Arrow TV Reviews

TV Review: Arrow, “Seeing Red” (S2/EP20) – Secrets Will Kill Ya

To read our other Arrow episode reviews please go here.

Seeing Red

  • Airdate: 4/23/2014
  • Director: Doug Aarniokoski (Criminal Minds, Arrow directorial debut)
  • Writer(s): Wendy Mericle & Beth Schwartz (previously wrote this season’s “Time of Death” and “Blind Spot together”)

Roy became the Terminator?  Oliver has a 6-7-year-old kid out there he knows nothing about?  Sara would seriously just leave town like that without checking in with her family, temporarily abandoning not just them but Team Arrow despite everything going down with Slade?  Moira knew Oliver’s secret for at least a year?  Slade Wilson delivered the death stroke to Moira Queen?  

It was another clunky episode of Arrow, but boy did they ever stick the landing.  Let’s break down “Seeing Red”:

THE RECAP –

Bye-Bye, Moira –

Seeing Red

Moira’s mayoral campaign continues with a clear path toward victory, but Thea drops by Queen Manor to interrupt Moira in the middle of the press interview to let her know she can no longer use Verdant for a fundraiser as previously planned.  But, wait, you signed an actual contract with Moira’s campaign, and backing out of it now for personal reasons would not be legally wise!  Daaaaamn, well played Moira

However, Moira can’t rightfully be mother to Starling City, as per her campaign promises, when she’s no kind of mother to her daughter at the moment. So, she informs Sebastian Blood in person that her upcoming fundraiser will be used to announce her intention to drop pout of the race.  He has the tact to not do a happy, but evil dance right in front of her.  Oliver later mayor-blocks Sebastian, convincing Moira that the way to win back Thea is to continue being a good person and good mayor.  She gives him your standard, “You’re right.  Oh, btw, I’ve known about you being the Arrow since the Undertaking last year.”  Okay.  That last part wasn’t so much standard as fairly random.

Halfway through Moira’s speech at the rally, she takes Oliver’s advice, and pledges to save Starling City.  On a limo ride home with Thea and Oliver, Moira is about to turn over a new leaf and abandon the age of secrets, reveal that Malcolm Merlyn is still alive when the car is suddenly sideswiped Bournce Supremacy-style.  Oliver awakes somewhere in the woods, tied up and looking up at his mother and sister both on their knees in front of him as Slade Wilson demands he chooses who dies just as Ivo once made him do with Sara and Shado.  Moira makes the choice for Oliver, standing up to offer her own life to protect her children.  Slade is impressed.  Someone with such courage and devotion doesn’t deserve a bullet through the head.  No, they get the honor of a sword through the heart, and with that Moira Queen falls dead to the ground, off to an afterlife where she will undoubtedly continue guarding major secrets for sympathetic reasons.

Roy’s Not Here Right Now –

Seeing Red

After waking up from the metal slab in the Arrow Cave, Roy escapes through Verdant into Starling City, and while he may look Roy Harper and walk like Roy Harper boy howdy is he not really Roy Harper anymore.  He doesn’t speak or even appear to recognize anyone.  He just goes around beating people up, even punching poor Sin outside of a nightclub (maybe he just really hated her always calling him “Abercrombie”).  

Not cool, Roy Harper.  No one hurts Sin on Sara Lance’s watch, even though Sin was already punched once by Roy earlier this season.  Sara plays it Oliver’s way, tracking Roy to the old clock tower to talk him down.  All bets are off after Roy effortlessly tosses Sara across a room, fractures one of Oliver’s legs, and kills a random cop outside the clock tower building.  Shoot to kill now, right?  Sara says yes, Oliver says no, but Oliver’s leg means he can’t stop her.  So, she leaves him behind in the Arrow Cave to hunt Roy down and shoot him between the eyes, an apparently fatal shot for even mirakuru-enhanced monsters.  That was all fairly pointless, though.  Roy is fixated on Thea, hallucinating a version of her (like Slade does with Shado) which begs for him to kill Thea.  So, of course he just shows up at Verdant, but before he has a chance to choke Thea to death – and in the middle of Moira’s fund rally, no less – Sara almost puts him down for good until Sin stops her.  

