The Arrow spin off, Green Arrow and the Canaries, sees Mia Queen in a much different light… until she’s reminded of who she truly is by a few familiar, heroic faces that need her help.
The Green Arrow and the Canaries backdoor pilot, or Arrow season 8, episode 9, takes place after the events of the Arrow series finale, which airs the following week. With Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy, and Kat McNamara at the reins, I knew this was going to be fantastic, but my expectations were truly blown away.
This show is something special; it’s not a carbon copy of Arrow, it’s not a replacement for Arrow, it’s just another way, like we’re seeing in every other Arrow-verse show, to honor Oliver’s death.
We’ve put together a few teases about what’s to come, but as always, if those aren’t your thing, scroll down to see our spoiler-free review and our interview with Juliana Harkavy about Green Arrow and the Canaries, Dinah’s future, and what she believes makes Dinah such a fantastic hero!
‘Green Arrow and the Canaries’ / ‘Arrow’ season 8, episode 9 screener secrets
‘There hasn’t been crime in Star City for 20 years.’
This should, basically, be the city’s motto with how much we hear of it. But it’s true, and things change in 2040, prompting this journey to begin. Before Star City meets a similar fate to that of the Arrow season 7 flash-forwards, someone assembles a team to prevent it, partially for herself and partially for Oliver’s legacy as Star City’s savior to continue on.
When one of Mia’s friends is kidnapped, it’s the beginning of the decline, which everyone wants to stop, as the city remembers Oliver for saving them and eradicating crime. (And let’s just say, someone is perfectly aware of everything that’s set to happen to Star City in the coming years.)
Why are Laurel Lance and Dinah Drake in 2040?
As the promotional photos released by the CW reveal, yes, Laurel and Dinah are young in 2040. The reason they are both there and not in the present day is addressed, though I would not go as far as to say it’s answered. For someone, it’s a big question mark, leading to a mystery that will surely be explored throughout the first season of Green Arrow and the Canaries.
There are certain things about Laurel and Dinah that have been impacted by “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” but their relationship is not one of them.
Honestly, for me, the strongest part of the episode was the friendship that Dinah and Laurel share, and how that has and continues to bring them together as the Canaries. We haven’t seen much of their development on-screen, so it’ll be nice to really see how these two have gotten in front of their past and become the best of friends (which, as you’ll see below, was not what Juliana Harkavy expected).
Mia’s new life
In this life, Mia has everything she thought she wanted. She’s a Star City socialite, known as the daughter of the city’s hero. The Mia of this reality is very similar to how her father was before he embarked on the Queen’s Gambit. With Felicity as a caring parent throughout her life, she’s a little more put together, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t just as lost.
Just because Mia gets her memories back, don’t think she’s giving up on the socialite life in Star City. She’s very torn between her two worlds, which is an internal struggle that begins to show itself during this hour.
However, she does have a few familiar faces around her in this new life. Most importantly, her brother, William. They’re closer than ever after spending their lives together. There is a really great moment between them in the episode that I believe will make people happy.
The ring on Mia’s finger in the above photo has certainly captured a lot of attention since being released. And while I can’t say what it is about, I will say that much of Mia’s story during this episode relies on the reason it’s on her finger.
The ‘Green Arrow and the Canaries’ team
Honestly, Laurel, Dinah, and Mia don’t come together as a team right away. There’s a lot of tension, particularly between Laurel and Mia, as their ways of dealing with things clash. Dinah is the mediator for the team, helping Mia and Laurel to understand each other, as she already has a great relationship with Laurel and begins to have one with Mia (as she’s much more understanding and patient than Laurel is).
I think it’s a very realistic way of handling these three very different women coming together in order to save the city, just as we saw struggles when Diggle and Felicity (and everyone else) joined Oliver on his mission. It wouldn’t be right if they fit together perfectly from the start, but the episode truly shows what a great team the three of them will make if given the chance.
‘Green Arrow and the Canaries’ / ‘Arrow’ season 8, episode 9 spoiler-free review
I had expectations for the Arrow spin off, Green Arrow and the Canaries, and wow, were they met. The episode felt so alive, the characters were reinvigorated, and I’m particularly fond of the bond between Dinah, Laurel, and Mia already.
In this post-crisis world, it’s easy to assume that the Arrow season 7 and 8 flash-forwards were for nothing, but that is absolutely not the case. Things from that world are incorporated into this one in a way that is surprising, exciting, and unusual for the Arrow-verse (if we’re being honest).
I’m very exciting to see where this will take these characters and the Arrow-verse at large. How will Green Arrow and the Canaries set in the future be tied into the present day shows? It’s something that will have definitely have to be explored if the series gets picked up.
Fans of the Canaries and fans of the 2040 crew will both be happy, as there’s a great mix between them, as Dinah and Laurel have to start becoming intertwined with the future world in which they’re currently living. That said, it’s very clear that this show revolves around three leading ladies, not just one, so it’ll be exciting to actually see Mia, Laurel, and Dinah get their time in the spotlight.
One criticism I have of the episode, which I’m hoping will be resolved in the Arrow series finale, is we don’t learn what happened to Felicity in this world. We saw her approach the Monitor in the old world and go through a portal, but since the future is different, why isn’t she with Mia and William? It was a glaring issue for me that they didn’t even bring it up in the episode.
(Stick around! Our interview with Juliana Harkavy is below!)
Interview with Juliana Harkavy
Hypable: When did you first learn a spin off was in development with Dinah as a starring character, and what was your reaction to the news?
Juliana Harkavy: I first learned about maybe halfway into the filming [Arrow season 8] that they were going to do a spin off. And I got a surprise call from Mark Guggenheim and Beth Schwartz and they just said, “Hey, we have some good news.” And they told me the idea about the spin-off and I was extremely excited about the idea of having a female-centered show. I loved the way that they came to it. I thought it was really innovative, really creative and really exciting, so I was, of course, honored and thrilled to be a part of it.
What excites you the most about Dinah’s future continuing on this spin-off?
I think what excites me the most is the fact that there’s so much to still explore with her. We don’t really know much of her backstory outside of a past relationship. We don’t know about her family. We don’t know about her interests. We don’t know about what makes her tick, and what makes her a dynamic person and character. So the opportunity to explore all of those things is really, really exciting.
What is one quality about Dinah that you admire?
I really admire Dinah’s ability to adapt, to grow, and to be introspective and assume herself. [I like that she’s] not always be so sure of herself, not always be so sure of what she wants. Because I think what really makes a hero a good hero, and a relatable hero, is that they’re flawed. So, actually, I think what I like the most about Dinah is that she is flawed, yet she continues to pursue a moral code, and she continues to pursue making the world a better place.
Obviously Dinah, like the other characters, is very upset about Oliver’s death, but how do you think it’s impacting her and her choices going forward?
I think it changes how she views the world. It was Team Arrow, so when Arrow was gone, what does that mean? It means that we have to really find ourselves. We have to find our contribution to the team, find our own version of heroism. Dinah is now pursuing that, and she has Oliver as the flame that’s pushing her journey in her mission. And as an actor, it helps me to have that in my mind, and it helps Dinah on her journey too.
A big part of Dinah’s story on Arrow has been her role in law enforcement. Do you think we could continue to see Dinah on this path? Will she be branching out to explore other things?
I think that right now she would do whatever it took to make it right in this new world order. [The SCPD] might not necessarily exist the way it once did, but if she had to put on that old hat again, she definitely would. The cool thing is that she really has done a lot of things. I mean we even learned in this last, in [Arrow season 8, episode 7] this year that she can fly a plane. So she has so many experiences, she wears so many hats, and I think that what would be cool is exploring all of them.
Do you see Dinah’s history in law enforcement as an advantage or a disadvantage to her as a hero?
I think it’s a definite advantage because Dinah having been on both sides of the law, both at a time when vigilantism was legal and when it wasn’t, she’s seen every side and I think, perspective and experience, all of that makes you a more compassionate person, and compassion and empathy are really heroic traits. So I think it just makes her stronger and better.
What can you tease about Dinah’s role in this upcoming episode?
Dinah is coming into her own. Well, she’s come into her own in this new world, and then when this new problem arises and she’s revisited by the past, then she again has to ask herself [what she stands for]. And so she’s coming into herself and she’s the same Dinah that we knew, but with a lot more experience and a new purpose.
So does that mean we can expect some changes in her in this post-crisis world?
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think that losing Oliver, that the worlds collapsing around her, it has changed her, given her a completely new perspective. So she has all of those things that made her Dinah but now, in a way, I see her as a little bit softer and a little bit more open and a little bit more open to the idea that anything could happen, and that puts a really fun energy into the show.
So far in the Arrow-verse, five characters have played some version of a Canary. What would you say separates Dinah from the others?
She’s Dinah, and just being Dinah makes her different. She’s her own woman. The others are their own women, and this is something that I really love about the show, that we do have different variations and different characters playing the Canary. Because the message is that a woman to be a Canary, it’s something internal. It’s something that any woman can do. It’s something you can be in your heart. So, Dinah being a Canary just means that she has taken that oath to make the world a better place, to be a hero for other people, and that’s really what it takes to be Canary.
