Arrow: Birds of Prey Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Several weeks back when I looked at the titles of upcoming Arrow episodes “Birds of Prey” was one I circled with anticipation. Might we see Oracle? Batgirl? Hawkgirl? Could we see any of the other members that have graced the pages of DC Comics over the years? But when the preview came along last week it immediately looked disappointing. It seemed as if our Birds of Prey would turn out to be nothing more than a love triangle catfight between Oliver’s past and present girlfriends. Fortunately it did not turn out to be that bad…but it still wasn’t good.
My take from this episode was someone decided that there should be a fight between The Huntress and Black Canary and a quick, hackneyed plot was thrown together to facilitate the idea. Officer Lance leads a raid on a criminal warehouse with Arrow and Black Canary along for backup. The raid results in a shootout and one of the men apprehended turns out to be crime boss Frank Bertinelli. This leads to the first two problems. I don’t pretend to be an expert on police procedures or chains of command but why would Lance, now demoted down to just an officer, be leading a raid with apparently no supervisor present? The entire Lance demotion has been bungled. The guy is still a detective in duties if not in title.
Secondly, Frank Bertinelli has been seen as a wealthy crime boss who lives in a mansion. The whole idea of him hanging out with low end thugs in a warehouse came off as a cheap plot contrivance solely to get him into police custody. And why? So his daughter Helena, The Huntress, could storm back into Starling City to kill her father, leading to the aforementioned showdown with Black Canary. But even before we get to that point there are more issues with the writing this week.
Out of the blue Laurel’s boss District Attorney Donner offers her her old job back specifically to be involved in the Bertinelli trial. However it turns out that the trial was merely a trap to lure out the Huntress. Helena had prepared for a trap by having her own men in the courthouse. She takes several people, including Laurel hostage and we soon have a standoff between her group, and an overly aggressive SWAT team whose leader wants to shoot anyone wearing a costume. The sloppy writing rears its ugly head here as well. Whose bright idea was it to put several innocent people in danger to setup a trap in such a public place?
Eventually we do get to the showdown battle between The Huntress and Black Canary…two of them actually in surprisingly dynamic fight scenes. While Helena gets the best in the first round, Canary tells her it’s because she was holding back and manages to take her out in the deciding fall, ending the standoff with Helena being arrested. In other developments, Roy’s continuing problems with controlling his anger forces him (at Oliver’s STRONG suggestion) to break off his relationship with Thea. On the island, Slade is torturing Oliver to force Sara to return the ship’s engineer so he can repair the broken down engine.
While I actually ended up enjoying the two fights between Black Canary and The Huntress, the shoddy way in which we got there diminished the conflicts. Why would any DA agree to put people into such a dangerous situation? And what about the courtroom judge? Wouldn’t they have told the DA, “You’re Nuts!” to the idea? Getting back to “Officer” Lance for a second…Is this guy the worst detective in the world? So maybe we have to suspend belief when he meets with the Arrow that he somehow doesn’t recognize Oliver…but when he calls him on the Bat Phone…err…Arrow Phone and Oliver’s phone rings at exactly that moment when they are standing right next to each other? No wonder why he was demoted. And at the end he punches and knocks out the SWAT team leader? Would this not be considered aiding and abetting?
Without a doubt the weakest episode of season two but considering it was episode 17 of the season I suppose that’s not too bad.
Mania Grade: C-
Episode: Birds of Prey (Season 2, Episode 17)
Starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Caity Lotz
Written By: Mark Bemesderfer & A.C. Bradley
Directed By: John Behring
Network: The CW
Studio: Warner Brothers, DC Comics