A half-hour into this week’s episode of Arrow I was convinced this was just going to be a filler — a rarity this season — but by the end credits, my jaw dropped from one of the biggest episodes of the entire series. [Spoilers from this point forward]
I’ve been very remiss in not raving about Arrow, the most consistently excellent of the shows I watch on a weekly basis. With the subtle nods to its comic book source material I practically have a fan-gasm each episode. If you’re not watching, you’re missing one of the best shows on TV, period. That lofty praise aside, onto this week’s episode.
After rescuing Roy (Colton Haynes) from Slade’s clutches, Oliver/Arrow (Stephen Amell) is trying to help stabilize his ally back at his headquarters. Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) have watch for the night while Oliver is shacked up in a hotel room with Sara/Black Canary (Caity Loitz). Estranged sister, losing his business and a dangerous psychopath after him aside, life’s not half bad for Oliver and he asks Sara to move in with him. She’s not as enthusiastic about the thought, but before it gets awkward, Felicity calls with bad news — Roy’s broken free of his restraints and is on the loose again.
In lieu of an island flashback, this week we’re treated to TMZ-fixture era Ollie reluctantly telling his mom, Moira (Susanna Thompson), that he’s knocked some girl up and it’s not Laurel. This seemed a bit of a departure from earlier continuity that seemed to establish that Ollie only cheated on Laurel with sister Sara because he was afraid of settling down and getting married. Honestly, pre-island Ollie flashbacks are my least favorite. He’s an obnoxious jerk. We get it. Let’s never revisit him again. This one actually does have an outstanding payoff though.
Back in the present, Arrow and Black Canary meet up with Roy, who promptly lays Canary out and severely damages Arrow’s leg before killing a cop in his path. Roy may be heading down an irredeemable path. Canary is convinced there’s no stopping him short of a bullet to the head, but Arrow doesn’t want to give up on him yet. This is a very interesting twist on the comic where Canary helped Roy kick his heroin habit while Arrow turned his back on him.
Moira is having second thoughts about running for mayor and decides repairing her fractured relationship with daughter, Thea (Willa Holland), is more important. Roy meanwhile seems to be undergoing the same hallucinations that Slade is only in his, Thea is telling him that she needs to be killed for causing him pain.
We flashback again to the mansion and Moira has called the baby mama in for a meeting. Moira offers her $2 million if she decides to exit Starling City stage left and head to Central City. Wonder if there’s any coincidence with that location and if Oliver’s bastard could possibly grow up a bit to become The Flash’s enemy, The Trickster? Moira tells the mom-to-be that she’ll learn there’s nothing a mother won’t do for her child.
At Verdant, Moira still seems set on dropping out the race, but Oliver convinces her to stay and show Thea the good she can do as mayor. After a slight slip-up admitting the sacrifices he’s had to make for the city over his family, Moira says she knows how he spends his night and she couldn’t be prouder of him. Having Moira know he’s Arrow should lead to a fun dynamic after she becomes mayor…
Thea’s plan to draw Roy out works and he crashes Moira’s rally. Diggle is helpless to stop him, but Thea seems to be getting through. Roy can’t go full-on Darth Vader with Thea and grabs her by the throat to choke her out, but Canary arrives and threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t drop her. Roy regains his senses for a moment and begs Canary to kill him, but Arrow uses tranquilizer arrows to knock Roy out.
With Roy strapped back up, Diggle and Felicity head out and Canary tells Oliver she was ready to kill Roy. That realization prompts her to break things off with Oliver to avoid him getting hurt. If only you’d stuck around for a bit longer …
After a quick change of attire, Oliver joins Thea and Moira in the limo. Thea says the family secrets have ruined their relationship. Moira agrees and says she needs to tell them both something else about Malcolm Merlyn. I can’t believe there could possibly be anything worse to tell about the guy, but that little tidbit is gonna have to wait as a truck comes crashing into the limo.
Oliver awakens to Thea and Moira’s screams as he finally makes out Slade/Terminator (Manu Bennett) there as well. Uh-oh. In deliciously evil bastard fashion, Slade tells Oliver he’s going to have to make the same choice he made on the island and decide if his mother or sister lives. Knowing his words are meaningless, Oliver pleads with Slade to kill him instead, but to further the point she made all those years ago, Moira offers to die in Thea’s place.
Slade says she has more courage than her son and puts his gun away and apparently is content playing more mind games. Oh! There goes his sword right through Moira. Wow. Well that definitely changes the complexion of the series there as the end credits start on a tremendous episode that will definitely have some long-lasting consequences for Arrow and company.
In the teasers for the last three episodes of the season, we get glimpses of Deathstroke’s army, including who appears to be Ravager (likely Isabel in TV continuity and not Slade’s daughter Rose) and Oliver possibly telling Thea he’s the Arrow. This show hasn’t looked back since its first season and completely ignored the thought of a sophomore slump. It’s crazy that there’s only three episodes left, but I have a feeling that we haven’t seen anything yet. Please bring back Flash, please bring back Flash!