Dinah and Laurel have had a very rocky relationship for the last two years. How would you describe their relationship going into this episode, and are you surprised that where those who have ended up?
I could not be more surprised. I mean, I have to be honest, if somebody killed my fiancé, I don’t know if I could end up being their best friend for the rest of all eternity, so I also really admire Dinah’s forgiveness. Truly like that, if nothing else, that is a hugely heroic trait that she has. But again, it also really strengthens the relationship in the world because, just like in a family or in any relationship, the hard times are what make you stronger. And your capacity to forgive is what really defines how strong and impactful the relationship is. And you couldn’t have more of an extreme example of that than with Dinah and Laurel.
So yeah, I think it’s really cool and I think that we have great natural chemistry because we actually do love each other in real life. But on top of that, the backstory makes it so rich and interesting to watch because to see these women working together after they’ve literally tried to kill each other, it says a lot. And I think that women need to, well not, I’m not saying that women should kill each other’s boyfriends [laughs], but women need to be able to come together like that more.
What can you tease about the relationship between Dinah and Mia, of which we haven’t seen very much of with present day Dinah?
I find the relationship between Dinah and Mia to be very tender. I think that especially now with Oliver being gone, Dinah is endeared to Mia, as she wants to protect her. Not that she needs protecting, but it’s Oliver’s kid, so Dinah feels obligated to be there for her. I really liked their dynamic, I think it’s sweet.
During [Arrow Season 7], Dinah lost her canary cry, seemingly permanently. Do you hope that might be restored or do you prefer Dinah working as a vigilante without any extra powers?
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about that because I thought it was a really important message that again, in order to be a Canary, it’s not about having a cry. It’s not about being able to be strong and knock down people. It’s about something internal in your heart. And I think that losing the canary cry really made that a literal point.
And so for a while I thought, and I still do think, that that was a really good thing to happen to her character and a really important lesson for her to learn. But I also think that there’s something about the Black Canary where she is defined at least, originally her character in the comic, is defined by this cry, it’s like a trademark. So yeah, there is a part of me that also would love to have the cry back because I think it just really, it adds to the package of just the way we can view the Black Canary.
Rene has been Dinah’s rock on Team Arrow since her introduction. How do you think she’s coping with not having him around?
I think that Dinah is learning to let go in a way. I think she misses her old life and the old people that were there, but there’s so many new things. I mean it’s 2040, things have changed so much. And I think, again, Dinah [and Rene], they would be endeared to each other for the rest of all time, having been on that team together. So there’s nothing but love for Rene and I’m sure that she thinks of the old team and she would be wonderful to have the old team there. And maybe we will, I don’t know.
What’s most exciting for you about Dinah, Mia and Laurel becoming a team?
Oh, it’s just so great to have a group of kickass women really going out there, coming together, joining forces and working to make the world better. It’s a powerhouse team and we get along great in real life, so it’s a real pleasure to go to work and to do this together. I think the three of us is the most exciting part about it because we’re really good together.
Since you started portraying Dinah, what has been your favorite scene to film?
Oh my gosh, that is so hard. I have to say that the scene, in [season 5, episode 11], where Dinah reveals to Oliver at the end that she’s actually Dinah Drake [instead of] Tina Boland. She actually revealed that she is the Black Canary. That was an important scene, first of all, because of the experience that with Stephen during that scene; it was one of the first times we really got to work together and it was important to me. But, yeah, it just was the pivotal moment for the character, and I felt like it was this pure moment right before all of this began. I didn’t realize how much was about to happen, but that’s at the stage for all of it.
What three words would you use to describe the Green Arrow and the Canaries episode?
Oh, exciting, innovative and kickass.
What would you say to Arrow fans who are hesitant to go on another journey with the Green Arrow and the Canaries without Oliver?
I would say that in no way is Green Arrow and the Canaries replacing or trying to replace Oliver or Arrow. He is the inspiration for the show. His story is a part of this story, but it’s not, there’s no competition between the two. This is just an opportunity to see what happens after that door partially closes. And so I would hope that they give it a chance because if they love those beloved, classic characters and they love the story of Arrow and they love the show, then they’ll probably love [this] show too.
The Arrow spin off’s back door pilot episode, Green Arrow and the Canaries, airs Tuesday, January 21 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW! Be sure to tune in and send your wishes to The CW for the show to move forward!