Arrow's third to last episode of season two, "City of Blood," continues with the havoc wreaked last week, but goes a lot easier on those of us with blood pressure problems. Have we recovered yet from the shocking murder of Moira Queen at the hand of a Slade who's in the grip of Mirakuru madness? No, we haven't. So we'll take a bit of a breather this week.
Besides, this installment delivers a solid performance including a suicide and an attempted one, an almost kiss between Felicity and Oliver, several impassioned yet understated soliloquies involving Oliver and others, and a potentially enlightened villain. This episode carries the plot forward but felt like it ended half way through a two hour show. What did you think, Arrow fans, did it feel open-ended to you as well?
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We still have two more episodes in the pipeline, people, and next week's "Streets of Fire promises to be humdinger of a game-changer similar to the last two weeks. So, buckle your seat-belts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride. Let's get started.
Where Have All the People Gone?
At first, Slade, Isabel, Oliver and Sara are all missing. Slade's gone into hiding after killing Moira and only his voice makes an appearance when he calls to congratulate and deliver a veiled threat to newly-minted Mayor Blood. The Isabel mystery is cleared up, Oliver is tracked down, and we know Sara has taken a self-imposed time-out to dwell on her own darkness.
"City of Blood" opens ominously with reminders of last week's reign of terror: Roy raged all over town, Moira exited the mayoral race then rejoined at the last minute, Isabel remained MIA and was assumed dead but was really on Slade's slab being Mirakuruized to join his army, and then the three Queens (Oliver, Moira and Thea) were hijacked by Slade and made to grovel in the dirt. Moira was then shot dead in front of her children. A psychotic Slade, before freeing the two shocked and devastated siblings, muttered about one more person needing to die 'before this can end.'
The live action begins with Moira's funeral. Everyone is there, including Walter, but Oliver is conspicuously absent. Flash to City Hall where a smarmy Sebastian Blood is being sworn in as mayor of Starling City, promising to save the world from all manner of things that go bump in the night.
Blood Starts to Come Undone
At Moira's funeral reception, Thea is irritated with Ollie for knowing that Slade was a psychopath and not protecting his family from him, while Felicity admits she never liked the diabolical Moira - gotta love Felicity!
Blood then makes an appearance and waxes maudlin all over Laurel about how the loss of a parent changes a person and how the weight of the ancestors then falls upon the survivor's shoulders.
Laurel is mega creeped out by this and her Spidey senses start tingling. This is the guy she accused of murdering his own father just five minutes ago. Somehow she just knows there's a connection between Blood and Slade. #SmartGirl
Oh, and then Isabel "Dead Woman Walking" Rachev, or a beautiful zombie who looks just like her, shows up at the reception and we all know this cannot be good. At least she isn't bleeding from the eyes anymore.
Later, Oliver surprises Mayor Blood in a public restaurant and reveals that he is the Arrow. He also reveals that he knows Blood is in cahoots with Slade. He warns Blood that Slade doesn't keep his promises. You are a pawn in a much larger game, he tells Blood ominously and Blood can't deny he's scared of the Aussie, so he sits mute for a moment. You can see the blood drain from Blood's face the moment he sees Oliver, but by the end of the conversation he seems to have regained his composure, a composure that now has a sizable crack in it ... but I'm getting ahead of myself ...
Diggle Asks a Favor and Felicity Falls into Lust
Diggle and Felicity go to Amanda Waller at A.R.G.U.S. and beg her for assistance in finding Oliver. Amanda demurs until they reveal there's a whole army of Mirakuruified men under Slade. Amanda does an about-face and goes off to do some secret stuff, coming back to report Oliver is at Lair #2. Wait ... what? There's a second lair? Yep. It's the backup in case the foundry ever gets discovered.
While at A.R.G.U.S., Felicity sees the XK-15 processor technology there and begs to get some herself ... can you blame her? The A.R.G.U.S. budget is a million times bigger than The Arrow's right now. Felicity drools over their hardware and asks to fondle it - which she does until Waller shoos her away.
