the Green Arrow/Black Canary comics of Andrew Kreisberg (character of Sean Sonus) and the Green Arrow comics of Mike W. Barr (Green Arrow fighting a vertigo-inducing metahuman).
Again, Oliver seems to have backslided on his promise to stop killing. He also doesn't seem to have any objection to either Tina or Wild Dog making what appear to be some fairly lethal shots with their guns. The crowning moment of hypocrisy, however, comes when Ollie tries to plead with Tina to not seek revenge just about a minute after Ollie blew up a helicopter with an explosive arrow.
Lexa Doig gives a damn fine performance as Talia Al Ghul, giving the role appropriate gravitas.
Juliana Harkavy is everything we could hope for in a Black Canary - tough, a great fighter and sassy as all get out in dealing with Oliver. She's also got great chemistry with Amell, though the script doesn't do much with her until the final scene beyond give her generic tough chick dialogue. Still, she manages to sell that dialogue, cliched as it may be at times.
Good effects work and direction on the opening sequence in which Tina gains her powers.
The special effects when Sean Sonus uses his powers are phenomenal.
The flashback fight-sequence of Oliver fighting all of the human-trafficker's bodyguards shows just how far Amell has come in being able to command a solo fight scene in the last five years.
Tina Boland is revealed to be a former police officer. In her original origin story in the comics, Dinah Drake was an aspiring police officer who was kept off the force due to sexism.
Mad Dog recommends an Air Force Pilot named Jesse Murray as a potential recruit to replace Black Canary. Jessie Murray is the name of one of the Arrow's assistant editors.
Captain Singh - Barry Allen and Joe West's superior at the CCPD - has a quick cameo.
Barry Allen has an even quicker cameo, leaving a note on Singh's desk confirming Green Arrow's identity when Ollie calls Singh for information.
The Federal Prison at Lompoc does not house female inmates. Felicity speculates a female hacker caught working on the NSA computers would probably be sent to Hazleton in West Virginia.
The hotel room Curtis tracks Tina Boland to is #511. This may be another reference to the number 52.
The drug kingpin who killed Tina Boland's partner is a man named Sean Sonus. In the original comics, Sean Sonus was a Black Canary villain known as Discord. A concert violinist who was permanently deafened after accidental exposure to one of Dinah Lance's Canary Cries, Discord devoted himself to destroying Black Canary and Green Arrow, empowering himself with a variety of sonic-based gadgets.
Much as Tina Boland's sonic scream is based on Black Canary's "Canary Cry" from the comics, Sean Sonus's power on the show is reminiscent of Count Vertigo's ability to change the perceptions of people around him and inspire nausea. Count Vertigo, in the comics, is one of Green Arrow and Black Canary's more famous and powerful enemies.
The hacker group that gives Felicity the NSA file she needs calls themselves Helix. Helix was also the name of DC Comics short-lived science-fiction and fantasy imprint. Helix folded after two years, despite some major writers and artists being involved. The only Helix title widely remembered today is Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan, which was picked up by Vertigo Comics.
At the end of the episode, Tina Boland reveals that her real name is Dinah Drake. In the original Golden Age comics, Dinah Drake was Black Canary's secret identity.
Bashert is a Yiddish word meaning "destiny" or "fate". Depending on the context, when used to refer to a person, it can also mean "soulmate".
Team Arrow now has a sonic-dampener, "new and improved", which can repress the damage caused by a sonic scream attack. It is a hand-held unit about the size of a large cel-phone. It can also negate Sean Sonus' powers.
Curtis theorizes that Sean Sonues' power is based on the control of sonic waves. He can manipulate them to negate Tina Boland's sonic scream and to disorient both Green Arrow and Wild Dog.
It's worth noting that ultrasonic and sonic weapons that could non-violently disorient or inspire nausea as a means of crowd control are already in use in some police departments.
The hacklivist group Helix give Felicity a data cache they call Pandora - eight petabytes of information stolen from Echelon, the NSA computer. Among the information within it is the file that clears John Diggle of any wrongdoing.
(Team Arrow is suggesting possible new recruits. Ollie keeps shooting them all down.)
Rory: What about this one? This woman got her engineering PhD at age 20, won Gold in karate at the Olympics, turned down offers from the NSA -and- ARGUS to join NASA as an astronaut by day while at night she secretly protects the citizens of Houston as, get this, a ninja vigilante.
(Oliver just glares at Rory.)
Rory: Oh, and she works soup kitchens on Saturdays and rescues puppies on Sunday.
Rene: Astronaut ninja? You're making that up!
