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Arrow S02E21: "City of Blood"

"City of Blood" was a bit of a place-setting episode to get things ready for the penultimate episode of the season and the finale. Quentin's in danger! Thea's in danger! Diggle's in danger! Oliver and Laurel are in danger! Staring City's in danger! Felicity's... getting a phone call from S.T.A.R. Labs! Okay, so it's not like everyone is in a life-or-death sort of situation, but you get the gist: It's time for Arrow to start picking up the season's various threads and tying them together.

While "City of Blood" did that, it also devoted much of its energy to dealing with the fallout from Moira's death at the end of last week's episode. That allowed Arrow to give itself the space to actually deal with Oliver and Thea's pain, and in a way that also served to get us to those last 10 minutes that established multiple little cliffhangers.

In Oliver's case, it was basically hiding out in a second, previously unseen Arrow Cave while everyone else attended Moira's funeral or went about looking for him. While it was awfully convenient for this backup hideout to come into existence in the same episode that Isabel took control of Verdant—and thus the Arrow Cave—I like that Oliver has a place where he goes to be alone. For so much of this season, Oliver's been helping so many people cope with their problems that it's easy to forget that Oliver is likely still dealing with problems of his own. So the gesture to the idea that Oliver needs a place of refuge, even if it's offscreen, is a good reminder that he may not be as over things as he's letting on to those around him, or even to himself.

It's entirely likely that this is true. Oliver's decision to surrender to Slade was an emotional grab-bag of motives, though it was mostly indicative of simple self-loathing. In the same way that Oliver's risky vigilantism last season put him in dangerous positions as a result of him sacrificing his identity and personal connections to serve his father's wishes, Oliver's sense of responsibility for Moira's death put him in the position of thinking that if he followed her lead and offered himself up, Slade would stop. Both mentalities ignored the potential ramifications of his actions, especially with regard to how his family and friends would respond to the loss. But a return to his lone-wolf mentality has illustrated to Oliver that he does need allies. And considering that Oliver's been driving home these ideas to Sara, it just shows how much he doesn't listen to himself.

That it required Laurel to convince him to get back under the hood instead of just giving up on himself and his friends shouldn't be all that surprising. No matter how fast and loose it was sometimes structured, Laurel's arc has been a story of clawing her way back from a great loss and coming to terms with that. All season long, she's been where Oliver found himself in "City of Blood," except she didn't have a super villain mastermind to surrender to, just alcohol and pills, which are no less insidious than Slade's plan to destroy Oliver's life.

The extent to which this worked for you may hinge entirely on how you feel about Oliver and Laurel as a... whatever they are at this point (and judging from early comments, you folks are already all over the map on this). From a structural standpoint, I'm all about it, as the paragraph above likely made clear. From a character-relationship perspective, I'm not really on board. The notion that the Oliver who existed prior to Lian Yu—the Oliver Laurel knew and loved—was an Oliver who never gave up... I don't buy that for a second. His experiences on Lian Yu rubbed him raw and made him look at his own bones. Slade has steadily broken those bones, hence Oliver's willingness to quit. But the idea that Laurel was able to see this Oliver before? Eh. The assertion relied too heavily on past experiences that we don't know about and haven't seen, and was undermined even more by Flashback Oliver being a pretty serious jerk.

So while Laurel's pep talk might've been enough, it was really her, "Oh, and by the way, Slade and Sebastian Blood are totally in cahoots" that got Oliver back on his horse. If there was a weak link in this episode, sadly, this was it. Laurel went back to suspecting Blood because he briefly mentioned the loss of a parent; that got the conspiracy wheels turning in her mind after not worrying about it since "Blind Spot," and that's all it took. It's silly, and when it comes down to it, I didn't even need to say "briefly mentioned the loss of a parent." The simple because would've been enough, since that's really all the justification Laurel offered to Quentin when she cited her gut. Arrow needed to connect those dots, and didn't have a more organic way to do it.


Thea had significantly fewer options than Oliver, however, and, in fact, they'd been reduced by the end of the episode. With Queen Mansion packed and its furniture covered in sheets, and Isabel kicking her out of Verdant in a couple of days (which seems, legally, unlikely to me, but Arrow doesn't give a damn about conflicts of interest with lawyers or how the selling of stocks works, so par for the course, I guess!), Thea had nowhere to go. Walter, bless him, was ready to take her in, and it was a testament to how strong of a rapport was established between the two of them in Season 1 that it didn't feel forced or even passingly ridiculous that he would do this for her. 

It was also a testament to how far the show has progressed with Thea since Season 1 that she would decline that offer. For all the horrible stuff she's gone through in the tail end of the season with Roy's behavior, the reveals about Malcolm, and the loss of Moira, Season 1 Thea would've OD'd on vertigo and called it a night. Season 2 instead saw the loss of everything as an opportunity to start over, to get away from the toxicity that brought about all this suffering. It's a remarkably healthy self-centric thing to do as opposed to Oliver's more destructive self-centered decision to turn himself over to Slade. Having Oliver acknowledge and encourage that decision had to be rewarding on some level, even if she still hates Oliver on a number of levels. (And how good were Stephen Amell and Willa Holland in that scene? So good.) Of course, with Slade's mirakuru thugs taking over the entire city, she may not be able to get away from it just yet.

