Arrow: The Man Under the Hood and Seeing Red


There, you’ve been warned.

So, years and years ago, I found Susanna Thompson for the first time on ABC’s Once and Again, where she played the divorced mom of Shane West, who I also discovered at the same time, and between them, they did some of the most exquisite scene work. I loved watching them together. I saw some of those same cadences between Thompson and Stephen Amell on Arrow but not nearly enough, and now that door has closed. Unless we’re gifted with flashbacks.

I said back when Slade unleashed his MWAH HAH HAH that I was tempted to sit the whole arc out until we got to the point that Oliver just decided to burn him down to the ground. I’m there, y’all. The last two episodes were brutal in different ways. We’ll hit the highlights ahead of tonight’s new episode.

First up, on the heels of Slade’s reveal, Laurel doesn’t quite know what to do with the news that Oliver is the vigilante. First she calls the vigilante to a meet and when he gets there, she lays the groundwork for that discussion by pointing out that he’s always been there for her, and then she’s diverted to the prison when Quentin is attacked. Once there, she tells her dad she knows and he cuts her off that he doesn’t want to know, that he’s fine to be in jail to protect him because of what the vigilante does to protect them. And so she doesn’t tell him. Then she goes to see Oliver and embraces him, which surprises him and when he asks her why, she tells him he’s important to her, and he hugs her back.

Before that, team Arrow bombs a Queen Consolidated warehouse so Slade can’t get a device he needs to mass produce the Mirakuru. He finds another device anyway and then drops in on the lair and kicks the shit out of everybody.  He also kidnaps Roy and uses him as a feeder for the prison inmates he hijacked, and Oliver saves him mid transplant. Isabel takes a bullet for trying to intervene but Slade revives her.

In the next episode, we have a counterbalance of mother and son stories as we flash back to a time when Moira paid a baby mama of Oliver’s to go away. In the present, she decides to pull out of the mayoral race because Thea is still at Defcon 10 on the pissed-off scale, and then Diggle talks to Thea, who shows up at the rally to draw out Roy and Moira changes her mind. She also tells Oliver she knows who he is, that she’s known since the Undertaking, and she couldn’t be more proud of him, and all of his rage about her secrets and lies falls away.

Separately, Sara and Oliver take a break when Sara tries to kill Roy, who’s on a rage bender after his rescue and breaks Oliver’s knee in the process. Thea and Sin stop her, and she realizes she’s crossed the line from needing to kill to wanting to kill and she tells Oliver that’s not who he is but she can’t change. In a separate flashback we see that Oliver killed Ivo for her because he didn’t want her to kill someone and have it change her, not realizing she’d get there on her own in the intervening years.

After the rally, Slade attacks the reconciled Queens in their limo just as Moira’s about tell her children that Malcolm isn’t dead. When Oliver revives out in the woods, he’s tied up and Moira is saying his name over and over again. As she and Thea come into view, he sees that they’re tied up, too, side by side and Slade has a gun leveled at them. He gives Oliver the same Sophie’s Choice that Ivo gave him and tells him to choose. Oliver screams at Slade to take him instead, and then Moira stands up to face Slade and offers herself. Slade tells her she’s brave and puts his gun away and turns back toward her and runs her through with a sword.  Thea cries hysterically and Oliver blacks out as she falls. Slade apologizes to Thea and walks away, off to the next one on his list.

Tonight, we pick up with Moira’s funeral and Oliver reeling from his latest loss. Three episodes left. They’re touting them as epic. I’m ready to cut right to the point that Oliver unleashes holy hell.

I’m happy for Thompson to have been given a strong exit and I hope we see her in something else soon. The downside of such a large cast is that there’s never time for everybody to get used.  Some of the interviews I read afterward worried that Moira was in danger of becoming a soap opera. I think that ship had sailed, but Thompson sold it. I look forward to what she does next. And I hope this plot point emboldens Thea forward to do something with her own anger.

Here are a couple of sneak peeks of “City of Blood.”

Photo courtesy of Katie Yu/The CW.

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