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‘Arrow’ Season 2 Episode 22 Recap: “Streets of Fire”

Sometimes I wonder if I’m watching the same show as everybody else. Maybe I’m cynical, or predisposed to be too hard on superhero content, but since Slade Wilson officially came to town and announced himself as Deathstroke, I’ve thought Arrow has felt a little bit like a souffle or some sort of layer cake that’s been built too high, and is constantly on the verge of falling in on itself. The show has gotten a little too huffy and puffy with its mythology; I swear to God, how many times does Oliver or someone else have to “save this city” or the city, or do something to this God forsaken metropolis? It’s frankly annoying. I’ve mentioned it before, but next week I’m actually going to play the drinking game.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my time watching Arrow. But it’s undeniably a silly, sophomoric show at times, and while Slade murdering Moira was an awesome moment (yay murder!), we’ve been kind of running around in circles waiting for the season finale to come since about midway through this season.

Now we’ve come to the penultimate chapter in Ollie’s journey into becoming the world’s worst hero.

Last week ended with Laurel disobeying Oliver’s orders, and coming with him to “help” against the mirakuru army. She, of course, saves his bacon, but then, they’re faced with a ton of soldiers coming right for them. Oliver shoots down the ceiling rather than fighting with them, preferring to combat massive rubble instead. Luckily, he’s alright. Of course, Laurel finds herself trapped, because a tunnel collapsed. It’s also hard to breathe. But, thankfully, Queen’s quiver and arrows fell down with her. “How many arrows?” Oliver asks his one-time soul mate. “A bunch.” (I counted…4.) Then, Oliver gives Laurel and the audience a rapid fire tutorial on firing the bow and arrow, introducing her to an explosive arrow (YAY TRICK ARROWS!). She’s able to blow apart the wall, reuniting them both, and letting them run free. I know the mirakuru guys are literally everywhere in the city, but what happened to the guys that were coming straight for them? I doubt rocks would’ve stopped them. Oh well.

Lady Deathstroke/Isabel Rochev is busy kicking Diggle’s ass, though he manages to not die long enough for Felicity to drive Rochev over with an SUV. Rochev gets up, and I feel like they should’ve just kept running her over, but instead, they peel out and retreat.

It’s haywire in Starling City, as Mayor Blood has a busy day on the job. He doesn’t think the National Guard are necessary; the police can take care of this menace. Ha! Kate Spencer marvels at how calm/stupid he is, and Mayor Blood tells Kate that he needs her, that they can, say it with me, SAVE THIS CITY TOGETHER. Even the villains get to say it now.

Back on the yellow submarine, Anatoly is really Russian, because he responds to Oliver with a “da.” He also calls out what I’ve noticed: “I’m discovering a capacity to do” whatever the plot requires of me. Apparently, Slade kidnapped Sara, and Ollie’s going after her. He commands Anatoly to fire the last torpedo at the Amazo in an hour, whether he’s back or not. Because they’ve been in trouble together for so long, and he’s the nicest human, Anatoly promises to help Ollie whenever he needs it. I feel like all Anatoly does is help. When does Oliver return the favor (flashbacks in season 3, here we come!)?

At the train station, Thea’s about to die at the hands of one of Slade’s army, until Malcolm Merlyn arrives. “Who are you?!” the soldier asks.

Subtle, guys.

Elsewhere in the chaos, there’s a dude with a briefcase, screaming and in terrible pain, after suffering through a car accident. He’s a scientist from S.T.A.R. labs delivering the cure for the mirakuru. A shame he didn’t get very far. Ollie and company are going after him, and Laurel returns to her Daddy, but not before she tells Oliver: “go save the city.”

