‘Arrow’ Delivers A Surprising Deathstroke (SPOILERS)

Published 12 months ago by

Stephen Amell and Susana Thompson in Arrow Season 2 Episode 20 Arrow Delivers A Surprising Deathstroke (SPOILERS)

[This is a review of Arrow season 2, episode 20. There will be SPOILERS.]


Too often, the death of a major character can wind up feeling arbitrary and reflexive. But character death is also a surefire way to get people talking about, responding to, and weighing in on what just transpired, so it becomes paramount that the event goes beyond the shock of the moment, and carries with it some significance that will alter the course of the series and the behavior of the surviving characters beyond the exit of whoever it was who drew the short straw.

That can be doubly hard on a series like Arrow, which is not only loaded with dying characters throughout a given season, but it is also firmly entrenched in the comic book genre – a field well-known for seeing death as something of an obstacle that can sometimes be overcome. And yet, with the surprising late-in-the-episode murder of Moira Queen at the hands of Slade Wilson, ‘Seeing Red’ seems to have pushed aside those concerns to deliver a truly impactful and significant death that will undoubtedly color the progression of both the primary characters and the series as a whole for some time to come.

The death of the Queen family matriarch leaves many questions as to how the ever dwindling ranks of a once powerful dynasty is going to pick up the pieces – no matter how contentious her relationship with her children often was. In setting up her memory, Moira was established as a fierce gatekeeper, willing to do the unimaginable to protect her children and their future. Although her intentions were good, the means by which she saw them come to fruition often brought about a more problems than anything else – lest we all forget her involvement in Malcolm Merlyn’s plan to rid Starling City of what he perceived to be the scourge of the Glades. In other words, Moira had become well known for the myopia that afflicted her when forced to make a decision that could potentially impact the lives of her children.

Colton Haynes in Arrow Season 2 Episode 20 Arrow Delivers A Surprising Deathstroke (SPOILERS)

So, in that regard, ‘Seeing Red’ sets up parallel threads showing Moira’s children-first policy by having her contemplate dropping out of the mayoral race to focus on fixing her relationship with Thea, while a flashback sequence sees her paying off a young woman who claimed to be pregnant with Oliver’s child. This asks the enormous question: Is there a son or daughter that Oliver doesn’t know about growing up in Central City? But it also adds a compelling wrinkle to Moira’s legacy – especially as it pertained to her idea of being a good parent.

Overall, as far as setting up the character’s willingness to make “sacrifices” – a word heard quite often over the course of the hour – for the good of Oliver and Thea, the Arrow writers did a great job in showing how those decisions can sometimes be murky and questionable in both their morality and logic. But it also helped assuage the potentially cloying nature of Moira’s willingness to die at the hands of Slade Wilson, by first framing her as a flawed individual who sometimes acted in a less than noble way, for the benefit of someone other than herself. That is a Queen family trait it seems, and for the writers to focus on the conflict between imperfect action and righteous intention, her death felt not only surprising and meaningful, but it established a nice synergy between her and Oliver.

Despite the pay off and the monumental ramifications that will set up the season finale, for the most part, ‘Seeing Red’ was a clever exercise in misdirection. Much of the episode was spent dealing with Roy running amok on the streets of Starling City, roughing up anyone who got in his way, including Sin. While it was primarily intended to be a distraction, Roy’s rampage also has some lasting effects. For starters, in addition to hospitalizing dozens of people, he managed to kill a police officer – which raises all kinds of questions regarding the future of the character, should S.T.A.R. Labs find a cure for the mirakuru. Moreover, in attempting to bring the violence to a halt, Sara comes to the conclusion that she’s not ready to be the kind of hero Oliver is – her desire to kill Roy in order to bring an end to the destruction puts her at odds with the Arrow’s mission, so she recuses herself for the time being. With Slade still on the loose, Sara’s decision seems to come at a bad time, but also hints at a return, possibly with a “friend.”