A quick note on Blood to close things out for the episode. The whys and the hows of Slade and Blood's partnership remain a bit murky for me, and I've largely given the pairing a pass because it's been pretty exciting. I've also enjoyed Kevin Alejandro's work a great deal this season. As things wind down, however, some additional information would be helpful. So it's small things—like Blood acknowledging that he's working with Slade to destroy Starling City so as to save it—that I appreciate and also want more of. 

The other reason I bring this up, apart from the season wrapping up, is that the episode offered little glimpses into how Blood is thinking. So while that bit about ancestors looking at you from beyond may have been just for show and for eavesdroppers at Moira's wake, between that and Oliver's discussion with him at the restaurant, it felt like Sebastian's resolve might have been shaken a smidge before he addressed the mirakuru soldiers, like he had to get into character of the man in the skull mask. It was a decidedly contemplative moment from a character hasn't been given one at all prior to this, one that could've easily been cut for the sake for a few seconds more of Isabel beating up on Diggle. That it wasn't is (hopefully) significant.

I do want it to be significant, though. Season 2 started so focused on the Glades and then drifted away from it for a long while, so to have Blood mulling his actions and whether his ends justify the means brings us back to the less reflective citizens of the Glades who saw the quake as an opportunity to rebuild themselves as something more than they once were.



FROM THE QUIVER

– Lian Yu flashback: Oliver learned about sacrifice and heroism, and Anatoli can fix Russian submarines. The Lian Yu flashbacks have been crawling along since "The Promise." They have to get off the damn island.

– Not entirely sure why Oliver needed to go down into the sewers, let alone linger down there. I guess to confirm the location of Sebastian and the mirakuru troopers? But when you're dropping a sizable portion of real estate on top of them, it seems like a really big fly swatter that maybe you don't worry about getting caught in.

– Forget the Suicide Squad. Diggle and Felicity should just open up their own private eye firm and be awesome together all the time. They're the best. "Pal, you're gonna wish I beat you." "Hi, I'll be your interrogator." Slightly later: "Bitch with WiFi." Related: I loved that Sebastian's bodyguard/assistant/whatever was more worried about his parents' retirement accounts than about his Cayman Islands nest egg.

– At this point, only Quentin and Thea don't know that Oliver is the Arrow, right? Odds on one or both of them making it to the end of the season and still not knowing? I figure Thea has to find out.

– Thea doesn't understand the concept of traveling coach.

– Hey, Isabel! Look at you in your outfit! It does not look that great, but then, I never liked the Ravager costume from the comics, on which Isabel's getup is based.


What did you think of "City of Blood"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/25/2016

Season 4 : Episode 23

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Why is it Super Heroes always have stupid weapons? Sure a bow and arrow sounds cool for about 30 seconds. Then you wake up and realize why did humanity progress past the bow and arrow in combat? Was it because it was made completely ineffective by the advent of firearms??? What killed the Native Americans? Oh FIREARMS! What destroyed the Zulu Warriors in the 1880's? Firearms... What neutralized the Sudanese Uprising in the 1880's? Remember Gordon--- And FIREARMS! Notice how every one of my examples ends with FIREARMS? Not that I'm gun addicted (which I do enjoy a good firearm) the answer to all of Olie's issues is overwhelming firepower! I'm a talking serious firepower-- i.e. 12.7x99mm or this

Get Diggle on the back of a M35A2 with couple of these and bam-- the end of Slade Wilson and his soldiers. But wait that would be both cool and practical and that means we cannot have it for a superhero...

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Yes, everyone is in danger. Diggle has a little bit of payback coming his way, Oliver and Laurel (women, why do they never listen?) has an army of monsters to deal with, Quentin has a strong thug in his hands, Felicity is about to receive bad news about the mirakuru cure and the city will get a Bloodbath. Not to mention Thea, broken as the rest of the Queens she has to travel with less style. That's why she got stuck in the train station at the moment of the attack. No worries tough, she won't suffer anything, Malcolm won't let anything happen to her. Or someone thinks it's merely a coincidence his getting back to Starling City right after Moira's death?
It's all coming full circle! Wilson's assault on the Queens, Blood's releasing of the mirakuru army, all of that is paving the way for Wilson's benefectors (pretty sure it's the League of Assassins) to come to the city. Now that the (at least apparently) only person who knew about them is dead they're free to take the city, and Blood being mayor serves to that purpose.
I won't be surprised at all if Cisco tells Felicity that there is no cure for the Mirakuru, in that case Oliver will see himself in the position of having to kill Wilson to save the last person he vowed to kill. Who is that person?
Slade already came after basically everyone that Oliver holds dear, is there anyone left for him to kill?
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Sounds about right, except for the no cure for the Mirakuru, there is a cure. Ivo had one developed, and Ollie didn't use it on Slade when he had the chance. I am betting Cisco is calling about the cure being ready.
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Something else to say.. Who is looking forward to the future shows where they will be cross-overs between Arrow and Flash? :)

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I like Arrow, sometimes it's cheesy, but still. The most unrealistic thing about it is how he can move around on a motor bike and never get caught. I mean, it's the same thing with Batman, I mean, a batmobile? and no traffic jam to deal with? ever? I know that in Batman Begins, that new 'Batmobile' was quite the 'all-terrain' type vehicle, but anyways, just saying...

I wonder if Sara will die or if she will remain as Black Canary. I mean, I kinda remember that the deal is for Laurel to become Black Canary, but you know what? I think Sara should just stay, we like her a lot more.

