This week’s episode of Arrow is a truly special one. Not only is it the series’ penultimate episode (like… ever), but it also functions as the backdoor pilot for the Arrowverse’s latest spin-off project Green Arrow & the Canaries. Episode 8×09 with the same title introduces us to a world post-Crisis, and nothing really is as it seems.
Following the events of the big “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover the universe has been rebuilt and this week’s episode throws us right into the action in 2040. Star City has seen a steep decline in crime in the past 20 years and thanks major Rene Ramirez for that.
Socialite Mia Queen grew up alongside brother William and on the day of her college graduation accepts the marriage proposal of her boyfriend JJ Diggle, brother of black sheep Connor Diggle, apparently in and out of rehab. Tagging along for the ride is also her friend Zoe Ramirez, the major’s daughter, Bianca Bertinelli, Helena Bertinelli’s daughter, and her boyfriend Trevor. This Mia is reminiscent of a pre-Lian Yu Oliver, drifting through life without a real purpose, unsure of what her future holds, but always with a drink in hand and a smile on her lips.
Clearly, Star City in 2040 post-Crisis is very, very different from what we expected.
Things change when Laurel Lance comes to town, who seeks out her old friend Dinah Drake, claiming Star City is in grave danger. The former police captain is now a singing bar-owner, and apart from Laurel the only person with knowledge of the Crisis and everything that happened before.
Bianca Bertinelli’s kidnapping kicks off several events in Star City – Laurel and Dinah turn Mia’s life upside down, and with the help of some superhuman tech courtesy of Cisco are able to restore her memory, bringing back the archer that watched her father and friends die and fought alongside her friends. Mia reluctantly agrees to help Laurel and Dinah find her missing friend, but refuses to wear her father’s leathers in the process.
Following their first lead on the girl through her brother Logan’s connections, the Canaries come face to face with a man in a Deathstroke mask. Laurel is quick to jump to conclusions and convinces Mia to investigate her fiancé JJ, who led the Deathstrokes in the previous version of 2040. Mia directly accusing JJ of taking Bianca causes a deep rift in their relationship.
After a pep-talk with Laurel, Mia agrees to accept her destiny and take on her father’s mantle. She dons the Green Arrow suit and follows the Canaries to an empty building to save her friend. They learn that it was Bianca’s boyfriend Trevor who took her, but also that he acted on behalf of a certain “she”. He is also sporting a mysterious Chinese symbol tattoo on his wrist, which Mia later finds replicated on the hozen their father gave William.
Mia and the Canaries are able to save Bianca and safely return her home, but their actions spark rumors of a new Green Arrow in town. Unfortunately their celebrations are cut short when William is taken and JJ is paid a visit by a hooded stranger who restores his memory, and the young man remembers killing Zoe, hurting Mia and becoming Deathstroke.
What does this mean for his relationship with Mia, and can JJ fight his darker demons? Who took William, and will Mia and the Canaries be able to save him? Who is the mysterious woman behind the abductions and what game is she playing?
“Green Arrow & the Canaries” might have been Arrow’s most exciting episode this season yet (apart from the crossover, which is difficult to gauge). It offers a look at a whole new world, and whole new characters, all of which immediately seem more complex than their previous versions. The Mia we meet in 2040 truly is her father’s daughter, parties, charisma and all but once she remembers her old life she doesn’t just switch back to that old self, but becomes something wholly new. Even Dinah and Laurel, whose (frankly sexually charged) banter is the heart and soul of this trio, come across as elevated iterations of themselves.
All in all, the episode definitely sets up something fresh and ultimately introduces us to a whole new set of characters that we can’t wait to explore. It is also inherently different in tone. It is still dark and broody at times, but thanks to both Laurel and Mia it comes with a whole lot more sass and snark, while Dinah maintains the voice of reason in this trio. Even the fight sequences are different, laced with fast-paced and catchy songs and stylish slo-mos.
If the CW considers giving a full series order to Green Arrow and the Canaries, then it’s a thumbs up from us.
Arrow will air its final episode next Tuesday, 8/7c on The CW.
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- “Green Arrow And The Canaries” Explores A Whole New World Post-Crisis - January 22, 2020