The return of Sara Lance and her alter ego Canary was wonderfully done.
From afar, the idea seemed a bit gimmicky, but in Arrow Season 3 Episode 13 Sara's presence allowed Laurel to move on and fully accept her life as it is now and gave her the nudge required to tell her father the truth about her sister's death.
Laurel and Sara weren't the only siblings in the forefront nor the only ones dealing with lies that had been too long buried. At the strange prompting of Malcolm Merlyn, Oliver finally revealed to Thea his secret identity.
"Canaries" was jam packed with incredible moments and long-awaited revelations. Oliver had to face the fact he had become a member of the team; perhaps still the lead, yes, but of a democracy and not a dictatorship. He's no longer running the show.
Diggle: No, you weren't gone. You were dead and all of us, including me; we were ready to hang it up.
Oliver: Why didn't you?
Diggle: Because we realized we weren't just fighting for you, we were fighting for ourselves. That includes Roy and, yes, that includes Laurel.
Oliver: She's not a soldier.
Diggle: Neither were you.
Oliver: It's not the same thing and you know that.
Diggle: What I know, Oliver, is that you started something, something strong enough to live on past you. Question is, can you live with what it's become?
Oliver always made it clear how he felt about Laurel fighting. Now he's back and she's regularly suiting up, out on the streets taking down bad guys. To say their attitudes clash on the matter is an understatement.
Arrow: What do you think you're doing?
Black Canary: Your job, apparently!
Laurel's ability to hold her own continues, however, whether suited up or not. She even clocked a security guard in the face as he was raining bullets upon an unsuspecting crowd. It made the news. Even Lance started to put two and two together about his other daughter possibly getting in on the family business.
When you're hit with Vertigo, all bets are off. The scenes between sisters and Canaries were so well done, especially as Sara went in and out of costume depending upon the role she needed to play. If she was appealing to Laurel's softer side, she was appearing as Sara, when she angry and coming from Laurel's insecurities at walking in her sister's jacket, she was Canary.
Dinah Laurel Lance. Selfish Bitch. You're not a hero. You're a liar, a fraud and an addict.Canary
The surprising alliance between Felicity and Laurel appears to have grown as Felicity not only stands up to Oliver when he gets indignant at having to keeps tabs on Laurel, but later when the weight of what she was going through hit Laurel, it was once again Felicity who helped her new friend back up onto her feet.
Laurel: When Zytle hit me with Vertigo, I saw Sara. She was alive and she was calling me a fraud. I was crazy to think that I was fit to wear Sara's jacket, so much as follow in her footsteps.
Felicity: You're right. I hope I'm not out of line here. But, I think Sara wore her mask just as much to hide her demons as she did to help people. I don't see that with you. You have a light inside of you that Sara never had so maybe you should stop trying to be Sara and just be yourself.
Laurel: Thank you.
A friend of mine on Twitter coined them Laurlicity. With Thea now waiting in the wings, we could have a pretty badass trio of women bolstering each other up with some much needed girl power. There's been a lot of testosterone around and the girls have always been a little separated or dependent upon the fellas. Forging friendships such as this will make the entire team even more dynamic.
After Oliver and Laurel successfully fought off Vertigo, Laurel realized she didn't have to try to be her sister anymore and when she was able to say it out loud, her transformation into Black Canary was complete. She beat the crap out of Zytle and as she looked over her shoulder Sara looked on with approval. Tears stung my eyes as I wondered if it would be the last we see of them together.
The expectation that Lance would take the lies about Sara badly may have been tempered because he had time to realize his other daughter was also fighting in the streets. Either way, their secret is out and Lance clung to his only remaining daughter as he cried that he lost his baby again. It was heartbreaking, but there were no bad feelings. We all worried unnessarily.
There was a lot of that going around. The last secret to be told is that of Malcolm and his dastardly deed against his daughter. Everything he says and does at this point seems smug and with outside motivation. Even when he smarmily said one doesn't need appreciation for saving his daughter's life, that's exactly what it seemed he wanted. He'd best look out because ,thanks to him, Thea has Oliver now.
All those times I got mad at you for being a flake, or telling me something I knew that had to be a lie, you were saving someone's life. Thank you.Thea
It never seemed possible her reaction would be so accepting. Oliver was as surprised as the rest of us. Perhaps there just comes a time when you're done with secrets and knowing you've been told what you think is the last one is more of a happy relief than anything else.
Thea trusted what Oliver told her about Malcolm and Ra's, but until Chase went where Malcolm doesn't yet dare to follow (fingers crossed he dares by season's end), she never realized how vulnerable she really is, how vulnerable they really are. She's a smart girl, however, and will never trust Malcolm. She'll trust her brother, but not her father.
Up until this point, it was unclear exactly how she felt about him, so it's good to have a handle on that. Everybody seems to be on the same page about Malcolm except Malcolm himself. Inside his smug demeanor he still clings to a little hope for his redemption.
Roy (who was sporting a new hairstyle which I found very attractive) was watching out for Thea and all signs point to the two of them reconnecting in the future. He's still not a match for many fighters and was easily bested by Chase, but he was there despite the fact he knew what they were doing together. That takes guts. Can we also take a second to address how awesome it was that Thea mentioned to him the elephant in the room?
Thea: You know, I've been wondering. How do you decide between the red hoodie and the one with the mask?
Roy: [chuckles] I'm glad you know.
Thea: I felt pretty lame not recognizing my own brother just because he's wearing a hood.
Roy also stood up to Oliver which led to the showdown between the team driving the earlier conversation I mentioned he had with Diggle. Felicity, Roy, Diggle and Laurel have proven they're capable of holding their own while Oliver is gone and that's a good thing.
It wasn't so long ago I mentioned maybe someday he might want to take a vacation. He's not taking a vacation, but he's taking Thea to the island and they're going to train, or erase their fears. He couldn't have done that without a solid team so he's already reaping the rewards of a solid crew.
So many secrets were aired, so many hurdles jumped and all lived to fight another day. They'll be richer for it in the long run. May this bonding time coming up with Oliver help Thea come to terms with what it will mean to her to learn that she killed Sara and may the same be said for what Laurel is learning by leaning on her new teammates.
This last secret will be tough, but they know it's Malcolm. They got this far; they can go the whole way.
It's your turn! What did you think of "Canaries"? Was it good to clear the air to start fresh, so people can band together? Hit the comments and chat about it!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.