Now, of course, somehow, Roy will get the cure for the Mirakuru, but I doubt this will ever be administered to Slade. But, Ravager, I wonder if she's going to be collateral damage in all of this and get some of the cure too.

Anyways, Kinda wish there was just 1 episode per week, year long, instead of these seasons..

I wonder how the new Flash show will work out. I saw the costume, not liking it as much as I wished, I can only hope that it's work in progress and that they will improve it as the show goes.. It would be nice to see the costume ring.. :)
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I do like where this finale is going. I'm a couple episodes behind but:

1) I can't say I like Laurel but she's been a lot more tolerable since her losses. Still, giving her regularity as DID, shouldn't she have pepper spray, a tazer or something on her? Maybe use her so called martial arts ability that vanish when they're necessary?

2) Thea has turned out to be such a good character. Love the development and growth she's had this season. Just hope all this down on your luck doesn't mean she'll go to the original Speedy's...job.

3) Kind of happy Moira is gone. After her jail stunt and her goal to become an upstanding citizen again, she was a good character. Her running for major was also a good idea...until she started her pathological liar cycle. I could understand Thea's paternity, that was fine. But then came swimming lessons Thea and Ollie never took, her patronizing attitude against Oliver about the horror of lies, threatening Felicity...seriously, stuff it.

4) Kind of convenient Isabelle fell to the Mirukuru and slade army. If she goes to jail, her own publicity gets worse than ollie's, she's just been as absent, or the cure fails to save her...Oliver is right back to getting the mansion, verdant, and Queen consolidated. As much as I think she shouldn't be a joint partner because that's ollie's frankly, it would have been humanizing to show her supporting and helping Ollie with Slade and all, even if it was just temporary.
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JT_kirk yeah she should have ran away, but probably she was frozen or whatever. Why didn't Arrow use the Arrow that took the bad guy out sooner lol. Well they want to entertain us ofcourse.
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Wish it didn't stop in the end it was getting really good!!!!
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great episode... laying the foundations for an explosive season finale... i love felicity as always... and yes ravager costume sucked, it was to comic for my taste...

plot wise... will malcolm merlin side with the arrow on this one considering thea is caught in the middle... and where the hell is roy... should'nt he be lying down at the arrow cave...
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Bitch with WIFI :d fastest way to make anyone break during interrogation, thats what you'd call both classy and effective . If it was the old way they'd still be beating the guy up.
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Great episode! Can't wait for the next one and don't want the season to end! Love Felicity...as always! Girl makes me laugh everytime I see her! Her "bitch with WI-FI" just made me ROFL! xD

I'm starting to like Laurel now, I didn't find her annoying or an eye-sore in this episode compared to the first half of the season. Let's hope they keep her character like this! Plus she's looking more prettier and healthier compared to her druggie arc!

As for Isabel's costume...it looked so ridiculous that it made laugh. They could have made a better mask for her.

Now, let the fight begin! I'm keen know what characters are joining Team Arrow - it's going to be an epic battle for sure!
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Strangely I'm more worried about what (or rather WHO) wasn't in the rally. Where is SLADE? Normally I would think that Slade would be attacking elsewhere while Oli was busy with Brother Blood but everyone thats important is already at play.

STUPID OLI. Why didn't he warn Quentin "Oh theres an army of super-powered bad guys like the ones that took out your swat team and killed your friend. They are about to make a move tonight they are comprised of the escapees from blackgate."

Felicity is an awesome interrogator.

Isabelle the mask is stupid. I never said anything before because Manu Bennett plays him so well but I really think the slade masks are stupid.

I wonder what what Steel, Moira's ex-husband was calling about.

Amanda Waller should come it to play at this point; but, I doubt the producers will use the money to assemble the Suicide Squad even for this.
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I can't stop wondering how many seasons I'm going to have to wait for the main character to become someone at least partially worth looking up to, rather than this blind, arrogant, self-loathing, hypocritical, not-very-smart, and all around stunted development kind of guy. Oliver had learned a lot on the island, but I feel that he's learned precious little since he'd found his way back to civilization. I've been really looking forward to some noticeable move ahead, rather than him consistently reverting to his conflicted self and repeating the same mistakes over and over again. So stale by now.

And so far each consequent episode this season is proving to me that the Mirakuru plot has become the most ridiculous device in this show's short history. At first there was enough hope that the Arrow runners might handle it well, but they completely blew it. It got out of hand. First Roy, then an entire army of random guys, each strong enough to snap Oliver like a twig, without so much as breaking a sweat. It's a wonder he is still alive by this point. And it's a wonder how much Slade's blood there was to go around, with the super-powered effects in subsequent hosts not being diminished at all. This entire storyline has become so painful to endure... I can only groan.

