TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 5 – “League of Assassins”

arrow-tvreview-logosmallThe Canary’s past begins to be revealed, and we are introduced to yet another DC Comics character in re-imagined form. Oh and there are ninjas. What could possibly go wrong? Check out our review of Arrow Season 2, Episode 5 entitled ‘League of Assassins’ after the break.

An assassin attacks Queen Manor in an attempt to kill Black Canary, who has taken refuge there with Oliver’s help. Meanwhile, Moira is reluctant to make a guilty plea despite Thea’s advice, and Oliver is furious when he discovers that Laurel will be prosecuting his mother in court.

I have to hand it to the creative team. No sooner do I ask for Sarah-related flashbacks (see last week’s review) than they deliver the beginnings of one. It seems to be a trend in television at the moment, at least in the sort of programs I watch, that questions are asked and answered in relatively short periods of time. It’s a trend I much prefer to the full on Lost-style of season or series-long questions that get answered way down the line. Arrow season 2 has been successful in maintaining a level of intrigue by drip-feeding new elements to the audience. Alderman Blood, the Canary (notice how everyone seems to be dropping the colour from their names!). I really like the way they manage this.

We’re given a proper introduction to the League of Assassins (no brainer – see episode title!) this week. It is obvious to the audience that Merlin was a member, but interestingly, Oliver initially believes the assassins are copy-cats out to get him. I’ve seen some comments and speculation that the boat is run by the League and that this is where Sara received her training, but it’s clear that Sarah went to the League “after the island” and that something possibly more sinister is taking place on the ship. Probably to do with the previously seen mutated corpses. We’re shown that Sara was taken aboard the ship very soon after the Queen’s Gambit sank, meaning we have a year of catch-up with her to (hopefully) look forward to.

I’ve said before how I love the re-imagined versions of DC Comics characters that keep cropping up in Arrow. It also seems that they are slowly (very slowly) heading into the realms of super-powered beings of some kind with the steady reveal of the strange corpses on the island and this week’s surprise introduction of a certain professor Ivo. Given his role in the comics and Justice League series (Ivo is the creator of an android that absorbs and uses the super-powers of those it meets), I am imagining him being more of a genetic engineer looking into war-time experiments to create a super soldier or some such this time around.

OK, this is all a bit Captain America, so it will probably turn out slightly differently, but genetic and technological experimentation does lead the way to a character that is getting his own series very soon. Frankly, my worries about that character’s introduction are being eroded as the writers are managing an excellent lead in. At least I think they are. Probably.

There were some great action scenes again. Especially noteworthy was Oliver’s first encounter with “The First” (arrow catching is always cool) and then the final show-down between our two masked vigilantes, Detective Lance and three ninjas. Man, that Canary is not to be messed with. I was a little saddened at the end of the episode, as I think a great element of the series has walked away. For now.

Speaking of Detective (sorry, officer) Lance, he continues to grow on me this year. His reunion and realisation of who his daughter has become was well acted, even if I didn’t really buy the forgiveness element. Then again, I am not a parent, so I do not know that level of love. Of course, now he’s seen his daughter and knows she’s survived and become all ninja-fury, it can’t be long before he puts two and two together and works out that Oliver is the Hood or Arrow or whatever they stick with, surely? It’s not like eye-makeup is that concealing and they have been spending a lot of time with each other recently!

My main complaint about this week’s episode was the scarcity of Felicity and Diggle. My favourite duo weren’t around much, but still had some quality lines to deliver. Sara is introduced to the pair this week – I loved this scene. So many little lines dropped in. Her summation of Felicity, comments about the first time she saw Oliver’s costume (another question to be answered!). Finally, her stand-off with Diggle. Really liked that. It showed Diggle off well. He thought about her point, realised she was probably right in what she was saying and backed down. Best of all … he doesn’t know her. Has no trust in her. So doesn’t offer to back her up.

Overall, this is an excellent episode with snappy dialogue, questions answered, questions raised and some nicely choreographed ninja antics. Well worth a watch, though I do think that Arrow has lost a little of its dip-in-and-out quality that the first series had.

As a final note. I’m currently playing Arkham Origins, which has a couple of Green Arrow nods in it and is enjoyable enough. Where the hell is my Arrow game? Free-roaming Starling City. Civilians on the street with random crimes. Villains to track down and bring to justice… Come on people! GIMME!


Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Wedgedoc

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