The CW’s Arrow Unthinkable TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 2, Episode 23: ‘Unthinkable’ brought together the plot highlights of the series’ second season, in an effort that not only closed out the season, but tied up much of Arrow‘s mythology, up to now.
‘Unthinkable’ provided a clearer picture of the kind of mayhem Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) had in mind for Starling City. Amidst this mayhem, Team Arrow was forced back on its heels before receiving some artillery support from Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson). At the precinct, Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) & Laurel (Katie Cassidy) Lance were reunited with Sara (Caity Lotz), but the Canary came with company. With Roy (Colton Haynes) no longer a Mirakuru threat or asset, the combined talents of The Arrow (Stephen Amell), Diggs (David Ramsey), and the rest of the team, didn’t seem up to saving the city. Much less so, with word from Lyla about Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) planning a drone strike amputation of Starling City.
Enter the Canary, with reinforcements. For the low, low price of Sara Lance, as a door prize, Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) brought a contingent of assassins to the fight, on Team Arrow’s side – even going so far as to fight by Oliver rules (up to a point).
I suppose it says something to just how much DCU lore has been customized for Arrow‘s use, like the entire League of Assassins seemingly being made up of archers (maybe they figured: when going to Rome….), but a good fight was had by all, and it did make for thematic streamlining – a hooded archer versus hockey masked merc proxy war for Oliver versus Slade.
That proxy war allowed for some of the principal combatants to square off, while Diggs & Lyla set out to solve the Waller solution. The finale could hardly be considered a highlight reel of season two without the Suicide Squad; so if anyone asks just how do you win an audience with Amanda Waller – if only by way of Mexican Standoff – then Diggs & Lyla springing the Squad would be one suggestion. Waller (being Waller) sprung a surprise of her own, but that’s a season three matter….
Another highlight of season two was Oliver’s transition from The Hood to The Arrow, marked by the donning of a domino mask. Well ‘Unthinkable’ did not just restore Roy to Team Arrow, it gave him a promotion by way of his own mask – in trademark red, no less.
Back at the boss fight, Nyssa and her minions made the difference, driving Slade to ground, and forcing him to move on to his end game (killing Oliver’s true love), but not before Ravager (Summer Glau) was taken out.
As much as I had looked forward to Mirakuru Roy making a big difference in the fight, there were two major let downs to ‘Unthinkable.’ The first (which doubles as a let down for the season, overall) was the disposable role of Isabel Rochev. I was already disappointed that she had been given the role of Ravager, rather than the Queen; so when that role was stripped from her, I actually found myself hoping for a turn to The Queen in her future. No such luck, I’m afraid.
The other big disappointment of the episode was Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). Having gone through the trouble of not dying, the last time Arrow had a slam-bang season finale, he had shown up earlier in the season to play the Ghost of Christmas Past to one of the Queens. I had hoped he was to take a more extensive part in the finale free-for-all; but instead, he wound up playing the Ghost of Christmas Future to yet another Queen.
Thea Queen (Willa Holland) was still suffering from the effects of misplaced trust. While the symptoms of her state of mind included acute brattiness, in Malcolm, she had someone truly worthy of her malcontent. Malcolm would have it no other way. Beyond genealogical sentiment, he appreciated what he perceived to be her fiery spirit – a perception fully confirmed after she shot him. In showing the kind of decisiveness Oliver lacked, during their showdown, Malcolm saw in Thea an heir worth coming back for. Despite a moment given to ponder Roy’s attempted outreach, Thea considered herself as having had enough of secrets and double lives – including Roy’s. In Malcolm Merlyn’s wolfish grin, she at least saw no pretense of nobility. The drama Queen was to be Malcolm’s iron Queen (Malcontent Merlyn?).
‘Unthinkable’ also did little to portray Slade as anything but a madman, with much of his decision making based on the advice of a Mirakuru induced hallucination of Shado (Celina Jade). I wasn’t hoping for a redemption of Slade Wilson as a character, so much as his redemption as a villain. I want Deathstroke the Terminator, damn it; not the Mirkuru Mad Man in a Mask. The door on that subject, thankfully enough, has not been closed.
I can guarantee there was some disappointment over Oliver’s ultimate gambit, and how it involved Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Slade hadn’t been around long enough to see all the evidence to the contrary of the ruse, but viewers have; so sorry shippers, but only that level of wishful thinking would take such a sudden “realization” seriously. The play did give Felicity a seat at the conqueror’s table, however (take that, insecurities over Sara), and set the stage for a double dose of climatic showdowns, past & present.
The playing field in the present was leveled, but not in the past. For that, Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl) gave Ollie a fighting chance by attacking the Amazo with the submarine. If walking & chewing gum is a real problem, for some, then Anatoly must have been some kind of genius to simultaneously pilot & attack with a WW2 Japanese sub, solo. The flashback element had begun to drag a bit, late in the season, but I suppose the showrunners were running out the clock just to ensure a synchronized showdown. The flash-flip fights, themselves, seemed pretty short (shorter still, considering they were further broken up by events at A.R.G.U.S.); but there could only be so much conflict resolution crammed into a single episode.
In the end, one Slade Wilson was left for dead, the other left imprisoned back at the island. I won’t say which was which, but Mirakuru (and the eventual removal of it) made all the difference to those outcomes. Given Slade’s role in the overall Arrow mythology, so far, the series could have easily outpaced itself with this finale. It was left to the resolution of the second season, therefore, to justify a third.
With Sara bowing out, as payment for the League’s participation, Laurel was once again the foremost Lance sister (curb your enthusiasm, Laurel lovers, the passing of the Canary jacket requires a ton of training to mean what you might like it to). Quentin’s future, however, was left uncertain. Diggs & Lyla had pretty much burned their bridge to A.R.G.U.S., but had something better to look forward to, between them. The biggest tea leaf to come out of ‘Unthinkable,’ however, was the future of Ollie’s past. Apparently, there was no straight line from the island to Starling City. The future of Arrow may very well hinge on the next flashback location, for Oliver – and the key character he met there.
Whether a new – or even expanded – mythology can be established for Arrow remains to be seen. With this closure to its second season, however, even if there may not be enough of its original framework to continue, there may be enough to start a whole new one. One that might even have at least one superhero in the picture. Of course, when talk turns to a super speedster, there is a risk of getting too far ahead….