‘Arrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 5 Episode 10: ‘Who Are You’
It’s time for another installment of Pointed Commentary, the feature where returning Arrow watcher Chris Haley and newcomer Emma Lawson dig into the details of Team Arrow cleaning up the filthy, crime-ridden streets of Star City.
On this week’s episode, Laurel, the formerly deceased former Black Canary, is back from the dead! But how?! “Who Are You” was directed by Gregory Smith from a script by Ben Sokolowski and Brian Ford Sullivan.
Chris: Hello, dear Arrow-Heads, and welcome back to Pointed Commentary! We’re back from the break, and Laurel is back from the dead! Also, the Russian mafia flashbacks are still happening, and Curtis got a haircut! Emma, how have you been since we were here last? Did you get any Arrow-related merchandise as a gift over the holidays? Did you get me any Arrow-related merchandise as a gift you were intending to give me over the holidays and simply forgot?
Emma: Uh… sorry, Chris. I spent most of the holidays sick and binge watching British crime dramas on Netflix. I barely got my Christmas shopping done for my own family! I did miss you, though. How was your break?
Chris: Full of funerals! So even the bleak streets of Star City seem like a welcoming sight!
Emma: Sorry to hear that, Chris. Ollie and the Arrow Babies are here for you. Well, except Evelyn.
Chris: My favorite Arrow Baby has betrayed us… I mean, the team. I’m not taking it personally.
Emma: I am definitely taking it personally. The only female Arrow Baby, and of course she has to be evil. Sigh. She seemed so nice, Chris. And I still don’t think her turn really makes sense, but this is Arrow.
Chris: Yeah, I think we should have learned to give up on “sense” a long time ago, and yet, here we are. What’d you think of this week’s welcome back episode?
Emma: Can I be honest with you? I don’t really care about Laurel. So Laurel coming back… yeah, okay, whatever. It became more interesting as the episode went on, thankfully. I also found the flashbacks this episode to be super boring. Nothing really happened; Ollie just got punched a lot. Normally I’m all for that, but give me a little more.
What did you think of this week’s episode?
Chris: I was interested in Laurel’s return in that it felt too much like something must be up almost immediately, so I wondered what the switch of this particular bait and switch was going to be. When did this previous alternate Laurel adventure take place? Was this on “League of Legends”? I definitely don’t remember it being previously mentioned on Arrow, so what did I miss?
Also, can I just take a second to say how dumb it is that the Legends crew calls themselves “The Legends”. Nothing against the show itself, but I mean, come on.
Emma: If I could travel through time, I’d probably call myself a Legend too. Maybe even something more cheesy!
Pretty sure alternate Laurel’s only been on The Flash so far, but I don’t follow either show closely. Arrow’s got my heart! There was a bunch of quick exposition from Felicity this episode to answer exactly this question --- “Who is this person?” I was pretty happy to believe it was the real Laurel for a bit. The time travel handwaving makes about as much sense as anything else. I do like to watch Katie Cassidy be sassy in dark lipstick, though.
Chris: Yeah, when actors are having fun with something I think it shows, and she really seemed to be enjoying getting to be a bad guy. But wait, how did Black Siren know about the Legends and the Waverider, etc? Someone, please explain this in the comments if you know. How does Prometheus know about her existence? How did he get her out of the Flash’s underground sci-fi gulag? I have a lot of questions I don’t think I’m ever going to get satisfying answers for.
Also, I’d love to know what your even cheesier hero name would be.
Emma: They addressed this briefly in the episode. She knows about everything that’s happening because Prometheus told her. But how Prometheus even knew about her existence in the first place? That’s still a mystery to me.
My cheesy time travel hero name would definitely be some kind of Latin pun, because I am a nerd with two degrees in linguistics.
Chris: How Prometheus would know about the Legends to tell her about them was my next question, but I think this is a dead end line of thinking, so let’s just accept it and move on.
I don’t know if it’s the break talking, but I didn’t think this episode was bad. I agree that parts of it were pretty boring, but I’ll take boring over outright awful any day. I’m a little irritated by this retroactive acting, like suddenly Laurel and Ollie had this much more meaningful relationship than had been played up in the past. I don’t know if I’m getting my point across exactly; does that make sense? They seemed to be totally fine with just being friends before the writers needed their past relationship to be more of a plot point.
Emma: I didn’t get that from this episode. I took his trying so hard to save evil Laurel as more evidence of his epic guilt than anything else. But I take your point. It definitely felt like the show was trying to pit Laurel and Felicity against each other by way of their feelings for Oliver. They had also just primed us for Laurel-Ollie love time with the 100th episode, so it wasn’t totally coming out of thin air.
Chris: No, that’s exactly what I mean! Maybe in seasons 1-3, their past relationship was a bigger deal and I just missed it because I just came in at season 4, but since her death they have him carrying her picture around in the Russia flashbacks, and that whole marriage bit in episode 100. Was there a lot more relationship drama between them in the earlier seasons?
Emma: Oh yes. A ton of relationship drama. Guilt and anger over his relationship with her sister and her sister’s death, hooking up in season 1 when she was with Tommy and then tons of guilt when Tommy died.... Their relationship is just chock full of guilt and regret. Laurel has pretty much always been portrayed as the one he should have been with, but because of timing and everything else happening they could just never make it work. But not because they stopped loving each other.
Chris: Okay, I guess I’ll let it slide and chalk it up to my missing all that earlier stuff.
Speaking of relationship drama, Wild Dog and Curtis had a bit of tension over Curtis’ tension over his relationship drama with Paul leaving him.
