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TV REVIEW: FTN reviews Arrow S02E21 “City of Blood”

May 1st, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

After the events of the last episode (which again, got a 5/5 here on FTN), it would be nearly impossible to top both in impact and in emotion. To both its credit and detriment, “City of Blood”, didn’t try to top it. Instead, it went for an aftermath episode mixed with a prelude to the final two episodes of the season. A risky move given this shows history, and though it paid off in some ways, it didn’t in others.

Moira’s death, and the impact it had on everyone was in full effect right from the opening scene. The funeral interlaced with the inauguration of Sebastian Blood showed just how bad things were. But someone’s absence made it even more abundant, as Ollie was nowhere to be found.

This was a very interesting point for the episode. Ollie’s reaction to Slade killing his mother was very symbolic, as it showed Slade (as Ollie would admit) had technically won, as he was feeling complete despair. So much so that he was willing to surrender to make this end, once and for all.

Yet it wasn’t just him who was in despair, Thea had her turn in the despair department. As not only did she watch her mother die, then see her brother disappear when he needed her, but then Verdant got taken away from her! Man they’re through! It was just another nail in the coffin that makes you think that Thea is right when she said being happy just “wasn’t in her genes”.

One of the few twists that made this episode interesting was Laurel targeting Sebastian Blood once again, this time with a clear head and good reason. Her convincing her father to help was a nice touch as well. And oh what a discovery they found!

Laurel proved to be the MVP of the episode, as she stopped Ollie from surrendering, and gave him the drive to suit up one more time to try and stop Slade and his Mirakuru army. Though it was good to see him be the Arrow again, I’m a little iffy as to how he turned on a dime because he found out Blood was involved. Maybe it was the thought of Slade manipulating him again, or just the idea of having Slade’s pawn run the city, but it was a little too quick for my taste.

Then there was the last few minutes. Which I can honestly say was a first for the city, and not in the good way. The last few minutes were jam-packed with loads of characters and moments that had little to no time to breathe. Ollie and Laurel, Felicity, Diggle and Roschev (or should I say Ravager?), Slade’s army, Quentin, Thea, all had their moments crammed in one after another, only to end abruptly with a shot of the army marching through Starling City. Arrow has done cliffhangers before, but they’re usually done with enough buildup and belief to where you’re not thinking, “That’s how they’re ending it?!?!” That moment I had with this episode. Some may say, “But it’s a buildup to the final two episodes!” And that’s true, but in this same spot last year, “The Undertaking” we found out exactly what the Undertaking was, how it lead to Robert and Ollie’s boat getting sabotaged, Walter being found, and the reforming of Team Arrow in order to take Merlyn down. “City of Blood” didn’t deliver that much impact, or movement of story.

I’ll be fair, there were some great character scenes, Ollie and Thea’s heart to heart was great. As was the Blood and Ollie conversation, especially when Ollie told Blood he was the Arrow. Both great standout moments, yet in the end it just lacked importance.

The island flashbacks were again quick, and slightly confusing at points. As Ollie, Sara, and Antoli tried to get the sub going so they could get to Slade and get off the island. A sacrifice was required, and though obvious, it was handled well enough, but again, the ending rushed the story to where you’re wondering why they ended it there.

In the end, “City of Blood” was kind of an intermission to the events before and what’s to come. That’s not bad per se, but when you’re firing on all cylinders like Arrow has been? It’s kind of a curious choice to do, especially when you have two more episodes left in the season. Luckily, if the previews are any indication, things are about to pick up!

3 out of 5

Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!