Arrow concluded its excellent second season in predictable style, as ‘Unthinkable’ saw Slade and Oliver finally square off and things end, once and for all.
I was already ridiculously up for the episode, but the 90 second recap of Slade and Oliver’s developing grudge raised the anticipation even further! Whereas, perhaps, the previous two episodes with Starling City steadily descending into hell and been all about the Mirakuru army threat, that recap alone reminded us of what it’s all about…
Slade’s promise to Oliver, most certainly a very personal one.
The highlight of this impressive finale, for me at least, were the two fight scenes as the episode neared its conclusion, intertwining with one another. It was something that could have come across stuttery, the swift switching of scenes, but it was executed to perfection – as both fights reached their conclusion we were given them in their entirety too, allowing the ‘arrow through the eye’ and Oliver’s final choice to both have their moment.
The Slade-Oliver fights on both the island and in the present day have been things we’ve been looking forward to and they didn’t disappoint, they were absolutely worth the wait.
So, what about both fights? Let’s start with the island, now Slade and Oliver’s feud has been steadily boiling, Slade has tortured the man he once referred to as a brother, making him ‘that’ promise though Oliver still tried to get through to him. Perhaps an interesting spot was Slade testing the Mirakuru on shipmates, was this army a plan for Wilson as far back as then? But anyway… back on Oliver ‘begging you (Slade) brother-to-brother’ to try and get him to think, while Shado’s ghost was twisting everything Oliver said started things saw Slade pretty conflicted. Credit to Celina Jade for being pretty chilling there and Manu Bennett for that brief spark of conflict, confusion, perhaps pain? Though as soon as he put the Deathstroke mask on and pointed the gun at Oliver, there was no turning back.
Then, to add fuel to the fire – we get the Amazo exploding thanks to those missiles. The fight broke out, but what of the conclusion to it? Oliver deciding to dump the cure and drive an arrow through Slade’s eye? Now, Slade was at his mercy and making all manner of threats. He no longer had Sara, he’d just lost her. I understand the choice he made really, what else could he have done in that situation? Stab Slade with the cure, drag him out of there and probably get fighting again? Could he have taken the risk?
Though obviously, it caused all manner of problems a few years later…
So we had that confrontation, Slade with both Laurel and Felicity in his clutches – with the latter making Slade eat his words about ‘stronger women’ as she stabbed him with the cure, making Slade and Oliver equals – or at least more on a level playing field. The fight was brutal, each of them put all they had into it, Slade’s hate for his former friend bleeding through, Oliver’s desire to take him down driving him. Then we had Oliver had to decide again, firing two trick arrows and thus rendering Slade, captured.
It all ended where it started, on the island. Oliver choosing to lock him up, arguably a worse punishment than killing him – especially with him telling Slade how he’s helped him become a hero, how he helped him get home, pretty much digging the knife in. “You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you.” He could have just slapped him with a wet fish and it probably would have had a similar effect. And to finish things we had Slade roar that he keeps his promises, I’d imagine we haven’t seen the last of him…
But nevertheless, Manu Bennett has been superb this season as the unhinged, out of control Slade on the island and the more chilling, cold, calculated counterpart in the present day.
So, catch your breath. What else did we have?!
Oliver telling Felicity he loves her, probably causing Ollicity shippers to stop breathing or blow up their lungs screaming. I wasn’t really fooled by it, I knew the angle I must admit – it was clever though. After Felicity told Oliver you’ve got to outthink him, him knowing Laurel had been taken and the fact that the house had cameras installed by Slade – it was clear what he was doing. But I must admit their final conversation got me wondering… Oliver just let her babble on, as she does, smiling the whole time before admitting they both ‘really sold it.’ He didn’t flat out deny anything and there’s certainly been hints… We’ll have to see what happens in Season 3.
Oliver getting off the island, with Sara ‘dead’, Slade ‘dead’, Anatoli off in a submarine… It’d have been a bit boring to have him go back to the island and sit around a campfire with nothing to do so it wasn’t much of a surprise. We now know how he’s got a history with Amanda Waller and he’s now in Hong Kong. She said in 2×16, “Who do you wanna kill more than me?” so I’m assuming we’ll find out why he wants to kill her next season.
Roy woke up, got a mask which was pretty neat to see. He doesn’t seem to have his strength anymore, at least I don’t think so. But he could handle himself having remembered his training and seems to know how to fire an arrow now. His path to Red Arrow/Speedy/Arsenal is moving along nicely.
But what wasn’t going quite so nicely for Roy would be his relationship with Thea, with his girlfriend discovering a quiver of arrows and deducing he lied to her about working with the Arrow. Awkward. Thea has really reached rock bottom in the past few episodes, which proved perfect for Malcolm to manipulate her and take her away. What is he going to do to his daughter? Oliver told her she has the purest heart, but it seems to be taking a battering – worse still, Oliver doesn’t actually know a thing about all this. As far as he knows, she got away from Starling City before it started not that she went off with her biological father who tried to destroy half the city. John Barrowman was a bit underused throughout these two episodes which was a shame, I was hoping we’d see a Malcolm-Oliver team-up as that would have been awesome but it wasn’t to be so.
Diggle is going to be a daddy, with Oliver having a son he doesn’t know about, perhaps we’ll have an Arrow version of Daddy Day Care or something in Season 3! Our Team Arrow are certainly growing up.
Deadshot back. Awesome. Michael Rowe is great.
There was also to drone threat from ARGUS which I never really felt the danger of, it added some fuel to the fire but it just didn’t really resonate with me. There was a fair bit going on elsewhere though, it’s not a major complaint by any means.
Isabel got killed, to be fair she had that coming. But Summer Glau has come into her own since getting in touch with Isabel’s nasty side, she’s been totally dislikeable which in fairness is the sign of a good performance. She may have disappeared mid-season but she’s been a right pain in the ass since she returned.
As for Quentin collapsing, coughing up blood – don’t you dare Arrow writers. Don’t you dare! Or I’ll go and set Slade free and set him on you lot! (Kidding, love you really. Thanks for an awesome show.) But not Quentin, not Paul Blackthorne! Give him a desk job if you need to, but don’t kill him!
We also had Sara going back with the League of Assassins, though again I’m guessing we haven’t seen the last of her. Nyssa and the League filled their purpose, the scene with Nyssa and Felicity towards the opening of the episode was another highlight for me…
“I am Nyssa, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, Heir to the Demon.”
“Felicity Smoak, MIT class 09.”
I don’t think I need to say much more. Also, was Nyssa almost doing a Captain Jack Harkness introduction to Felicity? That’s a genuine question, I did think she may have been subtly hitting on her a little bit…
Also that tunnel scene was massively impressive, the initial shot of the Arrow-Canary-Nyssa-the League and Roy waking in was wonderfully badass.
And that’s that, I think. It was a fitting conclusion to what has been a terrific season from start to finish (except Blind Spot), the unthinkable thing now is the 5 months we’ve got until Season 3. Sit tight everyone…