Seeing Red

Ultimately, Sara goes Terminator 2, taking out Roy’s kneecap.  Oliver pumps him full of fancy snake venom, and they keep him sedated in the Arrow Cave…for now.  Before all of this went down, Oliver and Sara were making sweet, sweet love in a hotel, and he was talking about moving in together.  However, Sara realizes through the Roy encounter that she’s basically the season 1 version of Oliver, except worse in terms of the darkness of her soul.  So, already spooked by Oliver’s earlier overture of serious romantic commitment she decides he is too good for her, needing someone who can help him harness his inner light (ears up Olicity, Lauriver fans).  She breaks up with him, says goodbye to Sin (though not to her sister or father), and heads off to destinations unknown to “see an old friend.”  Translation: hello, Nyssa Al-Guh.

Meanwhile, Oliver Has a Kid He Sill Doesn’t Know About… –

7 years ago, Oliver knocked up a girl who was not Laurel or Sara.  The poor, little rich boy was all mopey about it.  So, mommy made it go away, buying off the unnamed mother wth $2 million, $1 million to go back to her family in Central City and another $1 million to tell Oliver she’d lost the pregnancy in a miscarriage.  As a result, one of Moira’s lasting legacies for her own son is that she’d do anything to protect him, but as a result somewhere out there he has a 6-7-year-old kid he knows nothing about.  

THE REVIEW

In this brave new death-happy post-Game of Thrones TV landscape, I have decided to make deal-breakers with certain shows whereby if they kill a specific character no matter how dramatically satisfying the story I will forever be done with the show.  For example, if Bates Motel offs the girl with the oxygen tank, or Vampire Diaries ever dares to kill Caroline Forbes (the wickedly talented Candace Acola) they’ll have lost themselves a customer.

Moira Queen is not a deal-breaker for me with Arrow.  In fact, around halfway through “Seeing Red” I began suspecting she was as good as dead, and was generally fine with it.  You don’t have her just randomly reveal in the middle of an episode that she’d known Oliver’s secret for around a year unless you’re scrambling to provide some closure to her before her death.  Plus, Arrow’s creatives increasingly subscribe to the Joss Whedon Buffy/Angel school of story telling whereby as soon as the characters achieve any kind of happiness bordering on complacency you tear their world asunder.  So, just as the second Oliver suggested getting a place with Sara you could guess they’d be broken up by episode’s end you could also assume Moira’s clear path to electoral victory and triumphant speech/reconciliation with her family was all a precursor to tragedy.  Plus, something about the episode felt oddly off, as if all would be made clear in the final minutes. 

Seeing Red

And then Slade killed Moira.  That was a devastating sequence, at least as devastating as Arrow gets, but it was entirely fitting for Moira to go out quite literally sacrificing herself to protect her children.  As Sarah Palin would say, Moira was above anything else just a mama grizzly protecting her little cubs.   

So, why kill Moira?  The longer teen-centric, heightened reality (e.g., superheroes, vampires, etc.) CW shows go on they less need they have for any parental figures (actual or surrogate) because eventually they are simply blocking the dramatic growth of the central characters.  However, rather than simply having the central characters grow up and move out the choice is often tragically forced on them.  For example, every single Vampire Diaries parent is dead this point (except for Sheriff Forbes) and anyone who dared ever be a surrogate parent is long gone.  The same pretty much goes for Supernatural.  Going back to the WB days, Buffy the Vampire Slayer wisely refrained from ever killing Buffy’s surrogate dad Giles, but instead had her mom die a sudden and devastatingly realistic death.  Other parents on the show were spared death but crucially almost never seen if ever even referenced.  Smallville stuck with comic book lore by eventually having Jonathan Kent succumb to a heart attack, and though unwilling to kill Martha Kent they did write her out of the show (by sending her off to state congress!!!).  

