Friday, May 16, 2014

Arrow S02 E23: "Unthinkable"

Here we are, the season two finale, and it all leads to a final showdown with Slade Wilson, Deathstroke. Slade's Mirakuru army is on the rampage in Starling City. Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. have the city quarantined, and if the Arrow hasn't disposed of the threat by dawn, drones will level the city. Things are looking very dark for our heroes.

As we open, the clock tower, the temporary Arrowcave, is under attack by Slade's men. A surprise player intervenes to save the day - Lyla, AKA Harbinger. That was unexpected. The good news is that the Mirakuru cure works, so Roy is back to normal, and red masked. Canary has also brought in help - Nyssa and the League of Assassins. Hmmm... the odds are starting to seem a bit more even now.

The ensuing battles go as expected, albeit too quickly in the case of Canary vs. Ravager. I talked last time about how I felt about villains killing villains. It's very dissatisfying. Nyssa's murder of Isabel is a harsh point for Oliver. He has vowed this season not to be a killer, yet those he's allied himself with really know no other way. Thus the episode's title, under these extreme circumstances, can Oliver do the unthinkable?

Things escalate when Slade takes Laurel prisoner. Even Quentin begins to question Arrow's non-murderous ways when confronted with losing his daughter. If that's not enough, as Slade's army seeks to escape through the Giordano Tunnel (nice shout out to legendary DC Comics artist and editor Dick Giordano), drones are on their way to the city.

As if Oliver didn't have enough to worry about, he takes Felicity to his house so she's safe. He tells her that Slade wanted to hurt him by taking the woman he loves, but Slade took the wrong woman. Yeah. That came out of nowhere, and plunges this formerly one-sided love affair into the show wrecking territory of "Cheers" and "Moonlighting." And sadly, Oliver telling Felicity he loves her significantly triples her chances of not making it through the episode. Or does it?

The battle between Team Arrow, the League of Assassins, and Slade's army in the tunnel is simply awesome. The best part for this comics fanboy? Roy in red, with mask and bow, side by side with Arrow and Canary. Awesome. Can we have more of this please next season? If that's not enough comic book superhero action, Diggle and Lyla free the Suicide Squad to stop the drone at its source. Nice.

The finale is almost exactly as one would have predicted. Slade will make Oliver choose once again as he was forced to choose between Sara and Shado on the island. I had always assumed it would be Sara and Laurel on the chopping block. I suppose however, with fan favorite Felicity there with Laurel, it raises the stakes with the viewers. The producers aren't stupid, they know how to grease the wheels to real nail biting suspense.

And right before it happened, I knew what Oliver did. He knew. He knew Slade had the house bugged, was listening in to their plans. Oliver said what he said to get Felicity kidnapped, and she of course would have the Mirakuru cure. At the same time I was like Go Felicity! and Poor Felicity, as she had to hear Oliver say the words knowing they didn't mean what they sounded like they meant. Good plan, but as usual with Oliver, no tact.

Beautifully, both fights between Deathstroke and Arrow, in the present and back on Flashback Island, mirror each other. The choreography is executed perfectly. Like the other fight scenes in this episode, except for Ravager, it is played well. In the end, Arrow wins, because he doesn't kill Slade, and leaves him in an ARGUS supermax facility on Flashback Island.

There are no happy endings however, and only more loose ends to be tied up hopefully next season. Diggle is going to be a father with Lyla, but that's good news. After finding Roy's Speedy gear, Thea leaves with her father Malcolm, supposedly 'never coming back.' I wonder if she'll return as a new Dark Archer, or Dark Speedy, or perhaps even a female Merlyn the Magician...

Sara leaves as well with Nyssa, but not before giving her leather jacket to Laurel. After she says it fits, her dad tells her not to get any ideas. Now comics fans are getting ideas, because Dinah Laurel Lance is actually the second Black Canary, so Laurel taking up the mantle does make a bit of sense, and we know Laurel can fight, not like an Assassin of course, but she can fight.

While we comics fans are getting excited for the possibilities of next season (hey, finally a reason to like Laurel!), the bad thing happens, Quentin doubles over in pain, suffering from injuries inflicted by Slade's men, he passes out. And that's when the comics fans among us know where this is probably going. Quentin Lance has always been living on borrowed time because of the character he's based upon.

Essentially Quentin is Larry Lance, poor doomed Larry Lance. It fits. He is/was a police detective, he's Dinah Lance's husband, and they're the parents of the current Black Canary. He's Larry Lance, and like poor doomed Gwen Stacy, he's destined to die. And if you add in the rumor that Quentin wasn't supposed to make it through The Undertaking alive at the end of last season, he's really living on borrowed time.

In the comics, Larry dies saving Black Canary from the cosmic star-being Aquarius. It's this tragedy that drives her to leave the Justice Society on Earth-Two and join the Justice League on Earth-One. There she becomes romantically linked to Green Arrow. That's the original story, many reboots and continuities later, it's still basically the same, long story short. Larry Lance is still doomed. I wonder if his TV counterpart Quentin will share his fate? I, for one, hope not.

Also on the epilogue agenda is Flashback Island. After leaving both Slade and Sara thought dead on the sunk Amazo, Oliver woke up in Hong Kong to be greeted by Amanda Waller. This should be fun next season. I didn't care for "Arrow" all that much when I started watching it, but I'm very happy it's turned into the best superhero show, if not one of the best shows on television this season, I look forward to more.

And speaking of more, we were also treated to a sneak peek at the new Flash TV series at the end of this episode. It was followed the next day by a longer more impressive trailer. To see them both, head on over to Biff Bam Pop! or click right here. See you next time… in a flash!

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