Arrow 5×11 Roundtable: 'Second Chances'

Arrow set its sights on its new Black Canary in its episode titled “Second Chances,” which reminded us that everyone is capable of redemption and starting over with Team Arrow.

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Lyra, Nora, and Sarah are breaking down this week’s Arrow, which has us all still feeling cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season.

Describe your thoughts about “Second Chances” using just five words.

Alyssa: Okay, that wasn’t actually bad.
Lizzie: Shocker, that was not horrible.
Nora: Is that Arrow I see?
Sarah: Nice to see you again!

Describe your emotions about “Second Chances” using a gif.


One of the prevailing themes of the episode was, as the episode title suggested, about second chances. What are your thoughts on how Team Arrow has represented a second chance for all of its members, including the original members and now the newbies?

Alyssa: While season 5 has become all about the newbies, there’s no denying that this theme of redemption and second chances was implemented long before this episode titled “Second Chances.” When you have a man that has suffered five years of hell on around near an island and returns home as a brutal killer and can evolve into a hero, then you know that redemption is possible for anyone. Since the show’s inception, Team Arrow has represented the idea of second chances. Obviously for Oliver, it was a chance to redeem himself as a hero. For Diggle, it was as a second chance to make a difference in the world. For Felicity, it was a second chance to be a hero and find her purpose in this world.

Since everyone that has followed, this team has always been about redemption. That’s no different for the newest team members, including Tina/Dinah, who despite initially turning the offer down realized that she wanted that second chance. While I’m not the biggest fan of introducing so many new characters to the team, I do appreciate how though when they introduce them there is that promise of a second chance.

Lizzie: They were a little too in the nose with it, but all in all, I don’t mind the notion that Team Arrow, and this family that they’re creating, is a second chance for all it’s members. I happened to think this was a good episode for all them, even for Wild Dog, who I usually can’t stand. The idea of second chances, though, it’s not new. The Team has been a second chance for it’s original members – Diggle, Oliver and Felicity, as well as the new ones, so in a way the show is just reinforcing the same idea.

Nora: Even before this episode, one of the prevailing themes of the season was second chances and I’m glad this episode saw that theme come out once again. I really like the idea that Team Arrow functions as a second chance family and I’m glad they’re running with that. I’ve always thought Team Arrow was the place for “misfits” and for people to find second chances and I’m glad there was a full episode devoted to it. The newbies seeking a second chance I think would hit a little closer to home, if I knew them better, particularly with Rene. That being said, I think this was the best episode for the new recruits so far. I like that they were folded into this theme of second chances, I just wish we had more background on Rene.

Sarah: As much as I wish they didn’t obviously hit the audience over the head with the message, it was nice to see them embrace it wholeheartedly and not just for one specific character but the entire Arrow crew. Team Arrow has never been the same for anyone who’s joined the crew after Oliver, for both the OTA and the newbies. I like that for all the fighting and difficulties they’ve all had, no one lost sight that being a part of a mission, not having to dive into this fight alone gave them the second chance they were looking for even if it wasn’t how they initially saw it. They’ve gone from a barely held together team to people who all genuinely care about each other (though that more applies to the newbies lately than OTA, but still.)

Describe how you would react if you got to meet Felicity Smoak IRL like her new fangirl using a gif.

(I am Cisco, Cisco is me)

We’ve been teased that we’re going to see Felicity travel down a dark path and experience her island this season. And now we know that it’s going to involve the dark net and her past hacktivist ways. How excited are you?!

Alyssa: I’m beyond thrilled that Felicity is finally getting a storyline that doesn’t involve romance. Not that I’m not a massive fan of Felicity and Oliver’s storyline focus (I totally am), but there also needs to be an individual focus on a character that makes them multidimensional in the story. We’ve seen most of our core group of characters go through their “island.” It appeared as if Felicity’s would be her paralysis, but that was wrapped too quickly to be anything substantial in the way these other characters’ islands have been. I like the fact that her island is going to involve her hacktivist past. It really goes to show you how you can’t ever eliminate the darkness within, it’s all about how you suppress it, and Felicity has done a good job until now. But now she’s undergone so many heartbreaks that have really dampened her that this feels like the perfect opportunity for this kind of story. (Side note: I also really feel like Prometheus is somehow involved because he’s like 10 steps ahead of everyone right now. I keep going back to how Prometheus wants to make Oliver suffer through making those he loves suffer. Hell, it was probably somehow Prometheus who caused that mess with Diggle, too. Dude is scary.)

