Brutal, heartbreaking yet phenomenal TV. That’s what episode 20 of Arrow’s second season gave us, the final few minutes of the episode arguably brought one of the most shocking twists to date and the need for a box of tissues!
“I was dead the last time you were offered this choice.”
There was something haunting as Oliver slowly opened his eyes, distorted images of Slade towering over his mother, flashbacks of Shado’s death – it was dark. It was about to get a lot darker. As Arrow enters its final 3 episodes of the season, it will be without Moira Queen who Slade coldly stabbed with a gigantic sword.
It was a scene that really hit hard, especially as we had the flashback between Moira and Oliver afterwards – the line “You’re never without me” from Moira was the real kick in the crotch considering what had just happened in the present day. It was a heartbreaking scene, Oliver was utterly helpless to do anything about it – I think for a show like this, when you make the hero helpless, that’s one of the most disconcerting things you can do.
In terms of Moira choosing to sacrifice herself for her children, that was totally in-keeping with her character. Throughout the show, her children have always been her priority. She’s always done what she believed would protect her children, no matter how misguided or severe her action has been – it’s always been for her children. So it was undoubtedly fitting that was how she went out, really protecting them – protecting Oliver from making an impossible choice, protecting Thea from Slade’s wrath. She was brave, courageous and that really was some redemption for her.
Credit to the director of this episode too, the way that whole scene was handled was terrific. It added to it, the distorted images at the start, the real similarities between Shado’s death, Oliver falling to his knees and that final shot of Thea and Oliver by their mother’s body. It just added to it and made it all the better.
I think this makes Slade beyond redemption now. I had a slight feeling that perhaps Oliver could bring him back from the darkness though I really doubt that now. Oliver’s going to want him dead.
R.I.P. Moira Queen – a maverick of a mother with a host of secrets though always striving to protect her children. And thanks to Susanna Thompson for bringing her to life!
“There’s nothing else to say, nothing I need to say… Except, I could not be more proud.”
This was the second big moment, Moira revealing to Oliver that she’s always known his secret identity. I loved this scene, just the way it was written, Oliver’s reaction and Moira’s revealing how she felt about it.
At first Oliver didn’t think much of her saying, ‘I know’ but the more she persisted and the stronger her tone got, it dawned on him. I think you’ve got to praise both Stephen Amell and Susanna Thompson for their acting here. Oliver just had no idea what to say, he was totally taken aback by her knowing – her pride for her son came through. I found her final line where she told him how proud she was so touching. He was totally overwhelmed but clearly happy at her revealing her pride.
I suppose it makes that final scene hurt even more…
“I would have killed him. I was ready to.”
Aside from the Moira moments, we had Mr Harper going on a Mirakuru fuelled rampage. This brought up a load of problems for Team Arrow and others, Thea caught wind of her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend’s murderous rampage, we had Sin back in the fold and we had Sara wanting to kill him. So firstly, Roy on Mirakuru. How long had passed since the last episode? He’d been drained of blood yet seemed pretty strong in this episode. Can Mirakuru regenerate blood or something?
Colton Haynes could certainly put together that Mirakuru psycho presence, clearly Manu Bennett as Slade is a considerable way ahead but I thought this was decent enough. He really did appear unhinged, we had him see a hallucination similarly to Slade – in the form of Thea which was interesting. It appears this must be a side effect of the Mirakuru. What’s more is, she was the thing that gave him control and Roy appears to feel betrayed by her in some ways. It’s going to be interesting to see if he can wrestle back some control and some perspective. He’s clearly not embracing his super strength as he asked Sara to kill him, he doesn’t want to be this way though Oliver seems convinced he can be saved.
Thea, still was struggling with the aftershocks of the revelations of previous episodes. She got swept up in her boyfriend’s rage and almost died herself after trying to reach out to him. There’s not more to say about that apart from she seems to have her mother’s instinct of self sacrifice, putting herself in the way of danger! We also had her still cold to Oliver and Moira, Moira appeared ready to repair that (with her impending secret about Malcolm about to come out before Slade intervened…) so I do wonder how Thea will see her mother now. She was about to build some bridges, she gave her life for her – I guess another question is how will she see her brother? Moira and Thea found out Slade was on the island with Oliver, what questions is Thea going to have for him now? How is he going to keep her safe?
I seem to have an unfortunate trend of asking a chain of questions in these reviews I do. I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m sure Arrow will provide them…
“I just care about you too much to be with you.
Another thing we had was Sara leaving Oliver. The cracks started to show when Oliver appeared to ask her to move in with him, she wasn’t exactly sure. Then we had her want to kill Roy, see herself as a killer and not what Oliver deserved, feeling she was too far gone before she left him – saying a goodbye to Sin on the way, speaking of an ‘old friend’ she was to visit.
I’ve never minded Oliver and Sara at the pairing, I think they’ve both needed someone and fulfilled that for one another quite well. They know what one another went through on the island and that’s proven a unique connection for them, though now they’re on their own again. Her exit was fine, neither of them are overly emotional people, they’re both quite serious you could say. ‘That’s who I am…’ was so well delivered by Caity Lotz, her voice cracked a little – as if the reality of who she was really hurts her.
The only question is, what now for Sara? Who is that ‘old friend’? Nyssa? Ra’s Al Ghul? I’m pretty sure we’ll find out before the season is out.
“That money is yours, once you tell Oliver you lost the baby.
So, Oliver is a daddy. He has a kid out there somewhere, he doesn’t know but I’d guess he’ll find out at some point. Moira in those flashbacks, as usual, was protecting her children in a slightly dark, misguided way though with the best of intentions I suppose. Oliver seemed almost disappointed he didn’t think he was going to become a dad even if he felt he wasn’t ready yet. I can hardly see the Arrow changing nappies (that’s an internet meme thing waiting to happen!) but his kid should be a little older than that now, I wonder what Oliver will do when he shows up.
That was ‘Seeing Red’ and the time between that and ‘City of Blood’ is undoubtedly recovery time. It was one of the most impressive episodes in Arrow to date, shocking at the end and with plenty of twists and turns along the way. The performances from those involved were pretty awesome, it was just the latest in a trio of excellent episodes – if the past three have been this good, then I can’t wait to see what the next three bring.
Here’s the promo for 2×21, ‘City of Blood’: