It's the Arrow Season 2 Episode 21 Round Table and we're talking about Oliver's decisions to miss the funeral and sacrifice himself, Laurel's new focus, what Sebastian Blood must be thinking and more.
Dive into the comments and join in the conversation with staff writers Hank Otero, Kate Brooks, Carla Day, Nick McHatton and Carissa Pavlica. Play nice!
What do you think of Oliver's decision to pull away, miss Moira's funeral and contemplate suicide?
Hank: While I think missing his mother's funeral was a terrible choice, I can't imagine what coming to terms with his own mortality must have been like. I can totally understand how Oliver's disappearance appeared typical behavior for him, but in this case he needed to get away for some peace and quiet. If he had stuck around, I can't imagine Diggle and Felicity would allow him to contemplate death. They eventually show up to talk him out of it right? Anyway, I didn't see his choice as running away so much as needing space to make a life or death decision.
Kate: While I understanding both decisions, missing Moira's funeral is a rough one. Even if it is your fault, that is just something you'll have to live with for the rest of your life. With that said, choosing suicide to protect everyone else is somewhat heroic. It wouldn't have worked because Slade doesn't want Oliver dead, he wants him to live with great loss for as long as he does live. It wouldn't have solved anything.
Carla: Oh, Oliver. I felt for him. He basically killed his mother. Not really, but that's how he saw it. He was devastated and broken by Slade and it was entirely in character for Oliver to run away and hide. At least he didn't run as far away as the island this time. Was it selfish? Maybe, but everyone mourns in their own way. How was he supposed to face Thea? Regarding the suicide, Oliver was devastated and by sacrificing himself he thought he would save others, while ending his own pain. Misguided, but understandable.
Nick: Carla is right on this, everyone mourns in their own way. Oliver retreating to some place where he can find and process his grief is understandable, but missing your own Mother's funeral is tough. It's a chance to pay your last respects and support your family. Oliver misses an opportunity to support Thea, and to pay his final respects to Moira's selfless sacrifice. At least Oliver didn't completely leave though. At some level he instinctively knows he needs to stay and fight instead of retreating to the island like he does with Tommy.
Carissa: Oliver had plenty of time to retreat after the funeral. Leaving Thea on her own and missing the funeral was unacceptable. I'm unmovable on that point. He was supposed to face Thea because all she's asked for is the truth. He could have tried it on for size. I'm also surprised after learning how many factors came into play on the island other than sheer survival, that Oliver honestly thought it would be as easy as sacrificing himself to save his family. If that's all Slade wanted, then why didn't he just kill him outright? There was some seriously flawed thinking going on all around.
Laurel stepped up. Give an honest, unemotional assessment of her inclusion in the activities.
Hank: I think is was great that Laurel took up the fight against Blood again. Something never felt right to her and in the end she was proven correct. Though she's annoyed me most of the season, I'm on board with Laurel now. I did find the Laurel Arrow reveal a bit anticlimactic. Even Roy had a more interesting reveal you know? Yes, I realize Laurel already knew but I guess I just hoped for a bit more.
Kate: It's hard to be "unemotional" about Laurel's decision because she has been such a terrible character all season that now she actually is doing something quite awesome. For the first time in a really long time she is a great character. Like Hank said, she's always felt something off with Blood but unlike Hank, I am not necessarily on board with Laurel now.
Carla: Laurel's been the weak point in Arrow season 2. She was better here, but her speech to Oliver about knowing him didn't feel earned. He's not the same person that he was pre-island (which is a good thing) and she doesn't really know him now. When she showed up when they were trying to take down the mirakuru army, I just sighed. She did help save Oliver, but she's a liability. When she whined, "Oli, there's too many of them. We can't fight." Ugh! Annoying. I want to see a strong Laurel, but she's not.
Nick: I'm a mixture of everyone's opinions on Laurel. I like that she's stepping up and finding her own footing again; doing what she can to figure out her gut feeling with Blood. She plays the politics of the show well, but part of me just does not care about her underneath Verdant; it's too big of a jump. It is not completely earned. Laurel knows about Oliver's nightly dealings, but to be quickly introduced into the cave, giving him a pep talk, and coming along on the mission is too much too soon. Laurel needs to find a way to contribute to the team and pay those same dues that everyone else has done, and, so far, she has not done it; however, this version of Laurel is far better than what we've had so far, so I'm willing to go for it.
