I feel like the writers of the shows that I cover for this site decided that they would ban together and make me an emotional mess this week. First, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ showed overwhelming love between the cellist and Agent Coulson on Tuesday night, and then ‘Arrow’ hit hard with some surprise despair on Wednesday. To borrow a phrase that I don’t use ever, I can’t even with these superhero shows this week!
In last week’s episode, the focus was shifted from the Arrow to the people that surround him. In an attempt to slow down Slade and his scheme, Team Arrow tries to target the Mirakuru reserves that the villain has been building up to create an army. But the majority of the episode spotlighted the fallout of Ollie’s secrets being shared with some of the closest people in his life: Thea and Laurel. While Laurel tries to figure out what to do with the information that her ex is the Arrow, the Queens struggles to get on a united front to save their company and their family after Thea found out that Malcolm Merlyn is her real father. Plus, we got to see some excellent character development in Officer Lance when he refused to know who is really under the hood.
Now, the team is forced to go after one of their own as Roy Harper went on a Hulk-like rage-filled rampage throughout Starling City thanks to whatever Slade did to him while he was abducted and attached to the blood transfusion machine. The Roy we all know and love took a backseat to a Mirakuru-fueled monster that has it’s sights set on Thea. Meanwhile, Ollie and Sara are at odds concerning the methods of how to put Roy down since the cure from STAR Labs isn’t ready yet. Also, instead of “island time” this week, we get a glimpse of Oliver prior to getting ship-wrecked as he approaches his mother with a pretty serious problem.
To be quite honest, I was ready to write off this episode. Until the last five minutes, I assumed that this was all just filler until the finale where Deathstroke and Arrow would inevitably engage in an all-out war. Based on the opening moments, I thought that we’d be dealing with Oliver trying to get to his relationship with Sara to the next level and how that affects them as a team, but only to be met with resistance. Then, the flashbacks to frat boy Ollie going to Moira for help when his cheating ways catch up with him were meant to show how far he’s come and to remind the audience that she loves her kids and will do anything to help them. While we did actually get all that, everything in this episode suddenly made more sense and held a much deeper meaning when Slade carried out another part of his sinister plan that involved murdering Moira Queen in front of her two children.
This bombshell of an ending certainly changes things in ‘Arrow’. As if it wasn’t devastating enough for him that Black Canary flew the coup (or, more accurately, the Foundry) in this episode, Oliver has this considerably larger tragedy on his hands. Even though he has been going this entire season trying not to kill anyone, which is something that he and Sara clashed heads over, one might think that his approach to this whole Slade situation has to have changed the moment that a sword was driven straight through his mother’s chest. And I mean, even though we’ve been given some pretty good reason to dislike Moira this season, right when we’re reminded why we like her, she’s taken away from us in such a heartbreaking way that basically jolted the viewer into caring suddenly caring about this episode.
While there were a ton of things that I liked about the latest installment of the CW superhero drama, there were a couple of small things that I didn’t like. First, it’s kind of a bummer that Roy was relegated to a mindless beast. Yes, he was under the influence of Mirakuru, but I wish they gave him a little more to do. Or I wish that they had chosen a different approach that something else was in control of his mind because the visions of Thea were overkill. I’m aware that it’s consistent with what Slade goes through, but I’m not sure that I like it when it happens to him either.
The other thing that bothered me slightly was that Moira knew that Oliver was the Arrow since the Reckoning. It was a tender moment between mother and son, but it seemingly came out of nowhere. Unless I missed it, I don’t recall any hints that she suspected that Ollie was under the hood. If there were, that might have made the reveal a little better, but considering that we are now without the matriarch of the Queen family, there wouldn’t have been another time to do this.
As unfavorable as her actions have been for quite some time, at Moira Queen’s core is a loving and caring mother. She was so willing to do anything to help her kids that she ended up making the ultimate sacrifice for them by courageously giving her life so that Oliver and Thea could live another day. But with Slade promising that another must die before this is over, will the Arrow take a page from his latest ex-girlfriend and put down his former island companion for good? There’s only three episodes left in the season to find out and with Slade’s people taking over positions of power in Starling City, business is about to pick up.
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‘Arrow’ starring Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Katie Cassidy, and Manu Bennett airs every Wednesday at 8:00pm on The CW.