Arrow 2.22 Review: ”Streets of Fire”

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After having experienced how powerful Arrow was in its 22nd episode before the season finale last year, we all knew that this year’s penultimate episode would be just as big, if not bigger.

We have all waited since episode 7 of this season when Malcolm decided to pop up again and reveal that he is Thea’s real father, for those two to finally meet. Everything in their scenes were perfect, from Malcom trying to show the humanity that he has, to Thea being ready to shoot him, but I felt there was a scene or two that got cut. From everything that had been said in recent interviews, it was expected that there would be a lot of focus on Thea and Malcolm, but perhaps they had to cut something due to time. If I had one thing to nitpick about, this would be it because other than that, it was great.

Being the big fan that I’m of John Barrowman, it was a thrill to see him back as Malcolm and it’s a shame that they couldn’t feature him more in this season because you can’t go wrong by having more Barrowman on your show. Even though I’m used to see him as evil in this role while being a hero as Captain Jack Harkness (Doctor Who, Torchwood), it was heartbreaking to see him play a father who only has one thing left in this world which is Thea.

However, let’s be perfectly clear that there is no way that Thea actually managed to kill Malcolm, he may be shot but he will be up again. He probably had a bulletproof west under that outfit of his or he will just come back to life and reveal that he has actually been Captain Harkness this whole time (wouldn’t that be something?). However they do it, expect to see Malcolm in the season finale next week.

As a big fan of Katie Cassidy, it was once again a huge thrill to see Laurel continuing her fantastic streak of being a strong character. They have managed to put her struggling part of this season behind and as I always mentioned in previous reviews, they needed to break her down so she could rise up even stronger. I don’t know what was best, seeing her fire a huge explosive arrow with Oliver’s bow or getting inspired by her sister, The Canary. But regardless, the writers have succeeded in making Laurel a strong female character that I always wanted to see.

Speaking of strong female characters, Emily Bett Richards also deserved a standing ovation for her amazing performance this week because more than ever, you see why Oliver needs Felicity. Her speech to him was perhaps one of the It would be foolish to not mention Sara (Caity Lotz) who finally returned and was just as strong. I hope Oliver realizes how truly blessed he is to have all these strong women in his life.

While it was expected ever since he was introduced this season, it was quite sad to see Sebastian Blood getting killed, but at least he got to die as a hero. It has been hinted slightly lately that he was starting to turn from the dark side and they went through with it. Even though Oliver didn’t drop his hatred for Sebastian, it was still great to see him be the one to give the heroes the cure against Slade. For his final performance on this show, Kevin Alejandro did an amazing job.

It’s about time that Quentin Lance finally became detective again and just like last year, it’s going to be great to see him being part of saving the city because Oliver is going to need everyone behind him for this one. This was overall a really strong episode for all the three Lance members and it was inspiring to see the family that has suffered so much this year, show that no matter what, they will get up and fight back.

Lastly, I’m no longer sure whether to see Amanda Waller as an antagonist or a form of anti-hero because her scene in this episode has almost made it difficult for me to know where to stand with her. But it’s probably safe to say that by the end of next week’s episode, we will know.

Overall, “Streets of Fire” lived up to its title as it was literally on fire and one of the best episodes’ of this season. Even though this wasn’t the season finale, the scale of the episode made it feel like one. Will Merlyn perhaps join the Arrow in the battle against Deathstroke? Who is that other person that Slade will kill? Will another hero rise in Starling City’s darkest moment? All those questions and more will be answered next week so cancel all of your evening plans for next Wednesday.

Don’t miss “Unthinkable”, the epic season finale of Arrow next Wednesday (May 14), 8/7c on The CW!

[Photo via The CW]

Andy has contributed to sites such as KSiteTV, Across the Airwaves, and It's Just Movies. He has always had a big passion for writing. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBehbakht
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