[Arrow] Recap • 511 Second Chances

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By Sara Netzley for Entertainment Weekly

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Everyone on Team Arrow ponders second chances tonight, whether it’s joining a team or revisiting a former life or saving someone from a dark path. But all of this takes a back seat in emotional heft to our glimpse at the first time Oliver Queen pondered the idea of becoming someone else. Something else.

First, let’s check in on the Felicity and Rory Hacking Adventure Hour. When an NSA file that would free Diggle by implicating Gen. Walker disappears, Felicity hits the dark web to get it back. Oh, dark web! Never stop being a useful plot point in TV shows featuring hackers!

While there, a user pops up to ask if she’s “Ghost Fox Goddess” and requests a meet. Felicity agrees and fills Rory in on her collegiate hacktivist past and the bad choices that she left behind.

At the meet, Felicity warns Rory to be ready to move in if the scary denizen from the dark web gets rowdy. But surprise surprise, we’re greeted by Felicity 2.0, a bubbly young woman who gushes that she became a hacktivist because of Felicity. Ah, but she’s disappointed that Ghost Fox Goddess stopped hacking and went corporate. “Never meet your heroes,” she concludes. Poor Felicity clearly wants to shout, “I’ve routinely helped Green Arrow in the streets and in the sheets,” but she keeps it together.

The woman hands Felicity a jump drive and explains that her group Helix has a data cache from the NSA that could take down politicians, ruin companies, and spark revolutions. Also, she wants to inspire Felicity to be the hacktivist that she used to be.

When Felicity plugs the jump drive in at the Arrow Cave (which doesn’t seem safe — can’t you pack all kinds of nasty bugs on a jump drive like that?), top-secret file after top-secret file zooms across the screen while Felicity watches in amazement.

Ghost Fox Goddess, activate! I just hope she keeps the blond hair.

While Felicity’s exploring her dark roots, Oliver, Rene, and Curtis head to Hub City to track down a possible Black Canary candidate. Oliver’s rejected every suggestion the team brought him; no amount of Olympic gold medals, jujitsu, or working with at-risk kids is enough to raise any of the women to the impossibly high bar that Laurel set. (Laurel-haters, good luck keeping your eyes from rolling out of your head.)

Then Curtis says he’s got a lead on an urban legend who travels around the country dealing bad-guy beat downs and saving crime victims. And get this: She’s a metahuman with a sonic cry like Laurel’s. The only thing she doesn’t have is blond hair, which they all agree is fixable.

The audience already knows this urban legend’s sad origin story. Three years ago, Tina Boland (Juliana Harkavy) was a Central City cop working a drug ring undercover with her partner/lover Vince. When main baddie Sean Sonos discovered this, he tortured her for two weeks and was ready to kill Vince in front of her when the S.T.A.R. Lab particle accelerator exploded. Shocking, I know!

Unfortunately, the explosion doesn’t stop Sonos from fatally shooting Vinnie, and as the explosion ripples across everyone in the room, Tina screams and screams until it sounds… sonic.

For the last three years, Tina’s been hunting Sonos to take her revenge. And with the recent death of Tobias Church (still miss you, Toby, you villain extraordinaire!), Sonos has moved into Hub City’s power void and started selling drugs to kids. Tina’s in town to take him down, but when she’s joined on a rooftop by Green Arrow, Mr. Terrific, and Wild Dog, she turns down their kind offer of a home, a team, and training.

“If you get in my way, I’ll send the three of you back to Star City with your nuts in a sling,” is her actual response. #TeamTina

But Oliver’s not taking no for an answer. And when he learns that Tina was connected to the CCPD, he calls Captain Singh for more details, identifying himself as the Green Arrow. Singh accuses him of being a nutjob with a voice modulator and asks for proof. Oliver taps out a quick text, and a split-second later, we see a red blur leave a sticky note on Singh’s monitor saying, “He’s legit.” HAHAHA! Best Flash crossover ever.

Armed with a location and the information about Vinnie’s death, Green Arrow and Wild Dog creep into Tina’s home, where they discover a murder board complete with overlapping photos and red string. (Has anybody started a Tumblr of Hollywood’s murder boards yet? If not, someone should really get on that.)

Conveniently, Tina’s in the middle of an interrogation sesh in the next room, but when our heroes try to interrupt, she sonic screams them back, accidentally killing her hostage in the process. Um, have we seen any of the Canary variants actually scream someone to death before? That’s hardcore.

When a gang of drug dealers creep down the hall, Wild Dog stays behind to hold them off while Oliver follows Tina out the window. Gotta say, I’m digging Tina’s toughness and mental fortitude, but I do not trust any woman who sets out to fight crime without putting her hair in a ponytail. I won’t tie my shoes without putting my hair in a ponytail, you know? Hair bands, lady! In bulk.

In an alley, Oliver yet again offers to train Tina, this time calling her Detective Boland. She wants to know why he’s chosen her, and he says it’s because he understands the trauma she’s been running from for the last three years: “I’ve been there. And I can help you find your way back.” Still no dice. She sonic screams and takes off.

