Arrow Season 2 Episode 22 (TV Show Review)

The last episode, “City of Blood“, marked the beginning of the end for Starling City as Slade Wilson, Isabel Rochev and Sebastian Blood unleashed their army of mirakuru-powered soldiers to wreak havoc all throughout the city. The episode had a lot of character development and action, but lacked some emotion at the same time. Still, it is in the top tier of Arrow episodes to date, as far as I’m concerned, and a large part of that is due to how the entire season been built up, and how the show has been improving since its debut in 2012. Now that we are just one week away from the finale, I was expecting this week’s episode to rock, and it did.

Streets on Fire” is all about the bad guys beating back the good guys and establishing their dominance as Starling burns all around them. Slade Wilson even makes a reference to Nero watching Rome burn and doing nothing, which is exactly what he is doing and what he intends to do. He is going to take everything away from Oliver that he cares about. Other than the war by proxy between these two characters, we also get some scenes with the Lance family as it finally really comes together, and some scenes with Thea as well as she finally comes face to face with her real father, Malcolm Merlyn. There’s a ton of action here, and all of it is excellent.

Note: Some spoilers from the episode are mentioned.

Arrow Logo 0001All the games, and all the misdirection that we’ve seen over the course of the season is now over. We now know full well who all the villains are. Our heroes all know who the villains are. The war in the shadows is pretty much done with now, and it is time for a good and honest fight on the streets of Starling as a mirakuru-crazed Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke goes up against a repentant Oliver Queen aka The Arrow. Once again, an episode of Arrow pretty much lives up to its name. The streets of Starling really are on fire in this episode as it is torn apart by Deathstroke Jrs who are intent on causing as much death and mayhem as possible. And to top it all off, even Isabel Rochev is now one of their number, as a pseudo-Ravager. We pretty much start off this episode with a fight between her and Diggle that had me really tense for the big guy, and watching Felicity smack her van right into Ravager was one of the most awesome moments of the show.

This is the episode where the good guys really go on the back-foot because the villains are always a few steps ahead of them. It can’t be helped, but what can be helped is that the heroes do something about it. Last week, we saw that Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, two STAR Labs employees who are friends with Felicity, had sent off a cure for the mirakuru to Starling but the chaos of the Deathstroke Jrs had derailed that plan. Now, even as the heroes cross-run through the city to get to the cure, fighting off multiple Deathstroke Jrs on the way, Slade Wilson is already ahead of them in retrieving the cure. The only question remains, who is going to get there first, and what lengths the villains and heroes are going to go to get back from the other.

That entire plot is the main framing story for this episode, but that’s not all of it, because we also see that the level of destruction and murders being perpetrated by Deathstroke Jrs really shocks Sebastian Blood, who is now the Mayor of the city. As we learn here, he has always been about saving the city and its most worst-off people and that he does love the city, just his methods were wrong. Road to hell paved with good intentions and all. Kevin Alejandro has been tremendous in the role all season and this episode gives him lots of opportunities to step even further outside of his comfort zone and become someone else. This is the City of Heroes after all, even though right now it is the City of Blood. If more villains on Arrow could have the same intensity, then things would be even better off for viewers.

And then there’s the entire subplot involving Malcolm Merlyn coming back to Starling City in the wake of Moira’s death, to make sure that his last remaining child, his daughter Thea, is safe. John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn aka the Dark Archer was an absolute highlight of the debut season, and it is so great to see him coming back to the show. He came back a few weeks ago actually, but that was little more than gratuitous cameo at the time, to really mess with the viewers’ heads and establish the League of Assassins even further in the Arrow mythology. But now he is back for quite a substantial appearance, and he totally rocked it in this episode. I loved every moment he had with Thea, especially when he went up against a Deathstroke Jr.

Its also great to see that Thea is still conflicted about her family. Great from a viewer’s point of view that is, because the show doesn’t magically solve her problems, but gives her more to do in the process. She believed her real father to be dead, and now he is back. A father who is a mass murderer and a villain, even worse than her mother who was merely an accessory to the crime rather than the mastermind behind it all. And the way that the episode ends with a confrontation between Thea and Malcolm? Holy hell but that was awesome, and also slightly confusing in that I can’t believe Thea did what she did. Damn.

Then there’s Sara Lance aka Canary, who returns to the city, much like Malcolm, to make sure that her family is safe. She’s been out of the loop for an episode or two since she couldn’t really handle the darkness inside of her and just needed some time off. Not so simple as that of course, because that has been built up from the very beginning of the season, but it is awesome to see Sara back. She is still struggling, but now she’s also on the mend because her family, her father and her sister both, are right where she needs them to be for her. Her subplot in this episode is all about recognising her own potential for heroism and it is handled well. A bit cliched in some cases, but still good. It is high time that Sara learned to be confident in who she is, and what she is, and the penultimate episode of the season is a good place for that I think.

Arrow Cast 0001

And finally, there are the flashbacks on the island. None of them are particularly impressive this time around, but the final showdown that is about to happen in Starling between the Arrow and Deathstroke is mirrored well by the flashback showdown between Oliver and Slade. It is high time that we get to see something like this, and I really can’t wait to see what is going to happen next. The Slade of the past is even more deranged and crazy than the Slade of the present, but they are both nutters all the same time, and can more than easily take out Ollie. But the fun part is in the execution and the hero surviving, albeit barely.

Unlike this week’s Agents of SHIELD, which was the penultimate episode of the season since that show too is ending next week, the penultimate episode of Arrow season 2 is absolutely great. Lots of character development throughout the season begins to come to a resolution here, and we see quite a few deaths here too. It is time for the show to stop holding back on the deaths especially, and we are now in that final phase where it is all going to go down in blood and fire. Having seen the previews of next week’s finale, “Unthinkable“, things look like they are in good hands, and I for one am certainly not complaining. Not at all.

Especially since Amanda Waller has dispatched an ARGUS battalion to destroy Starling if Team Arrow doesn’t deal with Slade Wilson’s army. Nothing like having an external ticking clock to get the heroes doing some un-impossible things!

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

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Posted on May 8, 2014, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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