Oliver Queen is fair deal older than most of those show’s central characters were when they started, but shows of this type tend to resort to killing off the parents to force the star of the show to grow up and into maturity (much as Harry Potter was always losing all of his father figures to make him grow into independence and leadership).  So, maybe Moira was always heading this way.

If so, they did so by completing her season 2 arc of redemption.  Once upon a time, in the show’s pilot, we were meant to believe Moira was actually one of the show’s secret villains.  Instead, she turned out to be a woman forced into an impossible situation where she chose not self-preservation, really, but protection of her children at all costs.  Season 2 was meant to be her period of redemption, but it was handled in repeatedly awkward ways, giving her yet another secret, ending her trial way too soon and abruptly, putting her into a mayoral race.  The idea seemed to be that while Moira was genuine in seeking to atone for her sins she was still Moira, coldly threatening Felicity at one point in queen bee fashion and harboring too many secrets.  The result was yet another season 2 character who kind of came and went, one who apparently served no purpose if not in direct conflict with Thea or Oliver over some deep, dark secret.  That gets old fast.

But why kill her now?  Because it raises the dramatic stakes.  I criticized the show last week for having Slade’s visit to the Arrow Cave ultimately mean nothing (Sara’s already lost that bandage from her wrist by “Seeing Red”).  Now, that crazy sonofabitch killed Oliver’s mom, bringing about some fairly severe and very permanent consequences.  That’s why the writers did it, but why did Slade decide to do it now?  Was this directly related to Moira’s decision to NOT pull out of the mayoral election?  Was it somehow a response to Oliver’s efforts last week which resulted in the temporary death of Isabel Rochev?  It does seem a tad on the sudden side, but that, of course, is also part of its effectiveness.  You’re not supposed to see it coming.

It’s unfortunate that to hammer home Moira’s long-lasting love for her son they introduced a pregnancy scare in the past meaning not only did Oliver cheat on Laurel with someone other than Sara but he now has a kid out there he knows nothing about.  If they go Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Ally McBeal with this, and at some point turn the kid turns up as a major character (please God, no, do not let it be as bad as Connor on Angel) at least now they’ve given us the heads-up.  The track record in this department is pretty much completely negative, but that’s still down the road.

In general, the whole flashback story was perplexing, primarily serving to remind us of something (Moira will do anything to protect her kids) we already knew just so we might feel Moira’s death more profoundly.  Moira working in the shadows to protect her son in the past does kind of, sort of resonate with the present-day revelation that she’d known Oliver was the Arrow since the season 1 finale.  Moira’s the queen of secrets; of course she’d know Oliver’s. Does it actually track?  Aren’t there practical questions she’d want to pose, such as who exactly it was she saw dressed up as the Arrow and beating the heck out of Oliver last season?  Recently, when Thea was kidnapped wouldn’t she turn to Oliver to employ his Arrow persona to find her baby girl?  Plus, when he was being so sanctimonious about her keeping secrets for the greater good wouldn’t she want to put all their cards on the table, call a spade a spade?  Or, to her, would she relate to Oliver’s need for secrecy, and choose to honor and protect that just as she’d also do everything to protect her children?

Seeing Red

As for everything with Team Arrow, I gather that Roy is basically overdosed with mirakuru right now thus explaining why he’s behaving in a way neither he nor Slade did upon their first mirakuru exposure.  There are certain practical questions, such as how did Roy in his robot-like state actually see any kind of TV coverage of Moira’s fund rally to see that Thea was there?  Plus, does no one find it supremely weird that the Arrow and Canary just suddenly showed up at Verdant to stop Roy?  That’s probably less glaring than Sara breaking up with Oliver and leaving the city by episode’s end.  We are most likely to take it that she has left to retrieve help from the League of Assassins, setting her up as leading the cavalry in the charge against Slade and his super soldiers.  If she’d asked for permission Oliver wouldn’t have likely granted it, but as far as we see Sara leaves without saying goodbye to either her father or sister.  Like so many of Arrow‘s season 2 moments, there is a kernel of truth to this resolution, as it is I guess consistent with Sara’s behavior as well yet another example of someone Oliver has failed to save (Shado, Tommy, and Moira literally, Huntress, Roy, and Sara morally).  However, with the show ever-burdened with so many characters and story lines things like Sara suddenly exiting seems, well, very sudden.  