Caity Lotz in Arrow season 2 episode 20 Arrow Delivers A Surprising Deathstroke (SPOILERS)

That sense of misdirection and laying the groundwork for the finale left ‘Seeing Red’ an effective but imperfect hour, as the intent of the story line was clear, but the delivery occasionally came off as clunky and littered with somewhat formulaic character beats or actions. Moira’s handling of Oliver’s girlfriend was a little heavy handed and overly fateful at times, but it was tempered by a surprisingly emotive and affecting performance by Amell in the final scene of the flashback. Other elements, like Moira’s admission of knowing Oliver’s secret raises all sorts of questions, but overall it felt more or less tacked on to shore up their relationship with some impact prior to her demise. And speaking of impact, the out-of-nowhere-broadside of the Queen limo should officially put a moratorium on such an event acting as a transitional device.

Small issues aside, the episode should be commended for delivering a surprise and giving it the weight it deserves. Susana Thompson will be missed – even if she winds up in a flashback here and there – but the potential consequences of her departure have given her the impactful send-off she deserves, and Arrow an unexpectedly heavy event on which to set up the finale.


Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘City of Blood’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Questions Asked by collider.com about last nights episode of Arrow:
    Will we see Ollie, Jr., who should be at least 6 at this point, somewhere in Central City in the future?
    Is Felicity friggin’ pregnant?! She was constantly talking about food and getting a round belly…
    More importantly, is Oliver finally ready to commit to killing Slade once and for all? I mean, what else does it take?
    What was Moira about to reveal about Malcolm before the collision?
    How much psychiatric help is poor Thea going to need now?
    How long until Oliver stops using “motorcycle accident” as his excuse for his injuries?
    When will Black Canary return?
    Will Roy recover? And when he does, will he continue to be a rage monster, plagued by haunting visions?
    Who is the “old friend” Sara is off to see?

    • you been watching? olli has been wanting to kill slade since he walked into his house lol

      sara is off to see the league of shadows. they are gonna be the season 3 villains.

      • Close, Nyssa.

      • Actually Manu bennett let is slip in an interview that is going to be Deathstroke and Malcolm.

    • I believe that Moira was about to tell Oliver and Thea that Malcolm was alive – something only Moira knew. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ollie Jnr story popped up next season or the one after, but not this season. Sara’s old friend is most likely Nyssa al Ghoul (may have spelled that incorrectly).

    • I was wondering the same thing about Felicity. Moira was going to tell Oliver and Thea that Malcolm is still alive. Hopefully Black Canary won’t return, at least not until Caity improve her acting skills.

      • She really is a truly horrible actress.

        I thought she was gonna be THE man character to die this season so Laurel could pick up the roll of Black Canary for next season…. Maybe she still will… All i know is that she either needs to make giant leaps as an actress, or her character needs to go away.

      • I don’t care if she sucks at acting :) She is so yumm she should be in every episode.

    • These aren’t my questions, I just copied and pasted because some of them were good.

    • It’s obvious Moira was going to tell them Malcolm was alive

      That’s coupled by the Malcolm meme Stephen Amell posted today hints that Malvolm will be back for revenge

    • - Ollie Jr will be a good point for crossovers between Arrow and Flash I suspect.
      - I really don’t think Felicity is pregnant… Way too random.
      - Team Arrow was creating a cure for the mirakuru, which I think Ollie will use b/c “he doesn’t kill”
      - Moira was about to say Merlyn is still alive.
      - Thea might just end up closer to Oliver as opposed to being annoying.
      - I suspect Black Canary will return in the final episode of the season, Caity Lotz isn’t credited in the next two.
      - Roy will recover.
      - Sara was off to see “the demon”… connections to Nyssa, possible introduction to Ra’s.

    • Moira was going to reveal that Malcolm is still alive. That wasn’t too hard to figure out.

  2. what the heck is wrong with the actor that plays roy and his over acting… his faces are hilarious and i wanted canary to just kill him. not to mention he killed a COP so there needs to be some justice on the kid.

    best part was the ending and it was surprising because these shows never have deaths. especially like this and they did it really well.

    a whole bunch of cheesy dialogue lmao

    • lol yeah foreal tho, i like oliver abondons his real son and now he is basically adopting roy.

      and roy is definitely becoming arsenal, and then Malcolm will return later and help Oliver take down Deathstroke, but Oliver is stupid, he should of gone back to the Waller ***** at ARGUS and got some help, especially after Slade kidnapped his sister, like foreal tho!!

      and finally, the only good actor on ARROW is david ramsey and….. that maybe that blonde chick :)

      • have watch the episode he didn’t abandon his hi dosen’t even know he she told him that she has lost him

      • How did Oliver abandon his son? he doesn’t even know he has one.