Curtis: He did. Karate won't be an Olympic sport until 2020.
Rory: Fine. You got me. This is just some woman who teaches preschool in The Glades. But my point still stands!
Ollie: That point being?
Rory: That no matter how amazing they are, no one's is going to be good enough for you.
(Oliver has returned to The Bunker to find that Felicity is already at work hacking the NSA.)
Ollie: How did you even know where to start? All that I told you was that Chase might have something.
Felicity: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then I hacked his laptop.
(Ollie sighs in exasperation.)
Felicity: Saving Dig is going to break at least 12 federal laws. Hacking your D.A. is just small ball. Plus, you're the mayor. You can pardon me.
Ollie: Actually, I can't.
Felicity: It doesn't matter because I am having fun!
(Tina is about to kick in a skylight.)
Green Arrow: Stop.
(Tina turns as Green Arrow, Mister Terrific and Wild Dog step out of the shadows.)
Tina: (laughing) Wow... costume warehouse having a fire sale I didn't know about?
Tina: I can take care of myself. Oh, and uh - if you get in my way? I'll send the three of you back to Star City with your nuts in a sling.
(Captain Singh of the Central City Police Department answers his cel phne.)
Singh: Captain Singh.
Ollie: I need information.
Singh: Who is this?
Ollie: It's the Green Arrow.
Singh: Or some nut job with a voice modulator. You want help, I'm gonna need proof.
(Ollie begins to text something on his phone. Seconds later, a red-clad figures dashes in and out of Singh's office, causing a slight rush of wind that knocks the papers off his desk. Singh looks at his computer monitor, where there is now a red Post-It note which reads HE'S LEGIT.)
Singh: Very clever. Fine. What do you want to know?
Ollie: You trained Yao Fei? How's that possible? You're half his age!
Talia: (smirking) Don't you know it's improper to talk about a woman's age? Let's just say it's a family secret.
Tina: You know, from what I hear there are plenty of nut cases running around Star City looking to make it a better place. What makes me so special?
Green Arrow: Maybe stay in the same spot for more than a minute and I'll get a chance to tell you.
Tina: (shrugs) Well, if you're going to make a sales pitch, make it good.
Green Arrow: You went through something traumatic. For the past three years, you've been trying to understand it. Because you're afraid. Of what happened to you. And of what you've become. So you're running from it.
Tina: How would you know?
Green Arrow: Because I've been there. And I can help you find your way back.
(Tina pauses, seeming to take this in before she steels her expression and smiles.)
Tina: Ok. What's the range on that uh - what did you call it? Sonic Dampener?
(Green Arrow quietly takes a slow step backward.)
Tina: That's what I thought.
(Tina lets loose a sonic scream and knocks Green Arrow down before running for it.)
Oliver: We're walking into a fortress and you're going to use just a bow?!
Talia: To use a bow and arrow requires patience and discipline.
(Ollie cocks his gun loudly.)
(Rory enters the Arrow Cave to find Felicity where he left her, at her computer.)
Rory: Please tell me you didn't sleep down here!
Felicity: I didn't... sleep.
(Tina Boland is riding her motorcycle through a parking garage. She finds Oliver Queen, in the Green Arrow costume sans mask with the hood down, facing her.)
Tina: Let me guess - you're trusting me with your mask off, so now I'm supposed to trust you?
Ollie: No. I just... thought that if you weren't going to listen to The Green Arrow that you might listen to Oliver Queen. Nice to meet you. (pauses) I spent five years in Hell. Not unlike what happened to you when you were in Sonus' organization. Or what he put you through when he discovered you were a cop.
Tina: And what? You think you see a little bit of yourself in me?
Ollie: It's more than that. There is a man in Star City who is trying to convince me that I destroy the lives of everyone that I touch because I am beyond redemption.
Tina: Yeah, yeah. And you think if you can save me that you'll prove him wrong. Don't put your issues on me...
Ollie: Absolutely right. But if you think that you can take on Sonus and his men, then you are wrong. Let us help. Let us help and then... we're gone.
(Ollie offers Tina his hand. She reluctantly takes it.)
(Tina has Sonus at her mercy. Her gun is drawn. He's totally defenseless.)
Green Arrow: Tina! Don't do it! You're better than this.
Tina: You know I'm not. If we're as alike as you say, we both know you'd kill him.
Green Arrow: You're right. Maybe it's too late for me. And maybe I don't get a second chance. But you don't have to go down that road. Tina, what would Vince want you to do?
(Tina shoots Sonus three times before dropping the gun.)
