Spoilers ahead for "Second Chances," the latest episode of The CW's Arrow!
The short version: The team goes on a road trip to find a new Black Canary. In the past, Oliver has a team-up with Talia al Ghul. Oh, and Felicity has a hacktivist fan who helps get Diggle off the hook.
The good: The Talia al Ghul team-up, Tina Boland, Team Arrow road trip
The flashbacks last season were pretty much the worst thing about this show, but they've really amped 'em up this year. The flashback arc in Russia is arguably as interesting as anything they're doing in the modern day, and now we have Oliver interacting with Talia al Ghul in the past. It turns out Talia is going to offer young Oliver a bit of training, and we even get a glimpse of her planting the seed for Oliver's eventual return to Starling City to become the Green Arrow in the first place. The creative team has promised this year will bring the show full circle (though it's already renewed through at least Season 6), and the flashback saga leading up to the pilot has not disappointed.
After a stinger scene last week, this episode was pretty much all about the potential new Canary recruit Tina Boland. Juliana Harkavy does a solid job of bringing the character to life, and following her quest for revenge against the drug dealers who killed her partner is an interesting story in itself that took some surprising turns (namely that Deadpool-esque fake-out where she blows the baddie away). However, it was far from perfect (more on that later).
Sending Oliver and the gang to Hub City was actually a lot of fun and provided a fresh setting for the young team to interact in some different scenarios than what you usually get back in Star City. Curtis is continuing to embrace his dual role as warrior/tech support, and the slow-boil friendship between him and Wild Dog took a few more steps forward.
Other good stuff: Haha a Flash cameo!
The bad: The 'Dinah' reveal, Felicity's deus ex machina Diggle rescue
As much as Harkavy did a good job of bringing Boland to life, the contrivances in this episode didn't do her a whole lot of favors. The big 'reveal' that her real lame is Dinah Drake was cringe-worthy, especially considering Oliver literally talked to Central City PD and they knew her as Tina Boland. If that was just her undercover name, they obviously wouldn't have been calling her that around the precinct, right?
For fans, it was a big moment: Dinah Drake is actually the original Black Canary from DC Comics, so now they've essentially introduced the OG Canary to the Arrowverse. Which is cool! But, c'mon. We're supposed to believe two people that have the relatively rare name Dinah (Laurel's first name was also Dinah) become vigilantes with Canary-esque powers? WHAT A COINCIDENCE. There's fate, and then there's pure ridiculousness. This one is a bridge too far.
Also, so Oliver is apparently totally cool with her just killing all these dudes? Yes, he has killed when necessary, but the Green Arrow makes it a point to try to not kill people. But here he just kind of shrugs when Boland takes two dudes out execution-style. Second chances are one thing, but she's proven herself to be a stone-cold killer. It all makes enough sense in the context of the episode but you'd have expected Oliver to quibble at least a little bit more, right? Also, does Oliver care at all about his secret identity? Dude, a bit of discretion, especially since at the time she's shown zero interest in joining the team.
Diggle has been either in jail or on the run most of this season but that story (seemingly) came to a quick and tidy resolution this week thanks to Felicity's new hacktivist buddy who tracks down a missing file that apparently proves Diggle was framed. Which, okay, so they can just submit this classified investigation they obtained from an anonymous source as evidence or something? Okay, sure.
How will the new Dinah fit in with the rest of the team? We see some fleeting shots of her in action next week, so she's apparently jumping in pretty quickly. Also, what was up with Felicity's giddy look while digging through the hacked documents? Is she getting the hacktivist bug again? Will we be seeing goth Felicity back full time?
Next week: There's a nuclear arms deal, or something? And a whole lot of confusing and really quick cuts?