    • these shows never have deaths? guess you miss the whole 1st season where Arrow was killing just about everyone he would go after.

  3. Now please kill Felicity next. She use to be cute when they used her sparingly. Now they put a ton of makeup on her and sexed her up, and she’s in every episode, it just ruined the appeal for me, and her “jokes” get lamer and lamer…
    Great episode though.

    • she is soooo annoying now. it used to be cute and funny earlier but its just bad. i wouldnt mind her being killed off now

    • If you think Felicity is annoying then I can only imagine what you think of Laurel. I’ve been calling for Laurel’s death since the beginning of the season. I’d take her and Thea dying before Felicity, I personally think felicity hasn’t been been overused at all since she is actually part of the team. But I guess its your opinion and I have mine.

      • laurel (Grinding teeth) Worst character since Lana from Smalvile, i would take Jar Jar any day instead of her…

        • Terrible as her character might be, I could at least find some use for Laurel. The same can’t be said for Jar Jar.

          • Soooo summing up everyone’s opinions here:
            Laurel is annoying, Felicity is also annoying, The actress who plays Sara can’t act, many want Thea to die, and Moira is dead. Does everyone just hate women in general? lol

            • Misogyny is more popular than you think.

    • Kinda/sorta agree with this. Interesting pro/con debate on Felicity:


      Like the actress, don’t mind the character per se. But her role is pretty much that of a “blonde IT girl with quips”. I’d like to see her role developed more, but that’s going to be next to impossible with the number of characters they have.

      And killing off Felicity is probably not an option; she’s one of the most popular characters on the show.

    • Feelicity can do whatever she wants..I take pity on the goofy broad, especially over dinner and dancing!!

    • I agree with some of what you said, but for the most part i still like Felicity.

      Maybe it’s because i spend every episode thinking about how annoying Laurel is, and how bad an actress her sister Sarah (black canary) is.

  4. I guess Ollie can now say “Well you know us ex Billionaire Orphans, we love our gadgets”.. (youll only get it if you remember the original fun line from the first season)

    Definitely an awkward episode in my book. Wasnt bad but really didnt see the point of busting Oliver’s knee. Unless Amell actually hurt himself and they used that as a reason he was limping so much. Roy was just weird. They shoudl have let him grow some facial hair if he even can. Youre telling me the whole time he has been ragin-roy harper since he bailed he has had time to go home and shave? I doubt that was on the top of his priority list.. Hmm what to do today? crush skulls into car windows? no, I want to make sure to shave first. Cant go around killing guys with scruff!

    The end was very awesome though.

    • I think the busted knee helped with the reasoning why Ollie didn’t put up much of a fight when Slade had them captured. I agree with the technicality of Roy not shaving. In the same spirit I was wondering who was going to care for all his bodily fluid functions while he’s strapped down on a table in an induced coma for the next few weeks.

      • They would be using a urinary catheter as well as disposable diapers with a absorbent bed pad underneath also you wouldn’t have him all dressed in street clothes.He would be a hospital gown i know this because i used to work in a geriatric facility also he would most likely be hooked to feeding tube.

    • You know , some people just dont grow facial hair. On the other hand.. when does Oliver find time to have that perfect 5 o’clock shadow day in and day out? You don’t have a problem with that?

      • Lol My co worker cant grow facial hair but still a week into not shaving he hasweird patches of whiskers. Oliver atleast goes home sometimes. Roy has been on this Ragin Roy rampage for what would seem like weeks (to us atleast) but still has the babyface going. I think if they let him grow some out (again if he CAN) he would have looked more intimidating and feral. Instead of an angry abercrombie model thats upset because someone took away his cologne. Just something I thought was kinda funny.

  5. The inner uber-geek in me was hoping that with the “Seeing Red” title, a red ring would swoop down from the heavens, and induct Roy into the Red Lantern Corps, but I know that would never happen. Still, it would have been a great opening to bring Hal Jordan into the show as a guest star. Still, really great episode, especially the ending.