My biggest surprise of this second half of the season? Laurel, ironically. The one character who I thought might be beyond salvation has actually become likeable and not annoying. Now I wish I could say the same about Oliver.
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My only issue with this episode and i guess the whole Sebastian Blood plot in general is that its pretty much the same thing Malcolm Merlin was doing w/ the Undertaking last season. Merlin wanted to destroy the Glades (cuz his wife was killed there) "to make the city better by starting over" its the same base concept Blood is using but he wants to destroy the whole city? So I agree in the sense that we need more background on Blood's motives/his partnership with Slade cuz I can't see him going thru all this just to become Mayor of a city and and have all these people looking to him after he destroys their home that's barely recovered from the Undertaking. I guess he is pretty sick though didn't he kill both his parents?
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I think Quentin knows about Olliver, he is just pretending not to know because it's easier for him. I wonder if Laurel is doing the same because now that she knows about Arrow she must realize the truth about Sara, right?
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She definitely knows about Sarah when she walked in on her in the hospital and saw all those scars they reminded her of Olivers. She put two and two together. If not it would be pretty silly
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Which seems, legally, unlikely to me, but Arrow doesn't give a damn about conflicts of interest with lawyers or how the selling of stocks works, so par for the course, I guess!
Haven't had a chance to see this episode yet due to my work schedule, but, one thing people should remember is that this is heroic fantasy;it only works when you show the high and low points in life and skip the intermediary stuff that logically makes it work. It doesn't always make perfect sense, but it is great fun!
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Spoiler ahead......OK, it looks like Merlyn will be back in the next episode, and honestly, this is the most interesting part of the story to me . For one, it provides for an opportunity for the good guys to team up with the previous bad guy to take down an even badder bad guy. This is my favorite device in all of fiction. I call it, "the Dragonball principle" because the entirety of Dragonball and Dragonball Z is just an endless cycle of that happening. Also, just seeing Merlyn and Thea interact, now that we have the awkward part where she finds out he is her father out of the way, will be great.
And who else here is TOTALLY hoping for a scene where Thea is the grasp of her attacker and Malcolm shows up and just kills the hell out him to save her life! I AM! I AM!
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Actually called the ""Enemy Mine trope (This type of team-up usually starts with the villain coming to the hero's aid, usually saying that a certain threat is a danger to them both, or "No one kills you but me!" when they save the hero from certain doom.). But I liked the Dragonball reference anyway.
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My favorite examples of this were probably the first time Spike teamed up with Buffy to fight Angel, and the time Spider-man had to take down Carnage and he realized, "I have to set VENOM free!" This trope is how anti-heroes are born!!
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So basically everyone with mirakuru in their veins is invincible. Even without fighting experience. All of them can kick everyone's butt in a heartbeat. Puhleeze. I get that Slade is bigger, stronger, smarter, more psychopathically diciplined than Oliver could ever hope to be, but at least give the guy a friggin' chance. Week after week after week the poor hero gets to mop the floor with his head. It's pathetic! If he's a hero, please offer the audience something in return for all the time we've spent watching him suffer. I look forward to next week in the hopes that Slade meets his end at the hands of Oliver and company. Enough is enough.
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This show has gotten so good this season. The next two episodes should be tops.
Felicity makes for an awesome interrogator.
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So, I could see Slade kicking Oliver's ass all over the place, he's the guy who trained Oliver. So that plus mirakuru equals butt kicking. However...everyone else can kick his butt because they have the mirakuru running through their veins? Even though they haven't necessarily had anything real in the way of combat training? Does anyone else find that odd?

"Felicity's... getting a phone call from S.T.A.R. Labs!" Is anyone else hoping that the news about Flash not showing up in Arrow was just a big lie, and the call was about Barry waking up and coming to help Ollie? (I know, more than likely it's about the mirakuru cure, but I can have entirely unrealistic dreams, right?)
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Awesome episode!! but I can't be onboard with laurel, I just hate her and I don't know why, I don't like her at all, and I want to like her because she is going to be until the end in Arrow but I just can't.
Also I loooove when oliver told her-this began with just the three of us- yeah oliver.
I also want to see more of blood and wilson, but come on, slade wilson comes with that voice and his supernatural power and you just say yes to everything!!
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A slower episode, but awesome nonetheless. After last weeks intense ending, I think a breather was much needed.

Stephen Amell carried this episode. His acting has improved so much over the last year. I don't know if this was his finest performance yet, but it was right up there.

Now, as for Laurel...I'm torn. I thought she was used well in this episode. That being said, generally speaking her character is kinda just there. At first we all thought that she would eventually become the Black Canary (and she still might), so I put up with her. But ever since they introduced Sarah/Canary, I don't want Laurel to take up that mantel. TPTB created a character with such a rich back story, that her badassery was very believable. They also spun the story in such a way that, in my opinion, she and Oliver together (as a couple or as a crime fighting duo or both) just makes sense. If their plan is still for Laurel to become the Canary they better come up with a damn good explanation of how Laurel could become that badass. Personally, I think the best thing they could do for the show is to kill off Laurel and keep Sarah as the Canary. Sadly however, I think it will be the other way around.

ps. I have nothing against Katie Cassidy. Her acting is just fine, a bit over dramatic at times, but nothing that would make me want her off the show. My problem is with the character, not the actress.

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I could believe Laurel becoming part of Team Arrow, if they are going that route. Sara as Black Canary wouldn't have been believable to me without the hellish LoA subjugation backstory. Even if Sara could train Laurel, it would be like a summer of evening classes... not at all the kind of transforming experience required.
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Laurels not ready to be the black canery, and I think Sara suits that role better.
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i so agree I love Sara as the canary!
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And now, a moment of silence for another fallen comrade. Died because his wristwatch was accurate. He won't be missed as much as... umm, what was his name? Oh, right, Peter the Prisoner. But after seven appearances on the show going all the way back to "Betrayal" in season 1, his loss will be sorely felt.


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WHY CRUEL WORLD.....WHY WOULD YOU TAKE HIM FROM US???
HE WAS ONLY 2 WEEKS AWAY FROM RETIREMENT!!!

