Arrow: 222 “Streets of Fire” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
Well, we left everyone in a rather sticky situation last week, didn’t we? Super soldiers rampaging across Starling City, Thea is stuck in a train station with one of Slade’s soldiers, Oliver and Laurel cornered by Sebastian Blood’s mirakuru-enhanced army and trapped by rubble, and Diggle about to be killed by Isabel. Basically everybody bad is super-powered and everybody good is in serious trouble, and there are still two whole episodes left, meaning that things are likely to get worse before they get better.
The various cliffhangers are resolved very quickly: Thea is rescued by a certain Dark Archer, Oliver instructs Laurel to pick up his bow and use an explosive arrow to blast a hole in the rubble and escape, and Felicity hits Isabel with a van before she can cause any further damage to Diggle, because Felicity is the badass Starling City needs right now. But naturally the trouble doesn’t stop there: the group reunites and watches as Slade’s army pretty much tear the city apart, creating the titular ‘Streets of Fire’. Felicity receives a call from her buddies at S.T.A.R. Labs telling her that the mirakuru cure (or should that be ‘miracureu’…? No, probably not) is ready and en route to their location. Good news, right?
Wrong again, as the courier’s car is overturned, he is trapped in the vehicle and some of Slade’s goons converge on his location and take the suitcase full of cure phials back to Slade. So pretty extremely bad news, really.
Elsewhere the police are on high alert and the National Guard seem unwilling to help, but Quentin knows one person who can: the Arrow. Finally, the rest of the police come on board with Quentin and his alliance with the vigilante and Quentin is reinstated as a detective (which reminds me that I’ve been calling him Detective Lance in these reviews all season even though I was well aware he was an Officer rather than a Detective – that one is my bad!) in order to lead the other officers against Slade’s army.
Over with the bad guys, Blood seems to be getting cold feet about the whole ‘take over the city’ plan as he watches what Slade’s men are doing. When he brings this up to Slade, however, he is informed that because Oliver loves Starling City, the entire city needs to be destroyed in order to continue his gradual destruction of Oliver’s life. As it turns out, Blood wanted to become mayor in order to actually help the city, and made a metaphorical deal with the devil in order to ensure his election: I guess Slade didn’t make it entirely obvious to Blood when the deal was made that there would be very little city left to improve once the plan was completed. And, for some reason, Isabel seems entirely ok with this plan even though she just became the CEO of a company which presumably will no longer exist once the city is destroyed: while I understand that her motivation is to do with taking vengeance on Oliver because of what Robert did to her, but I can’t believe that extends to destroying an entire city and killing tens of thousands of people just to get back at a man who spurned her.
So due to his cold feet, Blood steals the cure and calls Oliver to give it to him: when Oliver shows up, he is obviously sceptical, but Blood explains that he’s just trying to fix the city and admits that he went about it entirely the wrong way. He does actually give the cure to Oliver in an attempt to redeem himself, and soon after he is repaid for his noble act with two swords through the chest courtesy of Isabel, and thus ends the odd tale of Brother Blood: consistently evil throughout the season, but oddly treated with compassion and concern in his final moments. It begs the question of whether a final sacrifice is enough to make up for prolonged immorality and evil, but that is a big question for another time.
Taking the cure back to the Clocktower, Felicity stops Oliver from testing the cure on Roy in case it hurts him, or it wakes him up and he hurts them. However, they discover shortly afterwards that A.R.G.U.S. have set up a blockade on the city limits, and a phone call to Amanda Waller reveals that they are sending in a drone strike to level the city in an attempt to stop Slade’s army from spreading out to the rest of the country. So Oliver sticks Roy with the cure and steps back to see what’s going to happen.
Finally in Starling City, having dispatched Slade’s goon, Merlyn has a conversation with Thea about how he is the one person who will never lie to her when everybody around is concealing things and offering her half-truths. He offers his protection, because she is all he has left, and she picks up a gun and shoots him as the episode ends.
But over on the island, Oliver tells Anatoli to destroy the freighter with the sub’s torpedoes if he has not returned within an hour, then boards the Amazo in an attempt to rescue Sara and find the mirakuru cure. He manages the former, breaking Sara out of her cell and taking her to Ivo’s room, but is promptly captured by Slade who now has Oliver and Sara right where he wants them.
“Streets of Fure” is a tense and exciting instalment of the Bonkers Superhero Hour, and one which wraps up some minor storylines while simultaneously setting up some promising things for next week’s finale. Things are almost certainly not going to end well for certain characters, but the only question which remains is who those characters are.