Arrow Season 2 Review “City of Blood”

It’s difficult to keep fighting the good fight when you forget what you’re fighting for. It’s even more difficult to keep fighting when it seems like all you do is lose. Giving up is easier, but then, who said being a hero was easy? In this week’s Arrow, Oliver shows himself to be the hero Starling City needs.

The last confrontation with Slade broke Oliver. Watching Moira die in front him and being unable to stop it was the last straw. The months of continually losing ground in this war just became too much for him, and he withdrew into himself. He decided that the only way for this all to end was for him to give himself over to Slade so Slade could kill him. I didn’t really believe that Oliver would give up until Felicity and Dig found him. I was expecting Oliver to have trashed his secret hideout, but he didn’t go for uncontrollable anger. He didn’t go for yelling and screaming or even crying. He was quiet, resolved, and defeated. That’s what was disturbing. Oliver resigned himself to the fact that he can’t stop Slade, he’s lost almost everything and everyone that matters to him, and as long as he’s still alive the people he cares about aren’t safe. Even when Dig and Felicity tried to talk him out of surrendering to Slade, he didn’t yell or push them away. The look in his eyes was more sadness than it was anger. I have to give Stephen Amell props for his work this week. He did a great job showing just how hopeless Oliver feels. You could read it all on his face, in his body language, and hear it in his voice. Well-played.

The good news for Oliver is that he chose well when he chose friends. Or at least, he chose his friends well when he got to Starling City. Dig and Felicity are two of my favorite people and deserve all the awards for being the worlds most awesome friends/crime-fighting partners. After Oliver didn’t show up at Moira’s funeral, they went to ARGO to have Amanda (aka Scowling Mean Lady) find him. When they got to Oliver’s other secret lair (how many secret lairs does a guy really need anyway?) they found him sitting alone and broken. They both realized that he had given up on himself, but lucky for him, they hadn’t given up on him. When he went to meet Slade, they got there first and stopped him from doing something really stupid. They let him know that they get that he’s grieving and afraid, but they also told him that sacrificing his life won’t fix anything. It won’t stop Slade from hurting the people close to Oliver, and it won’t save Starling City. The only thing it would ensure is that Oliver isn’t around to at least try to stop it all. I really liked the fact that Dig and Felicity didn’t get up in Oliver’s face and try to bully him into getting back into the fight though. Just like Oliver was calm and quiet, they were also calm and quiet. They didn’t just tell him that they were with him to the end. They showed him. Oliver was falling and they caught him and propped him up. They love Oliver, and as sappy as it sounds, no one should ever underestimate the power of love.

It looks like Sebastian Blood got everything he wanted. Well, almost. He’s the mayor now and he can start his crazy plan to burn Starling City down before he rebuilds it in his own image. Let’s just go ahead and agree that Blood is crazy. Ok. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how his plan is most certainly not going to work. First of all, Blood thinks he knows that monster he’s working with, but he really doesn’t. I don’t think he necessarily cares, but I suspect that he will wish he had paid more attention by the time all is said and done. Slade’s plans and endgame are different from Bloods, and if those two missions conflict, Slade wouldn’t hesitate to take Blood out of the equation. I’m not entirely certain Blood recognizes that right now. He thinks he’s running things, but he’s really not. He’s not even a pawn in the game so much as he’s a puppet. Secondly, I don’t think Blood’s plan is too well thought out. What makes him think he can control his “army” anyway? These guys are criminals and now they’ve got the mirakuru running through their veins. Unlike the first guys Blood injected with mirakuru, these guys have no loyalty to Blood. They have no history with him, so why would they listen to him? This is all going to blow up in his face, and I’m looking forward to that day.

Thea decided to leave Starling City and good riddance. It’s no secret that Thea isn’t exactly my favorite person, but she’s taken selfishness and brattiness to a whole new level. After Oliver didn’t show up at the funeral, Thea got ticked off. Then she got a notice from Isabel to vacate the premises where Verdant is located and I guess the bank took the house, and she decided that was a sign that she needed to leave and get a fresh start somewhere else. I get that Thea is hurting. That’s totally understandable, but why can’t she see that Oliver is hurting too? He watched his mother die just like she did. He was unable to stop it just like she was. People deal with grief and stress in different ways, and just because Oliver wasn’t dealing with it the way she thought he should, she got all pissy with him. The thing is, that’s not new. Not for Thea. It seems like she’s never been able to step outside of herself and think about anyone other than herself. When Oliver came back from the Island, all she talked about was how hard it was for her while he was gone. When she found out about Malcolm Merlyn, all she talked about was how awful it was for her that she is now associated with that name. When talking about Moira’s death, all she talked about was how Moira died thinking she hated her. When Oliver went missing, all she talked about was how she had to go through the funeral alone. She’s so wrapped up in herself that she didn’t even realize that Oliver was telling her good-bye before he went to meet Slade. It’s difficult to feel sympathy for someone who spends so much time feeling sympathy for themselves.

This was a much more emotionally heavy episode than it was an action heavy episode, and I’m good with that. It gave insight into Oliver’s headspace and it reminded us that heroes need support too. I can’t say I’m thrilled with Laurel coming in to the Team Arrow fold because she causes more trouble than she solves. Now that Blood’s released all these psycho killers into Starling City, it’s looking more and more like Team Arrow is going to need help. Unfortunately, the previews for next week’s episode spoiled the return of John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn, so I think we’ve got an idea of where the help is coming from. I’m not opposed to his return, I just wish the preview hadn’t let the cat out of the bag. Also, it’s looking like maybe they’ve found a cure for the mirakuru. I certainly hope so because God knows Team Arrow could use a break. We’ve only got a couple more episodes until the end of the season, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?