Arrow’s episode “Who Are You?” is well-named. There are a few identity issues throughout the show, the most obvious revolving around the apparent return of Laurel. Those Lance sisters just keep coming back from the dead. Unfortunately, a few picky details about the shared world of the increasingly inter-connected CW hero shows break down during this episode, but I admit I’m one of “those” guys who tends to notice that kind of thing.
We ended last time with the astonishing resurrection of Laurel, and we pick up on that note. She spins a tale about being saved at the last minute by Sara and the Legends of Tomorrow, who used the technology of the Waverider to save Laurel’s life. It’s a good story as far as being hard to check, since there’s no telling where or when the Waverider is. It’s a bad story in that we saw Laurel die, and they buried her. It’s hard to pull off a last minute save when there’s a body that’s been buried. Annoyingly, no one thinks to go check the grave, which felt like a big plot hole to me.
On the heels of all this, Oliver decides the best thing to do is go visit John in the military lockup. The two things I didn’t like about this scene were that John and Oliver are talking about important secrets on a visitation phone (those things are recorded, trust me), and that John’s habit of freaking out when confronted with the strange is utterly missing. I guess they couldn’t find a way to play that for laughs amid John’s swearing that he was going to beat General Walker’s trumped-up charges. He did tell Oliver that he’d need a lawyer.
Laurel has a quick phone call with the never-seen and never-heard Thea, conveniently out of town at some kind of conference. Since Willa Holland, who plays Thea, is a series regular, I don’t think they saved any money by leaving her out. Maybe they just couldn’t work in another character. The rest of the team are having shocked and disbelieving reactions to Laurel’s return. They’re all new, so this isn’t something they’ve dealt with before. Curtis is mostly off sulking, not liking the flood of bad news of late. He’s also still hiding his breakup with Paul from everyone. Felicity seems thrilled with Laurel’s return, and everyone drinks to the apparent miracle.
Turns out Felicity isn’t quite as ready to accept this as she seemed, and is working overtime to double and triple check everything. She’s probably being the smartest of them in her approach. She gets interrupted a few times in her work. First by Rory, who says a side effect of his magic rags is that he doesn’t sleep. They talk, and Rory gets surprised by his joke about evil twins being taken seriously. Felicity mentions Black Siren, the evil Earth 2 doppleganger locked up at STAR Labs. Although as I recall, after they caught her, Team Flash decided not to tell the Arrow folks about the Siren to spare them grief. The next interruption is Laurel, who confirms who she is by attacking them all. Apparently Oliver wasn’t quite as accepting of all this as he showed, since he shows up and tries to help, although Siren gets away. Of course, the next problem is that Siren got out of STAR’s Pipeline without any of the genius-types over there noticing.
The team cleans up the Lair in the aftermath of the fight, and Curtis and Rene try to wrap their heads around the notion of them all having dopplegangers on Earth 2 and the other Earths. Curtis’ big concern seems to be that his “evil twin” might be straight. As all this goes on, Black Siren goes to meet Prometheus. Theirs is clearly not an easy alliance.
The next unlikely plot twist comes up as Oliver and DA Adrian Chase have a meeting. Oliver wants Chase to defend Diggle. I have never heard of a District Attorney suddenly deciding to take a case as defense council. Chase also gives Oliver the details of Detective Malone’s death, which clears Green Arrow of the blame. Of course, Oliver knew all this already, but that’s one of the problems of maintaining the whole double life of a masked hero with a secret identity.
Oliver gets a call from the Siren, who is claiming that she was forced into betraying them by Prometheus. Of course, anyone with eyes wouldn’t buy that, considering how she was grinning when she attacked everyone in the Lair. Nevertheless, Green Arrow agrees to meet her at the Black Canary memorial statue. This goes badly, as Siren turns on them yet again, and the team breaks ranks when Green Arrow and Overwatch give conflicting orders. And the Canary statue gets destroyed. Again.
They do at least manage to capture (recapture?) Black Siren, so she and Oliver can have a chat while she’s in the cage in the lair. They get a lot of use out of that thing. Siren claims that on her world, Oliver has been dead for ten years, but I don’t know why anyone’s believing a word she says at this point. Rene and Curtis have an emotional scene, and Curtis finally tells him about Paul leaving him.
Oliver finds Felicity working on one of the punching bags, and gives her some much-needed coaching. They agree that this isn’t their Laurel, but disagree about what to do next. They really need to make up their minds about how they write Oliver. He can’t be the brooding, dark, Batman-substitute avenger and blindly optimistic at the same time. It just doesn’t work, and it’s making him look like he’s got mental issues as he swings back and forth.
DA Chase goes to see Diggle, and they discuss his case. Diggle tells Chase that if he leaves with the Military Police that show up and interrupt their meeting, the crooked MP’s will kill Diggle. While this goes on, Felicity shows just how clever she’s being this episode, and I have to admit she impressed me.
Felicity and Oliver talk about her plan and their feelings about Siren. Rene, of all people, gives Curtis a pep talk about appreciating what he can do, since it’s pretty badass. The team eventually tracks down the Siren, and another huge fight ensues. Ragman gets defeated ridiculously easily. I think they don’t quite know what to do with him, as his power level upsets the balance of the show, much like Firestorm on Legends of Tomorrow. Curtis, stupidly, is out in public in costume but without his mask for some of this. With a few cool lines and an unexpected punch, the team defeats Black Siren.
Chase gets clever and finds a way to keep Diggle from being transferred, which angers General Walker. They have a pissing contest, and reference their country having a female President. I don’t know if this is some kind of statement about Hillary Clinton’s electon loss, or if the President here is another version of the one we saw over on Supergirl’s Earth.
Oliver and Felicity watch the wreckage of the statue being cleaned up, and talk about what to do next for Laurel’s memory. They decide to find a woman worthy of Laurel’s legacy. Of course, the next scene, up in Hub City (comic book home of the Question and Blue Beetle), shows just such a likely candidate.
FlashBratva Theater shows the aftermath of Oliver’s attempt on Kovar. Oliver learns a lot of unpleasant truths about his friend Anatoli. There are beatings and a lot of talk and then a character we haven’t seen yet on the show makes a first appearance.
What I liked: Felicity is showing a strength and sneakiness that I like on her. Rene’s talk with Curtis was good. The various reactions to learning about other Earths were well played.
What I didn’t: In case you couldn’t tell from the review, I didn’t care for most of this. Black Siren being broken out of STAR without at the very least Cisco or Caitlin noticing made no sense. If Prometheus set all this up, how the hell did he even know about the Waverider and the Legends? A sitting District Attorney become a defense attorney in a military matter? Didn’t the STAR crew keep Black Siren a secret?
I’ve said before that I think Arrow is great action surrounded by bad writing. This episode is the epitome of that. I’ll give this a low 2 out of 5 and I really hope they get better soon.