Wow. Where to begin after an episode like “Streets of Fire”? Of course, this isn’t even the season finale of Arrow–that’s next week!

Tonight’s episode plays out in near real time with the majority of the episode structured by different teams and people located throughout the city. They’re all driven by one goal, though those goals all may be different. For some, it was to survive. For others, it was to be a hero, whether or not they thought they were worthy of the title.

The Lance Family

Laurel took one more step towards her ultimate destiny as the Black Canary by kicking off the episode with firing one of Oliver’s arrows, an explosive one, to free herself from the roof collapse at the end of last week’s episode.

She also dismisses Oliver and tells him she doesn’t need his protection. “I don’t need you right now,” she tells him. “Everyone else does. So go. Go save the city.”

Her father, meanwhile, not only earns back his detective badge, but even convinces the entire police force that they need to start trusting the Arrow, who he refuses to call the Vigilante anymore.

While Quentin is flying high, his daughter Sara has regrets of all the terrible things she’s done. Laurel tries to remind her of what a hero she’s become and even learns what Sara’s name was when she was with the League of Assassins. I won’t even try to spell the foreign language she speaks it in, but it translates to The Canary.

Yes. That is the first time we’ve heard that superhero name on this show.

The Canary even rescues a child from a burning building later in the episode just in case you in the audience weren’t paying attention to the fact that yes, yes, she is a hero now. I love when Laurel calls her The Canary to the mother of that child and this idea now that Starling City is coming to accept and even love their vigilantes. I hope that’s an idea that’s explored more in season 3.

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Team Arrow

Team Arrow (Oliver, Felicity and Diggle) spend the majority of the episode trying to get to a courier from STAR Labs that has the mirakuru cure.

When they fail to get to the courier in time to save his life or recover the cure, Oliver is despondent. “I have failed this city,” he says. Felicity reminds him of all the people he’s stopped and that he is not alone. “I believe in you,” she says.

And then, as she leans in, I was ready for the kiss all of us Olicity fans have been waiting for. But nope–she just gives him a hug. UGH.

Team Arrow then gets an unexpected call. Blood is having second thoughts about working for Slade and now he wants to hand over the cure that Slade has acquired after his men killed the courier.

Oliver and Diggle go to Blood’s office where he basically hands over the cure. He wants to remain Mayor, however, which Oliver can’t believe he has the balls to ask for. “If you tell anyone about my mask,” Blood warns him, “I’ll tell them about yours.” So Oliver and Diggle leave, with the cure.

Season one Oliver would have killed Blood the second he had that cure. But he’s a hero now.

Luckily for Oliver, Blood is taken care of by Isabel, who murders him with twin blades to the chest for handing over the cure.

The team needs to make sure the cure works. Oliver wants to test it on Roy, but Felicity tries to talk him out of it. Oliver is about to it, but then changes his mind and decides he can’t do it–he can’t risk Roy’s life like that.

Quentin then calls Felicity to get Oliver’s attention about something going on on the TV. ARGUS has arrived on the city’s outer limits. (Though Quentin doesn’t realize it’s them.)

Oliver calls Amanda to beg for time. She tells him he has until dawn before they level the city. And with that, Oliver stabs Roy with the cure.

Thea and Her Father

Is Malcolm a hero now? I mean, he does save Thea multiple times throughout the episode by beating up on mirakuru-enabled thugs.

Thea doesn’t think he’s worthy of saving, the way Laurel does of Sara, and even empties a gun clip into him at the very end of the episode. If that’s truly the end of Malcolm, I’ll be sad. But also excited with the story possibilities with Thea now that she is a murderer.

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Other Odds and Ends

– This week’s flashbacks were all about Oliver boarding the ship and trying to save his friend Slade. Even though we know how his confrontation with Slade on the ship will end, I’m still curious to see the nuances of how that scene will play out next week.

– I liked that we got the background on Blood’s mask, but did that monologue strike anyone else as awfully clunky?

Catch the Arrow season finale next Wednesday at 8pm on the CW.

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(Image courtesy of CW)

Alan Danzis

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV