‘Arrow’ Season 2 Mid-Season Finale Review

Published 1 year ago by

Emily Bett Rickards Stephen Amell and David Ramsey in Arrow Season 2 Episode 9 Arrow Season 2 Mid Season Finale Review
[This is a review of Arrow season 2, episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]


As the level of storytelling and development of character has steadily improved over the course of season 2, the ambitions of the Arrow writers rooms seems to have increased as well. And that has largely taken what was once a problematically large cast of characters and turned it into the kind of supporting operation the show has always been searching for. Sure, the show is still trying to find the right fit for one or two of the characters whose roles and purpose have changed as the series’ roster unexpectedly grew between season 1 and season 2, but, seeing as how the show has risen to the challenge of surpassing what it accomplished last season, there’s a better than average chance the writers will find the right fit for all involved.

In that regard, using Arrow as the launch pad for the introduction of one of DC’s more recognizable heroes with the Flash doesn’t just feel like a move made in the interest of The CW and their upcoming programming schedule; it feels like a part of the natural progression of a world fans are likely interested in seeing open out. Last week’s introduction of Grant Gustin’s very green Barry Allen was the first major step in changing everything about the world Oliver Queen and his gradually expanding Team Arrow did all of their superheroing in. And in order to follow through on that, the mid-season finale had a great deal of heavy lifting to do. But rather than feel like a burden, it began to feel like the series was officially turning the page toward something different that still managed to feel like the natural progression of the Arrow narrative.

There seems to be a trend over at Arrow where Oliver is treated to a series of unsettling visitations during the holidays, and for some reason this feels completely appropriate. Last year’s mid-season finale, ‘Year’s End,’ saw Ollie haunted by the wraith-like Dark Archer – who wound up being revealed not only as Malcolm Merlyn, but also as the primary antagonist for the remainder of the season. ‘Three Ghosts’ delivers much the same kind of story, in that it reveals the circumstances behind Brother Blood’s desire to create an army of super soldiers is actually part of a larger plan of vengeance being carried out by none other than Oliver’s former comrade Slade Wilson.

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Arrow Season 2 Episode 9 Arrow Season 2 Mid Season Finale Review

Normally this revelation would be enough to drive a single episode, but ‘Three Ghosts’ goes the extra mile and manages to balance out the disclosure of Slade’s intent with the continuation of Oliver’s battle against the superpowered Cyrus Gold (a.k.a. Solomon Grundy) – all while managing to find time to throw Roy, Det. Lance, and even Laurel into the story, without any of it feeling extraneous. Oh, and did I mention that Barry Allen makes Oliver a handy-dandy mask, and later winds up being struck by a bolt of lightning from a cloud of recently accelerated particles? It’s a huge episode to be sure, as it introduces a number of compelling threads for the series to explore when it comes back from hiatus, but it also manages to give Oliver a second crack at tanning Cyrus’ rather durable hide – affording the episode the opportunity to reach some sort of a conclusion, rather than existing primarily to set the table for storylines to come.

But at least those potential storylines all seem like an interesting extension of what the Arrowverse has managed to develop so far. Bringing Slade into the present makes the island flashbacks infinitely more interesting, as the character has transitioned from mentor to potential nemesis, after Oliver rushed to save Sara’s life over Shado’s when Dr. Ivo was threatening the two women. While Ivo’s motivations for making Oliver choose, or even for wanting to kill either of the women in the manner he did were a little murky, the larger payoff of it becoming the impetus for Slade’s rage makes it easy to overlook. There’s a potential downside to Slade’s story given that we know its beginning and where it will eventually end up, which means the filler is going to consist of the writers showing their work with some tricky narrative math, but that’s essentially the entire purpose of the island flashback’s anyway. Besides, this season Arrow has integrated the flashbacks into the main plot by more than just theme, so there’s reason to believe that Slade’s dual roles will only reinforce that as a positive.

‘Three Ghosts’ also took some time to expand the narratives of Roy and Felicity – though only by having the latter character openly admit to having feelings for Oliver. It’s a little rote, but at least it is something for the show to build on, and a potential romantic plot between two likeable characters is fairly inevitable anyway, so pointing Felicity’s character arc toward the establishment of a more emotional connection between her and Ollie could work out to strengthen the already strong bond there seems to be with the core Team Arrow characters. While, Diggle’s mostly been in the background since his near-starring role in ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer,’ he’s at least been the focal point of a storyline, so hopefully the continual examination of Felicity’s feelings for Oliver will lead to a weightier narrative for her.

