Did that just happen?
I like Arrow, I find it fun and creative, and I'm continually impressed with how they are pushing boundaries and delivering solid characters and stories. That being said, I never imagined it would cross into the realm of one of my all time favorites, though. A few more episodes like this one, and that might just happen. This episode was simply spectacular.
Much like the Buffy episode of the same name, we got a character swan song that didn't feel like one until the last moment. Moira's exit was more than unexpected -- I was actually shocked by it. Even though the episode was hinting rather heavily that she was about to die, I thought it was going to be several episodes from now in the finale. Every moment felt like a culmination, like this was the emotional finale of the season.
Moira's actions throughout the episode were about sacrifice. Sending away a grandchild because her son wasn't ready to be a father. Attempting to quit the Mayoral race for Thea. Continuing to run for Oliver and the City. Trying to share her last, most dangerous secret with her family (Malcolm being alive). Hell, I'm not entirely sure Oliver's secret would've been kept if that conversation in the limo had finished out. Except none of those things really defined her.
I had a real problem warming up to Moira. I didn't like her throughout most of season one. It wasn't until the finale when she came out to the city about her involvement with Malcolm in an effort to save lives, that I finally got the character. Her duplicitous and ambiguous nature often came across as cold and manipulative. She talked about family and how much she loved them with such a politician's polish that it was hard to know if she was being honest. In the end though, her love for her family really came through.
Standing up to Slade, literally, was such a defining moment. Oliver was injured and reliving one of the worst moments in his life, and couldn't make that choice. I doubt the words would've crossed his lips, even though it really wasn't much of a choice. There was no way Thea would've died there, unless Slade double-crossed Oliver and killed the person he chose to save. I imagined Moira begging Oliver to pick Thea. So having her confront Slade was a really wonderful way to change up the predictable.
The rest of the episode was kind of amazing as well. The Roy plot was probably the least effective element, but that's not a condemnation. To watch him slowly turn into a monster was horrible. It illustrated how much the Mirikuru affects the mind. Roy was very much a good person. He would never have killed a cop, or threatened Thea or Sin with violence. He was the kind of person that goes to a soup kitchen instead of stealing to survive.
Lastly, let me throw some acting love towards Manu Bennett, Stephen Amell, and Susanna Thompson. All of them did a marvelous job in portraying complex emotions, from Slade's crazy conflict during that moment at the end, to Oliver's impossible struggle reliving one of the worst moments of his life with an even worse outcome. But it was Moira who gave us the best moment, when she stood up and sacrificed herself.
Was it really Sara's inability to change that drove her away? Or was it Oliver suggesting that they move in together?
The producers have all but confirmed that the baby Moira bought off is going to come into play next season. Assuming they don't jump forward in time at all, that means we could have a seven year old character joining the show. In the comics, Green Arrow has a couple of boys. I have no idea what the show runners are going to do with this plot.
Oliver's bad wig came back, although the one on Moira was a bit better. Katie Cassidy looked normal again finally. It was yet another scene showing us how good a couple they were, and how unprepared Oliver was for that kind of relationship.
Nice little moment with the doctor who treated Oliver, showing that Oliver's actions have had some nice repercussions.
Thea cannot fold a napkin.
So the permanent damage to Oliver's knee makes sense. I wonder if his physicality compensates for some of his injuries? Either way, he's still very damaged.
Sara got Roy in the knee, because we need more obvious parallels.
The scene with the car crash was very Alias (i.e. the entire cast in a car when suddenly they are hit from the side).
Felicity: "Ah. Tibetan pit viper venom. A constant dose of that can't be good for you, right?"
Diggle: "It'll keep him sedated like it did Slade."
Felicity: "Until when? What happens when we run out? It's not like we can buy this stuff over the counter. Unless you're in Tibet. Then… maybe?"
Sin: "Roy's a friend. He needs help, not a beat down."
Felicity: "Does the fact that him lying there freaks me out a little make me a bad person?"
Diggle: "Felicity, I don't think there's a force on Earth that could make you a bad person."
Laurel: "You're really cute when you're mopey."
Oliver: "I'm not mopey."
Laurel: "Mopey's your default, Ollie. It's part of your smoldering charm."
Oliver: "I do have smoldering charm."
Oliver: "Make one mistake and it feels like my entire life is over."
The frame of this flashback scene was interesting: he was sitting in front of a giant model of the Queen's Gambit.
Felicity: "Can you even get into those leather pants with that knee?"
Another really awesome episode, that changed the game yet again. Slade is turning into one of the best TV villains of all time.
4 out of 4 Defining character moments
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.