Episode 19 picked up the pieces of the death at the end of Eleven-Fifty-Nine, with Laurel’s legacy a central theme threaded through the episode, a new Black Canary in town and some attempt to close off Laurel’s story in the flashbacks.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to immerse yourself in an episode based around a storyline that you think is completely stupid to start with – but it’d be unfair to stubbornly hate on this episode due to that fact. Canary Cry was reasonably solid, a more together episode than we’ve got in quite a while this season, though it wasn’t without its flaws.
So, firstly, let’s look at the episode as a standalone as best we can…
Paul Blackthorne is the best actor on the show. There is no doubting this. Despite giving him the same storyline yet again, Blackthorne was terrific in Quentin’s grief, channelling an understandable denial and flat out refusal to accept Laurel has gone – considering Sara’s return and everything floating about in this once grounded world. He went on a mini journey himself during the episode, eventually accepting that she was gone to Dinah prior to the funeral. The show is as subtle as a sledgehammer, with the ‘dead is dead’ mantra screaming through it like a crying child on a transatlantic flight but Blackthorne rose above it, made it work and was compelling in his grief.
David Ramsey also gave a good performance in John’s guilt over the whole affair, though it’s difficult not to consider that the only reason he trusted Andy was because the plot demanded it. I’d have rather had him engage in a Deadpool style break the fourth wall, grab Marc Guggenheim and blame him. Regardless though, the stupid storyline aside, Ramsey was very good and it’s decent to see him getting more to do, rather than lurking in the background and cheerleading Olicity occasionally. The scene in which he confronts Ruve sort of worked for me and sort of didn’t, in the context of the episode it led towards the end point reasonably well. In a warped way, I would have quite liked it if he’d killed her as the fallout could have been pretty damn impressive going into the last few episodes – though I understand why they didn’t go in that direction.
As for our villain of the week – let’s be honest, that’s what she was – the new Black Canary was alright, but despite her backstory she was a plot device to push the episode forwards. I think Evelyn used the Canary Cry more than Laurel was allowed to all season, on reflection, whereas Oliver still continues to be very sparing with his arrows. This talking the villain down is really a bit dull. In fairness, it wasn’t as bad as the Broken Hearts scene and it did make sense in terms of what they were trying to do with the episode, but it’s just grown a little old for me I suppose. Nevertheless, they left things open-ended with Evelyn, which included her showing up at Laurel’s funeral which was a nice touch.
Regarding the funeral, revealing Laurel was the Black Canary capped the idea of legacy that not so subtly floated around the episode.Giving Oliver the eulogy nicely paralleled him shying away from Tommy’s in the flashbacks, ass for the flashbacks, we weren’t on Lian Yu. Hallelujah. They retconned a hell of a lot, but we weren’t on Lian Yu. Plus, it was nice to give Katie Cassidy a bit more of a send-off.
Towards the end of the episode, we were given the flashforward scenes again – painfully obvious it was, that they were completely separate from this episode. I guess in some ways, that goes to highlight the lack of planning behind the storyline. They just sandwiched them on the end and they really didn’t feel together with the other scenes. There was a little more between Oliver and Felicity in the limo, including which Oliver revealed he doesn’t know how to stop Darkh. Let’s completely disregard the fact that they destroyed his totem, had him behind bars but then decided to rebuild it because hey, there’s no way that’s not going to come back and bite you in the ass…
The episode was decent as a standalone, it ticked a lot of boxes, it had a fair few flaws. In the context of the season however, we’re still no closer to knowing Darkh’s plan and we still don’t really feel as if we’re in the endgame of the season (to be fair, next week’s episode will set that off). Going forwards, I still feel a lot of work has to be done to get this season back on track, will they pull it off? Let’s find out.