Arrow Season 2 Episode 21 (TV Show Review)

The ending to the previous episode was a sucker punch in the gut. With Moira’s rising popularity and support for her mayoral campaign, it was only a matter of time before Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke undertook an extreme measure to ensure that his pawn Sebastian Blood would be the mayor instead. As awesome as the episode itself was, all of that paled in comparison to those last few minutes as Slade murdered Moira in front of her children. I won’t deny it, I cried. She wasn’t a character I liked all that much, but that had begun to change of late, and now she’s gone. I was wondering how the new episode this week would top it and I have to say that it came quite close indeed.

City of Blood” is the title of this week’s episode, and it is one where that title has a lot of different meanings. With Moira Queen dead and Sebastian Blood mayor, Starling is his city now. With Slade now possessing an army of men powered by the mirakuru, the city is going to be drenched in blood now. The City of Heroes has morphed into the City of Blood and Destruction and Death. And it is up to the heroes, the betrayed and grieving heroes to shoulder their losses and move on, because there is a vast conspiracy in place here.

Arrow Logo 0001With Moira’s death and ownership of Queen Consolidated passing to Isabel Rochev, Slade Wilson has progressed immeasurably in his plan to make Ollie’s life a living hell. His family is broken, his company is gone, he has doubts about himself, he is wracked by guilt for everything that has been happening. It is not a good place to be, not at all. When we begin, we start off with Moira’s funeral service and the reception afterwards, neither of which Ollie attends because because he just can’t face up to what has happened because of him. That’s the main thread of Ollie’s arc in this issue. He blames himself for everything that has happened, and rightly so. At the same time, we get to see more of how changed he has become. Where he wouldn’t have hesitated to put a few arrows in Slade before (and he did kind of put a couple arrows in him previously), now he just can’t do it. Now he’s paid an ultimate price, and he is devastated. So to safeguard what he has remaining, he makes a drastic decision.

When this season began, we found out that Ollie was so wracked by the guilt of what he had allowed to happen, what he couldn’t prevent, that he left Starling and went back to the island where had lived for five years before finding his way back to civilisation. His friends, Felicity and Diggle, had the tough task of locating him and bringing him back this time, because his company needed him to be there, and his family did too. We see that mirrored in this episode. Another death that Ollie could not prevent, one more mark against his soul, because of his actions on the island and what followed after.

The episode overdoes a bit on the whole tortured hero trope, but at the same time I liked it as well, because this episode allowed Ollie to confront his fears in a meaningful way, especially once he learned the identity of another major ally of Slade’s. Betrayals come back to haunt him again, and this one is even worse in a way because of how much he trusted this particular person, genuinely trusted that is, unlike Isabel Rochev.

And everything spinballs from there on out. Lots of characters are featured in this episode, not the least of which is Isabel Rochev returned from the dead as we saw in the previous episode. Injected with the mirakuru by Slade and given her close quarters combat skills, she is now one of his biggest pawns in the game to take down Ollie, his friends and Starling itself. What this episode did great was show her as a pseudo-Ravager. In the comics, Ravager is Slade’s daughter who adopts a similar costume as him and is trained by him to be almost as good as he is in various combat skills. Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev as a pseudo-Ravager is one of the best things about this episode, no mistake. She looks fantastic in the costume and the actress definitely exudes a certain menace in those scenes. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to see much of her, but hopefully that will be different next week when we get the penultimate episode of the season.

We also get to see Laurel being truly awesome for once. While her relationship with Ollie has seen a lot of twists and turns in the last two years, one thing that hasn’t changed is how well she knows him for who he is. In her own words, and she realises that it is quite an ironic statement, but something like this needed to be said. Laurel finally rises up to be an inspirational character that Ollie can look up to, and that’s pretty freaking great. Of course, she already knows that he is the Arrow, so that puts a certain context on things, but it is great to see that the writers allowed her character to truly bloom in this episode. I just wonder why we couldn’t have seen Laurel like this before, more often. She was great, and so was Katie Cassidy.

At the same time though, and I kind of realise now that this week was pretty much women’s week on this show (and on Agents of SHIELD!), Felicity and Thea too got their day in the sun. While the former continues to offer a moral center and moral support to Ollie, Thea is all about how she can move on from everything that has happened to her in recent weeks, what with being kidnapped by Slade Wilson and then watching him murder her mother. That kind of thing does things to a person. And Thea is reeling from that. The silver lining is that the writers break her out of despondency and get her to be active. I don’t like exactly how that is brought up and where she is going at the end of the episode, but I totally get that when one’s life has been turned inside out by secrets, then that person needs some major time-off.

We don’t see Slade Wilson in this week’s episode, just hear Manu Bennett’s scary/creepy voice on the phone with Sebastian Blood, and I think that was a missed opportunity. What I would have loved to see is Deathstroke and Ravager in the same scene. The nerdgasm would have been through the roof. In his place we have Kevin Alejandro’s Sebastian Blood aka Brother Blood aka The Guy In The Skull Mask. Kevin’s character has been a bit all over the place and has always lacked a certain intensity. But not in this episode. In this episode, he was good, really good. I liked him and his acting. He makes Sebastian Blood out to be a really serious and really dangerous guy in this episode, and I can only imagine where he is going to next. Of course, as one of the major villains of the season, he is going down, but just how, that’s going to be something to watch.

Arrow Cast 0001

And finally, we come to the sequences on the island. This week’s flashback deals with Ollie, Sara, Anatoli and another prisoner from the Amazo gain entry to the wrecked Japanese submarine where Ollie, Sara, Slade and Shado found the mirakuru. Their intent is to get the submarine working and then sink the Amazo, and Slade with it. But, there are complications, and by the time the episode ends, things turn out not for the good. Things are finally coming to a head as far as this all is concerned, and I’m definitely on the edge of my seat for each moment. Hats off to David Nykl for doing such a great job as Anatoli. Loved him.

Once again, a wonderful episode of Arrow. It lacks the emotional impact of the last episode, and isn’t quite so action-packed either, but this marks the opening move in the final phase of Slade Wilson’s plans for Starling, and the next two episodes are going to be awesome. I got my fingers crossed on that one.

More Arrow: Reviews of all the second season episodes can be found here.

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Posted on May 2, 2014, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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