R.I.P. sometechguy
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It is not just that we are having a lot of TV series about people coming back from the dead. We are now having a lot of TV characters from different series coming back from the dead. I was shock to see Isabel alive and kicking ! Well, at least for her there is the excuse of mirakuru. At this rate, perhaps Josh Charles will be back on TGW next season:-)

It seems that Sarah is really gone? I really hope she will be back for the finale. I now wonder about her fate in season three. I loved Sarah and it seems now they are pulling her away so Laurel could be back to be with Oliver. I will be sad if there is no Sarah for season three.

And yes, I would like to know what did Slade promise Blood. I am sure Slade is probably lying to Blood.

Diggle and Felicity interrogation was so fun to watch ! The best scene ! I loved the two of them.

For the final two episodes, I would be totally okay if they did not show any Lian yu flashbacks. I rather they focus to wrap things up.
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You were shocked about Isabel? It was made abundantly clear shortly after Diggle shot her that she was still alive. Slade injected her with Mirakuru literally a few minutes later.
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Hmm...perhaps I doze off at the point. Ha !
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I love this show and this episode was great, but seriously does everyone have to know who the Arrow is???


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PS - not forgiving you for that cheesy title. Booooo! Booo-nnniee Tyler. And nobody is fresh for the fight here except the bad guys.
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Staff

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And how long have you been waiting to use that gif, 5 months? :-P
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That's how I saw her
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That looks like it should be an Ant Man costume. Or The Fly...ah...The mosquito.
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Agreed its a stupid costume. I know they based it on Ravager but still the mask looks horrible on her.
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My first thought was "light bulb". The talk with Slade might have gone something like this: "A company in East Asia makes our masks, but there isn't time to order yours." I suppose Isabel did fairly well given only some old inner tubes and a hobby knife.
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Good one! To me, the fact than one can see her eyes makes it seem like it's a costume made for a Halloween party. The orange-black masks worn by the male characters (Deathstroke included) look much more menacing with their eyes being just two dark hollows.
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My thought exactly.
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Ya her outfit was just bad. So bad. All the bad.
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Very good episode heading into the end. Agree with our commentator about the scenes with Stephen Amell and Willa Holland - the two of them had so much to remember about where their characters were at and every note felt earned. The writers have given her a lot this season and 'Thea' isn't exclusively a victim anymore despite all the crap that's been dumped in her lap and the fact that she can't trust her brother when they need each other the most. Their entire world is at ground zero of a nuclear blast and she still has to fear - What's next? at every moment and not show weakness --- just like her brother. The writer's have put these two through wringer after wringer and its been fun watching these two actors carry that weight. This has to why Laurel has conveniently been pushed to outskirts of the story - only popping up when she has to be somewhere (For instance, Why the hell did she follow Oliver into the sewer knowing all she could provide was herself as another problem for Oliver to deal with? Diggle and Felicity had their own sh!t they were dealing with couldn't Laurel have sat at Felicty's desk and taken care of surveillance and communications? Hey writers! The scene with Laurel and Oliver should have been a better scene but it just felt to slow down a nicely put together set up episode. I'll blame the writers for just falling asleep with giving us a reason to care about Laurel as anything other than a victim. Which one of these actresses are ready to be the lead actress on this show? its always suppose to have been Katie Cassidy but Susanna Thompson and Emily Bett Rickards just took that part over because both of them were so good. They were suppose to be the tertiary characters. They didn't know what they had when they cast Rickards cause she makes every scene she is in better - with anyone and they've given her more story as well as a result. A lot of time with shows that character, the character pining for lead who doesn't notice you, you are just sick of it by the end of Season 2 but for whatever reason I don't have that feeling about 'Felicity'. They've toned down the pining and its given the character more breath. I think we want to see more 'Felicity' and 'Thea' than 'Laurel' and 'Laurel' is becominh/ is going to become a huge part of the continuing story so get better Katie or get better 'Laurel' writers.

Summer Glau still looked gorgeous in that hideous costume! The first time I ever saw Summer Glau on television it was as a ballerina in a completely awesome episode of 'Angel' ((S3E13) 'Waiting in the Wings'.) No costume designer has ever made her look that odd but her hair flowing out the back of the mask took your attention away from the costume so nice work everybody!-- I love 'Arrow's ill fitting and creative costumes it gives it a comic book feel that is appropriate. Most of the crew on that set must love Slade's mask the best cause its a pretty bad ass hockey mask. - the Mirakuru infused mob looks awesome

Diggle and Felicity working together as private-eyes could be a sitcom where the audience actually loves both the lead characters. It would be a perfect spin off. If CW cancels 'Tomorrow People' they could give Berlanti that as a 'no hard feelings' gift.

Quentin not knowing the secret is by choice, is it not? Didn't Laurel offer the truth when she figured it out when she was patching up her relationship with dad and he told her he didn't want to know and then gave her a damn good reason why the vigilante had to remain unknown to him -- because of the power that name has and the destruction that could be wrought simply by knowing it? I'm holding out that neither Quentin or Thea will know Oliver's secret by season end. Thea learning it, from anyone other than Oliver, Roy perhaps? could drive a storyline though but they played that already with the Merlyn secret. Speaking of which, its about time for a visit from Daddy isn't it for Thea? What's John Barrowman been up to lately?

