OK, so I’m slow enough that I didn’t twig to Arrow‘s “City of Blood” being specific to Sebastian. I was thinking literally.
If Arrow was a bubble show and we didn’t know for sure that they’re coming back next year, I’d almost have seen this episode (the first in a trilogy) as a series finale and not season. Reveals happened left and right, sets were left behind, and beginnings and endings were promised. Let’s break it down.
We pick up with Moira’s funeral and Oliver is a no-show. Thea shares with Gordon that Slade and Oliver knew each other on the island but they don’t go into any more detail than that. She doesn’t bring up Malcolm.
Isabel saunters into the reception as Felicity cries for Oliver and casts posthumous aspersions on Moira, stopping only to dangle the carrot that maybe Oliver will show for their funerals. Sadly, Diggle doesn’t shoot her again right there in the parlor. Adding insult to bitch, she later shows up at Verdant to evict Thea.
Felicity exhausts her resources trying to locate Oliver and then Diggle turns to ARGUS, where Felicity has multiple nerdgasms about their tech. Amanda seems uninterested in helping until Diggle mentions the Mirakuru army and then we have a retcon that Oliver has had a second mancave all along. Felicity and Diggle go find him and he tells them if he gives himself up to Slade, everything will stop. Felicity pleads with him to find another way, but he’s set on it and he goes to do just that after wishing Thea well when she decides to leave Starling City.
Oliver stands out on the pier where the Gambit departed (against a nifty backdrop of Vancouver’s highrises) and when he hears someone walk up, he recounts that this is where it all began. Then a dart drops him and he wakes up in the lair to find Felicity, Diggle, and Laurel. I seriously dig that she’s finally a Scooby.
Earlier, Laurel has a chat with Sebastian at the reception where something doesn’t sit right with her that he’s (already) the mayor. She tells her dad, and agrees that before she was a drunk, but her gut instinct is still the same. Quentin gives her a bug to plant in Sebastian’s office. She drops by and makes nice over a faux case, and then back at the station, they download everything from his PC and discover he drafted a press release on Moira’s death the day before she was killed. (In all seriousness–wouldn’t there have been a wee delay?)
Back in the lair, Laurel asks Diggle and Felicity to leave them so she can speak with Oliver alone. She talks him down from his suicide mission, reminding him that Thea cannot lose him. She tells him she doesn’t know much about the life he’s leading and the world he lives in, but she knows him like she know her own name, she knows who he is in his bones and he cannot do this. And then she tells him what she knows about Sebastian and that’s all he needs to hear.
He goes to see Sebastian and tells him that Slade isn’t to be trusted. When Sebastian asks him how he knows, he says simply that he’s the Arrow. And then Sebastian tips his hand that the Mirakuru army is essentially The Undertaking 2: Electric Boogaloo and the aftermath will usher in a new era led by him (MWAH HAH HAH). Oliver tells him not to be so sure of that.
Then he goes back to the lair and suits up and Laurel says she’ll come and Oliver firmly tells her it began with three and should end with three and they leave her behind. They get to the tunnel system where the soldiers are gathered and Sebastian hoods up and starts his spiel and then, around town, others soldiers lurk and then hood up (which team Arrow didn’t plan on)–Thea encounters them at the station waiting to board her train out of town (of course), Quentin runs into trouble with one at the police station, and Oliver and Diggle get jumped outside the tunnels.
Thankfully for Oliver, Laurel doesn’t stay put, and she decks his attacker with a pipe. Then Oliver detonates a charge that buries them in concrete as they’re descended on by more goons. But Diggle doesn’t get his charge to blow before Isabel lands on him. Back in the command post van, Felicity gets a call from STAR Labs (who have been working on a Mirakuru cure). Oddly, nobody from ARGUS shows up to help.
Our flashback of the week has Anatoly, Sara, and Oliver jump-starting the Japanese sub with an assist from Peter, who sacrifices himself by manually launching a torpedo, setting off the theme of the night of sacrificing one to save many. It also made me look up a phrase from Anatoly that I was sure was f-ck me in Russian, but it wasn’t.
We don’t see Slade, but we hear him when he calls Sebastian. And we only see Roy, still out cold, on a slab.
And that sets us up for the second part of the finale.
I was intrigued by the original sets essentially being abandoned. We see Thea clear out of the Manor, taking a last look around and turning the lights off and closing the door, after she’s had to give up Verdant. Now that we know there’s a second lair, I wonder if the first one is done, too. I was surprised that Isabel didn’t just saunter down to the lab and clear Felicity out or kill her and fetch Roy. Plot devicey…
I really do like that Laurel is all in, and I hope she stays all in and that this isn’t just a way to validate her and then kill her. I’m not completely convinced she’s safe because she now knows that Oliver was with Tommy when he died. She knows all the important things about Oliver, but there are still a couple of reveals left, i.e. she doesn’t know that Sara was on the island, although she suspects. I like, too, that Oliver tells her that he’s wanted to tell her every day that he was the Arrow, that despite all the drama in their pasts, they still are family to each other.
I also really liked that Oliver and Sebastian laid out everything to each other. Especially since I’m pretty sure there will be no restraint when they meet again.
We have two episodes left–one of which is the backdoor pilot for the The Flash (which looks promising for a pickup). I smell a cliffhanger.
Here are a couple of sneak peeks of “Streets of Fire.”