Colton Haynes in Arrow Season 2 Episode 9 Arrow Season 2 Mid Season Finale Review

Finally, in an episode that didn’t shy away from handing out promising plotlines like some sort of showrunning Kris Kringle, Arrow has finally brought young Roy Harper into the thick of it, while at the same time explaining the purpose (at least the narrative purpose) of Oliver putting an arrow through his young assistant’s leg last episode. Apparently mistaken for little more than a thieving street rat, Roy is taken hostage by Brother Blood and injected with the super solider serum. Roy in peril and his subsequent rescue by Arrow is nothing new, but his surviving the serum injection serves as a potentially monumental game changer for the character that could accelerate his evolution into becoming the hero he’s been working to become since last season.

At any rate, ‘Three Ghosts’ was a potent mix of fan service moments (Colin Donnell’s brief appearance was a welcome sight) and table setting for the season to come. Arrow has proven itself to be more than a reliable performer this season; it seems to be interested in developing a progressively deeper narrative and mythology that gives everyone something to look forward to when the series returns next month.


Arrow will return on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 with ‘Blast Radius’ on The CW. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Three Ghosts was also a nice shout out to ‘A Christmas Carol’. And I agree with the review. Almost everyone has something to be excited about.

  2. when you get goosebumps watching something you know what you just witnessed was epic!

    • Dude, I almost cried! LOL!

    • True that silen :)

  3. Last 10-15 minutes are why I am a comic book and Arrow fan. WOW!

    • I’ll tell you what I told Silen. I almost cried! xD Epicness at its finest.

  4. I didn’t see the situtaion with Shado and Sarah as Ollie rushing to save Sarah, I think at this point in his growth on the island, he would have jumped in front of either, it just happened that the gun was pointed at Sarah.

    • I have to agree. I think if the gun was pointed at Shado he would have jumped in front of that one and Sarah would have been the one shot.

    • Totally agreed Oliver, the gun was just coincidentally pointed out at Sara. Like Oliver, even I thought that she would be shot so Ollie just tried to shield her but at the same time he never expected that Shado would be shot in a jiffy. I’m not overly worried though as [SPOILER ALERT} me thinks that Shado would be right in time for a Lazarus Pit plot at the season end.

      • I know, after Olliver telling Felicity and Diggle he saw her die, I thought she was gone. But the twist opens up a lot about how quickly and extremely Slade and Oliver’s friendship deteriorates.

  5. Arrow has easily been one of my most anticipated week to week shows. It’s been consistently good since the season premier. This episode was no different.
    I’m not sure if it’s a positive sign for the writers of Arrow, or a strong comment on the writers of Smallville, but in 1 1/2 seasons, Arrow has far outshone Smallville’s 10 season run.

    • well I loved smallville it definitely had its ups and downs but it’s not like there was any other DC or even Marvel TV series that was taking chances and giving us must watch TV. For it’s time I think it did very well for itself and if it wasn’t for that show who knows if we even have Arrow and Flash today.

  6. How good does Manu look with grey streaks and eye patch? Dude is awesome and an awesome casting choice for Slade.

    I loved the Solomon Grundy line, “Died on a Tuesday, buried on a Sunday” as well as Diggle’s role becoming a true friend to Ollie.

  7. HOLY FRICK!! Has anyone checked out IMDB’s summary for the upcoming episodes?!
    Check out episode 2.21, is there an validity to that?!

    • Whoooaaaaa!!! I sure hope so! But I thought WB execs weren’t allowing Bruce Wayne/Batman on the small screen?

      • He may just be mentioned in name.

    • aren’t those written by fans?

      • someone asked Stephen on his Facebook about that synopsis and he said its false.

    • It’s already been debunked with SA already coming saying it’s not the case. Wish it was though, lol

    • now im really excited, cant wait for episode 21. if we cant see bruce, at least please let us see dick/jason/tim or even damian. thanx for the info btw

    • Stephen Amell has debunked it.
      Would have been interesting if true though… :)

  8. This is the guy who should be reviewing AOS. LOL. It was an actual review of the episode. Yay for ScreenRant!

  9. they accomplished more in this episode then AOS has in a full season. I love the pace of the story telling this year, not many throw away episodes, let’s hope they keep it up

    Oliver is going to have to get some serum to keep up, i see a team in the making

    • AOS has been on for a whole season already?

      • sorry 10 of 13 episodes, i was thinking of them going on break as the end of the season

        • 10 of 22. It got a full season

          • good it gives them time to end off strong hopefully, or just ride the train wreck in slow motion.

  10. EPISODE 221
    “Oliver gets a business opportunity from a famous billionaire from the neighboring Gotham City.”

    • Affleck cameo?

      • Remember the teasers?!!!!!!
        “Oliver is not the first vigilante”
        Friggin BATMAN??!!!!!

        • They should serously keep such big-picture plans under wraps as long as possible. Keep denying the possibility of a shared cinematic / TV continuity until even the die-hard believers lose hope of anything like that ever happening – and then, BAM, have Affleck show up for no more than 30-60 seconds!

