Arrow 3×11 recap: “Midnight City”

I’ve been with Arrow since the pilot episode, and I have to say, this show just keeps getting better. This is my first post, obviously, and I believe this is the perfect episode to start my blog with. First of all, in the previous episode,  Laurel Lance finally took up the torch as “the Canary,” something comic fans, and even those, like myself, who haven’t caught up on the comics, have been waiting for since the pilot. After Oliver Queen was believed to be dead, again, Team Arrow (Diggle, Arsenal, Felicity and Laurel) decided to keep Oliver’s vigilante dream alive and continue to protect Starling City.

The episode starts off in the Glades; a woman is being attacked and BAM! Here comes the Canary. Now, this is where it gets messy. Laurel Lance, however much I love her, is not ready to fight on her own. She has skills, but she is still lacking in formal training. Thus, her attacker manages to slice her arm before Arsenal comes to her rescue. Laurel’s performance this episode was definitely one of the main focuses as she and Arsenal repeatedly tried to take down Brick and his men in the Glades and failed.

Our brief flashes of Oliver, recovering from his fight with Ra’s al Ghul, are quite satisfying. It’s great to see Oliver when he’s vulnerable and needs protection, rather than protecting. His relationship in the flashbacks with Maseo and Tatsu (and their relationship with each other) is quite shockingly different from the present day. Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu were all attached by Maseo’s brothers in the League of Assassins, ending with them all killed by Maseo. And while Brick may not be the big bad of the season, they have repeatedly reinforced that Ra’s al Ghul and the League will be, so this was an interesting step towards that endgame. It’ll be interesting to see what happened to create the distance between these characters in the remaining flashbacks this season and learn why Maseo is so intent on staying with the League of Assassins.

Meanwhile, Ray Palmer and Felicity spent the episode talking about his Atom suit. Ray Palmer has always been a little overwhelming, but after his confrontation with Brick, I’m excited to see if he is involved with the epic showdown that is sure to come. I am loving this arc with Felicity, dealing with her grief over Oliver. It’s brought her down a bit, making her character much more understanding and strong.

Black Canary was the star of this episode, as was said when (Marc) Guggenheim and (Greg) Berlanti announced her trilogy of episodes, this being the second. After their repeated failures against Brick and his men, they managed to save two men, but at the price of Brick killing one of the hostages in front of them. This led to (my favorite scene of the season!) Laurel breaking down and questioning her choice to follow in her sister’s footsteps. I think it’s important to see how much Laurel is struggling in becoming the Black Canary, because we get to see what a strong character she is, after getting knocked down so many times (literally) and getting back up. And this was Laurel’s ultimate breaking point in my opinion, even though her Canary quest has just started. She quit, she gave up. And this is why I believe this was the perfect episode to recap. Felicity’s ultimate realization in the episode (with the help of Ray) is possibly the most important lesson these characters have learned throughout the show. Oliver has always had his reasons for protecting Starling, but these characters have always just been Oliver’s sidekicks. They fought with Oliver, because Oliver wanted them to. But, with him gone, they realized why they actually are fighting for. They’re fighting for the people that they love. Not just Oliver, but for their family and friends and this realization changed their status from sidekicks to heroes.


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