Kevin Alejandro has been a nice piece to this story this entire season. 'Blood' has always been grappling on the edges with his actions and his vision for Starling and the Glades has always been less destructive than Merlyn even if with similar motives seeking desired results. He's more humane than any of those in the army he is building and he can no longer control what they've created. His story throughout the season has been as good as Slade's and he's been on the front line. His fate this season I am very interested in so again, credit to the writers and the actor.

Good episode great insightful commentary.

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One final thought, Sarah is off getting former lover Nyssa back to help kill Slade right?!?, cause what this finale needs is a little Katrina Law and everyone that loves Sarah is going to be around if/when she buys it.
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Yes she is.
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Dude, comment way too long...
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You are correct. Sorry - I haven't been around in a while and rambled a bit.
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What I have been thinking about is how Slade was going about trying to undercut Oliver and his and Blood and Isobel's seeming successes are being slowly undone and I have to think that Felicity or Diggle will point this out next week sometime.

Slade tried to undercut his support system by telling Laurel. Laurel, who apparently took awesome juice in the past few weeks or else AA should be using her as their poster child, didn't leave him but in fact became first an unknown ally and now will not only be a useful ally, but (and this just makes me laugh) finally can be someone that Diggle can have Felicity spar with to learn fighting skills. But further than that, he didn't quite realize how the three main Team Arrow members feel about each other.

Blood has to be doubting himself and Slade a bit now. Why wouldn't Slade have told him about Oliver? Heck, before Moira joined the campaign, Oliver was supporting him and arguably would have been more responsible for getting him into office. And I just have to think there is going to be a time when some of those army guys start to notice Blood/Skullmask is different but he has actually been there the whole time for them, and Blood starts to notice that.

I have a weird feeling that money while not as readily available, it not quite going to be an issue, well, depending on how criminal Felicity got or whether either she or Diggle just decided, heck, a little insider trading and bought up Queen Consolidated stock when it was at the bottom, like even back when Oliver took back off for Lian Yu.

And then, I am pretty certain Oliver has reinforcements on the way (I am positive Merlyn is there to help for now, but once the Mirakuru is gone, eek).
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I want to give this episode props for having the first half of the episode completely action-free, it was just story and emotional ramifications.
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This was a chiefly good episode, the review covers a lot of that ground, so the only questions I walked away with were:

- how does a guy being booked whip out a hockey mask, and why bother?
- why are they all dressing like Slade?
- why didn't Laurel show some level of skill after distracting that thug? She's been taking martial arts training, remember show?
- Moira died a few days prior to this episode, she had been running for mayor, the election hadn't happened yet, so how the hell does Blood get seated as mayor in those few days after her death? Even when an opponent dies, they still need to have an election, it's the law.
and the big one...
- if Waller is up on all this, WHY ISN'T SHE STEPPING IN?!?

You are entirely right that Laurel calling back to pre-trip Ollie is fucking nonsense, pre-trip Laurel was a delusional idiot who thought her rich boyfriend wasn't cheating on her with every skank in town, pre-trip Ollie wasn't the same man who came back. The Ollie she knew before Lian Yu was a projection that she herself created to cover up the ugliness of the moronic playboy her boyfriend really was. That said, if one removes that specific line about knowing him all along, Laurel's point is strong enough to create that foundation for the relationship's evolution in this episode, so I allow it under the guise of "nope, never happened, they just farted and used random dialogue to cover that up".

I don't think Laurel ever entirely stopped suspecting Blood, she just tried to put that notion away since the evidence was telling her it was wrong, but she was the sole person to know the truth about Blood's parentage, and if he was willing to play that card it was enough to open that drawer and look again. Her gut simply wouldn't be enough to act upon, they needed some impetus to move her forward to action NOW as opposed to any other time.

Did Blood say he was destroying Starling to save it by working with Slade? That's so cheap! That's a pure copycat of Batman Begins, even the stupid Scarecrow mask is similar. Full on headdesk, I missed that line, it's too stupid to live and I'll just assume someone farted and there was some random dialogue looped in to cover it up.

If anything was a missed opportunity this season, it's failing to develop Blood as a larger-than-life villain, to get into his belief system and his power base. I'm not expecting HIVE but it would have been nice to at least build him up better.

How does anybody pilot a torpedo from inside? Where would the warhead go???

I think Quentin knows that Ollie is the Arrow and just doesn't want to admit it to himself because then he'd have to act. So it's just Thea and Walter and the waitress at Big Belly Burger?

I wanted them to make a little more of Thea's inability to comprehend coach-level travel, but this show is so inconsistent there, she slums it and she's a celebutant yet we never see paparazzi and nobody seems to recognize her anymore and she has a job and owns Verdant yet somehow doesn't?

Oh Isabel, that costume, that reveal, that was nearly Toxic Avenger-level of cheese.
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"How does anybody pilot a torpedo from inside? Where would the warhead go???"

Good question, but apparently it is possible. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiten for more details.
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That's not really the same thing, that's essentially a submarine dropped off a ship, it's much larger than a torpedo which could be fired from a submarine. The "manned torpedo" thing is a misnomer in that respect, that Kaiten for example has a periscope and is 54' long.
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I agree with most of what you said and specially about Blood becoming major in no time. That is absurd!!
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The "Hockey mask" is the symbol of his boss the one that gave him the powers! He wears it so everything knows where he is from and who he is working for. The real question is why he was not searched that Mask is huge how the cop missed that?!

