After last weeks epic episode “Deathstroke” (of which I gave it a 5/5) it was going to be interesting to see how well they could keep up the momentum. Answer? Very, very well. It wasn’t as perfect, but “The Man Under the Hood” was a great follow-up that set in motion everything we can expect to see from the final episodes of Season 2….and a sneak peek of the Flash show.
For Oliver, everything continued to go downhill. His company is gone, his apprentice vanished, the family he holds so dear is falling apart, and Slade Wilson is still alive and trying to destroy him piece by piece. “The Man Under the Hood” showed exactly what this war was doing to Oliver and his Team Arrow mates, and proved that they might not win this war on guts alone.
Almost every part of this episode was about recovery and striking back, from the opening scene where Oliver was forced to destroy part of his own company, to the battle against Slade and Isabel, all of it was on point and deadly serious. They weren’t the only ones making an impact, as Slade, Laurel, Quentin, and even Isabel made their own statements by the time the episode was over.
Slade just appearing in the Arrow Cave was jaw-dropping, even if it was spoiled in the previews. It was no less tense, and Sarah getting hurt afterward proved it was no simple scare tactic. And who didn’t love that Batman-esque disappearing act? Huh? Tell me you thought that!
The second “Epic Slade Moment of the Week” was the assault on Star Labs, home to two future members of the Flash cast! Yep, Caitlyn Snow (aka Killer Frost in the comics), and Cisco Ramon (aka Vibe) appeared and dropped numerous references to both the DCU and to the future Flash show, including Iris West. Yes, THAT Iris West. Sorry Felicity! It was fun to see them outwit Deathstroke, and though brief, we got to see parts of their personalities and what to expect from them later on.
On a much more personal side, Ollie’s family life continued to deteriorate. Even though him and Moira are reunited as a mother and son, Thea feels very betrayed. Justified in some elements to be sure, but others…not so much. It was heartbreaking to hear her recount how she’s not allowed to have a stable life because it’s, “Not in her genes.” Thea walking out on them was a powerful move, yet one must wonder how long that will last. My guess? Not very long.
The big surprise was the return of Roy, albeit NOT in the way you expect. Seeing what happened, then having Slade and Isabel taunt Ollie about what happened was chilling….yet also confusing. We saw him leave Starling City on his own free will. Yet he was captured “without a fight”? Really? That didn’t feel right to be honest. With him back in the fold now, it’ll be interesting to see whether he plays along, goes rogue, or ups his Arsenal.
The Lances also had a big role in “The Man Under the Hood”, and it worked out rather well. Quentin in jail was a twist, but seeing just how willing he was to be there, even after the incident with the inmate was pretty cool. Quentin has evolved so much since the pilot, it’s great seeing like this, and hope it continues. Laurel on the other hand had to deal with the bombshell dealt to her, and figure out what it all meant. Her resolve to figure out the truth, even if it shattered her world was a good touch. And you almost thought she was going to confront both Ollie and Sara about it. Yet it was Quentin to the rescue with a very powerful speech about what The Arrow meant to him, and how he didn’t want to know who was underneath the hood. Again, character evolution at work.
Finally, there’s the island, which dropped a bombshell or two of its own. There’s a cure for the Mirakuru. Why haven’t we heard of it before? Well, Ollie had a choice before, cure Slade or “kill” him. We know which he choose, and because of that everything is now falling apart. Yet now that the cure is an option, we’ll see it put to work. Which no doubt means that we’ll definitely get a deathmatch between Deathstroke and The Arrow before the season is over.
Also, Ivo’s is dead. Horray!…..right? Ivo was a curious character, he was the driving force behind the first half of the island, yet he was also sympathetic in a way. His end was swift, and the how was both pointed and ironic. Too bad he didn’t get to make a robot before he died….
In the end, “The Man Under the Hood” continued the already epic Season 2 storyline with great results, and teased the future of Arrow, Flash, and the DCU at large. With no more breaks before the end, it’s going to be a wild ride.