Emma: I’m so glad Rene asked Curtis what was going on, although he could have handled it a bit more tactfully. Curtis was very obviously not okay, but with Laurel coming back, nobody really noticed or cared. Except for our sweet Wild Dog. They skipped over the Paul part pretty quickly, though, making it seem more like Curtis is upset that he’s kind of a crappy vigilante than he is about losing his husband. Did you get that feeling too?
Chris: I took it as he’s upset that he lost his relationship to be a superhero, and he’s not even very good at it, so what was the point? I’d like to think that this is not the end of the relationship angle though, and that he and Paul are going to work things out. I really appreciated that Rene was the one who noticed something was up too.
Emma: It does make sense to me that Rene is maybe not super comfortable talking about relationship stuff, whereas the superhero issue was a problem he could solve.
Chris: I’m sure it’s a budgetary issue, but I’m more than ready for Curtis to start being a little more Mr. Terrific-y and using high-tech stuff in addition to being a super-athlete. He should have his T-Spheres and such already.
Emma: I cannot wait for Curtis to start busting out all of that. Make use of your genius, Curtis! Hopefully this is the start of all that. Also, did you know that Amazon sells T-Spheres? They are not as exciting as in the comics. Massage therapy balls that smell nice.
Chris: That sounds pretty exciting to me.
Emma: Okay, that’ll be your belated Arrow-themed holiday present. Done!
Did you also think that Laurel’s “welcome back to life” party was the most boring party ever? I know it was all a ruse, but if I came back to life and my party was just six people standing in a room, mostly not talking to each other, I’d be pretty disappointed.
Chris: I wouldn’t be disappointed, I’d be super-mega-ultra-depressed. I’d be wishing I’d never been brought back to life. Calling that a “party” was an insult to the word “party”. Felicity should have just said, let’s all get together tonight to celebrate.
Emma: Agreed! If Laurel wasn’t already evil, that party would be enough to turn her.
We haven’t talked about Dig yet, but he’s back in jail and this time seems to be taking it seriously. Instead of just staying in there moping, or escaping and living in hiding forever, he wants to fight his charges through the legal system. I loved Adrian Chase becoming Mr. Paperwork on Dig’s behalf. If the system is that messed up, use it to your advantage, am I right?
Chris: Oh absolutely, though, I don’t know if any amount of lawyering can get you out of breaking out of maximum security military prison. I mean, I know this isn’t the real world, so the bad guy will probably shoot himself in the foot about the whole thing, but if this were the real world, Dig would be in some kind of trouble for sure.
Speaking of the bad guy, why would he be so quick to want to kill Dig now, when he was seemingly content to let him rot in jail before, and Dig wasn’t concerned about being killed at all?
Emma: Busting out of jail was not a good idea, but it was Oliver’s idea, not Dig’s, and Ollie’s not always the best at ideas. Now that’s he’s in the government he should have more of a sense of when you need to work with the system.
Chris: Yeah, because he’s clearly got such a handle on being mayor.
Emma: Dig’s concern about getting killed might relate to his breakout. Escaping from the maximum security military prison makes the military look pretty bad. General Walker seemed to hate Dig after that, instead of just seeing him as a convenient scapegoat.
Chris: That totally makes sense. See, this is why I’m glad I get to talk to you about this show after we watch it. I’d just be up at night struggling with these questions otherwise.
District Attorney Chase definitely uses the system to his advantage here, and between that and his conversation with Ollie, I’m liking him more, even if I’m still suspicious of what he does with his off time.
Emma: Chase started to show his less-than-lawful side in this episode, that’s for sure. His willingness to cover up the circumstances of Detective Malone’s death so they could “see justice done” and keep the city from panicking is exactly the sort of thing a secret vigilante might do. I kind of like Chase too after this episode, but I’m a sucker for using bureaucracy to spite people.
I have a question that you might be able to answer. Is Ollie somehow resistant to the Canary Cry? Does his hood protect him? Am I forgetting something?
Chris: I have to imagine he has some kind of dampeners built into his earpiece for communications, but he was still trying to cover up a little, so I’d guess it can only do so much. Also, didn’t they say Siren’s cry was more powerful than Canary’s?
Emma: Yes, it is, which is why they needed to use Cisco’s dampener technology. What they had before wasn’t good enough.
Back in the Russian flashbacks, Ollie gets rescued from the mean Bratva boss by Talia al Ghul. Are you excited or are you excited?
Chris: She’s new, right? Even though Ra’s al Ghul was on here a lot in previous seasons?
Emma: New to Arrow, yes. Nyssa al Ghul has appeared before, she was the one who rescued Sara Lance and brought her into the League of Assassins, but her sister Talia is all new to this series. I love the character, so I’m hoping the show does some interesting stuff with her.
Chris: Fingers crossed.
Emma: What did you think about the end of the episode? The hinting at a new Black Canary? Do we know that woman?
Chris: Well, I know the actress was on The Walking Dead, but that seems to be true of almost everyone on television at this point. Her character name, Tina Boland, doesn’t line up with anyone in DC that we know of, but the showrunners have said they have a reveal of her DC connection planned, so I’d guess there’s no point trying to figure it out just yet… though I’m sure there are plenty of people scrambling to do just that as we speak!
Emma: Commenters, have at it! Anything else we missed, Chris?
Chris: Felicity punched somebody. That’s kind of memorable, right?
Emma: Yes! And this episode I finally noticed that Felicity talks through her teeth when she’s upset. She barely moves her mouth at all!
Chris: That isn’t what she always does?
Emma: It’s even more egregious when she’s angry. Like she’s a ventriloquist.
Chris: That mental image will probably keep me laughing until next week.
Emma: I’m so glad I could share that with you. Join us next week for “Second Chances” and let us know your thoughts in the comments!