Replacement Black Detective, or Lt. Frank Pike (Adrian Holmes), arrives at the precinct. Quentin spouts off about Blood, arguing that he’s behind this. Instead of thinking he’s insane, thankfully Pike believes him, and agrees: it’s time to call the vigilantethe Arrow. There’s a hilarious (to me) moment when Pike gives him the go ahead to make the call, and then Quentin rallies the force, “let’s go guys.” And then they rally…and do nothing. What, are they going to be on speaker? Oh, also, Pike makes Quentin a Detective again, because he seems to know more about this than anyone else. Which is true, and the right move, though normally they’d suspect he was involved in the evil.

Laurel, because she’s Laurel, finds herself in trouble, but Sara saves her. And thank heavens, Laurel realizes that Sara is the big boobed, blonde vigilante running around with Oliver, because that’s the easiest leap you’ll ever make. They hug, and it’s nice.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Blood is finally figuring out that maybe he couldn’t trust Slade Wilson to his word. He got the Mayor job, didn’t he? But when a soldier comes and snaps Kate’s neck, disobeying Blood’s order in the process, he realizes he may have gone too far. You think?

Diggle, Ollie and Felicity drive to Nameless Briefcase Dude, and run into a car, flipping over. Ollie and Diggle get out of their own accord, but Felicity is blacked out, because she’s a woman.

The most interesting stuff in the episode comes between Thea and her dear ole murdering, psychopath Dad (mostly her words, not mine). She’s running away from him, and Merlyn doesn’t blame her. “How are you even alive?” she asks, a really good question. He doesn’t respond that they’re in a comic book. Instead, he tells Thea that she needs his help to survive, which is likely true. John Barrowman is awesome, and I’m glad he’s back, even though sometimes I like when characters stay dead (and the opportunity for new villains). Also, I’ll point out that Thea, who’s gotten the $#*! beat out of her this season, constantly amazes me, and that’s thanks to Willa Holland, who has shown the most growth as an actor of anyone else on the show. While she’s not even close to my favorite character (Felicity, says everyone ever), she may be the most impressive actor of the main ensemble.

Blood comes to Slade, complaining about his “juiced up jackboots,” a phrase I will use from now on when talking about the mirakuru army. “We had a deal.”And as Slade points out, he kept to it, making him mayor of a city that’s about to burn. Sebastian decides now is the time to worry about innocent lives, even though last episode he argued (not at all) convincingly that the damage caused by said juiced up jackboots would help him make Starling City better. Slade made a promise, and he keeps them, and he won’t be satisfied until Starling City is rubble, a city of graves. That “one person” Slade warned he still had to kill before it was over? He meant the city as a whole, which makes no sense grammatically, but is an awesome/terrifying proclamation. Sebastian comes to a mind-numbingly obvious realization: this whole thing is just about Oliver. Yes. The show is called Arrow.

Sara and Laurel have some good sister time.

Sara’s miserable, upset with herself, and steadfast that she’s not a hero (see above). Laurel doesn’t know what she did in her past, yada yada. They called me…

The name Black Canary would’ve made Sara’s point better, but not allowed for Laurel to talk her off the ledge. Like Blood, I’ve been clinging (stupidly) to an idea, that Arrow would become known as Green Arrow and Canary would be Black Canary. The city gets all the pub, but I’d like them to save.these.colors.

On the Amazo, Ollie frees Sara, quite easily. Sara wants to leave, but Oliver, of course, can’t leave. He has to try to save his friend Slade, one last time. Sara refuses to leave without him, so they both go off to get caught.

Briefcase Dude With The Cure cries out in pain; he must’ve been really screwed up from the crash. Then he gets murdered by a juiced up jackboot. Poor guy had an awful last few moments of his life. Oliver and company get there literally seconds after he’s killed, obvi.

We cut to Slade, already with the cure in his hands. Did the Flash make a cameo?

Sara saves a child from a burning building, a hero moment™.

A superhero was born. Oh, at some point, we see Sara take off her wig. Um, why does she have a blonde wig? To conceal her blonde hair? To look more fake?