    • It was likely titled Seeing Red because this was supposed to be the big Flash episode to set up his own show before they decided to go straight to pilot. It also explains why the episode seems a bit clunky since they would have had to stick to the overall plan with the other characters but needed a rewrite, replacing Flash with filler Roy rampage.

      I saw someone mention how Danielle Panabaker and that other guy seemed out of nowhere when we visited STAR Labs, never to be seen again until The Flash but it makes sense that they would have been introduced in that episode and played a part in this one before things changed. It kind of makes me wonder what their original plan for the episode would have been.

  6. After watching Slade’s brutality the first thing people do is complain… Wow!

  7. > That sense of misdirection and laying the groundwork for the finale left ‘Seeing
    > Red’ an effective but imperfect hour, as the intent of the story line was clear, but
    > the delivery occasionally came off as clunky and littered with somewhat formulaic
    > character beats or actions

    Well said. I thought the episode was predictable for the most part, until the writers decided to “up the ante” between Oliver and Slade.

    I sense that the season finale might be a replay of the Dark Knight Rises. Not exactly, of course, but close. Looks like the city is going to fall apart soon, with Slade leading a bunch mirakuru soldiers on the unsuspecting citizens of Starling City. With Ravager and Brother Blood in the mix, Oliver is going to need a lot of help to stop them (Canary, Nyssa, Malcolm Merlyn, Roy?).

    • Canary, Nyssa, and Malcolm Merlyn will help for sure. Maybe the League in some capacity too, on the request of Nyssa, with the second agenda of capturing Merlyn. Roy is grey now, but I’m sure he will come around (Slade kills Thea).

      • Slade is not going to kill Thea. The producers already have plans for her in the aftermath of her mom dying.

        • Yep she becomes the next heir to his wealth as they both disappear with her willing to be trained by him as an archer so she can get her revenge on Slade. I feel she will be the only hope Oliver has in saving the Queen Industries.

    • huntress and maybe the suicide squad

  8. Oh and does it look like Brother Blood seems to maybe be regretting the deal he made with the devil in the next episode?

    And did I miss something big or does it still seem that Slade is going after Oliver for Shado’s death, a woman he was in love with after being with her for what seemed like maybe 2 weeks after watching Oliver poke her? I really hope that there is some extra attachment they arent telling us about.

    • Slade sees Shado in his mind. and that Shado is the one telling Slade to kill Ollie. Just like when Roy “saw” Thea and she asked him to kill her. The mirakuru is messing with his mind and made him crazy.

      • Yea but at least Roy and Thea have been together long enough to say they loved each other.
        Slade instantly went apesh*t because Shado died. Before he even started seeing her. Or atleast they showed that he was seeing her. That was his main drive to get revenge on Ivo for her dieing. I guess im just wondering if there may have been an attachment between those two that they havent said yet.

        • I think he’s known Shado since before the island or knew of her, since he was originally there to save her father and take him off the island. I think he felt that he was her savior or maybe a father figure after her dad was killed, but then developed a more physical attraction to her.

  9. Havent seen an episode this season.. heard sumthin bout harley quinn beein part
    of the suicide squad ? That’s dumb.. While i love the idea of her being brought to life
    she is a Batman exclusive… She gets her start as a
    psychiatrist treating the Joker… heck why don’t we throw Gorilla Grodd in next

    • In the episode where they showed Harley she pipes up about her being a psychiatrist and she wasn’t part of The Suicide Squad as of yet. and if you haven’t seen an episode in the 2nd season, why you b1tchin’?

    • Well..she actually is part of the suicide squad in the comics sooo it would make sense. But she’s actually not in the squad she makes a one second cameo where all you see is her hair and her voice for one sentence. She doesn’t help with the mission or the squad in any way.

    • haven’t seen any episode of season 2 why are you even here

  10. Roy’s over acting was getting ridiculous and the same goes for Thea being so b!tchy but the last five minutes of the show was a heart pierced! Man you could feel the weight in pain. This episode had its flaws but with the addition that Ollie could have a little boy out there, Merlyn’s possible return really makes this episode a memorable one. Heartbreaking…

  11. Roy’d Rage!
    Solid episode. The twists were well done. I think killing Moira had to be done for the show to grow and Ollie to grow more into the Patriarch of the family similar to the comics. Could we see Ollie running for Mayor?