THE BOTTOM LINE

This is an episode which, over time, will likely not be remembered for anything other than its ending, e.g., “Oh, that’s the episode where Oliver’s mom died.”  The manner in which she died was “Geeze, I need a hug”-depressing, and has certainly elevated the stakes for the remainder of the season.  Of course, the rest of the episode contained some surprising twists which are harder to take but likely ignored due to the good will earned from a well-executed (albeit devastating) climactic death scene.  The notion that Moira’s known about Oliver’s secret this entire season is kind of workable, but the idea of Oliver having a love-child he knows nothing about simply serves to re-inforce Moira’s love for her son here but quite regrettably likely sets up some unfortunate story lines in the future.  

THE NOTES

1. I’d never actually wondered where Sara had been living this whole time until Oliver mentioned she was living with Laurel.

2. I really like Bex Taylor-Klaus as Sin, and was delighted to see her back.  However, am I the only one who thought maybe poor Taylor-Klaus must have been suffering through a cold the day they filmed her first scene of the episode when she sees “Abercrombie” Roy in the street?  Her voice sounded that way at least.

3. It’s adorable how little Oliver and Sara looked around the clocktower before confidently concluding Roy wasn’t there.

4. “Like comic book strong” – That’s one of those tricky lines to throw in there because when your show is already so comic book-y actually pointing that out can be a bit jarring.

5. Thea was scrappier than normal this week, and generally very strong.  I like this Thea.

6. Though awesome when The Bourne Supremacy (2004) did it we’re all now accustomed to the convention of the camera placed in the interior of the car not seeing the car about to run into them until the literal last second.  Heck, a “Don’t Drive and Text” ad running in the US right now uses that convention quite effectively.  However, it was still quite jarring in “Seeing Red”

7. The last flashback when Oliver finds out the girl has lost the baby was a tough scene for Stephen Amell to play.  The dialogue literally has him rejoicing over the rich kid getting lucky again.  However, while Oliver may not have been ready for fatherhood that does mean a potential child of his is gone (as far as he knows).  There’s an inherent tragedy to that.  My interpretation was that Amell used pained facial expressions to indicate Oliver wasn’t 100% okay, but using the dialogue to find comfort in remembering that he wasn’t ready to be a father. However, it’s open to interpretation, and those who find Oliver a morally compromised, unlikable character likely had a less charitable reading of the scene.

Well, I’ve said enough.  What did you think of this episode?  Let us know in the comments section.

All of the pictures used in the above review, unless otherwise noted, came from CWTV.com © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

15 comments

  1. This episode was very State Vs Queen to me. Thirty-two minutes of whatever action just to get to the real point with the jaw-dropper ending.

    The baby angle wasn’t surprising to me considering the source. I’d actually expected them to play it out with Sara, though, so I’m just glad they didn’t go there. It was just super clunky how they introduced it. I’m curious what they’ll do with it later since the kid is so young. Oh… and I did feel sorry for Oliver when he thought the kid had died. You could tell it hit him, however briefly, that it was a life lost and a part of him that was lost.

    The whole secrets angle this show plays bugs the heck out of me because most of the secrets really have no reason to be secret. LOL @ that sentence but, seriously! Moira knowing about Oliver being the Arrow. Why was that a secret? Why was she keeping the secret of Malcolm being alive considering how dangerous he is to everyone? Why hasn’t Malcolm put it out to the public or the authorities through his sources that Oliver is the Arrow?

    As far as Moira dying… sigh. I was upset last night for Oliver and for Thea but I really had little sympathy for Moira. I never felt like she suffered consequences for anything she did in season one or even learned from those actions. With Slade killing her, it’s almost like karma just because, were it not for her actions in sabotaging Queen’s Gambit, Oliver never would have been on the Island.

    I did manage to find some sympathy for Oliver finally because he’s blaming himself for all these things that have happened but it’s really a butterfly effect because of the things his parents did. It goes back to what Isabel said last week about the sins of the father being the sins of the son.

