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'Arrow' Review: Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness (S2E21)

The aftermath of Moira Queen's death could have seen Oliver Queen go on a blind rampage hell-bent on revenge and that would have been the easy, safe and typical response in a superhero show. Instead, in "City of Blood" Oliver was allowed to be a fragile human being in the wake of losing not just another loved one in his battle against evil in Starling City but his own mother at the hands of Slade Wilson. The only thing stopping him from succumbing to Wilson were the people at the heart of his support system - Felicity, Diggle and now Laurel.

Arrow has never been afraid to explore the feelings of its characters especially with the amount of secrets between them. While it doesn't excite some fans but humanizing these characters and providing closure at times is what makes them  three-dimensional and not just cookie-cutter action heroes. Listening to Oliver explain to Felicity and Diggle how his failures have led to so much death and destruction that the only way to stop Slade from killing someone else is to turn himself over to him. This is not a popular decision to some but it's understandable considering what becoming the Arrow has cost him. He couldn't even attend the funeral and instead retreated to his own "fortress of solitude" full of guilt and despair. Is this typical superhero behavior? Of course not but this is what makes Arrow special. Oliver, like Bruce Wayne, are human after all and not emotionless machines. We can sympathize and empathize with the loss of life and the self-blame associated with it.

This was the strongest episode of the season for the supporting cast. They helped convinced Oliver that they needed him more than ever. Felicity especially shone brightly reminding him that despite the turmoil of the city it was him that believed in her and changed her life forever. Diggle sought the help of Amanda Waller to track Oliver down and inform her of Slade's Mirakuru-infused army. And just when he determined he had failed the city and decided to succumb to Slade the team drugged him back to the Arrow-cave.

Laurel, long the fan-unfavorite, has really rebounded from her spiraling storyline to now be the loudest voice of reason in his lair. She knows his secret identity now and realizes he was the protector the city needed all along basically he needed to man-up now. This was her strongest showing and squarely on Team Arrow now. So much so she refuses to stay behind when the team goes to face Slade and his army. The next two episodes should change the dynamics of the team perhaps leading to Laurel in a more "super" role. She already discovered Sebastian Blood's connection to Slade and Moira's murder.

Earlier, Thea was seeking solace and luckily Walter was there to say the right things. It becomes clear Walter's presence has been sorely needed at the Queen residence. His calm and reassuring words give Thea the father figure that's been lacking. "All we ever needed was the truth," she tells him and it's been the running theme of the series.

Once underground the action is swift and blunted with Slade's army and the appearance that was spoiled online weeks ago - the Ravager. This whets the appetite for the final two episodes of the season which should prove to be explosive. Now that the emotional diagnostics have been fine tuned and adjusted we should get all the action that was missing from 'City of Blood to the delight of fans going into 'Streets of Fire' next week. (Preview video below).

As usual it comes from Felicity Smoak while interrogating Blood's bodyguard:
Blood’s bodyguard: You bitch.
Felicity: Bitch with wifi.


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