A quick review of last night's "Arrow" coming up just as soon as I offer you some red wine...

Secret identities are a superhero trope going back to the birth of the genre (and, really, before it to the likes of Zorro), but they're ones that tend to work better on the page than they do in an ongoing TV show like this one or "The Flash." "Arrow" had long since passed the point where it made any sense whatsoever for Thea to not know about the superhero lair below her club, or what her brother really does with his nights. "Canaries" blessedly brought her into the fold, and showed just how much dramatic value there is in letting her deal with this new reality.

And while I'm still ambivalent at best about Laurel as the new Canary, the scene at the episode's end where she finally told her dad about Sara's murder was another example of how characters dealing with an uncomfortable truth is more interesting than characters getting angst-ridden about a secret they've kept for too long.

The other good thing "Canaries" did — besides killing off DJ Turn Down For Death — was to deal with the changes to Team Arrow in the wake of Oliver's mid-season absence. They went through a lot while he was "dead," and they're simply not going to be the same blindly obedient foot soldiers they were before, and it's nice to have the show address that. There were some bumps in that arc — particularly the notion that the federal government wouldn't step in to deal with Brick when the local cops were forced to abandon that part of the city (yet another trope that works better in comics than live-action) — but the show got real value out of letting the sidekicks grow without their leader around. And Oliver's new partnership with Merlyn provides the least contrived reason yet to keep things distant between him and Felicity; they're not apart because of some misunderstanding, or a boring obstacle love interest, but because of a difference in the core values of who they each are as people. And that's much more compelling, and respectful of them both, than the usual shenanigans that would have to be deployed at this point in a will-they/won't-they scenario.

What did everybody think of both "Canaries" and of recent "Arrow" doings as a whole?

Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "TV (The Book)" about the 100 greatest shows of all time, is available now. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com