This week's Arrow was a huge one. Not only did it address how the mirakuru is messing with Roy, but it also skillfully juggled how this impacted Oliver and Sara's relationship, Deathstroke's plan, and the most detailed look we've yet to have at who Moira is and whether she'll allow this campaign to stand in the way of repairing the connection to her family.
Before we discuss the meaningful and heavy elements of this episode, I simply have to point out how awesome the action was. There wasn't much of it, but the little there was most certainly left a mark. The focus on Roy's physicals allowed for some seriously cool displays of power. From snapping limbs and sending people flying to catching one of Oliver's arrows, it was all directed very well and the wire work made these brawls very exciting.
The previews and the title may imply this episode's all about the situation with Roy -- and he does play a big role -- but the core of this episode revolves around Moira. She's had a rocky road in this show and had been put in the spotlight multiple times before, but this has got to be the best character study we've yet to see. It does a tremendous job humanizing her and they even expand upon this during the flashbacks. Instead of progressing the island plot, this one chimes in on a time young Oliver messed up and the lengths Moira will go to protect him. And in the present, well, let's just say the dynamic between Moira and her family is topnotch and you'll seriously need a heart of stone to reflect the feels this episode delivers.
The conflict with Roy allows for a little more focus on Thea and Sin, but honestly, it does a more effective job putting the dynamic between Oliver and Sara on display. The show tends to get a little heavy-handed with the "I'm a killer/no you're not!" conversations, but for the most part, the drama over how they want to handle the scenario is logical and well-earned. Not only that, but it was interesting to see how the two handled potentially taking a big step in their relationship. Sure, that was probably a little too "CW-ish" for some of you, but I dug it.
The big scene -- yeah, you know the one I'm talking about -- had a predictable outcome and part of me was seriously hoping they'd shock us and go with the "other option." My jaw would still be on the floor if that happened. That said, even though many of us knew how it would end, it was still presented in such a gripping and compelling manner. It's easily one of the best scenes this show has yet to produce.
Okay, I can't resist getting a little spoilery, so cut to the next paragraph if you don't want anything ruined! Now that Deathstroke has killed Moira and Merlyn has been name-dropped again, who else thinks the League of Assassins will appear to help battle Slade's army? Could this mean Ra's will finally show his face? Man, I hope so!
My biggest problem with this episode was the resolution with Sara. All of the drama elsewhere was really strong, but this felt like a major weak point. I understand what she just went through and why she feels that way, but the line she pulled made me cringe and, after all they've been through, it felt so abrupt. Also, is it just me or did Diggle totally overreact in the first scene? And the Roy "fake out" in the alley seemed unnecessary because I'm pretty sure it fooled absolutely no one. Still, these complaints hardly take away from everything this episode did so well.
Seeing Red is emotionally powerful, incorporates great action, and makes some major developments. Arrow's hit us with some pretty powerful scenes over the course of these two seasons, but nothing has had me nearly as emotionally invested as this one. Everything -- the writing, the directing, the stunt work, the performances -- was superb tonight and no fan should miss out on this episode.