Why does every secret formula have to be a color: Goon reviews Arrow “Streets of Fire”

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Fuck, yes, Felicity.

Okay, had to get that out of the way first.  On to the review.

When we left Oliver on the island, he and his new Russian BFF had broken the sub loose from the rocks but before they could cast off Sara was nabbed by Slade.  Determined to rescue her, Oliver and Anatoly bring the sub up next to the ship.  Oliver plans to swim over, save the girl, grab the cure, use it on Slade, and make his escape.  Before leaving we get a solid friendship moment between him and Anatoly and Oliver tells him to blow the boat. (which is called the Amazo, nice little nod to comic version of Ivo’s super powered robot)  Oliver is able to find Sara and the two make for Ivo’s office to find the cure they need for Slade.  However the cure is not there, and Slade and his goons burst into the room, revealing the Slade has the cure in his possession.

Island time this week didn’t do much, the story itself proceeds along, but the shots are so brief that there isn’t really much to talk about here.  It the best part of these scenes being the brief friendship moment between Oliver and Anatoly, it helps to really explain these Russian mob connections that Oliver has used in the past and was a solid moment for the two characters.

Now, to the real good part of the episode.  Slade’s attack has been launched on the city, and Oliver and Laurel are trapped underground.  Using one of Oliver’s exploding arrows, Laurel is able to get them out and they go to meet up with the rest of Team Arrow.  Diggle has his  hands full dealing with a powered up Isabel, who is sporting a look very similar to the character Rose from DC Comics, the daughter of Slade.  Isabel has the upper hand and talks about how she is looking forward to killing Felicity, apparently they don’t like each other very much.  Felicity hits her with the van, and it was amazing.  Felicity tells the team that S.T.A.R. Labs has finished the cure and they race to the courier to retrieve it, only to be beaten there by Slade’s goons.  While this is happen, Officer Lance takes out the baddie that was tear apart the station and tells his boss the only way they will win is with The Arrow’s help.  His boss agrees and gives Lance back his Detective Shield.  While Laurel tries to make her way to her dad, Sara shows up to help her.  They have a heart to heart, with Laurel telling Sara that she is indeed a hero, despite anything in her past.   At this point, with the loss of the cure, Oliver has given up hope, thinking that nothing can be done, and in one of her greatest moments to date, it is Felicity that snaps him out of it.  I am not even gonna try and summerize this for you, I am just gonna post her awesome speech right here:

Oliver: I have failed this city.  Yao Fei. Shado. Tommy. My father, my mother.  All that I have ever wanted to is honor those people.
Felicity: You honor the dead by fighting. And you are not done fighting! Malcolm Merlyn, The Count, the Clock King, the Triad–everyone who is trying to hurt this city, you stopped them.  And you will stop Slade.
Oliver: I don’t know how.
Felicity: Neither do I. But I do know two things.  You are not alone. And I believe in you.

Tingles, right, right?  C’mon, I can’t be the only guy who got tingles at this moment.

While watching the news, Lance sees military personnel taking up positions at the entrances to the city, at first thinking the cavalry has arrived.  As it turns out its Argus troops sent by Waller to stop anyone from leaving the city, she plans to stop Slade’s army by reducing Starling City to rubble.  Oliver, who has regained the cure, care of Sebastion Blood, who does not like what Slade is doing to the city, and honestly wishes to do nothing more than save Starling,  he is killed for his trouble by Isabel, tries to talk Amanda into holding off the attack.  She refuses and gives him until dawn to stop Slade.    At the train station, Thea is running from the bad guy there and is saved by none other than Malcolm Merlyn, who came back to save his daughter.  Naturally, she isn’t too happy to see dear old dad.  The two talk, Thea spends most of the time yelling at him before Hockey Mask Goon #3 shows up again.  Malcolm puts him down for  good, and Thea grabs a gun.  Our final shot of her is pulling the trigger before cutting to black.

Plot wise, this episode primarily acted as a stake raiser and set up for the finale.  Sara and Malcolm have returned, the city is in chaos, Waller plans to bomb the heck out of it, and Oliver only has a limited amount of time to save the day.  Not to sound like a trailer, but the stakes have never been higher for our bow brandishing badass.  Basically, while the plot for the episode wasn’t much, it wasn’t bad and did exactly what it should have done, get us pumped up for the finale.  Boy howdy did it work.

The strength of this episode was the character moments.  Between bits of finale set up we had some of the best character moments of the season, possible even the series.  Laurel helping Sara realize who she really is, Lance rallying the troops, pretty much every second of Felicity, Malcolm and Thea.  I don’t think I have enough words to describe just how much I loved every moment of this.  But let’s try.  Laurel has come along way since the beginning of the season, and these developments happened really fast.  Not a bad thing though as it is finally giving her character something to do.  Who else but her sister, who loves her unconditionally, could help Sara realize she is indeed a hero, help her find her path, and best of all, finally giving Sara her hero name, The Canary. (does this show have something against adding colors into the hero names?  I think they do)  Seeing John Barrowmen back as Malcolm was a real treat, and made perfect sense.  For a man that has lost everything in his life, I can clearly see why he would return to Starling to protect the only thing he has left, his daughter.  Thea denying that Malcolm was her dad, showing nothing but fear, rage, and hatred towards him, was perfect as well.  While I doubt that Thea actually shot him in the closing scene, she is certainly not out of line pulling a gun on him.  I hope that we can see more Malcolm next season, he could make for the interesting subject of a redemption story-arc.

But the best of all, the greatest character moment of this episode?  Take a guess.  That’s right! It was Felicity!

I have made no secret about how much I love this character, and moments like this are the reason why.  I honestly don’t think anyone but Felicity could have gotten through to Oliver the way she did, restore his faith in himself.  She started as girl who was terrified of Oliver and what he did, only agreeing to help him long enough to save Walter, and now she is his closest confidant, the one who helps him on his path, has only the utmost faith in him, and his mission, unable to walk away even if she wanted to.  Felicity is by far the stand out character of this show, and continues to be amazing.  Her running Isabel down with the van to save Diggle, another amazing moment, and shows just how much helping Oliver has helped her.  Early season one Felicity would never have been able to do that, she was just a timid computer nerd.  But now, she has grown into a strong, ass kicking, hero.  Sure, she is still far more at home behind a computer screen then in the battlefield, but the fact that she can step up and throw herself into the fight is nothing short of amazing.  I use that word a lot for her don’t I?  Okay, from now one the word amazing is now synonymous with the name Felicity.  There, that should make things easier.

Sadly, Diggle didn’t get much in this episode.  He was around, part of the fight and helping Oliver in anyway he could, but didn’t have any real stand out character moments.  I was upset by this.  I love Diggle, I love his role on the team and his friendship with Oliver.  There was plenty of opportunities for the writers to give him the same treatment as everyone else, but we got nothing.  Its disappointing.  Even the Blood, the bad guy, had a great character moment, showing he isn’t completely evil and his intentions, though horrible and misguided, were for the betterment of the city, at least in his own mind.

Overall, despite the plot being thin, this was a fantastic episode.  The characters were all in top form, we got see the return of Caity Lotz and John Barrowman, who play some fantastic characters, and we have a perfect set up for the season finale.  I eagerly await next week’s episode.

Goon out.

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