          • I’d still prefer they keep the TV universe totally separate from the movie universe, complete with a small screen version of Batman. I can’t see anyone getting “confused” by it in this day and age.

    • I hate to rain on your parade, but “Marvel” fans are comic book fans. There is no Marvel VS DC, we all read both. Any comic book movie or show doing good is good for us all. This show was made possible by the success of comic book characters in general.

      • Amen to that! The DC team up movie(s) coming these next few years simply would not be happening were it not for Marvel’s resounding success. This competition is GOOD for all comic book properties, including THE COMIC BOOKS THEMSELVES. Sales of comic books, both physical and digital, have been aided by the vast success of the movies these past few years. Arrow is good for all television.

  11. This episode was fantastic.

    Slade coming back was not wholly a surprise, but it does raise the question on who exactly Oliver “burned” on the island. Was it actually Slade? Also, the Deathstroke mask on the pike with the arrow through it, will that get explained as well?

    Barry becoming the Flash was epic. Can’t wait until that show starts and I’m sure they will crossover at some point.

    Cyrus Gold will definitely return at some point this season. Hopefully as Solomon Grundy this time and not just Brother Blood’s henchmen. I liked the nod towards it when Diggle found the poem in Golds apartment.

    • Now thinking about it with Slade’s comment about driving an arrow through Oliver’s eye the Deathstroke mask on the island makes sense… The arrow is through the right eye of the mask on the pike. Either way, can’t wait until the show returns.

      Also, the plot for episode 2.14 is “Oliver dreams of his death due to Scarecrow’s chemicals.” The inclusion of Scarecrow, if true, would be awesome. But I feel it may be too similar to Count Vertigo… We’ll just have to wait and see then.

  12. YES to a potential comeback of zombified Grundy!
    YES to Nick Furyesque Deathstroke going all Moriarty on Oli!
    YES to the succesful implementation of the three ghosts, especially Tommy the motivator from the beyond!

    Not so sure about Roy gaining powers. Will they be purged over time or is he about to go on a rampage, overshadowing Green Arrow and thereby turning their dynamic upside down. Would he even need the Red Arrow persona or any combat skills whatsoever being endowed with this superhuman skillset?

    I’m hoping they didn’t just abandon the League of Assassins thread. This plot should somehow converge / clash with the Suicide Squad and Slade’s long-haul revenge plan. Maybe they will cancel each other out, taking the spotlight off of Oli’s back and he could even sit out their confrontation and watch them weaken each other – although none of the parties involved should be destroyed, they just make for too great foes.

    • If by saying Nick Furyesque you mean the eye patch you shouldn’t, because Slade Wilson DOES use an eye patch. So it would be wrong to assume or compare him with Nick Fury since the eye patch is also a Slade Wilson trademark. But I’m not trying to be rude or insult, just making a statement. BTW I totally agree with you with the Roy Harper thing. His “powers” should be terminated in the future.

      • Oh, don’t be silly! Your comment didn’t come across as a condescending lecture at all. I just wasn’t aware of the comic book look Deathstroke is sporting. Thanks for letting me in on that information. I guess I really have some catching-up to do in the future to avoid such posts, as I was trying to be a bit pretentious about the analogy. Serves me right.^^

        Any idea how they could remove that annoying plot device from Roy without giving us the impression that it happened just because and they didn’t know what to do with it?

        • No worries, I don’t know everything either. As for Roy, I have no idea what could happen. I was thinking they could make Roy become unstable by the serum making him evil or kinda dangerous, and Oliver decides to make a cure or something and remove it. Or maybe it could be dangerous for Roy as time passes, leaving him no other choice than to get rid of it somehow before it kills him. I just want him normal and training with Oliver.

          • My way would have the serum fade over time since it’s still early enough to claim it in testing.

          • Mass injection of the serum? Blood actually pulls it off and they need a cure for everybody, not just Roy. That’s my thinking. Plus, it’s makes Solomon Grundy the only important character who has the serum, since he can’t die (or is dead, zombie, whatever lol).

            • They are all really good theories, but we’ll just have to wait to find out. :/

          • I was thinking that somehow since slade’s blood is used to create the serum, that using it could also make the cure as well bringing that to a head on fight. Or we could see Raz have something that could cure it since those superhumans would put a damper on his ideas of trying to find Merlyn.

    • It seems Roy might be skipping the Red Arrow stage and going straight to Arsenal.

      • Originally it’s Arsenal and then Red Arrow. So it would be Speedy, Arsenal, Red Arrow.

        • I don’t think they’ll use all three. The amount they’re calling Thea Speedy I don’t think they’ll use it for Roy.

          • Maybe Thea dies and Roy uses it to honour her.

