Arrow 2×21 – City Of Blood

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City of Blood is a necessary set-up hour. And while it’s naturally not as explosive as the hours that preceded it, it still gets the job done in a compelling and effective manner.

Although I still loathe the fact that Moira was killed off, I must admit that her demise capably set the stakes for the season’s final hours. Not only does it provide an added dose of urgency and foreboding, her loss also takes our hero to his lowest point yet. The reveal of Ollie’s second lair was a great one, and Stephen Amell sold the character’s defeat and utter despair beautifully.

Laurel continued her upward spiral this week with that bombshell appearance in the Arrow Cave. Not only is Katie Cassidy looking much healthier (perhaps this season’s skeletal look was due to the actress’ commitment to the drug-addict phase?) but we got some beautiful moments between her and Amell. Moreover, Laurel finally got involved in the action and saved Arrow’s behind like the badass that we know she is. Contrary to the rest of the Arrow fanbase, I’m still hoping that Sara gets offed soon and Laurel takes her place. After all, the show needs one more big loss this season, and I can’t see anyone else biting the bullet.

Unfortunately, the island flashbacks have most definitely lost steam. I get what the writers were going for with the parallels of heroism, but the random dude who sacrificed himself was a nameless character, and I thus had zero attachment to his brave act. On the bright side, the submarine was dislodged and Sara seems to be in trouble (excitement). Let’s hope this segment of the show doesn’t fizzle out in the season’s final hours.

Furthermore, City of Blood‘s ending was much too abrupt. I don’t know if it was the choppy editing but the transitions between the various scenarios of people-in-peril felt jarring (and that’s definitely not what the show was aiming for). Nevertheless, I’m tremendously pumped for what’s to come and I’m positive this spectacular season is going to go out with a monumental bang.

Bits & Arrows

– Moira’s funeral intercut with Blood’s speech was a great touch. And I quite enjoyed Isabel threatening Felicity and Diggle. The less said about her mousy Ravager mask the better. Seriously, what were the production designers thinking? Ridiculous.

– Amanda Waller’s back! If only the actress who plays her had a more imposing presence. Still, the Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S. will undoubtedly play a big role in the finale.

– So Blood is Mayor now. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to affect anything going forward.

– Felicity wanting to touch A.R.G.U.S. equipment made me laugh.

– Creepy foreshadowing: Oliver telling Thea to leave town so she doesn’t ruin her “pure heart”. I really do feel Thea is going to become a baddie on the show eventually. And Amell’s performance here was astounding.

– Gorgeous cinematography with Ollie’s speech at the pier before getting tranquilized.

– One of the reasons that Ollie and Laurel’s scene in the cave is so strong is the fact that they even bring up Tommy. It’s a really moving heart-to-heart and one of Laurel’s strongest moments ever as a character. However I must admit, it’s a bit funny to hear her stress how much she “knows” Ollie when she never suspected his identity, and only knew his pre-island self (where he was famously quite the ass to her).

– Felicity and Diggle’s interrogation of Blood’s thug was beyond brilliant. The guy actually got worried about his parent’s pension plan instead of his own secret account in the Cayman Islands. Awesomeness.

– Incredibly nuanced performances by Ollie and Blood during the dinner party as the former reveals his identity.  And this is coming from someone who hated Kevin Alejandro on True Blood.

– Heartbreaking moment: Thea turning off the lights and leaving Queen mansion. And her losing Verdant was an even bigger blow.

– Ollie saying it started with the “three of them” was a pretty pivotal moment, but a bit oddly placed when directed at Laurel, no?

– Terrifying moment with Blood putting on his mask and addressing the army.

– So why was Felicity getting a call from STAR labs at the end? Has a cure been found? And will Thea ever recover from having to travel coach? Thankfully Slade’s supersoldier saved her from that horror.

Starling Quips

Felicity: I don’t even know why I’m crying. I didn’t even like Moira. Terrible thing to say about someone after they just died. In my defense, she was not nice. She was diabolical.

Isabel: (to Felicity and Diggle) If Oliver’s smart, he ran back to his island to hide. Maybe he’ll attend your funerals.

Guy: Bitch!
Felicity: Bitch with wi-fi.

Oliver: The essence of heroism is to die so that others may live.

Conclusion
It won’t go down in history as a terribly memorable episode of Arrow, but City of Blood certainly accomplished all that it had to do as a transitional hour. Bring on the epicness.

Nad Rating
B+

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