TV Review: ARROW Season 2, Episode 5 'League of Assassins'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

After the revelation that the presumed dead Sarah Lance (Caity Lotz) is actually running around Starling City as the female vigilante known as the Canary, this time out we get to see a little more into her backstory and how she came to become such a badass. Helping flesh all of this out, as the title suggests, we also get to see the League of Assassins descend on Starling City as they seek to clip Canary’s wings.

It’s safe to say, this is a very Sarah-centric episode of Arrow. Similar to how the season’s earlier episode, Broken Dolls, focussed on Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and ended up being arguably the best episode of the show to date, League of Assassins delivers another high quality piece of television. We get to see Sarah with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) on the doomed Queen’s Gambit boat, then we see her being rescued, and then we get a tease as to how she ended up become one of the toughest females in the world. The ‘Canary’ side is the main attraction when it comes to the character that Caity Lotz plays, but there's also a lot more screen time for Sarah here, and we get an understanding as to why she was happy to stay dead to her family for all of these years.

As for the League of Assassins, from the moment that they attack Ollie and Sarah in the Queen’s mansion, there’s a dark, menacing, dedicated threat to everything that they do. With the League being headed up by long-time DC villain Ra’s Al-Ghul, we’re treated to several nods and teases of Ra’s, although, if you ask me, it appears that Arrow may see Talia Al-Ghul rather than her father Ra’s. On the Ra’s topic, there was a nice blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line that was firmly pointing to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, as Canary paraphrases the “mind your surroundings” line that’s exchanged at several points between Liam Neeson’s Ra’s and Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman. As you’d expect with an episode themed around the League of Assassins coming to take Canary, we get a fair amount of action here, and the teaming up of Oliver’s Arrow and Sarah’s Canary is great little tandem to watch. It may be a tad cheesy at some points, the show is doing its best to show the two working as a pair, much like their comic book counterparts.

Once again, we’re also teased with the big secret that Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) is hiding. What could it possibly be, and why is she prepared to go to such limits to keep schtum? To make matters worse for Ollie, on-off love-interest/friend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) has been given the task of prosecuting Moira for her part in the 503 deaths caused by the destruction of The Glades. You can’t beat a good ol’ ‘vested interest’ storyline…

There can’t be a review of Arrow with only a mere mention of the titular character, and Stephen Amell seems to be bringing more and more to the role of Oliver Queen with each passing episode. Here he’s noticeably impressive in his stern, no-bullshit approach when it comes to having to take down the League of Assassins. The regularly great performances that Amell puts in make those rumours of the character possibly tying into Warner Brothers’ bigger Justice League picture seem all the more plausible. We also get the reveal that Oliver was just on the island for the whole time that he was away, suggesting a lot more to come for the show’s regular flashbacks. First and foremost, Ollie’s current flashback state finds him held captive on a large ship; a ship that houses DC’s Anthony Ivo (Dylan Neal), the creator of the colossal Amazo.

Again Arrow impresses, and even though it appears that Canary may be taking a break for a little while, the inclusion of Sarah/Canary has added a whole new layer and dynamism to the show, sending repercussions throughout various characters and story arcs, including the ever-brilliant Paul Blackthorn’s Detective Lance.

No Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) or Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) this week, and we’re still to see the re-emergence of Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) after the explosions on ‘the island,’ but I’m sure we’ll get those characters back shortly. Even better than that, Amanda Waller and Deadshot are to appear in the next episode, with Barry freakin’ Allen, aka The Flash, to follow in the episode after that. Let’s hope that Arrow can keep nailing that bullseye.

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