"Arrow" delivered an incredible episode tonight in "Second Chances." Talia al Ghul revealed herself to be the key catalyst responsible for Oliver becoming the Hood. Oliver tracked down Tina Boland and may have found a woman worthy of carrying Laurel's mantle. Felicity was reminded of her hacktivist days and finally saved Diggle. Whether it was Oliver getting a second chance to renew his father's legacy off the island or Felicity getting a second chance to be a hacktivist, each character in this episode had a powerful second chance moment. While last week's episode may have felt a little out of character for "Arrow," what with a Black Canary/Black Siren fake out and a Laurel vs. Felicity arc, the show really hit its stride tonight and set a series of events in motion that are sure to complete an epic fifth season.
Heir to the Demon
The final moments of last week's episode, "Who Are You?" introduced Ras al Ghul's second daughter Talia. When Talia rescued Oliver from the Bratva betrayers, he was confused about her reasons. As it turned out, Talia had been doing her research on Oliver Queen. She knew he was shipwrecked on Lian Yu almost five years prior to his time in Russia. She knew that Oliver was trained to be an archer by Yao Fei. She also knew about his time in Hong Kong and why he was in Russia tracking Konstantine Kovar. When Oliver asked her why she wanted to rescue him, she handed him his father's book -- the list -- something not seen on the show for years. Talia told Oliver that she was the one who trained Yao Fei and that she wanted to complete his training. Whether or not her plans for Oliver were altruistic, she will be the key to him returning to Star City at the end of this season.
She also taught Oliver a powerful lesson about how to live with the monster inside. After letting Oliver brutally kill a man who was trafficking sex workers, she taught Oliver that the monster (as Oliver called himself) could be given a name, an identity, so that Oliver could remain both the monster and Oliver Queen. She even quoted Oliver's famous opening monologue about "becoming something else." While it seemed like Talia's introduction to the show was going to solely tie into the Prometheus mystery, it would appear that she might actually be the reason Oliver lets himself get rescued in the pilot episode -- a scene we are likely to see played out in the Season 5 finale in just a few months.
Did She Say 'Dinah?'
In the present day, Oliver and Team Arrow began their search for a new Black Canary. Diggle explained it perfectly when he said that Laurel would never be replaceable, the Black Canary, however, was. Curtis found a woman named Tina Boland who was not only proficient in hand-to-hand combat, but had a Canary Cry like Black Siren. After traveling to Hub City, Oliver, Curtis, and Rene discovered that Tina used to be a police officer in Central City. While undercover, Tina was discovered and she was tortured for weeks. Just before the drug dealer Sonos killed her, he killed her partner and her lover. His death also coincided with the particle accelerator explosion, which is what gave her metahuman powers. She then spent the next three years of her life on the run, scratching names off her own list.
When Team Arrow caught up with her in Hub City she told them she wanted to work alone. She did, however, need their help in taking down Sonos, who had become a metahuman as well. With Oliver, Rene, and Curtis' help, she was able to take out all of Sonos' crew. Oliver left Sonos alive to give Tina the opportunity to do the right thing and not take his life, but she killed him anyway. Surprisingly Tina decided to take Oliver up on his offer of giving her a "second chance." When she approached him in his office as Mayor Queen, she too wanted to take off her "mask" and reveal her true self. She revealed that while her undercover name was Tina Boland, her real name was DINAH DRAKE.
Cue the bombs dropping around the "Arrow" fandom everywhere because "Arrow" just made a complete course correction in regards to the Black Canary. Anyone familiar with the Green Arrow/Black Canary legacy knows that while Dinah Lance was one moniker for the Canary, Dinah Drake was the other. From the pre-Crisis version of the Black Canary to Brendan Fletcher's most recent "Black Canary" comic book, Dinah Drake has always been the name most familiar with the Black Canary. This reveal completely changes the trajectory of "Arrow" and most likely signals the end of the love triangle (and veracious fandom feud) between Laurel, Felicity, and Oliver.
While Oliver and co. were in Hub City, Felicity attempted to clear Diggle's name by hacking the files of the General who framed him. While she was digging around on the dark web, she was contacted by another hacker named Sledgehammer. Sledgehammer asked Felicity to meet, which Felicity did in order to save Diggle. The hacker turned out to be a young woman who was once inspired by Felicity's former hacks. The girl didn't want anything from Felicity in return for the information on the General, just that she wanted Felicity to be reminded of the hacker she used to be. Everyone else was getting a second chance in the episode, perhaps this will be Felicity's second chance to become the hacktivist she was meant to be. The information successfully took down the corrupt General, which should free Diggle in the coming weeks. Does this mean Felicity will embrace a new superhero mantle this season as famous hacktivist Overwatch/Ghost Fox Goddess? The information Sledgehammer gave Felicity, Pandora, could take down corporations, governments, and nations? Will Felicity use it to do more than set Diggle free?
Next week's episode, which is titled "Bratva," will take Oliver and Team Arrow back to Russia, where Oliver will reunite with his Bratva brother Anatoly. Captain Lance will also return next week after completing his rehabilitation. While Prometheus was absent this week, he is still lurking in the shadows to bring Oliver down. Will we see him next week?
OLVIER RETURNS TO RUSSIA — A mission takes Oliver (Stephen Amell), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and team to Russia where they meet up with Oliver’s old friend, Anatoly (guest star David Nykl). Meanwhile, fresh out of rehab, Lance (Paul Blackthorne) returns to the mayor’s office ready to get back to work. However, when Susan (guest star Carly Pope) asks for an interview with Lance to discuss his addiction, he balks and it’s up to Rene (guest star Rick Gonzalez) to help keep things on track.
Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, “Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, John Barrowman, Willa Holland and more.