Welcome to the latest Arrow round table!
This week we're breaking down Arrow Season 2 Episode 9 - the midseason finale! Goodies include island scenes, Roy's Mirakuru injection, Oliver's ghosts and Slade's appearance in Starling City.
Pull up a chair and join staff writers Kate Brooks, Nick McHatton, Carissa Pavlica, Carla Day and round table regular Hank Otero from Hank's Entertainment Site. We love your involvement, so don't forget to join the discussion. You might find yourself in the hot seat soon!
The story on the island took a dramatic turn. Do you think Oliver made a conscious choice by kneeling in front of Sara, and where do the island scenes go from here?
Kate: I am not 100% convinced that he jumped in front of Sara to choose her, I think he wanted to stop it for both of them. In one regard, Oliver owed Sara that - he was the reason she was there anyway. Either way, Slade is about to bring them some hell.
Hank: I completely agree with Kate. I think Oliver jumping in front of Sara was more of a reflex, since Ivo pointed the gun at her first. It was obviously an impossible choice for him to make, he didn't want either of them to die. I was as surprised by Shado's death, as I was when Yao Fei was shot in the head last season. The writers certainly have no problem killing off characters to serve the storyline.
Nick: I'm not happy with the island right now. Shado was my favorite character on the island (more so than both Slade and Shado), and I'm of the opinion that Oliver jumps in front of Sara instead of Shado not only because of his guilt like Kate mentions but his view of Sara as someone in need of protection. It's one of Oliver's very first hero qualities, protecting those who need it the most, and I believe he still thinks in that moment that Shado can take care of herself while Sara needs his protection the most. If anything, because of those actions Oliver consciously chooses Shado because he trusts her and has faith in her abilities.
Carissa: Until reading these answers, it never crossed my mind that Oliver might have chosen Sara because he thought Shado could take care of herself. Unfortunately, neither girl knew the gun was pointed at her so it would have been impossible for them to make any kind of move to save themselves. I couldn't even tell if he consciously slid in front of Sara or just kind of landed there, but I bet he wishes he had just planted himself right in the middle and offered himself up. Hindsight clears things up.
Carla: After watching the scene again, Oliver jumped toward Sara after Ivo shifted his gun to point it at her and readied to shoot it. He instinctively went to her since she was the one being threatened. It wasn't a conscious decision of picking Sara over Shado.
Roy has the Mirakuru serum and will be stronger and more unique than Oliver. What path will he be on now?
Kate: This is what surprsied me the most about this episode, I thought that Oliver would save him in time that he wouldn't get injected. I don't really know what to think other than Oliver is going to have to reveal himself to Roy so that Roy will trust him and stay under control.
Hank: Oliver already warned his team they are going to have to keep a close eye on Roy. I'm not sure Roy will go off and try to be the next vigilante, he might be stronger but he's realized he lacks experience. I'm hoping Oliver takes Roy under his wing more in the second half of the season. I wouldn't be surprised at all if young Mr. Harper is the next person to learn the Arrow's true identity.
Nick: This is the hardest question to answer because there are so many possibilities. I think there's a pretty awesome opportunity to bring in some of the Outsiders mythology into the show or give it an Arrow retelling, but that may never happen or the timing isn't right. Right now the Mirakuru serum is Roy's origin story, and he needs to overcome it and learn about this new version of himself before anything can really happen; the serum is Roy's version of the island. Thea and Sin could be Roy's own versions of Sara and Shado.
Carissa: It's my belief that he will take a dark turn. He has lost faith in the Arrow because he shot him. If he feels stronger, he will believe he can do better than him, even if it's only for a while. He's still very young, and the thing that was holding him back from doing things on his own was his understanding that he wasn't invincible. Now that he thinks he is, it will be easier for him to make that move. I can't say that I blame him after what he's been through, and it will make moving to Team Arrow more meaningful in the long run.
Carla: This is going to be a fun ride. Roy has an advantage over the other Mirakuru-serum infected victims, he has people that both care about him and that he also cares about. Thea, Sin, and Oliver can help keep him grounded and on a positive path. Roy also had a hero-complex before he was dosed, so he's predisposed towards wanting to help vs. hurt people. Roy will struggle with his new strength, but he has Team Arrow overseeing him instead of Blood. That difference will be huge factor in his future path.
