Season 2 of Arrow has been a non-stop thrill ride for almost every episode. Yet the finale is the one episode that had the most to live up to. Mainly because of the incredible ending Season 1 gave us with “Sacrifice” (which was named the best episode of Season 1 by yours truly!). So, could “Unthinkable” top that and bring us full throttle into Season 3? No. But I’ll be danged if it didn’t try.
“Unthinkable” had a very similar premise to “Sacrifice” to be sure. In this case though it was stop Slade and a drone from blowing up the city instead of stop Merlyn from destroying half of a city. But truly that’s where the similarities stop.
Outnumbered, outgunned, overpowered, and frankly on the brink, everything seemed to be against Ollie and Team Arrow in this finale. Fortunately, they were about to get some big help. And not from all the people you might think.
The return of Lyla to the show was surprising, yet also epic. I love how John’s life in the show is both similar and different to Oliver’s. Mainly in how they deal with the girls they love. Her return gave the team an edge that they needed as both Lyla and John went after Waller to stop the drone.
Meanwhile, Team Arrow grew by a significant margin as Sara returned, but not alone! Nyssa was back, and her assassins came with her! The League of Assassins was a great addition to Season 2, and seeing them return was epic. And yes, I’m going to say “epic” a lot in this review. Moving on.
The good thing here was that they didn’t come back to help because they’re nice people. The twist of Sara returning to them after they helped was a nice touch, and one done with believability, especially at the end. Also, just because they were honorary members of Team Arrow didn’t mean they were going to play by their rules. “We don’t take prisoners.”
This was proven rather quickly when they stormed Queen Consolidated, and Nyssa killed Isabel with a viscous neck snap that would make Superman proud!….too soon? Though I’m sad she went out this way, I kind of understand because things had to move along quickly. And let’s be honest about two things. One, what would they have done with her after they cured her? Second, didn’t we all want her to die?
Also back was Roy, who arguably had the best part in the finale. I’m glad he’s cured and in his own mind. But what we got afterwards was…wait for it…epic!!!! First off, the scene with Thea (yes, she will be talked about at length) was very touching. And you knew he meant what he said about leaving with her, and that she wanted to leave with him. But he had one last thing to do first. And that was to….
Yep, Arsenal is born! Mask and bow and arrow included! Now sure, there’s a little amount of disbelief you need to have because we don’t know just how much Ollie REALLY trained him, but who cares? Him kicking but in a red hoodie AND his red mask was priceless. Then given how it ended, I’ll be very surprised if Roy doesn’t start hooding up more and more often just to hide his pain. After all, what else does he have to live for?
Which brings us to Thea. First off, yes, she shot Merlyn. Thankfully for the world, he wore Kevlar. God Bless America. Thea’s arc this season truly led to this episode, as she found out that the person she really loved was also lying to her. And because of that she took up Malcolm’s invitation to join him and truly be his daughter. I liked how she said she’s not going to be “Thea Queen” anymore. Many fans are already expected her to become a certain “other” archer in the DCU. So despite what she said, I think she’ll be back.
Ok, enough dancing, let’s get to the main story. Ollie vs. Slade! You had to wonder how Ollie was going to win. Even with the cure, even with the assassins, Ollie has been one step behind Slade all season. This episode was almost no different. Yet leave it to the writers to make a very compelling story about how he would defeat him. Even if it came at the cost of breaking many fanboys and fangirls hearts.
The scene with Ollie and Felicity felt like a true thing, especially when he said that he didn’t love Laurel. It felt right, it felt true, but it was a trap. So sad. That being said, it was an epic trap, one that truly lined up with Ollie’s cunning.
The final fight between Ollie and Slade was spot on and powerful. Especially when they connected it with the flashbacks to the island. Jumping back and forth may have been a little disorienting at points but overall it was incredible. Also worthy of note is Manu Bennet’s performance throughout. The passion, the rage, everything worked. Even when the Mirakuru was gone you still knew he was Deathstroke, and he wasn’t to be messed with.
This is where “Unthinkable” shined. They could’ve done another fight to the death like in Season 1 with Merlyn, but instead they showed just how much of a hero Ollie had become. All episode he struggled with his “no killing” rule, mainly because it seemed like the only way to stop Slade for good. Yet in the end his better angel prevailed. Slade lives, and he’s in a very familiar place…
Quick mention to the Lance’s. Sara I already mentioned, and I’m a little sad to see her go. Laurel ironically had almost nothing to do with the episode. Quentin gave a powerful speech, some great one liners, and delivered some butt whipping as well. All before collapsing and coughing up blood! I honestly didn’t like that, but we’ll see how it plays out in the beginning of Season 3.
Though we touched on the island, it’s important to note some things. First off, we saw how Sara “died” for the second time, and why Ollie thought she was gone for good this go round. Hopefully, we’ll see how Nyssa found her next season, but for now it was a nice little tie up.
Which of course leads to Slade vs. Ollie. Many of us wondered how this would end with Slade getting an arrow to the eye. Well we found out! It was brutal, and grisly, and once again, believable. It was also impressive to see how the fight ended to where you would believe that Slade was really dead. That seems to be a recurring thread.
The ending of the island year two brought a twist and a half. As Amanda Waller somehow saved Ollie and brought him to Hong Kong. This possibly answers some of the questions we’ve had about him (such as how does he speak perfect Mandarin) and raises more, like, why is he there with Waller? The island season 2 had a lot of ups and downs in the quality department, I’m happy it ended strong.
In the end, “Unthinkable” wasn’t as good as “Sacrifice” for a few reasons. One was impact. “Sacrifice” killed Tommy (who I still miss), and destroyed half the Glades which set up Season 2. “Unthinkable” didn’t have all that impact, nor did it need to at points. Slade didn’t need to die, the city didn’t need to be destroyed, etc. etc. But it did serve up some great leads into Season 3. Thea, Roy, Laurel (complete with leather jacket!), Quentin, Diggle (who is going to be a father!), Felicity, and of course Ollie all got moments to push us into the next season. If it’s anything like what this one was, it’ll be another great ride.
4 out of 5 nerds