While this happens, Merlyn is busy being a badass, the only one who can take down a juiced up jackboot, taking an arrow that he previously shot in the dude OUT, and then into his skull. Awesome.

At the watchtower, Oliver’s dejected again. “THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!” without the cure, which means it’s that time in the episode for Felicity to cry, because Emily Bett Rickards is so good at it. Oliver didn’t know something like this could happen (again; since this is the Undertaking but with a bunch of Banes/juiced up jackboots). Oliver pronounces, correctly, that he has failed this city, failed Shado and her pops, his mother, his father, Tommy, but Felicity interrupts him.

No, she’s not yelling on the phone. That’s Felicity’s cue for a wonderful/inspirational pep-talk. You will stop Slade.

Awwwwwww. Felicity makes me melt. She looks longingly into his eyes/sixpack, and then they hug.

AND HE HUGS BACK! I wouldn’t make a big deal about it, but that’s a pretty serious/ridiculous shot just so we can see him put his hand on Felicity’s back. That’s like second base.

Blood calls Oliver. He wants to save this city. He’s somehow managed to swipe the cure from Slade and Rochev.

Felicity’s left to tend to Roy. “If you guys don’t come back alive, I’m going to be pissed.” Can we all marry Felicity?

Oliver and Diggle get to Blood, just in time for a long, overdrawn monologue. “All I wanted to do was help people.” You crazy bastard. Blood thinks he can still be mayor and save this city. Oliver basically says “Psh,” grabs the cure, and stalks off. When Blood was first introduced, he seemed like a lame knockoff of Scarecrow, thanks to his creepy mask, but it took me awhile to realize he was more Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Not only did he have two faces, but there’s the man of the people politician angle, also proving to be a little insane once getting into power. Of course, Blood was always insane, and never had a wonderful plan for the Starling City’s citizens.

It appears we’re done with Brother Blood for now though, as Summer Glau comes in, and nobody can stop Summer Glau when she means business. She ends him with her sword, Moira style, though she noticeably didn’t stab him through his heart (below), so who knows.

They now have the cure…but they need to test it. Roy’s the obvious choice, because he’s been lying there unconscious for a couple episodes for precisely this moment. It rubs Felicity and everyone the wrong way though, making him a lab rat. They’re going to die anyway, Oliver argues, which is the same logic that drove him to inject Slade with mirakuru in the first place. We all know how well that worked out.

The decision is put on pause, because the cavalry has come. But it’s not the military. Who is it? Obviously it’s Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S., though that’s not revealed for a couple seconds.

First, Quentin calls Felicity (he’s been updated in her phone to Det. Lance already) to alert them to the TV and the army that’s arriving. Oliver knows it’s Waller, and calls her. She’s sent an incoming drone with the firepower to level the city and its 576,000 citizens. She can’t let the juiced up jackboots escape, after all, because they’re virtually indestructible, and can you imagine what they’d do to the rest of the country? Considering their “virtually indestructible” as she says, isn’t there a chance that the drone doesn’t kill them, and merely murders every other innocent civilian?

Oliver tells her he has a cure…though he can’t prove it yet. So…he jams the needle directly into Roy.

Back at the train station, after Merlyn killed a juiced up jackboot, Thea managed to grab a gun, and has it pointed at Malcolm. Merlyn can see the pain, anger and sadness in Thea’s eyes. “My eyes.” Chill, Dad. Merlyn: “You’re all I have left…you still have a father.” Oops, he said the magic word one too many times, as Thea fills him filled with lead, and bam, we’re left waiting a week for the season finale, with Nyssa al Ghul and maybe the League coming into a town full of juiced up jackboots, Deathstroke, Lady Deathstroke, and a bajillion A.R.G.U.S. agents (and maybe the Suicide Squad?). It should be fun.

GRADE: B

Thanks to Queen’s Arrow Tumblr for the gif’s, as per usual. Also, happy birthday, Stephen Amell.