Isabel is a Witch and Laurel Grows Wiser
Isabel serves an evacuation notice to Thea at Verdant. Diggle figures out Isabel must be high on Mirakuru because there's no other way she could have survived being shot as she was. Apparently the witch is kicking the Queens out of the mansion as well. #ThatsJustCold
Laurel visits Blood at City Hall about some bogus case and plants a bug under his desk top. Then she tells Daddy Lance her suspicions about Blood and they hack into his computer (Probably because the bug allows them to do this) and uncover a condolence announcement of Blood's dated the day before Moira died. Voila - the connection. Slade killed Moira so Blood could be mayor. Gotcha, Sucka.
Oliver Makes a Big Decision
Wracked with guilt over Moira's death, Oliver wishes he'd cured Slade when he had the chance. Now all the people he loves are in Slade's crosshairs. Ollie decides to sacrifice himself, remembering Slade's words about one more person having to die for this all to end. He also flashes back to his time on the island when a young man named Peter volunteered to sacrifice his life to deploy a torpedo that would dislodge the submarine that would bring Oliver, Sara and Anatoly to freedom.
"The essence of heroism is to die so that others can live," is what Peter says to Ollie in the flashback to the submarine at the island. In a teachable moment, Oliver tells Peter he's not a self-sacrificial guy, that's it's just not in his own nature. Peter parries back to Oliver that he may not be yet, but he (Oliver) will be.
Oliver decides to surrender to Slade and says goodbye to Thea who is packing up the mansion. Here is the sweetest exchange where Oliver tells her he has been a joy to him since the moment she was born. Awwww. *sniff* He then calls Isabel and arranges a meet.
Felicity and Diggle to the Rescue
Felicity and Diggle try to talk Oliver out of surrendering but they make no progress. Twice we scream at our screens, KISS HER YOU DAMN FOOL! as Felicity gets in Oliver's face about his decision, but it just doesn't happen.
Oliver waits to be picked up by Slade. Upon hearing footsteps, he launches into a wistful speech about wishing he'd died on the Queen's Gambit. We don't know right away who he's taking to and neither does he. Then all of a sudden he gets a dart to the neck and, Alleluia, it's Felicity, Diggle ... and Laurel in a Hail Mary pass that saves the day.
Oliver awakens pissed at first and has a come-to Jesus discussion with Laurel who admits she knows he's the Arrow and gives him the crucial piece of the puzzle that shines hope eternal back into the dark crevices of Oliver's soul: Blood and Slade are working together. This is when Oliver finally goes and meets with Blood at the restaurant.
A Bitch with Wi-Fi
While Oliver rankles Blood in the restaurant, Diggle kidnaps his body guard, Clinton Hogue, who Felicity interrogates. Not with physical torture does she needle Hogue, but with technology and financial ruin. Hogue folds like a paper napkin and gives away the Mirakuru army's location.
Diggle and Felicity get to work setting bombs at the structural joints in the concrete along the whole city block above where Slade's army is camped. They plan to bury them in rubble by exploding the ground over the sewer.
While this is happening, Felicity receives a call from Cisco from Star Labs, though we don't know what he tells her. We can assume it has to do with the cure for Mirakuru, though, because there's supposed to be some game-changer about the Mirakuru next week. Shhh.
The Sewers are Overflowing with Mirakuru Rats
Oliver goes into the sewers and tries to overcome a Mirakuru warrior but he's not strong enough. Just as he's being choked with a piano wire, Laurel appears and conks the guy on the head, then Ollie takes her hand and they run off together. Then they get almost surrounded until Ollie shoots something and the ceiling caves in.
Black and orange masked guys all over the city are donning masks and wreaking havoc. Queen Consolidated stock is rising and shareholders are thrilled. A guy at the train station where Thea is attacks a security guard. A Magic Johnson look-alike (though not nearly as handsome) infiltrates the police station by allowing himself to get caught robbing a store.
We see a band of black and orange-helmeted men walking hte streets of Starling city ... and then all of a sudden the credits start rolling. Wait, what? That's the end? Well ... okay. I guess we'll wait for next week to see what happens next.
Tune in next Wednesday, May 7 at 8pm for "Streets of Fire" when Oliver rallies his team as Slade's soldiers attack the city. Felicity gets a call from S.T.A.R. Labs with game-changing news and Thea comes face-to-face with her father. WHAT?
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(Images courtesy of The CW)