Arrow is all about parallels, so since reading the tease that Felicity is going to experience her “island” this season I got really excited about the idea of Felicity and Oliver switching roles. We’re used to Felicity being the one in the light and Oliver being the one in the dark. But now it’s going to be Felicity fighting the darkness and Oliver embracing the light. And he’s going to be the one that ultimately inspires her like the so many times she’s inspired him. I still might not trust the writers completely, but I’m going to cling to the belief that they saw this parallel and have decided to embrace it.

Lizzie:  I don’t necessarily see the path as being dark yet, especially not compared to Oliver I-kill-people Queen, but I’m excited that we’re getting to see Felicity have a storyline of her own, I will admit. It feels like it’s a while since she’s had something that was hers, and that didn’t involve her relationship with Oliver. So, for that, I’m glad. I just hope if they say they’re going dark that they’re REALLY going dark and that the darkness isn’t just a questionable decision made and fixed in an episode. Female characters CAN go dark and have people still relate to them. IT IS POSSIBLE. I swear.

Nora: I’m excited to see where Felicity’s storyline goes from here and I think it’s a great opportunity for Emily Bett Rickards to show a different side to Felicity that we haven’t really gotten yet. Yes, she’s played the serious side at times, but I’m interesting in what this dark turn entails. I’m mostly excited for this storyline because FELICITY GETS A STORYLINE INDEPENDENT FROM OLIVER! Can you tell I’m excited? I’m sorry, Willa Holland may technically be build higher than Rickards, but Felicity is the main female character no matter what people say. So, I’m really excited for her to carry her own storyline and it going back to her hacktivism roots is a hat on a hat for me. I hope this storyline is played out longer than some of Felicity’s other storylines like Havenrock and her paralysis. Both storylines had such promise and were resolved very quickly. I have high expectations for this storyline once again and hope I’m not disappointed.

Sarah: To be blunt I don’t really like the idea of Felicity having to go dark to get her own storyline outside of romance, but I am excited that it’s going to involve her hacktivist past as I feel like there’s so much we still don’t know about her. Emily Bett Rickards has never ceased to astound me with her ability to bring out so many wonderful sides to Felicity Smoak and I cannot wait to see her sink her teeth into (what I hope will be) a juicy storyline. I don’t want truly want her to go dark as in Oliver Queen over the top extreme dark (Arrow writers you know what I’m talking about), but if it’s written well and in a way we get to see her overcome her struggles and learn more about herself I’m all for it.

Describe your feelings towards the insistence to have yet another Black Canary on Arrow using 5 words and a gif.

Alyssa: Can we retire Black Canary?

Lizzie: I’m surprised you now care.

Nora: Please, that’s one two many.

Sarah: To Arrow Writers re: BC

Now that we got that out of the way, what do you think about Tina/Dinah as an individual and how she’ll fit into the team?

Alyssa: To be honest, from what we’ve already seen I actually like Tina/Dinah. But something that continues to irk me is how she’s being forced to be yet another Black Canary. We’ve already had a Black Canary. Two already. Enough is enough. Let Tina/Dinah be her own hero. But since she is going to be Black Canary, let’s talk about how they’ve explained her powers. In the comics, Black Canary possesses a supersonic “cry,” which was never something Arrow would’ve thought to introduce to its non-superhero show before the emergence of THe Flash and metahumans. It was too late to make Laurel a metahuman, so they gave her a device that allowed her to possess a cry. But with Tina, there was time to craft a backstory that explains her canary cry due to the fact that she’s a metahuman.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tina gels with the team. She’s someone, much like Oliver, who has been going alone for a decent time and hasn’t really experienced this team thing in a while. I’m hoping that Tina will be able to bond with the team, namely Felicity because I need female friendships on DC television like I need water. I really love Tina’s badass demeanor. She’s someone that takes no crap from anyone, especially men that are pigs and harass women. I’m all for badass woman with convincing fighting abilities, as well as a big heart. She’s more Sara than Laurel, to be honest.

Lizzie: I like her, they’ve given her a backstory, issues and a good reason for being a vigilante, plus her powers. In fact, it feels like they’ve taken more care with her character than the took with Laurel, which is what makes it all so disappointing. These writers clearly never knew how to write Laurel Lance, but this makes it clear that part of that was that they didn’t care. They CAN do a good job when they try.

