“Crisis on Infinite Earths” has come and gone, Oliver Queen is dead, the year is 2040, and we find ourselves in Star City. Oliver is dead, has been for twenty years, and Mia is living her best heiress life. She’s about to graduate, and wakes up to a proposal from a man that she loves, JJ, and a pretty sick bohemian apartment and everything seems to be going just fine.
Black Canary is singing and playing piano in a bar that she owns and we learn about another Crisis ramification, when Dinah left Oliver’s funeral she realized that the Black Canary doesn’t exist on Earth Prime, so she could live a life free from loss or old mistakes. Laurel is still doing her Canary rounds and she time jumped to do it in 2040 to keep the city safe because socialite Bianca Bertinelli is kidnapped and found dead in three days. If she doesn’t save her then in a year Star City will fall into chaos. Laurel turning up in 2040 means that Mia’s peaceful existence is about to shatter because with her father gone and Dinah living the lounge life, Mia is going to have to become the Green Arrow that the city needs and help the Canaries to save her friend.
Laurel uses a special ring to do the equivalent of what J’onn J’onzz did to all of the other superfriends, thanks to Cisco replicating J’onn’s power using tech. Mia gives her back all of her memories of her father and of the multiverse shrinking that occurred during Crisis. All of Mia’s memories hit her like a ton of bricks, filled with the pain , sadness, mistakes and deaths causing her to leave her graduation/engagement party and rethink the latter because her fiance killed people she loved in her other life. Back at Mia’s the Canary squad convince her to get back into the Arrow game and get some intel from Bianca’s family by serving as a distraction so the Canaries can plant some bugs around the house. The intel they gather has the Canaries and Arrow stop a late-night shipment that they suspect IS Bianca but, it turns out that the shipment is just a bunch of green vials. A literal bomb gets dropped revealing who viewers are led to believe is JJ because he is rocking the Deathstroke mask in his villainous best.
Mia, sure that JJ isn’t Earth Prime’s Deathstroke, heads to his job to prove it or be proven wrong while Lauren is hell-bent on being as destructive a force as possible in Mia’s life. Mia confronts JJ and accuses him of kidnapping Bianca. She asks him to open his files since she couldn’t get into his computer if he wants to prove that he’s not lying to her. Because he loves her JJ obliges and shows her the hidden files which are nothing more than pictures and plans for a surprise honeymoon to Fiji and when a new post from the believed kidnapped Bianca shows up on JJ’s phone we find ourselves wondering if he’s being honest and if Earth Prime Deathstroke is someone else or JJ’s gaslighting her and us and is about to pull off the Kaiser Soze of all Kaiser Soze’s.
While Mia tries with no avail to salvage her relationship Dinah and Laurel discover that the video of Bianca sharing her namaste moment online was a deep fake and she is in fact still in danger. Laurel shows up post dumping to explain to Mia what she needs to do and talk her through her emotional hard spot as she grapples with the competing realities going rogue in her brain. In the end, Bianca is rescued and her boyfriend Trevor turns out to be Earth Primes OG Deathstroke, Mia decides to put on the suit and work towards being the savior of Star City like she was in her original life, Dinah links up with Laurel to start a Canary network, JJ gets kidnapped and woken up in the same way that Mia was , which could mean his return to Deathstroke, Mia’s brother William gets taken as they check out their dads statue and, Laurel confides in Dinah that Mia may have been behind the fall of Star City and she blew up her world by awakening her in the hope that if she becomes the Green Arrow the future won’t fall.
On the surface Green Arrow & the Canaries is a formulaic winner, it hits all the right notes, the action to story ratio is solid, the acting is well done, the direction is stellar and the evil under plot is believable. But, Laurel’s character isn’t well written and it goes beyond them not being likable, I could understand not being likable because I love a good female antihero but, she has no direction for someone on a mission. She also cut off Mia’s agency at the knees in a way that made no sense, added nothing to the story and then she switched on her emotional and mission position, seemingly out of nowhere and became nice and compassionate. Laurel’s arc made no sense, there was no awakening, no build-up, nothing that gave us a way to connect to her or even care about her. I find that most writers have a tendency to no not be able to create a female anti-hero in a way that where they don’t seem underdeveloped and lack consistency, they seem to make them one dimensional, all “bitch” or all “angel” with no layers in between. When it came to Laurel, who was supposed to be the catalyst to whatever is coming next, I didn’t hate her or love her, I just didn’t understand her because she was written in a way where she had a purpose but, not any real agency or ideology that would make us see her way as right or wrong. Her character was chaotic problematic and didn’t come off as neutral, good or evil which made it hard to get to know her and I felt that the character deserved better.
If you can get past the Laurel problem, the episode itself wasn’t that bad it was a nice time jump with a good introduction to Mia and her world in Earth Prime. Katherine McNamara shines as the unsure heroine and if there’s a spin-off brewing when this final season of Arrow comes to a close, I would watch it in a heart beat. She managed to give such an amazing performance that even with that hair, I forgot she was in Shadowhunters. The rest of the cast held their own, honestly Katie Cassidy held her own to the best of her ability as Laurel given what they chose to give her to work with, and it was a pretty fun watch. As an Arrow newby, I have up until this point only watched cross overs and if not for Crisis hitting the reset and causing me to be invested in the lives of all of the characters in the Arrowverse, I never would have watched another episode but, if this is an indication of how the rest of the final season will go, I’m all in.