The next day, Curtis and Rene also discuss why Oliver’s so intent on Tina for the new Canary. “Maybe this team is all about finding second chances,” Rene says, hitting us all over the head with tonight’s metaphor in a less-than-subtle way.

Elsewhere in Hub City, Tina finds Sonos’ headquarters and takes out all his guys. But he’s also a metahuman and uses some kind of sonic power to give her vertigo and knock her out. Oliver and Rene, who burst in after her, suffer a similar fate. When Tina comes to, she tells the Star City trio that she’s going to that night’s drug meet-up alone, even though Sonos can out-sonic her.

Then Oliver takes a leap of faith and removes his mask, telling her he’s Oliver Queen. And yes, he sees in her a chance to earn a little redemption since he also spent five years in hell. But today, he just wants to help her take down Sonos, and then they’ll leave her alone if that’s what she chooses.

Tina agrees, and she, Green Arrow, and Wild Dog creep around a rooftop where Sonos and his minions are waiting on a drug helicopter. The sonic dampener knocks out Sonos’ ability, which means the three of them are more than a match for the dozen heavily armed goons.

Strategy in armed fights isn’t my strong suit, but I do think it’s a bold choice for Oliver to shoot an arrow into the helicopter that’s hovering above the building and then let it swing him wildly around while he’s tethered to it, sort of firing willy-nilly about the roof. While that seems like it could go really wrong, it somehow works for him. In the end, he knocks the helicopter out of the sky with an exploding arrow, then calmly walks away, seemingly without any fear of getting a molten chunk of shrapnel in the back (and also no qualms about where that baby’s going to land — like, do you not care about the pedestrians of Hub City?).

In the end, Tina holds Sonos at gunpoint as Oliver urges her not to kill him. “What would Vince want you to do?” he asks, and before the end of the sentence is out of his mouth, Tina shoots Sonos dead. Inappropriate laughter! Was that supposed to be as funny as it was?

“He’d want me to do that,” Tina tells Oliver, then turns and leaves. Oliver tells Rene to let her go.

Back in Star City, Felicity’s leaked the NSA’s case against Walker, which means DA Chase got Diggle released on bail and filed a motion to dismiss, which is good news for John.

Meanwhile, Oliver’s working in the mayor’s office when an assistant pops his head in to announce that a Tina Boland’s there to see him. Tina found that Sonos’ death didn’t bring the liberation she thought it would, so she sought out Oliver to ask how he keeps living with so much pain.

“I’m still working on that myself. But I can tell you it helps to not be alone,” he replies.

They agree that this could be a second chance for both of them, and then Tina confesses that Oliver only knows her by her undercover name. Her real name is Dinah Drake.

Oliver absorbs the surprising news. “I had a friend named Dinah. She’s the reason I sought you out.”

When Tina/Dinah asks what his friend would think about their new partnership, Oliver says she’d be proud of both of them. And like that, Team Arrow grows by one.

Now, to the flashback! Talia (Lexa Doig) rescued Oliver last week, and now he wants to know why she’s interested in him. She’s got a dossier of his last several years and tells him, “You wear the hood of one of my students.” It’s Yao Fei Gulong, and Oliver doesn’t understand how that can be the case when she’s half Yao Fei’s age. Rude! Talia agrees and calls it a family secret. Ha!

Talia offers to help him take down Yurievich, which hurts Kovar’s revenue stream. He agrees, and as they lie in wait for Yurievich, they bicker over who gets to kill him. Oliver also questions her choice of a bow and arrow as her sole weapon. “To use a bow and arrow requires patience and discipline,” she informs him.

The two launch an attack on Yurievich and his men, and it’s the best fight scene of the night. Oliver’s a demon in gun/hand-to-hand combat, cutting his way through a crowd of tough Russians. Then he climbs into the back of Yurievich’s car and beats him to death.

“Good. Now we can talk,” Talia says, then chides him for chasing down Kovar and all of the other bad guys he’s been after when the real fight’s been in front of him all along.

“Why do you deny your father’s wish for you?” she asks, pointing to the book with Robert Queen’s list. Oliver replies that he’s not the man his father raised. Talia accuses him of running from the monster inside of him and offers him a better way, by giving the monster an identity.

“It’s only when the monster become someone else – something else – that you’re free to be Oliver Queen.” She gives him a pile of clothes, and then… and then we get to see the first time that Oliver Queen suits up in leather and a hood.

“I don’t know if I’m ready,” he says.

“I will help you become ready,” Talia replies, handing him his first bow.

Honestly? Chills. Oliver becomes the Hood in this scene, and we’re finally seeing it in season 5.

Arrows for your quiver

• Talia, girl, thanks for putting Oliver Queen in his first pair of leather pants. The world owes you a great debt.

• Rene’s five-patty burger: amazing or awful?

• Rene and Curtis mentioned Evelyn in passing tonight; here’s hoping we get back to that storyline soon. I’m still curious if her actions are a double/triple/quadruple-cross, or if she really is out to take down Oliver.

• Are you excited for more hactivist Felicity, or do you want our girl to limit her illegalities to Overwatch?

• “Heroinism” is now a thing. Pass it on.

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