    1. At this point, I’d almost be willing to just go with the whole baby drama angle, clunkiness and all, if was just there to re-inforce Moira’s at-all-costs-protective, maternal instincts. However, we all know they’re dropping it in there to set something up for season 3, and as someone on Tumblr said, “Oliver has no idea he has a kid who’s probably going to show up next season? I don’t have time for this shit.” I eventually progressed to being neutral on Dawn on Buffy, but I am drawing on a blank on examples where this type of storyline has really been a wise direction to go for shows of this ilk.

      I was rather impressed with Amell’s acting in that final flashback scene, and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only who read it that way.

      Moira’s “I know” really starts falling apart the more you think about it. The gist is supposed to be that Moira keeps secrets to protect her family, and Oliver is following in her footsteps. So, Moira would probably respect that, and let him keep with the charade around her. As for Malcolm, maybe Moira should have let it be known he was alive once everyone knew Thea was his daughter, but maybe she’d think that it would simply further complicate things. Plus, maybe Moira would cherish the temporary peace she had shared with her children, which might be damaged if they discovered the only reason she won her trial was because Malcolm bought the jury and attempted to blackmail her. I’m just trying to think of the potential motivations the writers would be thinking for Moira to have in keeping those secrets. However, since you point it out you’re not wrong-seriously, why was she not letting them know Malcolm was still alive? He promised her that things weren’t over, potentially putting her children at risk with them none the wiser.

      There was a brief period earlier this season where Moira seemed like she might have changed, but then she told her lawyer about that deep, dark secret no one could discover and you realized that she was still essentially the same person as she always was. You make a good point, though – there is an element of karma to Slade killing her since were it not for her involvement with the Queen’s Gambit that never would have crashed and Oliver never would have ended up on the island to begin with (although I’m drawing a blank on whether or not Moira was actually involved with the sabotage, or if Malcolm did it on his own and then forced her into complying with him – wasn’t it the latter?).

      1. I didn’t think that it really Moira who sabotaged the Queen’s Gambit. I thought Malcolm hired Frank Chen to sabotage the boat and get rid of Robert Queen when Robert decided to oppose his Undertaking, and afterwards Moira found it and hid it to either figure out who sabotaged it or hide the evidence. It was once Moira found out what Malcolm was doing that she went along with it to protect Thea and later Walter as well as herself.

        If it was Moira, why was she okay letting Oliver sail on it and end up dead along with Robert?

      2. Yeah, if I remember Moira’s flashback episode from last season correctly she is not the one who actually had anything to do with the sabotage of the Queen’s Gambit. She knew about it afterward, and assisted in the cover-up, but she did not actively engage with a plot to murder her husband and son.

  2. I was really sad to see Sara leave, i hope she comes back for the finale and survives, i like her as Black Canary. I guess she left to see someone from LofA, Nyssa or Merlyn. I don’t like character of Roy. As you know i am not a comic-fan, so i have no idea how important he is, but in the show i don’t find him useful.
    I totally agree with your comment in previous review that the show has gotten really comic-booky and soapy, it’s been there for a while and everyone notices it. The problem is, imho, that majority of viewers really aren’t hard core comic fans so if they disregard character development for the sake of following some comic canon they will lose viewers, they already do from the beginning of second part of season 2.
    Of course i think they should respect those comic fans, but they always have comics, and what works in comics doesn’t always work on TV, that’s totally different media. Isn’t it interesting that favorite characters from the show – Diggle and Felicity are not comic characters. I heard that there was Felicity Smoak in some comics but totally different character. So you can count them as new.

    1. I’ll certainly be surprised if Sara’s exit turns out to NOT have been simply to get re-reinforcements from the League of Assassins.

      Roy’s uses have been to serve as the human face of the entire idea of the Glades last season, and to be a parallel to Slade Wilson this season. However, he was fairly laughable as the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, and it’s hard to truly get invested in the Slade Wilson parallel when Roy has simply disappeared for several episodes this season. Oliver laments how he is clearly failing to train him, yet at that point we’d only really had one episode where we saw Oliver doing that.

