Last week’s episode was a full-on transitional hour. It got the job done, but it wasn’t particularly special. Streets of Fire, the penultimate episode of the season, is yet another set-up episode, yet it’s definitely much more engrossing thanks to some fantastic table-setting and a particularly epic scope.
Much like Nikita consistently impressed me on a weekly basis, it boggles my mind that a CW show can look this good. The apocalyptic production design in this week’s outing definitely managed to live up to the episode’s name. The flaming cars, the mass destruction – it was all beautifully and impeccably realized. And while this week’s action only served to shuffle the chess pieces around for next week’s hopefully-spectacular finale, it did so in absolutely incredible fashion.
The battles lines for the finale have been perfectly drawn: Slade, Isabel, and the Mirakuru army are ready to take down everything and everyone in their path, while Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. are prepared to level the entire city (that is if Ollie doesn’t contain the threat before dawn). I love that the impending doom with Waller’s threat is what gets Ollie to overcome his hesitation and inject Roy with the cure (after much hesitation). And with Laurel finally serving a purpose, it certainly looks like each of our characters will get their chance to shine in the finale.
Although I enjoyed Laurel’s inspirational speech to Oliver last week, it paled in comparison to Felicity’s stunner of a monologue in the clock-tower. Everybody knows I’m a sucker for great continuity, so hearing the brainy blonde recount all the villains that Ollie dealt with over the past two seasons before urging him to continue his fight was just goosebump-worthy. In fact, this was a marvelous hour for Miss Felicity Smoak – punctuated by her most badass moment yet on the show: running over Isobel and saving Diggle just in the nick of time. Absolutely awesome.
As for Thea, her plight in the train station felt a bit detached from the proceedings, but it was still mightily intriguing. The return of Malcolm Merlyn, our beloved Dark Archer, was undoubtedly thrilling (if only the CW hadn’t been promoting this spoiler-y development for weeks). Although I’m not a fan of whiny Thea, I’m excited to see how the dynamic with her estranged father unfolds. I can’t stress how much I’d like Thea to go down a dark path as a potential supervillain down the line, and forging a bond with Malcolm could definitely nudge her down that road.
Bits & Arrows
– Lance using grenades to take down the supersoldier was very cool.
– Series highlight: Oliver walking Laurel through using his bow and shooting the explosive arrow.
– Again, the flashbacks felt like filler material this week. The finale should be great through now that Slade has Sara and Ollie on the freighter.
– Loved Laurel telling the Canary that she knows she’s Sara, as well as their heart-to-heart as they discussed the Canary name and Sara being “irredeemable”.
– Was I supposed to be sad for the DA’s neck getting snapped? She wasn’t much of a character to begin with.
– Epic moment with the super-soldiers flipping over Team Arrow’s car. Woah, blockbuster much?
– Can I just say that I was beyond ecstatic when Isobel showed up for the rest of the episode without that horrid, mousy mask?
– Did anyone else laugh when Isabel asked Slade who Shado was?
– Am I totally stupid for never noticing the fact that Sara dons a wig with her Canary costume?
– Fascinating touch with Blood’s mask being a reference to his diabolical father.
– The one thing that really annoyed about this episode: the ease in in which Blood swiped the cure briefcase from Slade; it felt way too contrived. Thankfully, his death at the hands of Isobel who casually dialed Slade before shoving both her blades into Blood’s heart was outstanding.
– Malcolm’s final speech to Thea was kind of touching. Naturally, little Queen decided to shoot him in a not-so-exciting cliffhanger.
Felicity: (after running over Isabel) Oh. I really thought the air bags were gonna go off.
Felicity: Dig? What do you think, hit her again?
Felicity: Isabel attacked Digg so I hit her with the van.
A wonderfully realized penultimate hour. Here’s hoping Arrow‘s sophomore season finale lives up to my monumental expectations.