Arrow: “Streets of Fire” Season 2 Episode 22 Review

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Clearly these last three episodes are meant to just be a movie. Streets of Fire was the middle of that movie, whetting our appetites for next week and giving us some crazy developments.

It’s hard to even process just how much was going on here. Arrow brilliantly weaved around Slade-controlled Starling City this week. The primary focus is obviously stopping Slade Wilson, but the moving parts in that process made for excellent television.

Without skipping a beat from last week’s cliffhanger, Team Arrow is split up. Oliver and Laurel are separated by rubble while Diggle is confronted by Isabel in full Deathstroke gear. Meanwhile, both Thea and Quentin are dealing with the assault on the city first hand. This episode was utter chaos start to finish.

Diggle vs. Isabel set the tone immediately, but Streets of Fire still allowed for quieter, relatively, moments like Laurel freeing Oliver with his own bow and explosive arrow. Felicity ramming Isabel with the van was a moment worth cheering about, as was Quentin blowing up one of Slade’s men with three grenades. Then there was Malcolm Merlyn saving Thea in the train station. By the way, this all happened before the 10-minute mark.

By then, less hectic storylines began to show themselves and the episode did what it needed to do to prepare us for the finale.

Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity are after the cure for the Mirakuru. Naturally, it ends up in Slade’s hands. But someone is having second thoughts about this whole “destroy Staling City” thing. Sebastian Blood manages to steal the cure and get it to Oliver. With the city in flames, Blood’s role needed a twist. Blood threatens to reveal Oliver’s secret if he doesn’t get to remain mayor, which seems to be a great set up for Season 3 (a season where Starling City is ruled by a lesser of two evils could have been very interesting). But of course Slade can’t let him live now, so Isabel puts two swords through Blood, and we watch him die on the very desk that gave him power.

Now Oliver needs to test the cure, so why not on Roy? It was a little jarring how Roy just shows up unconscious in the clock tower, but we do know he was being held captive after his freak out a couple weeks ago. Just when it seems Oliver can’t give him the cure for ethical reasons, he realizes that Starling City is being surrounded by military. Amanda Waller is using A.R.G.U.S. troops to quarantine the city, as she means to level it to destroy any traces of the Mirakuru. The stakes couldn’t be higher (well, we’ll see when we hit the end of Season 3). Our first cliffhanger is whether the cure will work on Roy or not, after Oliver shoves the needle into his neck.

Elsewhere in the city, Thea is confronted by one of her worst demons: Malcolm Merlyn. John Barrowman is as good as ever as he tries to convince Thea he wants to help her. He even manages to take down one of Slade’s men. If he survives the gunshots Thea put in him (cliffhanger number two, although really, as if they’d kill off Merlyn so soon after bringing him back), Merlyn could be a valuable asset in taking down Slade.

Shortly after Laurel runs off to meet her father, she runs into Sara. The Canary is back in town and ready to save — figure out if she’s a hero or not? In an episode filled with greatness, the writers tried to shoehorn one last personal arc for Sara into the season. It didn’t work, mostly because there probably isn’t a single viewer out there that would debate whether Sara was a hero or not. Like, duh! Yeah, whatever, League of Assassins, is willing to kill people, whatever. She’s a hero!

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only storyline that didn’t work. In an episode that has so much going on in the present, there is no way the island flashbacks, where we essentially know the ending, are going to be anything but a snooze. Luckily, there were very few of them.

As a whole, Streets of Fire used most of what was going on to its advantage. At its worst, it was a simple place-setter for the finale. At its best, it was the middle of the best made-for-TV superhero movie ever. Everything is set, now it’s time for war. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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