Same reason as above they are Slade's army and want to show it!

She did show some of that skills, but all this guys got super strength and she is no arrow or ninja to take them down!

Be happy that the series saved us from all that boring process and just show us the outcome!

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Are they Slade's army? They're taking orders from Blood to deal with Blood's city, Slade is only using them to get under Ollie's skin. And Slade is only wearing those colors to pay homage to Billy Wintergreen (which is dumb because Slade's missing eye was really the driving force behind the look, but the show changed that).

She showed no skills, she hit the guy with a pipe and then just stood there when he turned around.
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They are taking orders from Blood, but Slade is the one who helped them escape prison time, he gave them their powers. Perhaps they want to set the mask as an ideal, just like V for Vendetta dit for Anonymeus.

Like i recall, Ollie told Laurel that it's hard for him as the Arrow to take 1 of them on, let alone with Laurel around. People with superhuman strength, going head on against someone like that with a few selfdefence classes under the belt?? I don't think so.
And she hit him with a iron pipe, i imagine with all her strength (but she didn't break a nail) and it did nothing to him. Those things have to instil some fear, wouldn't you think??
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SHE SHOULD HAVE RUN AWAY!
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"– Thea doesn't understand the concept of traveling coach."

I wish I could identify with her.
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Question for any/all: Have Walter and Sara actually ever been in the same room/scene? Kind of struck me as odd that Walter was out of the picture again right after Sara came into it, and is now back right after she leaves (for now).

It may be a case of the writers not knowing how to juggle/integrate so many characters at once, or it could also be coincidental that they hit one of those time periods where they aren't sure what else to do with Walter's character (like last year, and also as with Isabel earlier this season).

I just thought I'd ask, as part of me wonders if he has ties to Ra's al Ghul that might play a large factor in S3--after all, Moira was vague about how she ratted out Malcom to the League.
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No, I don't think Walter and Sara have been seen together before, maybe they are the same person! ;-) Probably just budget though.
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If it's budget, I guess there will be zero recurring stars next week when John Barrowman collects another check from the producers. :D
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I view this as just a set up episode for the finale - good, not great but necessary
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Sarah seriously leaves in the middle of something like this???
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I enjoyed this episode very much, however, one of the things that bothered me was Thea not asking Oliver the truth about Slade.
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AGreed in the Trailer Oli says hes the Arrow and I thought Thea was the one who asked; but NO Oli just name dropped it to Sebastian Blood Leader of an army of Slade-rip-offs and Mayor of Starling City. What would have stopped him to call the cops to arrest Oli.
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Yeah seriously. Wow thats bugging me now
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"I know you like I know my own name". Yeah in til the give you amnesia next season. Katie Cassidy it's a really horrible actress.
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One thing that bugs me is... How could Oliver not realize Slade was referring to Sarah as the one he needs to kill (before Oliver)?
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There's plenty of others that could be targets, so I don't have a problem with Oliver not thinking Sarah might have been who Slade was referring to.

But I do have a problem that Oliver thinks he's the one Slade was referring to. If Oliver was that "one last person to kill", why didn't Slade kill him right there after witnessing Moira's death. So I figure he should logically understand that he's not the intended last target.
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Could be Ollie, could be Ollie's kid he doesn't know about, could be Sara, could be Laurel, could be Slade himself.
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No, not Ollie. That's too easy. Once Ollie is dead, he can't suffer. And, Slade wants Ollie to suffer.
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Exactly! Killing Oliver would be pointless, if Slade wanted to do that he would have already done it. Similar to what Felicity said to Diggle a couple episodes ago. As for who Slade kidnaps (2x23 press release), I think it will be Felicity because she is the only character in Oliver's social sphere that has yet to be attacked or approached by Slade in any way. Why is this? Oliver's child isn't even known to him, so there's no connection. It was pre-island. Oh and for whoever may die in the finale (if they go that), i'd say it's probably Sara or Laurel. Though to be honest I can't really see laurel taking over the black canary mantel. Can't wait though!!
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Well, it was kind of the point that he had basically unmade Oliver, and now all that needed to happen was for Oliver himself to die. Once he is dead, it's all over. Hence, Oliver is the "one more person". At least, seems pretty logical, certainly for Ollie's point of view.
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I really don't think so. Slade suffered his loss for years and I'm pretty sure he won't let Oliver off so easy by killing him now. In fact, it would be a mercy. No, Slade wants Oliver to know what it's like to live when everything you care about has been taken away.
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Isabels outfit was ridiculous. Looked like a superhero mugged a clown and stole his clothes.
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She hates clowns!!
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Arrow just keeps getting better. The things this review points out are indeed there, but they're not as glaring as other shows such as The 100's forced love triangle. Man, I loathe the love triangle; it's the most overused concept in television...and literature. Anyway, back to Arrow.

I enjoyed this episode. For some reason, I liked the scene where Diggle got in the elevator and stared at the other guy (I'm not sure what else to call him). I think it was because everyone knew what was about to happen. The way Oliver was looking at Blood made me grin as well. If looks could kill, Sebastian Blood would be dead and we could move on.

My favorite part, however, was the line Oliver said to Laurel: "It started with the three of us. It's time to get back to that." Judging by the comments over the course of this season, it seems to me that reigns true with most fans of the show.