Felicity was forceful and strong in dealing with Oliver's poisoning. Will this change her position in the trio going forward?
Kate: I think her position in the trio changes every episode. She isn't afraid to stand her ground with Oliver, she knows she is a key role in the trio. She may not be the hero but he'd be dead and unsuccessful without her. Not only is she a key role, she cares immensely about him and Oliver cares about her too. Their dynamic is very strong.
Hank: Felicity was forced to make a tough decision and it seemed like Oliver understood that, after his initial tantrum. I loved Barry telling him, "you should thank her instead of being kind of a jerk." By the end of the episode, I felt like Oliver was ok with Barry knowing his secret. I don't think her position on the team will be affected negatively. If anything, Ollie might start consulting her more often versus bossing her around.
Nick: It means Felicity is officially part of the group now. She's fully invested in what they're doing, and she wants a say in it. As Hank mentions, Ollie might consult her more often. While I don't think Oliver only views Felicity as someone who is just the computer wiz there are times where it seems like he only uses her for that. With Felicity standing up to him, and making her opinion known whether Oliver likes it or not is integral to her being a member.
Carissa: She's not going to stand for anything less than being heard in the future. She is a smart and talented woman, and now she knows that they really can't pull this off without her. She also knows, without a doubt, that she's desirable. Barry coming into their world gave her the confidence she needed to take her rightful place on the team as an equal. I can't wait to see how the three of them work together going forward.
Carla: I don't know if that really changes her position all that much. She was always an integral member of the team and that's not going to change. Her role never has been limited to her tech knowledge. She's shared her opinion before and made decisions on her own (re-designing the Arrow Cave jumps to mind). The moment that I expect will have the greatest affect going forward was when she wanted him to promise to come back. That was very personal.
What was the catalyst for Oliver to see his ghosts at this time in his life?
Kate: This whole season he's been battling moral dilemma's, killing versus capture, vigilante versus hero. His ghosts represented all different sides of his personality: Shado, the innocent and lover; Slade, anger and the killer; Tommy, the fighter and the survivor. I think he needed to see them to decide, ultimately, that he is the hero and he is honorable.
Hank: I assumed the warfarin (blood thinner) that Barry injected him with was the cause of the hallucinations. However, Barry tells Ollie his blood was clean, and that the issue was psychological. Perhaps the situation itself unlocked a part of his subconscious that stored away the guilt associated with those particular ghosts. The Mirakuru serum itself connecting his island life to present day, bringing things full circle. Ollie definitely needed to let go of all that guilt in order to continue working toward being a hero. I'll admit it, seeing Tommy (Colin Donnell) again made me tear up. It made perfect sense that Tommy would appear to him last, as he was Oliver's most recent loss. This whole season has been about honoring Tommy, that scene worked so well for me. Plus the whole three ghosts thing was a wonderful nod to Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
Nick: The stress he's under is the catalyst for the hallucinations. Shado, Slade, and Tommy are what Oliver is viewing himself as. Sometimes the guilt of what happens or what he is up against is too much to bear, and Oliver would rather run away or be killed to free himself from the burden. Tommy's death affects Oliver greatly, and Tommy acknowledging that Oliver needs to continue fighting and be a hero is what he needs to hear. He needs the reassurance to let the guilt go, and following the path he is on to become a hero.
Carissa: Stress played a part, but the similarity of Cyrus Gold to Slade really pushed him over the edge. He felt as if he was fighting someone else he loved and lost. However, that would mean that he sees Slade again on the island, as he never saw him with superpowers if he thought he died on the submarine. We're obviously going to catapult to those scenes quickly. Seeing Tommy definitely hit me hard. I really thought they would stick to island references, so seeing Tommy push him to be the hero he believed him to be was so touching, and good to know it was buried in Oliver's psyche all along.
Carla: The rat poison. It caused him to see Shado initially which opened his mind to examine his life choices. Even though his blood was clean later, he saw the first vision when he woke up after being poisoned.
Slade has been in Starling City preparing to make life difficult for Oliver for quite some time. How to you want to see their story progress?
Kate: I want to see a showdown, obviously it'll get there eventually. The thing I want to see the most is Oliver get the Mirakuru injection and become an "equal" with Slade. In a more morbid turn, I want to see Oliver lose someone close to him. The thought makes me sad but what he does puts the people he loves in danger, Slade knows it best.