      Ultimately, Roy is only on this show because of his comic book origins, and because they needed to somehow rehabilitate Thea after they’d made her too unlikable during the first half of the first season so they gave her Roy as a love interest. Colton Haynes has his moments in the role, like when he called Oliver out for all of his bad decisions, and when they pair him with Bex Taylor-Klaus as Sin the two can be fairly entertaining. However, it probably says all I need that when I saw the producers indicate Roy will be out of commission and in a coma for the next couple of episodes I was kind of happy to know he won’t be around.

      As for the comic book-y stuff, I remember reading complaints on message boards over the summer that Arrow was too boring, and needed to start introducing some meta-human villains. In other word, they wanted to see some dang super powers on the show. However, now that the show has gone that route it’s amazing how quickly the storyline got away from them. There is nothing really wrong with a show being so soap-y and comic book-y. That was eventually Smallville’s entire reason for being, really. But when the show used to something a bit more grounded it’s a fairly significant problem because it means while you’re preaching to the hardcore faithful you’re going to gradually lose the more casual viewer.

      It’s true that some of their best characters and story elements are their own (or just them ripping off Christopher Nolan), and while Felicity is not exactly unique (see Chloe Sullivan) she is only barely related to her comic book counterpart. However, Arrow’s producers seem to love manipulating traditional and social media to build and maintain a steady buzz for their show, and their continued announcements about the next great comic book character making their Arrow debut is what grabs headlines because it’s far easier to digest than them touting some original creation. Also, that gives them something to hook and satisfy the crowds at venues like Comic-Con. Their general approach is to play that game, but try and give us something but not in the way we expect, thus Sara Lance as Canary instead of Laurel. They’re not always success with that, though.

  3. One of the reasons I will miss Susanna Thompson is because she often seemed to improve the performance of the other actors she was in a scene with. I don’t think Stephen Amell has done anything as strong and nuanced as Oliver in the scene where he tell Moira the baby died.

    I also liked her expression when she found out that the girl Oliver got pregnant wasn’t Laurel “Like father, like son” you could see her thinking.

    “Instead, she turned out to be a woman forced into an impossible situation where she chose not self-preservation, really, but protection of her children at all costs. ”

    Usually this show does one or two dimensional characters but they made her genuinely complex and conflicted, in a situation where there was no easy or right answer. This makes it even more of a shame that they got rid of her.

    I got whiplash from the Oliver/Sara break-up. I think there was lots the writers should have explored between them even if this was going to be the ending. Someone suggested that Sara got scared when Oliver suggested they live together and that makes more sense than talking about the darkness within her (and within Laurel in Birds of Prey, contrasted with Diggle telling Felicity at the opening of this episode that nothing can make her go dark).

    At this point, I find that the less Laurel there is in an episode, the better it seems to me but even this small scene has me scratching my head:

    Laurel: I have to go help Sara with her trigonometry.
    Oliver: I don’t even know what that is.
    Laurel :You’re so cute.

    Aside from wondering why Sara would even be taking trigonometry since she’s been portrayed as not being the academic type, I don’t understand Laurel in this scene. She’s been presented as smart and focused but I can’t imagine anything that would be a bigger turn-off to a character like that than having Oliver say “I don’t even know what trigonometry is. (To me, what makes Benedict Cumberbatch so sexy as Sherlock or Tom Hiddleston as Loki are their brains.) So is what attracts Laurel to Oliver his body? Would that be enough to put up with his behaviour? Because if not, then it’s his money and that makes her a gold-digger. Not to mention that Laurel still doesn’t seem to know that he’s cheating on her, something even Sara knew.

    If they’re still planning to make Laurel the Black Canary and have her end up with Oliver, they seem to be going about it entirely the wrong way.

    1. I think they really put Katie between a rock and a hard place with this role, i haven’t seen someone generate so much hate in a long time. I have no idea what is going on…

      1. I don’t think she’s anywhere near the levels of hate that Thirteen got on House or even Skye on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but yes, Laurel did make the Most Loathed Characters list on TV Guide.