I’m also very meh about needing to make her the next Black Canary. Laurel was the Black Canary. The show killed her. We don’t really NEED another Black Canary, and I would have been happier if they’d made Tina any other superhero and if they didn’t try to sell me the name Dinah Drake as if I couldn’t remember that was the name of Laurel’s mom.

Nora: I actually really like her already. I think she’s another badass female character Arrow was in DESPERATE need of. While Felicity can carry her own, I need more female power on this show and I hope Tina/Dinah can bring that. I like that right from the start we get her backstory and what she’s fighting for. I already feel more connected to her than I did with some of the other new characters this season and I think that’s because I know her backstory and know what she’s fighting for. I think she’ll make a great addition to Team Arrow overall. I also think Juliana Harkavy is a great addition to the cast in general. I’m already digging what she brings to the table and how she’s already separating herself from the Laurel and Sara’s Canary legacy. She’s someone who will shake things up in the Arrow Cave in the best way possible and I’m so excited to see it happen. Welcome aboard Dinah!

Sarah: Laurel Lance will always be the Black Canary to me, I’m sorry no offense to Tina/Dinah but I wish they found another way to honor BC without trying to shoehorn her in as a replacement. It felt just too forced to me, but that’s also leftover bitterness over how Laurel was treated in the first place. That gripe aside I actually enjoyed her introduction onto the show with not just a tidbit of her past but an actual full out backstory as to why she’s out doing vigilante work. It was refreshing to not have it dragged out or teased and at the end of the day she made the choice to take Oliver’s offer of a second chance (ding ding ding) and keep moving forward with her life. The Dinah Drake bit was a little on the nose meta for me, but I have high hopes for her introduction into the Arrow team fold.

With the introduction of Talia al Ghul to Oliver’s flashbacks are you beginning to see how this five-year journey will ultimately come full circle?

Alyssa: I don’t know if I trust her. Like I want to trust her, but I don’t know if I do. This is the woman, after all, that trained Prometheus, right? My mind is screaming at me not to trust her. I’m all for strong women on this show (especially Talia al Ghul), so I’m really looking forward to seeing if my suspicions are correct.

Let’s be honest, this whole flashback story has been a mess. I’m sorry, but after the first two seasons it’s seemed made up as they went to accompany the new characters they were allowed to incorporate into the show. I felt the connection between seasons 1 and 2, but everything else not so much. At least Arrow is addressing Oliver’s Bratva past, which goes back to his Bratva tattoo. I’ll give them that. I’ll also give them credit that they’re trying to make Oliver’s island journey come full circle. It kind of feels too convenient that Talia al Ghul should come along and be the one to inspire Oliver to return home and fight the names on his father’s list. But, hey, at least they’re making an effort to connect it.

Lizzie: I think the journey has been a mess and there’s nothing they can really do to fix that. Now, with that out of the way, I like Talia and what she brings and it makes sense that Oliver would receive even more training, so I guess this is just them trying to salvage the situation. I still don’t love the flashbacks, but hey, at least they’ll be over after this season!

Nora: While I think this episode had some of the best flashbacks since like season 2, I still don’t see a clear path to the end of this flashback journey. Talia al Ghul is a great addition to the flashbacks and I think she will help keep me engaged, but I literally don’t see how Oliver’s going to end up back on Lian Yu and how this Bratva storyline will wrap up. At this point, I just can’t wait for these flashbacks to end. I’m looking forward to another female character on Arrow and while I don’t quite trust Talia al Ghul and her intentions with Oliver, I’m excited to see this character. Although she does make me miss Nyssa even more now. I’m genuinely just confused about the entire story arc with the flashbacks. We started on Lian Yu, went to Hong Kong, then back to the Lian Yu then to Russia and NONE of it has felt coherent. I’m interested to see how they pull it altogether by the end of the season and if it will remotely make any sense.

Sarah: The flashbacks haven’t really garnered my interest in at least a season, but I like that we are finally starting to the point to when we met Oliver back in the pilot. Talia Al Ghul is another character I am not surprised that was brought into the show, but it didn’t feel like a smooth transition to me (though that’s never been Arrow’s strong suit sadly.) My curiosity is what’s keeping me watching to see literally how it meets up with the pilot even if a lot of the journey here was for lack of a better phrase, a nonsensical mess.

Describe your emotions about Diggle being exonerated and able to return home using a gif.


Join us for another Arrow roundtable next Wednesday! Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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