As the episode opens, we’re encouraged to cast our memories back to Jessica De Gouw’s appearances in Season 1 as Helena Bertinelli, aka the Huntress. We quickly find out, largely thanks to the detective skills of Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), that Helena has been scouring Europe in order to hunt down and kill her father, Frank Bertinelli (Jeffrey Nordling). Having tortured and killed Mafioso types during her quest, the Huntress, who just happens to be an ex of Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen, is relentless. Safe to say, when her father turns up in Starling City, it’s only a matter of time before the Huntress resurfaces.
Key to the arc of Birds of Prey is the presence of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). Now seemingly at a stage where she has fully come to terms with her alcohol issues, Laurel is trying to make the right choices in life. When she ends up in the crosshairs of the Huntress, it isn’t long before sister Sara (Caity Lotz), aka Canary, looks to step in. With Sara being Ollie’s current beau and Helena being one of Ollie’s exes, the tension between the pair is plentiful. As Oliver finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, he has to foil the Huntress, protect Laurel and stop Canary from crossing the line. Elsewhere, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) is back working with ‘Team Arrow,’ although he’s still struggling to control and harness his powers. Deciding that a relationship with Thea Queen (Willa Holland) is maybe not wise, Roy tosses around the idea of taking Thea out of his immediate circle and out of harm’s way. Of course, that opens up the possibility for certain other characters to maybe take the young Thea under their wing.
Birds of Prey delivers another steady, solid episode of Arrow, and it’s great to see De Gouw return as the Huntress. A multi-layered and interesting character, she’s a welcome addition to the already excellent season. Whether she gets her wish of her father’s death, we’ll leave that unanswered for now. And just for those wondering, the Birds of Prey title does not mean any appearance, mention or reference to Barbara Gordon. For those not aware, Babs is often a part of the Birds of Prey team along with Huntress and Black Canary in the comic book world.
If anything is wrong with Birds of Prey, it’s that it highlights one slight issue that Arrow often chooses to ignore: the idea of a secret identity. How does Quentin Lance know that his daughter Sara is Canary but hasn’t clicked that Oliver is the Arrow, despite them regularly appearing together? And how does Laurel Lance, stood face-to-face with the Canary, not click that the masked heroine is her sister Sara?
Other things of note to pull from this latest Arrow offering is that Roy doesn’t seem to be too fond of the Speedy moniker – Arsenal, anybody? – whilst it appears that we may be seeing just how Oliver’s body became riddled with scars, tattoos and markings. Also, in terms of the greater DC universe, there’s a nod to Amazo and possibly even to Bruno Manheim and Intergang.
Birds of Prey is a fresh feeling episode, giving the overall arc of the season a bit of a breather. Yes, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) appears at certain points, but the presence of the Huntress and her mission takes precedence here. It’s a nice change of pace to see the females headlining the action here, and the Canary and Huntress tussles are some of the more memorable offerings from this episode – plus, it’s good to see that Canary still has her scream. We also get to see some much-needed character development for Laurel Lance, a character that has become increasingly bland and an afterthought for the most part. As for Slade, there’s big things to come for him, with the next episode’s Deathstroke title giving ominous warning as to what we can expect to see.
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