        I feel sorry about that because she seems like a nice person and she tries hard on the show. I think it’s a combination of a role that doesn’t play to her strengths, added to some bad writing because they don’t seem to know what to do with her and rush through her storylines when they do give her something, and they’ve now brought on Caity Lotz who is better suited to the physical stuff of the Canary. The producers comments about her “Emmy-worthy” scene don’t help because they don’t praise any other of the cast members like that.

        I’d like to see Laurel go dark next season. There’s enough reason to — her sister took Oliver twice, they’re keeping secrets from her, she’s got an addiction gene — it would give her something substantial to do in terms of the A story instead of being tangential as she was most of this season, and given how well she did as Ruby, it would play to Katie Cassidy’s strengths as an actor. Then they could do her recovery and training to be the Black Canary properly.

      2. It’s almost like the best version of Canary for Arrow is Caity Lotz in costume and doing stunts and Katie Cassidy out of costume and engaging in day-to-day living.

        Cassidy as Ruby on Supernatural –

        We’ve seen precious little signs of the snark she brought to that role, but the Laurel who so bluntly described why it might be awkward for Oliver to talk to her about Sara is as Ruby as she gets. I want to see Laurel be more like that.

      3. Me too, i like the actress but really don’t like Laurel. I don’t hate her, just think that she is so badly written that i don’t watch scenes with her anymore… 😦

    2. “Someone suggested that Sara got scared when Oliver suggested they live together and that makes more sense than talking about the darkness within her”

      I implied as much in my review. My take on it is that Sara was spooked, not in the same emotional headspace as Oliver because she didn’t have that year with Diggle and Felicity he did to sort of rediscover his soul. Lotz had mentioned in interviews that the dynamic for those two would be sort of figuring out what exactly their relationship was “Boyfriend/girlfriend? Friends with benefits?”, but I don’t think that ever actually came across until “Seeing Red.” For the most part prior to this, they behaved like a couple even if they hadn’t really put a label on it. However, Sara saying the whole bit about the inner light was on some level her saying, “I’m not good enough for you,” which I can buy her thinking given her likely self-hatred after everyone she’s killed, but I think that was really more about the writers throwing a bone to the shippers since obviously Sara saying that would send the Laurel or Felicity fans into a frenzy.

      I don’t disagree about the Laurel flashback. She was barely in it, really, but Oliver’s moping and her basically patting him on the head like a small, dull child and declaring how adorable he was did not sit well with me, for many of the reasons you mentioned. I thought I understood those two as a couple in that she always saw the best possible version of him though she knew he wasn’t quite to that point yet, but her muscle-bound boyfriend acting like a 5-year-old and being Joey-from-Friends-level stupid is endearing to her? At the very least it certainly showed how easy it was for Oliver to cheat on her because when he’d mope due to feeling guilty she’d stroke his hair and smile.

      1. “I implied as much in my review. My take on it is that Sara was spooked, not in the same emotional headspace as Oliver because she didn’t have that year with Diggle and Felicity he did to sort of rediscover his soul. ”

        I’m so sorry. Mea maxima culpa. My fault for reading, and then not double checking.

        Your take on it was the only one that I’ve read that made any sense. The show didn’t give us anything on the Sara/Oliver relationship — maybe they got together for comfort after the disastrous dinner at Laurel’s but not why they stayed together, not how they were together as a couple (mostly we saw them fighting about how to handle Slade or Roy) and that was an awfully lame reason to break up. It was like the show wanted to tick off the Oliver/Sara box but didn’t care enough to spend any time really looking at how they would function as a couple.

        But it’s not as bad as what they did with Laurel. I feel kind of sorry for Katie Cassidy. It sounds like when they hired her (without screen testing her with Stephen Amell), they told her that she would be the lead female, Oliver’s love interest, and the Black Canary. What happened is that there is little chemistry with Amell (as shown when EBR showed up in two scenes in an episode) although there was with Colin Donnell, and it’s hard to envision Katie Cassidy as The Canary after seeing Caity Lotz in the role. Maybe if she were a cop instead of a lawyer The Arrow could work with her but at this point if they sent Laurel to live with her mother in Central City, it wouldn’t make that much difference except give more screentime to characters like Thea.

