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ARROW Recap/Review: The Green Knight Rises (S2E22)

'Streets of Fire' took a literal turn on last night's Arrow as Slade's master plan to destroy Starling City was set in motion. Mirakuru-injected masked minions rampage the city as Ollie and company try to survive and get the cure in their hands. Thea gets a surprise visit and Papa Lance gets a second chance. Mayor Blood turns a corner and Amanda Waller returns Another thrilling episode that feels like a finale but sets the stage for the biggest season finale the show has had.

A lot like The Dark Knight Rises, a city is under siege, ruled by a madman and in threat of entire annihilation on the penultimate episode of TV's best comic book adaptation, Arrow. Such plotlines are great for motion pictures but extraordinary for television shows where budgets pale in comparison. A television budget with big screen aspirations hasn't stopped this show from giving fans what they want - heroes, villains, action, drama, suspense. This was never more evident than last night.

After escaping the rubble of the tunnels from last week by teaching the newly confident and coherent Laurel how to shoot an explosive arrow into the debris, Ollie sets out to meet with Diggle and Felicity. But first Diggle had to tangle with Ravager in a great choreographed fight scene with Felicity swooping in to save the day as only she can - with a van and a quip, "I really thought the airbags were going to go off." Felicity has made an indelible impression this season. She serves not just as a potential love interest for Ollie but as his conscious and infallible support system. She brings humor and serves as the audience's surrogate with the best lines,"Why does every secret formula have to be a color? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned clear?” The show would be a complete joyless failure without Emily Betts Rickards as Ollie's clever and courageous ally.

Mayor Blood has been allowed to show more dimensions over the last couple of episodes than just the dastardly power hungry villain. We learn the skull mask he wears has some daddy issues attached to it and realizes that Slade may not leave a city standing for him to govern. 

With so many lunatics wreaking havoc in the city it was great to see Quentin Lance getting involved and taking down one of the bad guys. No longer the sad sack demoted detective, Papa Lance was taking control of the situation. He convinced his Lieutenant to work with the Arrow because "it takes a mask to beat a mask." As a result he got his old job back. Looks like the Arrow has a new ally in Officer Detective Lance. This bodes well for the future of the series.

Poor Thea has had a rough season. She finds out her dad is not her dad, she catches Roy with another woman, she's kidnapped by Slade and amid the chaos she's attacked right when she's ready to leave all the madness behind. Luckily, she's rescued by who else but her real father - Malcolm Merlyn. This is one storyline that hasn't been tied up yet so it's always a joy to see John Barrowman as the Dark Archer.

 Understandably, Thea is not pleased one bit to see him and lets him know it. He just wants to protect her after what happened to Moira. She's put off by him being a murderous psycho and all. Despite his best efforts including killing bad guys Thea wants nothing to do with him. She brandishes a gun and fires two shots. Does she take out her own father?! (Previews say no).

When they find Diggle and Felicity, Laurel decides to go see her father at the police station while Ollie goes to find the courier carrying the Mirakuru cure from S.T.A.R. Labs. He got upended by the masked minions and soon so does Team Arrow. They're too late to save the courier and the cure is gone.

On the streets things get dicey for Laurel but Sara as The Canary  is there to protect her. She reveals herself to Laurel and explains to her she isn't a hero.  She's "irredeemable" but Laurel, suddenly more motherly than ever, tells her she wouldn't have been given that name beautiful name if she were. It's quite the turnaround for Laurel this season. She's gone from a self-destructive jerk to a nourishing motivating force. Many speculate that somehow she'll become the Black Canary to fit with canon but what happens to Sara?

During island flashback, Ollie plans to save Sara from Amazo and have Antoli fire the last torpedo to destroy it within an hour. The flashbacks are all the more tolerable with the witty Antoli cracking wise and despite being put upon is as entertaining as Felicity in the present time. Alas, Slade caught Ollie and Sara as they looked for the Mirakuru cure. Tick, tock.

Felicity and Ollie share a tender moment as she reminds him he can't feel sorry for himself as he's helped save the city time and time again.“You are not alone, and I believe in you," she tells him.  Hashtag Olicity fans share a collective aw as they embrace.

Sara saves a child from a burning building as her proud sister looks on. This could be the crowning moment that motivates Laurel to take the mantle of The Canary someday. Maybe.

A betrayed Mayor Blood wants to try and redeem himself by giving the cure to Ollie that was taken from the courier. The exchange goes well but it didn't go over well with Slade and Ravager as evidenced by the two blades she thrusts into his body. The road to hell is paved with good intentions they say.

A mysterious military convoy approaches the city just as Ollie is about to test the cure on a sleeping Roy. A quick call to Amanda Waller confirms it's A.R.G.U.S. troops. Waller wants to contain the spread of the super soldiers and has a drone marked to "make Starling City a crater" if he doesn't stop Slade and his goons by dawn. The race is on as next week we get the season finale we deserve and it's going to be a blast.

 Here's a sneak peek:


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