“Canary Cry,” is the title of what is essentially the eulogy for Black Canary, Laurel Lance. It’s one of their darker episodes, and with this series, that says something. At least they finally tie in the flashbacks a lot more tightly than they have been lately. There are some good performances as the cast deals with loss and a few other surprises as the episode unfolds.
The opening is a nicely staged bit of misdirection. It’s a burial, but not the one a viewer would expect. They go back and deal with the passing of a character that’s been gone for several seasons now. The various flashbacks show Oliver and some of his friends dealing with that earlier loss, with obvious echoes to the grief they are suffering in the present.
When they return to the present, it’s from the very same moment the last episode left off. Captain Lance is crouched on the floor after learning of Laurel’s death, which worries those of us that remember he supposedly has a serious heart condition. Lance, played by Paul Blackthorne, seesaws back and forth between grief and denial throughout the show. Denial is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one, and Lance’s reaction is even more understandable considering how many people he’s known that have, one way or another, come back from the dead.
Also dealing with a complicated knot of emotion is John Diggle. Not only did a friend and comrade die, but Diggle blames himself because of his brother’s betrayal. One small detail they do handle well is that Laurel’s death is announced with the cover story that she was in Iron Heights deposing Darhk for his upcoming trial. I’m not quite sure how they covered up her role as Black Canary, but at least they made the effort to keep her secret.
Just to make things even more complicated, there’s a new wrinkle in the situation. A weapons dealer selling out of the trunk of his car (shades of Turk on Daredevil) gets interrupted by a masked vigilante. That’s not all that rare in Star City at this point, but the vigilante in question is… Black Canary? Almost as disturbing as the fact that the dead hero is attacking criminals with Canary’s sonic cry is that she runs off with the dealer’s weapons.
Oliver is brooding at the bunker as the rest of the team comes in. While he’s talking about going after Darhk, Lance comes in. He’s clutching a newspaper that talks about the new Canary in action. Of course, Lance doesn’t want to believe it’s someone else. His desperation for this to be his daughter is heartbreaking. Interestingly, Laurel’s sonic device is gone, and Cisco designed it to work only for her.
Lance is in for a big shock. He insists on going to the morgue to check, certain that they are going to find an empty slab. He collapses when they show him Laurel’s body. The Emergency Room doctor who helped with Laurel hints that she may know who stole the Canary Cry, but won’t break doctor/patient confidentiality, just like she kept Laurel’s secret.
In a drastically out of character scene, Felicity and Diggle are back in the bunker. Diggle is still blaming himself for Laurel’s death. Felicity makes some very neutral comments in answer, not at all her usual upbeat, reassuring self. She doesn’t seem to notice when John stalks off.
Trying to take her mind off things, Thea goes out to dinner with Alex, her boyfriend and Oliver’s former campaign manager. Their date is interrupted when the new Black Canary shows up. She uses the cry to do a lot of property damage, beats on Alex for a few minutes without doing any real damage, and then leaves after a brief confrontation with Thea. Improbably, as the Faux Canary runs down the alley to get away, Green Arrow is there already. Canary blasts him with the sonic weapon, accusing him of abandoning people who needed his help, and then uses his former catchphrase of “You failed this city.” Great, she’s stealing Canary’s gear and Oliver’s lines .
Regrouping back at the bunker, the team compares notes. The Canary Cry has been modified so that Green Arrow’s earplugs no longer work. They’ve never mentioned these plugs before, but it makes sense the team was using them. The Cry has been modified at least twice, both allowing someone besides Laurel to use it, and operating at a higher decibel level than it used to. Eventually, they figure out a girl named Evelyn Sharp was held at HIVE’s prisoner facility and lost her parents there. How a high school gymnast has managed to modify Cisco’s customized tech they never manage to explain.
While the team is digging in to the new Canary, Lance is continuing to act in desperation. Nyssa has returned from wherever she’s been, presumably Nanda Parbat, and offers Lance her sympathies. When she sees how he’s acting, Nyssa contacts Oliver. Are those two still technically married? Just wondering.
As if Oliver doesn’t have enough problems, Diggle has gone off the deep end. Ruve Adams (AKA Darhk) is running around free, and Diggle decides it’s vengeance time. He stops her car, shoots her guards (I really hope those Spartan guns are using less than lethal ammo) and then pistol whips her. Before he can get even stupider, Green Arrow shows up and stops him. Spartan then throws a temper tantrum, including taking his helmet off and pounding on the limo. Great, John, commit multiple felonies and then take your mask off. What could possibly go wrong there?
Never one to pass up a chance to strike at her enemies, Ruve Adams goes on tv. She’s re-establishing the anti-vigilante task force, and has an arrest warrant for Black Canary. Now, on the one hand, this Canary is actually committing crimes. On the other, Team Arrow thinks this is damaging Laurel’s legacy.
Lance and Oliver have a very emotional scene when it’s finally driven home to Lance that there’s nothing they can do. Laurel is dead, and there’s no trick to bring her back. Felicity and Diggle have a somewhat similar scene, where Felicity apologizes to Diggle for not telling him earlier Laurel’s death wasn’t his fault.
All this is derailed when the new Canary goes after Ruve Adams while she’s at a gala. This, of course, leads to a big confrontation between Canary, Green Arrow, and the SCPD. Green Arrow talks her down, and then does an escape via cable arrow and skylight. The two things wrong with this scene are that the cops apparently just let Canary wander off, and that the cops supposedly covering Green Arrow with their weapons are not pointing their guns in the same direction. Bad directing, guys.
To end all this, Oliver pulls a surprise at the cemetery. He gives a very stirring speech, and then makes a surprise announcement. I don’t know how this will play out in the future, but it should be interesting. I also don’t know how this announcement was a secret, since it’s revealed to be carved in the headstone. Also, as an aside, tombstones generally aren’t ready at the time of the burial. After a brief Barry Allen cameo, Oliver and Felicity discuss what they should do next. I don’t think they come up with a great idea.
What I liked: I give the CW shows points for tight continuity. It makes perfect sense that Barry would show up for the funeral. They seem to have forgotten that Cisco promised Diggle some improvement to the Spartan helmet, but that’s another issue. Diggle blaming himself was in character. I liked Nyssa showing up, although I’m not sure how Lance got a hold of her.
What I didn’t: This episode had some problems. How did the new Canary make the Canary Cry work for her and improve it? Where’d she get the costume? How did Lance contact Nyssa? Are they just assuming the new Canary is going to stop now? How did Canary get away from the cops at the hotel? How is Green Arrow virtually teleporting all over the city? He’s doing a few too many “just in time” arrivals.
This just wasn’t one of their better episodes. I’m giving it a low 3 out of 5. Team Arrow is going to need to start recruiting if they keep losing teammates this way.