What a season! Despite massive plot twists and incredible set-ups for season three of Arrow, I still have no idea where to begin my review of tonight's season two finale, "Unthinkable."
So instead, I just want to reflect on how brilliant this second season was. No plot point that was introduced, no character that made an appearance earlier this year, was wasted tonight. Everything that happened over the course of this season led up to the events that took place tonight. It's a strong finish for the show that only slightly gets a mark down from me because I'm a diehard Olicity fan.
What was so marvelous to watch tonight, first and foremost, was the continued formation of the team around the Arrow.
Slade's goons almost get the best of Oliver, Diggle, Felicity and Roy at the top of the hour and they're only saved by escaping through the clock tower window and a nicely placed rocket launcher shot from Lyla, who has arrived to save her ex-husband Diggle.
Regardless of how powerful Slade's army has become, Oliver reminds everyone, "This ends tonight... without killing."
Of course, that doesn't sit too well with Nyssa, who has returned with some members of the League of Assassins who have shown up to help--if they are allowed to kill people that is. In fact, even after both Oliver and Sara let Isabel live during a fight with her and her father, Nyssa dispatches with Isabel by snapping her neck. (Sorry to see you go Summer Glau!)
While Team Arrow is trying to take down Slade, Laurel gets kidnapped by another one of his goons. Her father meets up with the rest of Team Arrow, but is not too pleased with Nyssa's involvement. Quentin wants the Arrow still not knowing it's Oliver - which is something I thought would change over the course of the hour - to find his daughter. Oliver, however, says the city has to come before Laurel.
Quentin pleads with the Arrow to drop his no-killing policy and take out Slade, but Felicity tells Oliver he's making the right call, even as he starts to have some doubts. Oliver then takes Felicity to the mansion because he wants her to be protected there.
And then he drops a major bombshell. He tells her that Slade took Laurel because he was kidnapping the woman Oliver loves. But, "he took the wrong woman," Oliver says, causing thousands and thousands of Olicity fans - including me - to be so, so happy with the show.
He even tells her "I love you."
The Olicity stuff has been such a slow build, but a romantic pairing that's been handled with care and respect by the producers. That moment--that was powerful and so earned.
Of course, it then turns out that it's an act! Oliver knew that Slade had cameras. Remember that plotline? So well done by the show not to forget; all over the mansion and he and Felicity concocted that plan to make Slade take Felicity.
Why? Because after Team Arrow beats on Slade's goons in a tunnel in one of the greatest fight scenes the show has ever done, Oliver confronts Slade, distracts him, and waits for Felicity to stab him with the cure.
The fight scene between Oliver and Slade then somehow manages to top the simply awe-inspiring one we just witnessed in the tunnel. The show intercuts between the fight in the present and the fight in the past, where Oliver and Slade are fighting on a sinking submarine off the coast of the island.
In the present, we see Oliver refuse to kill Slade. But in the past, we see him make the wrong choice, when he throws away the cure and stabs Slade in the eye with an arrow. We knew it was coming, but it was still effective and thrilling to watch unfold.
Oliver then calls Amanda, who at this point has a gun to her head thanks to Diggle, Lyla and recently freed Suicide Squad, to tell her he has Slade and she needs to back down. But what do you do with Slade?
You take him to a specially made prison by ARGUS that's located on the island. Oliver even hints to Felicity and Diggle that perhaps other bad guys will find themselves there in the near future.
Before Oliver leaves Slade locked down there, he tells him something I never would have expected him to say. "Thanks for making me become a hero." Slade was an incredible villain, who is wisely left alive. While I'll miss the villainy he bought to the show, I also can't wait to see who Team Arrow faces in season three.
The Set-up for Season 3
- So I guess Thea is going to be training to be a bad guy like her old man, huh? That... that I really, really want to watch.
- Love that Roy was still a capable fighter, even with his mirakuru strength gone. Now that he has a mask, just like Oliver, I can't wait to see them team up for more missions in the Fall, especially as Roy has a lot of guilt that he's going to be wrestling with--namely, all the innocent people he killed and the fact that by abandoning Thea to join Team Arrow, he possibly doomed her to become a villain with her father.
- Lyla is pregnant. I think I'm intrigued by this development. While I haven't loved her as a character, I think there's a ton of story potential around Diggle not wanting to go on dangerous missions anymore because he's going to be a father.
- I refuse to believe Detective Lance is dead after coughing up blood and collapsing near the end of tonight's episode. Mainly because I refuse to believe he would die without finding out who the Arrow really is. Guess we'll find out next season.
- Sara leaves town with Nyssa and the League of Assassins--she had to promise to in order to secure their help. She leaves her Canary jacket with Laurel. Even though Quentin says, "Don't get any ideas," I can't help but hope Laurel starts training alongside both Roy and Oliver next year.
- The flashbacks this season were such a tremendous improvement over the season one flashbacks--mainly because this year's flashbacks had huge implications for the current season. That seems like that will continue to be the case next season as we learn in the final scene what happened to Oliver after the ship sank. He woke up in Hong Kong to apparently go work for Amanda Waller. So... that's how they know each other!
- And finally, let's talk Olicity. In one of the final scenes of the episode, Oliver and Felicity discuss the ruse they played on Slade. They both laugh it off as it not only fooling him, but fooling each other. They, as they often do, linger with extra long glances at each other. But no fans, we don't see a kiss or an ACTUAL declaration of love. Next season?
(image courtesy of the CW)