    • probably not oliver i am more incline to say walter and i think we will see more of walter next season

  12. Didn’t buy the whole argument Sara made about wanting to kill Roy. If she is really the cold-hearted assassin she claims to be she would have squeezed the trigger the instant she drew a bead on Roy’s head. Did anyone else catch Slade’s comment that someone else has to die before he cut Thea’s bonds free? Obvious answer would be Sara, but I’m wondering if Oliver’s illegitimate child will come back in to play.

    • Looks like his arrow isn’t the only think Oliver “knocked up”!

    • Kenneth – I can’t believe I didn’t make that connection already.

      You sir – win the prize for the day.

      That idea adds up:

      - The Producer said in the Finale that would see some “Familiar faces, including some we might not expect.” This show rarely does anything that doesn’t tie-back somehow, and we’ve now seen the Face of the mother of Oliver’s child.

      - The name of the season finale episode is “Unthinkable”. You can come up with a lot of theories for the meaning behind the title, but Slade has certainly taken his time and done his homework. The “Unthinkable” could be Slade having kidnapped the child Oliver didn’t know he had and its mother … and threatening to kill them both in front of him as his final act to complete his revenge.

      Oliver just finding out he has a 6 year old child and he/she is going to be killed right in front of him upon finding out would definitely be “Unthinkable” for him.

  13. I find it weird that people are just NOW seeing that Colton Hayes is a horrible actor. I actually think he did the over rage pretty well because in this episode Roy was supposed to be some roided rage machine not an actual person. He’s been doing the over the top pissed off kid the whole season and its been brutal to watch. I think it was a great episode because it was pretty much just a glorified filler ep. Moira died, Thea’s relationship with Oliver will probably get better due to the tragedy and Canary is gone now.

    Bring on the rest of the season.

    Oh btw….possible Connor Hawke origins started?? expect I thought he was black. oh well.

    • Don’t you know by now that if a studio changes a black character, real or imaginary, from black to white is never a problem and no one bats an eye but if they change them from white to black the words as we know it just ends?

    • Where did anyone mention the race or ethnicity of the woman Ollie got pregnant? They didn’t. She (and, by extension, her child) might be black, Hispanic, Asian, white…who knows? Not sure why it would even matter for the character of Connor Hawke…

  14. I thought it was a great episode. RIP Moira Queen.

  15. I was at the viewing party in Walla Walla last night, watching the Arrow watch the Arrow — the episode hit him hard and it definitely impacted us all and amped up the whole room. Slade really needs to pay…

    Stephen Amell spent the whole night talking to each and every one of us. Really great time had by all and I sincerely hope we see 10 seasons!

    • Sounds like fun! Wish I was there…

    • You are so lucky bro!

  16. Moira dies…hmm, I wondered if in a big shocker it would be Roy. I bet the “friend” coming back is Sara’s former lez lover. I would love to see Ray Palmer/The Atom introduced on this show then spun off like the Flash. I love this show, and Sara and Felicity, who are both hot, want me immensely. Who am I to argue? Just a few random thoughts….!

  17. Time to make a call to Gotham City or Metropolis for some help lol

  18. Has anyone noticed how awkwardly positioned Canary looks on her bike? She looks like someone on training wheels, lol.

    • Call me Schwinn!

  19. So many things to talk about with this episode. first holy crap on a cracker this season has been something else. I really don’t know how they can top it next season, but I’m definitely excited to see what they attempt. One thing I love about this show is it doesn’t shy away from progressing the story along, look at how many people know his secret and compare that to every other live action incarnation of a superhero i appreciate it because they don’t assume their audience are idiots by suspending belief for longer then is necessary. Also, while I knew it was coming I didn’t know when or how they would kill off Moira, they pulled it off beautifully. I’ve always had a mixed bag of emotions about giving Oliver Queen parents when not having them has always been such a huge part of why he is the Green Arrow. with that said Susanna Thompson did a wonderful job in the role and I’m going to miss her, but it also opens so many possibilities for character development seeing as Oliver is now responsible for Thea. I Wonder if this will be the impetus for Thea to eventually become Speedy or some variation of her. It was cool flashback last night as well I guess Connor Hawke will show up eventually which is cool. I really hope Slade survives he is such a great Nemesis for Oliver

  20. The only people that can act on this show is David Ramsey,Many Bennet,and Stephen Amell is getting better. I really hope season 3 will have Question as an antagonist it can test GA mentally and I hope The Huntress get’s billed up to main cast or recurring.