Carissa: I'm saddened to think the comments will be just one big Laurel bitch fest. I disagree that her time in the lair was any less earned than anybody else. What did Roy do to get there? Got in Oliver's way too many times and shot up with Mirakuru; forcing Oliver's hand. Yet he didn't get the same flack for calling Oliver out on his poor behavior that Laurel did for her pep talk. What's that about? Laurel is intelligent but has been in the dark too long. She's in the light -- I'm looking forward to her next moves. She may not even like Oliver the more she learns about who he is now, but at least she has a chance to get to know him.
Oliver revealed himself to Sebastian. What do you think Is on Sebastian's mind right now?
Hank: Kill the Arrow? Or not be killed by the Arrow is more like it, right? Someone's got to go in the finale and I don't see the writers killing off Slade. My money's on Sebastian Blood.
Kate: Survival. Blood is terrified of Slade. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, you do what you have to do to survive your situation and if that means being the voice a a Mirakuru Army, you do it. Oliver is Slade's threat and in his mind, it's a no brainer that Slade will defeat The Arrow.
Carla: He's gone from a anonymous leader of the mirakuru to having a target on his back. He's going to have to fight harder now than ever to stay alive.
Nick: Sebastian's in his own island right now. He's in an impossible situation since Slade is not that big on him, and only uses him for a pawn; and he knows Oliver is going to be gunning for him now. So he's fighting to survive, and it's still undecided which team he's ultimately going to choose. I think there's a definite possibility that Blood will end up with one last ditch effort that turns the tide for Oliver.
Carissa: You almost have to feel sorry for the poor guy. To have the greatest evil and the greatest hero in town breathing down your neck makes you a good candidate to shed actual blood. He must be wondering what Slade hates about him so much, because that's still unknown to him. He's in the dark, yet he knows too much. If I were him, I'd be planning an escape.
Who do you think will be on Team Arrow as the season ends?
Hank: Laurel as Canary for sure, I've said this many times during our round tables. I don't see the writers killing off Diggle or Felicity but Roy might go off with Slade in the finale. I'm not sure he fits well in his current state anyway. His journey this season has been odd.
Kate: Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity obviously. I am having a really hard time with idea of Sara being killed because that just means that Laurel will have more to do and I'm not for that yet. I agree with Hank that they can't kill of Slade but that doesn't mean they can't cure him. As far as Roy goes, he just needs to die, he's terrible and doesn't belong anywhere anymore.
Carla: Oliver, Diggle and Felicity will remain the core team members of Team Arrow. They will have associate members in Sara, Roy, Nyssa, Lance, and even Laurel. Unlike Hank, I don't see Laurel becoming the Canary this season. She needs to earn that and she's not there yet.
Nick: I think Oliver, Felicity, and Dig are safe. Roy and Sara are on the bench for now. Laurel will most likely work her DA position.
Carissa: It will likely end with the core trio standing and the rest completely up in the air. That will be the hanging chad for Season 3.
Share your overall thoughts on City of Blood.
Hank: I see City of Blood as the first hour in a three part finale. It wasn't my favorite episode of the season and had a few predictable moments (which is rare for the writers) but I guess it was necessary to get us to next week's installment. So far it's the one episode I didn't rush to watch again.
Kate: Most of the episode was a filler until they actual lead-in for the final two episodes came along. We have this great set up for the remaining two hours of the season. I'm on the edge of my seat, I am racking my brain and preparing myself for more great loss. When the season is all said and done, we wont be talking about City of Blood, we'll be talking about Moira's death in the episode previous and the two episodes to follow.
Carla: Overall, it was a set-up episode for the final two episodes. The players are all in place for an ultimate showdown between Oliver and Slade. Oliver's emotional breakdown after his mother's death felt authentic and real. I wish there was a better explanation about how Isabel's able to take back the Verdant building and hurt the Queen's financially. She's the CEO now, but the Queens still have an ownership stake in the company. The first appearance of Ravager was a letdown, but I have high hopes that she'll impress over the last two episodes. After seeing the mirakuru army, I'm always going to be afraid of the Deathstroke mask!
Nick: It won't be my favorite episode of the season, but it sets up some very important stories going forward. My favorite parts were definitely Felicity and Dig searching for Oliver, and Oliver finding Solace in his back up operations location. The reemphasis on the "Core Three" was a big one for me as well.
Carissa: I'm happy to see some female strength coming forth without physical power to back them up. Sheer brains and determination from Felicity and Laurel is nice. The core three being recalled as the source of Team Arrow was a nice call out and I liked Oliver saying "I'm the Arrow" to Sebastian, but there was too much that didn't feel right and was counterintuitive to the rest of the season. I'll likely leave major portions of it out of my future marathons.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.