Arrow Season Two Finale Review
The Deathstroke story arc finally comes to a close, but was it all we had hoped for? You bet your sweet quiver is was. After all, if Arrow knows how to do one thing right it’s end a season epically, and season two’s finale “Unthinkable” was no exception. Truth be told, this season’s finale really started the moment Slade ran his blade through Moira Queen back in “Seeing Red”, triggering a three episode story that sprinted to the finish of an amazing and surprisingly personal story for Oliver Queen. Season two’s big finale finally gave us an end to the Arrow and Deathstroke grudge match two years in the making, and man was is epic.
Oliver vs. Slade. From the first time these two became unlikely friends and allies all the way back in season one, we’ve known this day was coming. And their final showdown did not disappoint. With as much build up as this fight has had, I secretly wondered that when it finally came would end up being a little on the anti-climatic side. Nope. Arrow is all about strong finishes, and Oliver and Slade’s death-match was one of the best fight sequences of this series. Weaving the “Slade loses an eye” flashback fight with the present day “winner gets the city” fight was flawless and unbelievably exciting. Even with the past outcome already known, and the present Slade “cured” and powerless, both fights were highly intense and filled with emotional weight. The stakes where high and the show did an excellent job getting that point across. I also like how both Oliver/Slade fights eventually lead to the same point where Oliver had to make a defining choice, to kill or spare Slade. The very different choices he made in each time really showed how much his character has grown this season, and how hard the road to being a hero really is. I’m also glad the show kept Slade alive. He’s been one of the best characters on Arrow, and it’d be a shame to see him go.
With most of the more dramatic elements of the big finale having played out over the last three week “Unthinkable” was more about letting all the events that had already been set up unfold. Like dominoes falling on a grand, action-packed scale. Starling City was once again partially destroyed, which seems to be becoming an annual event, and most the characters got to help save the city and get closure on their lingering season two individual character arcs. Isabel Rochev died and no one cared, which is kinda fitting since no one really cared about her most the season anyway. Roy was cured of the Mirakuru and finally became Red Arrow, at the cost of his relationship with Thea. Thea decided to run off with Malcolm Merlyn (who has been promoted to series regular for season 3, so expect to see more of him) because everyone else lies, except her evil father of course. Ya, this is gonna turn out well. Sara/Canary agreed to go back to the league of Shadows if they helped Oliver. Which did lead to a cool “Sara passing the proverbial Canary torch to Laurel” moment. It will be interesting to see if Laurel does end up becoming a masked hero at some point, the groundwork was certainly laid this season. Officer Lance once again became Detective Lance as he did his part to save the city, which might end up costing him his life as he ended season two close to death from internal bleeding. Sebastian Blood chose to steal the Mirakuru cure from Slade and give it to Oliver, trying to save the city he helped destroy. Ultimately that choice would cost him his life, but in the end he died a hero in his own mind, truly believing that everything he did was for the betterment of Starling City.
I was glad to see Oliver finally out-think Slade. Even with Deathstroke being a master strategist, him being two steps ahead of Oliver EVERY SINGLE WEEK was getting old. Using Slade’s own spy-ware against him was genius, and the whole “I tricked you” moment was well played. I know I didn’t see it coming. That said, I did really feel for Felicity. She has been in love with Oliver since the beginning and even I thought Oliver was actually confessing that he was also in love with her, he was just so damned believable. Alas, it was not meant to be. It was all just a clever rouse to fool Slade, and the audience. That said, for a moment I did actually think that the show was going to kill Felicity. It would have been an unbelievable ballsy move that would’ve taken Arrow to a different level, but the show is better with her so I’m glad they didn’t. I do wonder how much longer Felicity and Oliver will be a lingering question. Oliver clearly doesn’t want to take that step, and Felicity is too great and smart a character to continually have her chasing after Oliver’s affection, so hopefully this is something that will be resolved quickly next season.
If last year was about Oliver becoming the Arrow, this season was about his journey to actually becoming a hero. When the season started Oliver declared that he couldn’t be the killer he once was, he had to be something else. The writers did an amazing job of taking us through the struggles and sacrifices Oliver had endure to make that a reality. Leading to the choice to spare Slade Wilson instead of killing him, a moment that would be Oliver’s final step from vigilante to actual hero. It was a transformation that was earned throughout the season, and because of that it felt real.
I give the Arrow season two finale a 9.5 outta 10 reasons that this show has not only become the best superhero show ever, but also one of the best shows on television period