Arrow “Unthinkable” Review (2×23)

15 May


“You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you.”

Oliver Queen is a hero, not necessarily because he saves countless lives by destroying his enemies, but because he sticks to his principles and allows himself to grow beyond who he was back on the island. The idea of murder runs rampant in this season, and questions of morality have plagued him ever since he donned the hood and picked up the bow.

This season, though, is all about the transformation, the growth. We’ve come full circle; yes, Slade was the reason he survived, why he became a killer. However, Slade is also the reason he can prove he isn’t a killer anymore. This point is brilliantly hammered home by the climactic fight scene at the end of the episode, wherein we see past and present juxtaposed as Oliver and Slade fight, exchanging blows and carrying the weight of years of history, of pain, of regret, that courses through their veins.

Island Oliver is consumed by rage akin to that of Slade’s, allowing them to see eye to eye and allowing Oliver to kill his former friend. The Oliver of the present, though, rises above the fray, not allowing himself to make the same mistakes he used to, the mistakes that led to him sacrificing the very essence of his being. Now, he’s changed, and he acknowledges that Slade’s hatred for him runs deeper than the powers of the Mirakuru.

So, Slade ends up in an A.R.G.U.S. Super Max prison on the island, a fitting Purgatory for a character transformed by that very place. Oliver was also transformed by the island, but unlike Slade, he’s able to grow beyond that. Take, for example, the scene in which he professes his love for Felicity (MIT, class of ’09). It’s a genuine, heartfelt sentiment that’s able to not only trick Slade and mess with the Olicity shippers, but also portray an Oliver Queen who’s able to express his true feelings. He listens to and trusts her, much like he trusts people like Diggle.

“Unthinkable” is about doing what’s seemingly unthinkable in this messed up world: trusting. It’s not what Sara means when she warns Oliver, but it all turns out differently; it all turns out to be the way Oliver wants it to be, the way he and Felicity and Roy and Lance and Starling City need it to be.

Saving this city? No problem.




-This episode really shows off the wide range of action sequences this show can pull off, from the thrilling set piece in the tunnel to the stylistically creative Oliver-Slade fight scene. I must’ve audibly cheered at least 10 times during this episode.

– “I want to be not safe, with you!” –Felicity

-So, Oliver. Hong Kong. Amanda Waller. Where are we going with this? I can’t wait to find out.

-I’m really interested to see where Thea’s storyline goes next year. The time we spend with her in this episode isn’t particularly exciting, but her joining Malcolm should make for some interesting plot directions.

-Diggle and Deadshot! Also, Lyla’s pregnant.

-One more round of applause for Manu Bennett. Absolutely brilliant work this season, and if you haven’t already, please check out Spartacus.

-See ya, Sara. I’m so glad they’re finding a way to sort of write her out of the show without killing her. Killing her off would’ve wrecked me.

-Ah, so it was an arrow to the eye that caused Slade to lose it. I expected it to be him accidentally stabbing himself with a kitchen knife while cutting vegetables or something…you know, for a lovely candlelit dinner with Oliver.

-The salmon ladder did not make an appearance, which is disappointing. You would’ve thought that amidst all that city-wide destruction and chaos, Oliver and Sara could still find some time to crank out a few workouts.

-RIP, Isabel Rochev. Summer Glau: under-used.

-I feel like Lance’s injury/whatever it is is one twist too many. Is he dead? I hope not.

-Well, the second season really ramped up the quality, and this has become one of the best shows on television. I look forward to covering season 3 in the fall. Thanks for reading!

Photo credit: The CW, Arrow


One Response to “Arrow “Unthinkable” Review (2×23)”

  1. Mel May 19, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    Felicity and Oliver! They totally fooled me. I think because I wanted it so much. Tricky bastards. Good episode. This season started really well but it got bogged down toward the end. I liked the island flashbacks better than the main story this year. Next years island flashbacks look promising. What will they do after five years when there are no more island flashbacks? Nice blog.

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