        It’s also hard to buy Guggenheim and Kreisburg’s interviews that Oliver and Laurel are so close to each other and always will be. It’s not just that they are wrong for each other (which they are), it’s that it’s such a stretch for me to see them actually being in love with each other even in the flashbacks. She’s presented as someone smart and ambitious and middle-class; he’s a rich boy who keeps getting kicked out of schools and is a douche. Did she even know he cheated on her? I’m guessing she had to have a clue because she went to extraordinary lengths to keep Sara away from him so she must have had an inkling he wouldn’t be faithful to her.

        The flashback scene with Laurel telling Sara that she and Oliver will move in together now, and after a year they’ll get engaged, and then married while Sara is trying to tell her that Oliver isn’t ready and cheats on her makes it hard to believe they ever really understood each other. I have the impression that Oliver liked Laurel because she was pretty and smart and available, and that Laurel liked Oliver because she had made a life plan for herself, he fit into it real good, and she wasn’t going to let anything keep her from getting what she wanted..

        “We’ve seen precious little signs of the snark she brought to that role”

        I think letting Laurel go evil would be the solution to so many problems, if the writers would let her. It plays to Cassidy’s strengths as an actress; they wouldn’t need to keep coming up with ways to write Laurel into the show (quickie addiction and recovery, going after Blood, giving Sara relationship advice) because she would be working with the bad guys and so naturally part of the stories; they wouldn’t have to keep forcing her romantic chemistry with Amell; and she could start doing the physical parts of being a super villain/hero without being in competition with Caity Lotz who right now in terms of the Canary is much better then Cassidy is..

  4. Although I like the Deathstroke character, I personally hate Slade Wilson (in a tv sense) for murdering the Queen Mother herself, Moira Queen. It was dramatic to me because although the signs were clearly there that Moira would bite the dust at some point, I simply did not read enough into the show to realize that Moira was a dead woman walking. Least of all for her to die in this episode. But Moira’s death is in keeping with the CW tradition of keeping the show mainly “adult and older adult free” in terms of the number of characters, so in that sense Moira’s death is not unexpected. I am just down in the fact that it happened so suddenly. At least make her Mayor for about a week or two, then have Slade Deathstroke her. All in all, the author is right overall, the episode Seeing Red will only be remembered for the death of Moira Queen. Most of the rest made seemed kind of boring and by the numbers. More of a laundry list of things that “just happened” more than anything else. Well, Streets of Fire should be very exciting. I truly welcome the return of Malcom Merlyn. It’s about time that the original villian returns. Hope the writers don’t screw up Malcom’s return to Starling City……………….

    1. “Moira’s death is in keeping with the CW tradition of keeping the show mainly ‘adult and older adult free’ in terms of the number of characters”

      Yeah, I think a lot of my anticipation of Moira’s death was tied in to my Vampire Diaries fandom where only one parent is left standing at this point.

      “At least make her Mayor for about a week or two, then have Slade Deathstroke her.”

      There was more they could have done with Moira, but based upon what the producers said in interviews after the episode it seemed clear they couldn’t imagine a version of the character who wasn’t keeping some big dark secret from her family. It didn’t need to be that way, but if that’s all they were ever going to do with her maybe it’s best they wrote her out at this point.

      “Well, Streets of Fire should be very exciting. I truly welcome the return of Malcom Merlyn. It’s about time that the original villian returns. Hope the writers don’t screw up Malcom’s return to Starling City:”

      My apologies for taking so long to respond since as of this writing “Streets of Fire” has actually already aired. I hope you liked it. Me? I was completely cool with how Malcolm returned, and although I ultimately find it annoying that he didn’t stay dead seeing him back made me realize how much this show had missed John Barrowman’s presence. He and Thea could be a very interesting pair going into next season, assuming they both survive the season finale.

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