Tina: He'd want me to do that.
Talia: You are afraid of what's happened to you. Of what you've become. And you're running from it.
Ollie: How do you know all this?
Talia: Because I've been there. And I can help you find your way back. You think yourself a monster.
Ollie: No. I am a monster.
(Talia reaches under the table and pulls out a green trunk which she places on the table.)
Talia: There is a monster inside you, yes, but it is not you.
Ollie: I don't see the difference.
Talia: No. You need to create one.
(Talia opens the trunk and removes a green bundle of clothing, which she passes to Ollie.)
Talia: You need to give the monster an identity. It's only when the monster becomes someone else... something else... that you're free to be Oliver Queen.
(Oliver changes into the clothes. They are the costume he first wore as The Hood when he returned to Starling City.)
Ollie: I don't know if I'm ready.
Talia: I will help you become ready.
(Talia hands Ollie her bow.)
Tina: So about that name? Tina Boland was my official cover for undercover work. It was to protect my family. My real name is Dinah. Dinah Drake.
Tina: Does that name mean something to you?
Ollie: I had a friend named Dinah. She's the reason I sought you out.
Tina: What do you think she'd think about all of this?
Ollie: I think she'd be proud of both of us.
In 2013, Tina Boland was an undercover cop in Central City. Her cover was blown and she was tortured for two weeks before her partner -Vincent "Vinny" Sobel - was similarly compromised.
Vinny and Tina were dating and Vinny was killed just before Tina was empowered by the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator explosion.
Tina quit the force the day after Vinny's funeral and disappeared, traveling around the country and trying to track down Sean Sonus - the crime boss responsible for her torture and Vinny's death.
Felicity visited John in prison and told him about her work to find a replacement Black Canary.
Yao Fei Gulong - the man who first trained Ollie on Lian Yu - was one of Talia Al Ghul's students. She recognized the hood Oliver wore as one that belonged to Yao Fei.
Oliver notes that Tina Boland is better able to focus her sonic screams than Black Siren and is a much better hand-to-hand combatant.
Tina apparently keeps up on the news regarding other vigilantes well enough to recognize Green Arrow, Mister Terrific and Wild Dog.
Rene has a fondness for multiple-patty cheese burgers. The Five-Stack at Big Belly Burger is his favorite.
Oliver has the phone number for Captain Singh of the CCPD saved on his phone.
Captain Singh notes that Tina Boland was a good cop and he was sorry to see her quit.
Sean Sonus moved to Hub City to fill the power vacuum left by the death of Tobias Church. He is a drug dealer who specializes in a new designer drug called "Slide" or "Sly-dee.
According to Rene, Slide got its name because it hooks kids young and lets them move to the big stuff faster.
Ghost Fox Goddess was Felicity's hacker handle in college.
Felicity tells Rory about her past as a hacktivist and goth, as seen in the flashbacks of 305.
Rory does not know what a goth is or what "IRL" stands for.
The hacker who contacts Felicity about hacking the NSA is called Kojo Sledgehammer. She is part of a hacktivist group called Helix.
Curtis once hacked all the traffic cams in his hometown on a dare.
Sean Sonus was also empowered by The Particle Accelerator Explosion, being given sonic powers that enabled him to distort other people's perceptions and induce nausea. Despite this, Oliver is still able to tag him in the shoulder with an arrow.
Tina Boland kills Sean Sonus.
The information Felicity got from Helix is able to free John Diggle.
The chest in which Oliver originally kept his gear as The Hood and his first costume came from Talia Al Ghul.
Tina Boland reveals to Oliver that Tina Boland was her undercover alias and that her real name is Dinah Drake.
Central City - December 11, 2013
Central City - CCPD HQ
The Fridge Factor
Logical as it may be given how people were empowered by The Particle Accelerator Explosion, it's still troublesome that Tina developed her power because she was screaming at the time she was hit with a dark matter blast.
Thankfully, despite a torture scene reminiscent of The Longbow Hunters (ironically, with a woman gaining powers this time instead of losing them), Tina is not made to look at all weak and only shows signs of distress when her partner/boyfriend is placed in danger.
The Bottom Line
One of the strongest episodes of Arrow in recent memory. The two subplots fit together perfectly and all of the ensemble cast get at least one moment to shine. The effects work and fighting are great. The Flash cameo is hysterical. And both of the two female leads - Lexa Doig and Juliana Harkavy - prove great additions to the cast in their first full outings. As far as second changes to, this episode proves that Arrow, as a series, is worthy of a second chance from those who wrote it off.