Hank: Slade appearing in present day finally tied up the loose end of the Mirakuru serum in Starling City. The writing team has done an amazing job this season of tying the island storyline to the present. I'd like to see Slade continue to manipulate things from the shadows for a while longer. Possibly align himself with Malcolm Merlyn or some other baddies to bring the Arrow down. A major confrontation is inevitable, but the Arrow needs to get Brother Blood out of the way first. It was so cool to see Manu Bennett in Starling City as the mastermind behind all the chaos.
Nick: It really connects a thread that's been missing for most of the series, and this revelation is setting up Oliver going against nearly insurmountable odds. I'm absolutely ecstatic to see how the show builds up to the confrontations that are coming up: Malcolm's out there, Slade is gearing up for hell raising, and Brother Blood is creating an army of Mirakuru super soldier to unleash hell. The team is about to be tested to their limits.
Carissa:One of our commenters said perhaps Slade would force Oliver to choose between Felicity and Laurel in the way he did Shado and Sara. I believe that will happen -- but the choice will be between Sara and Laurel, and that's how Laurel will become Canary. Slade isn't going to stop until he forces that choice upon Oliver again, and on two people he loves. Oliver loves a lot of people in a lot of ways, and while he does love Felicity, choosing between Sara and Laurel would be the ultimate betrayal to the family with whom he started this journey. They flashed on Felicity's face as someone who will be affected, but I don't know how she'll fit in. Roy, as a follower, will be taken in by Blood. I love this story. It's overarching theme is so much bigger than Malcolm and can really last throughout the entire series if done right.
Carla: Slade still considers Oliver a friend which makes it more of a frienemy situation than Slade being a full-fledged villain. He's working with Blood to create an army, but is it to make Starling City a better place or to destroy it? We don't really know his motivation or goal yet, so it could go in any direction.
Share any other thoughts you had on the episode that you just need to spill!
Kate: There were 4 major plot twists in this episode: Shado died, Slade's alive in present day, Roy survived the Mirakuru injection, and Barry will now be The Flash. It was one thing after another and this was by- far my favorite episode of the series so far. Even with 4 plot twists, it didn't overwhelm me with information. Not to mention, back to question 1, Felicity stood her ground with Oliver and then in the same breathe, at his mercy making him promise he'll return to them. All around great episode. PS - Tommy's ghost was my favorite scene in the whole episode, "So get up and fight"
Hank: Not only is "Three Ghosts" already one of my all-time favorite episodes of the entire series, but I finally connected with Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. This episode really sold me on the Arrow-verse version of Barry Allen/The Flash. There were several moments where I felt, "yeah this character is someone I want to learn more about." Not to mention the classic lab scene at the end, the lightning bolt! When the episode finished, I wished I was watching Netflix so I could queue up CW's "The Flash" series and binge-watch it for the next nine hours. Needless to say, I'm very excited for Fall 2014!
Nick: I had some apprehension with Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, but I've fallen in love with him in these two episodes. He handled the material beautifully, and I can see why CW execs decided to give this series its own pilot commitment rather than piggy backing off of Arrow. Gustin is completely in sync with the character, and he deserves the chance to really carry that weight on his own shoulders instead of sharing it as a backdoor pilot. In fact, can we just skip all of the waiting and nail-biting and get right to the series commitment, CW? Thanks.
Carissa: I agree with everyone about Grant Gustin, Barry and "The Flash." I doubt The CW will not send it through to series, unless it is an absolute catastrophe. I hate where it was left, with him pulsing electricity through his cute little face -- I hope we get word on his fate rather quickly! I have to reiterate how well done the pacing is on Arrow. Other shows need to emulate how they're willing to get things done without sacrificing details. We're always engaged and the show is firing on all cylinders. It's amazing.
Carla: Loved seeing Tommy again! Heartbreaking, yet wonderful. Oliver needed to forgive himself for not saving Tommy and finally did that. He took another step towards becoming the hero he wants to be. Meanwhile, Laurel getting closer to Sebastian Blood creeped me out! Yuck! It is an intriguing road to take her on though. Hated it, but like the story potential. While I don't think Roy saw Arrow's face ... I do think that Roy will figure out Arrow is Oliver as he remembers waking up. Roy's journey to remember and figure out the mystery should be fun to watch.
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.