I'm also glad Sara was booted from the episode and Roy was still unconscious. Her presence obviously would have complicated the episode's layout, hence her sudden departure.
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I thought that the rythmn of the episode was a bit off. The ending didn't feel like a real cliffhanger (especially the island bit, as we know Sarah is obviously going to survive). I liked that the show went back to the original trinity. The Arrow cave definitely felt too crowded with Sarah and Roy there. I trust the writers to give us a good end of season, like last year.
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I dont think it was so much about Sarah being alive or not (obviously she is), but more that maybe she is gone on the Island. Remember that at some point here, her character has to disappear from the island, without Ollie, in order to go train with the assassins. Could be that this is that point.
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When she came to Starling Oliver asked her where she'd been the last four years... so don't really know if she'll disappear from the island yet..? I've understood the timelapse between island-flasbacks and recent day is 5 years..?
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Roy is still there, they showed him lying on a slab, running out of venom to keep him asleep, just in time for him to save the day when nobody expects him. It was his best acting work on the series so far, they wrote him an achievable scene and he met it - lay there and don't move.
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Haha, that was fantastically mean. I know he's still there, unfortunately. The writers tried to give a different spin to the Speedy character, but it's not working well in my opinion.
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My biggest gripe with the episode was them getting from Laurel telling Oliver that Blood and Slade were in cahoots to Blood being the man in the mask.

As the review says, seems like the writers were trying to connect dots without putting enough thought in. Even a throwaway scene connecting them would have done me.

Great episode otherwise and I'm far too excited for the last two given the tension levels at the end of this one.
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I really like this show, but I am getting kinda tired of all the flashbacks.
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It's the Lost Law of 2004 which states that any high-concept drama is REQUIRED to be punctuated half the time with flashbacks to earlier events. Except, there was a reason for it on Lost. When other people superficially copy it, there is no point there.
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Before watching this episode I did see a clip of Laurel finding Blood's speech about the Queen's loss that was dated the day before the event took place but it did feel weird that Oliver believed Laurel when she told him that Blood was working with Slade despite the fact that she gave him no evidence to back up the claim. I loved the scene between Oliver and Thea when he tells her to leave and that no matter what he loved her, such good acting there. Like always Felicity has some of the best lines, I laughed when she said bitch with Wi Fi. One of my favourite moments was near the end when Oliver, Diggle and Felicity were standing together with Oliver saying it started with the 3 of them.
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Why isn't anybody mentioning her very first lines this episode- I don't know why I'm crying. I didn't even like her, which is not what you say at somebody's funeral. I thought she was diabolical, which again is something you shouldn't say after someone's death." She put the Fun In Funeral right there!
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Yeah, it also struck me as kind of weird and untrue when Laurel mentioned she knew him as someone who didn't give up. The only way I could even kind of buy it was to assume she was really thinking of her encounters with him as the Arrow, but she really didn't phrase it that way.

I don't know. I'm kind of ready for Laurel to be part of Team Arrow, and I do like her a lot more than I used to. But there's still something about her that just sort of rubs me the wrong way, and I hate to say it, but I think it might be Katie Cassidy. She just doesn't play "badass" well like the actress who plays Sara does; she always comes off more snippy than anything else. I've liked Katie Cassidy in other things, including Supernatural and Gossip Girl, but even after two seasons, I can't help but feel she was miscast here.
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Laurel sees Oliver and Arrow as the same person and not two different persons. The different personalities is not a comic book thing - the only difference between Oliver and Green Arrow in the comics is the disguise. Smallville was similar but they added the voice changer. I have the feeling that is where they are heading with the character and when they get there that's when he'll be called Green Arrow.
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Anybody else want to see the Flash come into play, and not just Barry Allen?
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I want to see the Flash pilot. Flash won't appear on Arrow in the finale or next week either.
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"Bitch with WiFi"
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Thanks, nebulous character named Peter for sacrificing yourself. That we didn't see until a few episodes ago and has had four lines of dialogue up until now. And whose name has been mentioned onscreen twice, and has absolutely no backstory.



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The irritating thing is that Seth Rogerson (What's Your Face) gets upfront credit. While David Nkyl, who has been playing Anatoly forever and is just as funny as he was in Stargate Atlantis, languishes in the back credits.
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Anatoly as Show Star for next year! He can replace Manu Bennett (lord I hope Slade dies), maybe took some Mirakuru as he escaped the island, and have concealed it from Oliver for the next five years while he secretly used his super-strength to take control of the mob in Moscow.
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Anatoly is like the Felicity Smoak of five years ago. He runs the Russian Mafia, he knows how to pilot a Japanese sub, he has the same sense of humor...
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I don't like Laurel being a part of team Arrow,because Diggle is already too much on sidelines. Awsome episode,also not a fan of tv costume Isabel got,but what's done is done.
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Laurel's destiny is to be the only other part of team Arrow unless the show brings in Hal Jordan.
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And then Oliver and Hal go on a road trip to discover America! They fight Nazi-led anti-union forces, stop polluters, fight Mason-esque cultists, and debate security versus freedom.

...I really want that show...
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So very much.

What would you think if they made Diggle a Green Lantern? Oh man, these thoughts are what led to the silliness of Smallville's Justice Society.
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So....my major comment that my phone erased. Didn't this feel like the mid point of a two hour episode? Not even a two parter because there was barely any thing leading to a cliff hanger (and the show wasn't thinking that either unless I missed the to be continued). I mean, maybe if they got Oliver and Laurel loose and they pop up to find Felicity missing (which was in the preview).
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