Politics, action, family matters and Slade proving his comics name in full.
What They Say:
Seeing Red – When the mirakuru sends Roy into a blind rage, Oliver must find a way to stop him. Thea tries to lure Roy in by going on camera at Moira’s campaign.
Arrow has been working through a lot of things this season and each episode moves the story forward in a good way with lots of character material and a good bit of action. With some of the twist and turns as of late with Oliver and Slade going at it, we’ve seen some nasty things going on with how Slade is playing the game. That’s had Oliver on the defensive and through his own mistakes he’s lost his company and in some ways lost Roy as well. But what hurts more is the loss of Thea with what’s happened because of the Malcolm Merlyn connection and the way she’s cutting everyone out of her life completely. Having it so that Roy skipped town for awhile as well didn’t help either, though she obviously has no clue with what he’s really struggling with when it comes to the mirakuru nor his being taken in by Slade for awhile and the experiments that were done on him.
Which is why we see Roy, now finally coming back awake here, isn’t exactly someone you want to have out on the streets either. He’s pretty much tense beyond words and is all juiced up and not in control of himself. That puts some real fear into Felicity when he’s looking like he’s going to move at Flash-speed with the jitters he has as well as seeing the way that Diggle understands that he’s definitely a danger at this point. Roy’s arc in this season has been a bit hit or miss in general but seeing him going into this state as we barrel towards the conclusion definitely indicates that he has a bigger role to play and could be an interesting factor in Starling City depending on how far they go with it and his move into being either a hero or a villain.
Unfortunately, he’s definitely going more in the vein of a villain at this point in time because of what the mirakuru has been doing to his system. While Oliver does manage to find him after a bit of useful information from Sin, he’s overpowered and difficult to control as he lashes out in his search for his kind of justice. Which, unfortunately, has him taking down some cops pretty hard a well. Even Oliver gets knocked pretty hard by this physically, in addition to all of his jumping around on rooftops, and this provides a nice touch towards some earlier story material in the season when medicine was in short supply in the city, something that Oliver helped to fix by dealing with the mafia. That comes back in a good way here as one of the doctors has been wanting to pay him back for this for some time and can use the situation to try and heal him a bit.
Moira’s arc in this episode is particularly difficult to watch as it unfolds since she has so much going on and has so much pain around her. While she’s doing interviews for her mayoral run, Thea drops a nice little bomb in the middle of it that makes it clear that the two have no real way of fixing things at this point in time, which Moira makes worse by insisting that a contract is a contract and Thea has to honor it as an adult. It’s a contentious time between the two for so many reasons and has layers of complications that family always brings to it. Even worse for Moira is that she’s really running into some difficult times in dealing with Blood as the alderman is proving to be a difficult candidate overall and one that is playing hard. Playing this part of the story along with some flashbacks from before the island where we get Oliver and one of his playboy flings together and Moira talking with Oliver about life choices and being someone who comes from money with all of its difficulties. There’s also the twist that comes into it where she’s pregnant and Moira basically buys her silence, sending her to Central City with Oliver unaware that the baby was going to be born. It’s an interesting bit that will be intriguing to see how it all comes back in the future as Oliver discovers that he’s a father.
Moira’s campaign has been a weak link in this season for me, on top of her prison stint, but I definitely like her as a character and what she brought to the table. I would have preferred to see her stay in the boardroom side of things to play out an arc there. With her attempting to quit the race but falling back into it thanks to the encouragement of her children in their own way, we get that near change moment in how this part of the show could go. While Thea makes an amusing appearance in the rally at Verdant, it’s done to draw Roy out since she wants to help him with what he’s going through, having learned some of it from Sin. But Roy is just too far gone to deal with things even with her and while we get Sarah ready to shoot Roy since she knows how far gone he is, the tension is done really well to raise things in a life or death way for all involved.
Oliver does manage to defuse the situation, thanks to some arrows he’s got that can manage to knock him out, but it just delays the problem for the most part since they have to keep Roy down for the count until they can figure out how to get this out of his system. Oliver is still struggling hard to do the right thing after spending most of the first season killing anyone who got in his way and he sees a lot of himself in Sarah from when he first got back. The two are in different places and no matter how much they both love each other, they came out of that situation differently and have for some time. Oliver wants to be the one that helps her get past some of this to be in a better place, but Sarah is finding herself wanting to stay there for the time being and certain that he needs someone better than her to be in his life. The falling out of their relationship was largely expected for awhile and this definitely makes it the most realistic reason as to why it would go down like this.
Like most episodes, the final ten minutes is where the big changes happen, though thankfully the rest of the episode has a lot of very fun material. Here, having Sarah leave is obviously one big part of it that changes the dynamic. With an attack on the car that Oliver, Thea and Moira are riding in after the event as they try to figure out how to fix things, Slade sets in motion a dangerous trap that once again replicates what happened to Shado back on the island where Oliver is again forced into a choice. And like before, it’s not a choice that anyone could really make and it’s brutal to watch unfold as the three of them are there on their knees while Slade taunts and torments until he can do the deed of putting his sword into Moira, giving her some final respect for her courage in making herself the obvious choice in order to protect her children. Moira’s not been a favorite character within the series, but she added some elder status to it that it certainly needed and her removal from the show will definitely be a loss to it.
Arrow works through a difficult episode here with the loss of a primary character that has been here since the start. There is that sense that there has to be some change and real consequence to actions with an impact on Oliver in a personal way. A lot of it has been through revelations and ramifications of knowledge, but loss has not been a huge part of it in this distinct and final way. There’s a lot going on in this episode in general as the main focus is on finding and securing Roy, but it also plays some decent material for Moira as she makes choices about her life, the decisions she’s made and what she truly wants to do. It’s not the perfect swan song episode for her overall, but it ticks several of the boxes off and it’s one of the more emotional and well done deaths out there, especially when you factor in how it will change Oliver from here on out.