Arrow Season 2 Episode 20 (TV Show Review)
For almost the entire season, the show has always focused on the big picture, developing all the storylines with respect to the meta-plot that is running through the season. And the last few episodes have certainly borne that out given the important implications of the episode-specific subplots. And what’s been fun is that overall this has been a much tighter season than the first one, because the showrunners had a clear idea of what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do that. Along the way, I was expecting something very dramatic for the final episodes and after giving viewers a sort of filler run-around, the new episode did exactly that, for the ending to this one is the most dramatic of them all.
In “Seeing Red” we see how Team Arrow deals with Roy’s condition. He was injected by Brother Blood with the mirakuru serum several episodes back and the character has been trying to deal with the aftereffects of the serum for several months now. To no success. But then, last episode he was hooked by Deathstroke to a super-dialysis machine to get the serum out of him for the villain’s own purposes and now Roy is a comatose resident of the Arrow Cave. Well, not for long. He goes for a rampage soon as he wakes up and none of it is pretty. This just might be one of the most violent episodes of the show as yet and I love it nonetheless, mostly because of how it ends.
Despite being an episode focused on Roy and his problems with the mirakuru serum, the undercurrent of the episode is all about family and looking out for those closest to you. For almost half its length, the episode appears to be filler in that dealing with Roy’s condition is a side-mission for Team Arrow, but once we hit that half mark, things kick into overdrive and boy, do they get going! For the entirety of the show’s run we’ve seen how the many lies and secrets kept by Moira Queen have led to her having an estranged relationship with her children. Things were on the mend early on in the second season but then just a couple of episodes ago Deathstroke dropped the big bombshell on Thea that she is Malcolm Merlyn’s bastard daughter and not the legitimate child of Robert Queen. Now all bets are off.
So even as Moira prepares for her campaign as Mayor of Starling, she has to deal with the grief brought on by her own secrets and lies which are tearing her remaining family apart from within. It is not a pretty place to be in. That’s the subtext of this episode, especially once we start to see the flashbacks, which are not about the Island for once, but are instead from six-seven years back when Ollie was still a playboy. He got a girl out of pregnant and Moira stepped in to take care of the resultant fallout. Looking out for her children is the first obligation of any mother and Moira’s action in this episode certainly bear that out, especially when we get to the highly dramatic ending featuring Deathstroke. That particular scene left me screaming in rage because that’s not how I saw Deathstroke’s arc going. God do I hate that jumped up, arrogant jerk.
And yet, there’s also Roy to consider. The mirakuru has been playing up on him, causing him to have lapses in judgement that are beginning to negatively affect the people around him, especially those that he loves and things finally kick into high gear in this episode. Because all that he can see is red, all he can feel is the urge to hurt somebody, even kill. His rampage in this episode, whether fighting against Ollie and Sara or going up against security guards and police officers, is a thing to inspire fear. This is not the Roy that I’ve come to know and it is a sad moment for him. The mirakuru serum screws with a person’s mind and Roy is keenly feeling its effects right now. Much as with Team Arrow, I too am getting seriously anxious now, wondering how this is all going to be resolved. I love Colton Haynes’ performance and I want him to be around for a long, long time, preferably as a hero!
Seeing Red also thankfully brings back Bex Taylor-Klaus’ character Cindy aka Sin, a friend of Sara’s from the first time we see the Canary in action. Her father was a pilot who crash-landed on the Island five years ago and before his death he had Sara promise him that she would take care of his daughter. Sin has been absent from the show for quite a while, appearing in brief cameos here and there, but she gets quite a bit of mileage in this episode and she really comes out on top because of both how the character is portrayed and Bex’s grand performance. Seriously, Sin really needs to be promoted to series regular and to be featured more as the show goes on. High time I say.
The biggest moment of character development is when Moira confronts her fears about how she is going to be a Mayor and a mother both, given the current crisis in her family. Never before has Susanna Thompson’s performance moved me so much, especially not in the final three minutes of the episode. Moira is a character that I’ve alternatively hated and loved on the show and this episode marks her best I think. Moments like these are why I keep coming back to the show because the show makes a great effort to make the characters interesting, and the actors definitely give it their all. Whether we see Moira/Susanna in the flashbacks or in the present, she is always rocking her… heavy presence, making herself felt in the grand scheme of things.
If there’s one thing that I didn’t like about this episode though was how Sara is dealt with by the writers, at the end of the episode. It kind of comes out of nowhere and it took me by surprise, and not in a good way. It kind of plays her character to be not as good as Ollie’s, and certainly not someone who can learn to be different as he did, going from season 1 to season 2, by giving up his shoot to kill method to most villains. And yeah, there’s a pretty big confrontation between Sara and Roy in this episode, which had me on the edge of my seat all throughout.
Still, this was a pretty fun damn episode, and overall I’d say that it was certainly among the best that the show has offered to date.
More Arrow: Reviews of all the second season episodes can be found here.
Posted on April 24, 2014, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged Action, Arrow, Arrow Episode 20, Barry Allen, Beth Schwartz, Birds of Prey, Black Canary, Caity Lotz, Canary, Colton Haynes, Contemporary, CW, David Ramsey, DC Comics, Deathstroke, Doug Aarniokoski, Drama, Emily Bett Rickards, Felicity Smoak, Female Superheroes, Green Arrow, Heist, John Diggle, Kevin Alejandro, Manu Bennett, Mirakuru, Moira Queen, Oliver Queen, Review Central, Robert Queen, Roy Harper, Sara Lance, Sebastian Blood, Seeing Red, Slade Wilson, Speedy, Starling City, Stephen Amell, Superheroes, Supervillains, Susanna Thompson, The Arrow, Thea Queen, TV Show, TV Show Review, Vigilante, Wendy Mericle, Willa Holland. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.