        • I know but he did revert back to the Arsenal name some time in the old DC continuity. Was just thinking what if he doesn’t even use arrows at all and just his powers now, granted he gets to keep them lol.

  13. Incredible episode. This show has a very bright future can’t wait! Trying o compare this show to AOS is like comparing a Doberman to a Pug for guard dogs. They are miles away in writing, acting, action and direction. This is the kind of show comic book fans deserve!

  14. Arrow has improved so much over time that I can barely believe this is the same show a year ago. If that summary for episode 21 is real I hope they have Affleck as Batman, it would be such a shame that if the show has been improving so much they suddenly give us a new Green Arrow for the big screen.

    • It would probably be Affleck as Bruce, not Batman. Batman’s too big I think, but all this League of Assassins stuff could be foreshadowing something. Using Affleck ensures Deathstroke lives though.

  15. I have to admit I squealed like a little girl with the camera panned around slade and manu bennett had the eye patch and the grey streaks in his hair. It really is amazing how much theyve been able to improve upon this that were lacking last season. Arrow is just great TV right now aside from being something superhero fans can latch on to

  16. Holy crap! I almost cried at the last 10 min. of last night’s episode. It was a great episode!!! :D Two of my top five favorite DC characters are born. And lets not forget about Roy and Solomon Grundy, although I didn’t like that Roy was injected, in other words “have super strength” (powers), or at list he will eventually. Unless someone removes it from him with a cure or something. Either way, love Arrow!!!

    • Yup, just confirmed on the promo, Roy will have super strength (powers). It’s the only thing I don’t like.

      • It’s better than a laser cannon for an arm.

        • LOL! You are watching too much Young Justice. Although a laser cannon would be way over the top, a robotic arm would be great. And it wouldn’t be to great to give powers to a non-superpowered hero, just imagine Batman, Robin, Red Arrow with powers, that would just be re-creating a character. Robotic arm > Powers

  17. The freaking FLASH!!!! The speed force is in him now!

  18. Olicity has finally been shipped. If you don’t think so, watch it again, because I’m right.

  19. Oh… My… God… Loved that bit where Barry talks about being on time.

  20. “One way to Central City, please. Left ten minutes ago. Of course it did.” – exchange between Barry and Old Man.

  21. This episode was near perfection. I’m so impressed with the quality and creativity. I’m even ok with the new mask. A little cheesy but it works. The Flash is gonna make or break the TV universe. The powers and costume could kill it or make it beyond great. I just hope the creative team realizes that Flash is potentially one of the most powerful DC heroes. They can really go nuts with him. And the partial accelerator thing is a quick and easy way to have some acceptable super powered antagonists pop up. Maybe a talking gorilla? Who knows. I didn’t even expect the flash origin at the end. I mean they just put it out there in your face no apologies. Loved it! If WB and DC don’t tie the film and television characters together they are crazy. These guys have earned it. The end.

    • I agree that team arrow has definitely earned being part of the DC movieverse. This show has been great. And not just as a comic book show either as a show where you need no knowledge of the history at all. I can’t believe it’s on the cw.

      • It’s on the CW because Warner Brothers owns it along side CBS.

        • I know that, but I am still in shock that I’m enjoying a show on the CW.

  22. I meant PARTICLE ACCELERATOR. Auto correct!

  23. I say yeah flash pilot could be good, but you started flash in arrow, I want to see him on the show AGAIN! NOW!

  24. Man this ep was so intense. We got the frikin flash man i mean flash holy crap. And Slade in present that was epic man u have no idea how much of a nerdgasm i am having. We also got a full green arrow costume!! another bonus very little to almost no Laurel =D
    Cant wait for the next eps ugh the wait is gonna hurt

  25. I really hope DC/WB get this kid to play Barry Allen in their upcoming movies, I would like to see him go from the tv series to the big screen in a cpl years.

  26. The funny thing is even with the mask, you can still tell it’s Ollie.

    I like how in the previous episode they foreshadowed the lightning/chemical incident with Barry.

    The death of Shado doesn’t seem correct because didn’t Sarah ask about Slade and Shado when she talked to Ollie a few episodes back?

    • I think she only asked, “Where’s Slade?”.

  27. Look at all we got this season so far

    • Oli wanting to be a ‘Hero”
    • Green Arrow’s Mask
    • Him tiring of the “Vigilante” title
    • Grundy Reference
    • Slade Wilson’s return
    • Raz al Ghul is in this universe and is hunting Meryil

    Only thing they have to do sooner than later is give Oli the boxing glove arrow! This is such an amazing show. I tried to get down with MAoS but I just find Marvel to be just too cheesy and campy for my liking. I’ll stick with DC’s Darker movies, live tv show, and of course the great animated films they put out. Keep up the great work Arrow!