  21. Foreal tho, i like how Oliver abandons his real son and now he is basically adopting Roy.

    and roy is definitely becoming arsenal, and then Malcolm will hopefully return later and help Oliver take down Deathstroke, but Oliver is stupid, he should of gone back to the Waller ***** at ARGUS and got some help, especially after Slade kidnapped his sister, like foreal tho!!

    and finally, the only good actor on ARROW is david ramsey and…… maybe that blonde chick :) :)

    • I’m pretty sure Oliver didn’t abandon his son…

    • Please explain how Oliver abandons someone he doesn’t know exist.

  22. a la Empire strikes back!

  23. A few things here….

    I love the dynamic’s they create with the present timeline and the flashbacks. (Oliver getting a girl pregnant, saying he isnt ready to be a father/Oliver taking full responsibility for Roy). Moira’s death was epic as well. The end of this season, if they kill off Slade, has a lot riding on it’s shoulders. Can’t wait for Captain Jack H… I mean Malcolm Merlyn to return and talk to Thea.

    And I see a lot of you complaining about Roy’s acting in this week’s episode. I didn’t really mind. I thought he actually looked kind of crazy, so it worked for me.

    • I don’t think Slade is gonna die. Most likely he will be captured by ARGUS and made the defacto leader of Suicide Squad. At least that is where I think the show could be headed. Deathstroke is getting really popular with this show.

  24. This was by far one of the better episodes for such a silly show… My kid just watches for Deathstroke and hates all the other characters… Lol…


  26. For those who haven’t read the comics Oliver does have a son named Connor Hawke so his name is not Ollie Jr. In the books he became Green Arrow after Oliver died but I doubt they’ll go with that I the show since he will be 6. I was dieing for them to say the mothers last name but I’m sure it’ll be brought up eventually.

    • Yea a certain someone let slip that Oliver’s baby-mama’s name is Sandra in an interview, so I’m thinking Connor Hawke too.

      • and of course no one bats an eye that the kid will probably be white..considering Connor Hawk is black. I would expect Heimdall/Human Torch fake kind of outrage over this

        • Connor Hawke is not black. His mother is half-black, half-asian in the comics, while Ollie is white. He is mostly drawn as a dark-skinned man with asian face features with blonde hair.

    • Since Arrow is basically Green Batman, they should name his son Damian and Sara should take him to the League to get some training. :)

      Only on the CW do you get lines like “I care too much for you to be with you”(?)… barf.

      So we have island flashbacks and now B.I. (before island) flashbacks.

      Felicity is the best part of Arrow.

  27. Wow, what an excellent episode! Enjoyed it. Didn’t see Moira’s death coming. I wanted to know what was she going to tell Ollie and Thea about Merlyn before the accident. I didn’t mind Haynes acting. Ollie getting a girl pregnant was an intriguing surprise too. Hope Slade pays for his deeds. But I don’t think he will be killed off in the finale. He is too big of a villain for the show to be killed off (this season at least). Hope Merlyn and Nyssa help Arrow against Deathstroke, Ravager and their goons. The season finale will be big. I don’t think Slade will kidnap the girl and her son (Ollie’s gf & her kid). I think Slade will kill Sara. Laurel has to take her place as the next Canary? Am already looking forward to the next season. I too hope they show Ted Kord/ Blue Beetle, Ray Palmer/ the Atom, at least reference Hal Jordan (or may be the Green Lanterns in general), the Question and bring back the Huntress.

  28. Damn… I don’t even know

  29. “Seeing Red?” More like “Can’t see anything because I’m sobbing!”