The brilliance of "Seeing Red" was that they took a slow-moving episode to effectively build to an epic final moment that could have easily been saved for the season finale. The moment in question is a major plot development, so if you haven't seen this episode yet, I strongly advise you wait before reading the rest of this recap.
Roy was front-and-center for the bulk of this episode (at least that's how it seemed) when he escaped the Arrow Cave apparently high on some Mirakuru. Whatever Slade did to him while he was held captive last episode has pushed him off the deep end, because Roy's personality was utterly absent for the entire episode as he beat up hipsters and even killed a cop.
But Roy's story was actually the backdrop to Moira Queen's, which didn't really become evident until the final 20 minutes. This week's flashbacks? We saw a glimpse into how Moira would pretty much do anything to make sure her kids are "happy," which includes paying Oliver's baby mama (from five years ago) $2 million to tell Oliver she lost the baby and is moving to Central City to apparently hang out with the Flash.
We thought the flashbacks to these moments were important because they meant Oliver had a five-year-old son running around, but they were actually proving a point about Moira, who spent the first part of the episode declaring to a bunch of people that she would be dropping out of the election for Mayor, including her competition. Her reasoning was to be there for Thea, of course, who is still "seeing red" after finding out that Moira forgot to mention that Malcolm Merlyn is her father.
It was classic Moira, then, when she changed her mind at the very last second during her campaign speech and decided to keep running anyway. Before that happened, though, Moira told Oliver that she actually knows he's the Arrow. Apparently, she figured it out during the undertaking, and Oliver didn't even try to deny it. She then announced her fate as a television character when she uttered the words "I'm so proud of you." It's like she didn't want to survive the episode.
This week's B story actually turned out to be about Oliver and Sara's relationship. It started out pretty rocky when Oliver propositioned her to move in with her (OK, it was less of a proposition and more of a "I decided for you" situation), and she unsurprisingly met him with a blank stare. From the get-go, we could tell that Sara is feeling pretty apprehensive about starting up a romance with her partner in vigilante justice.
Later, Roy delivered a nasty blow to Oliver's leg, leaving him pretty much useless for the remainder of the episode (although we see him taking some shady drugs to make his leg heal faster, which might come into play later on). That left Sara to making the obvious decision of having to kill Roy herself, which you can tell has been on her mind for a while.
We were reminded that Sara is definitely a killer, which is clearly a job requirement for being a part of the League of Assassins. I applaud Arrow for letting that play nicely into her character, rather than just making her past an afterthought. The big problem, of course, is that her readiness to kill would create a rift between her and Ollie.
Meanwhile, Roy was apparently looking for Thea during his hooded grunt-walks through the Glades. Like Slade, he was hallucinating the person he loves, who turned out to be Thea, of course. Fake-Thea pretty much told Roy to kill her, and by golly if he was not a good listener, because that's what he set out to do.
Thea, while being guarded by Diggle, figured out that Roy was on a rampage and that Oliver knew about it. So she decided to announce her presence during her mother's televised fake-concession speech in the hopes that Roy would be terrorizing a Best Buy. And he was! Roy showed up at Verdant "seeing red" and proceeded to choke Thea.
What I didn't get was that Roy was willing to just do whatever Fake-Thea said, but Real-Thea? Nah!
Sara then put a gun to Roy's head ready to get this episode over with, but Sin got in her way just in time, giving Oliver a chance to put Roy down with some venom arrows that were meant for Slade.
This lead to a somewhat expected "we need to talk" moment between Oliver and Sara. She acknowledged that Oliver needs someone who can "harness the light" within him, and she's too buried in darkness, apparently. It was pretty mystic wording, even for a former member of the League of assasins, but as far as moody breakups go, it was actually grounded in some decent logic.
Oliver and Sara clearly aren't at the same point in their lives, which Oliver even points out when he states that Sara reminds him of Season 1 Oliver, a guy who didn't feel like he was worthy of love. It was bittersweet, but ultimately necessary for the plot move forward for both Green Arrow and Sara Lance.
And then the episode did something we've been waiting a while for: it put Thea, Moira and Oliver into a small space and forced them to talk to each other without someone stomping away after a brilliantly timed one-liner. Thea made it known that Oliver and Moira's lies were hurting her, not protecting her. For a second, I thought Oliver was going to come clean about what he's really doing underneath Verdant, but nope! Moira decided to let them know that Malcolm is actually alive, but the limo was attacked right before she could utter the words.
Real quick: If Moira knew that Oliver was the Arrow, then why wouldn't she have told him that Malcolm was alive already? Seems like a pretty significant oversight to leave out that your arch-nemesis is alive, well and probably plotting.
Anyway, it turned out that Slade had orchestrated the attack on the limo, which surprised no one. Oliver awoke to find his mother, sister and himself tied up in the middle of the woods with Slade holding a gun, thus mimicking the impossible scenario Oliver had to deal with when Ivo had him tied up with Shado and Sara on Lian Yu.
Slade gave Oliver the choice to save either his mother or sister. For obvious reasons, Ollie told Slade to kill him instead, but was rebuked with a "You'll die. Just more slowly than you'd like."
Chilling. Finally, Moira stepped up and truly proved that she would do anything for her kids. She told Slade that both of her children would survive the night and that she was pretty much ready to die. Her arc has been one of redemption this season, and I believed this fate served her well. She died for the only two people she seems to truly care about.
Slade stabbed Moira with a sword right in front of Thea and Oliver. You have to wonder what Thea is thinking now that she knows Slade was with Oliver on the island and that Oliver is pretty involved with Roy's rampages. I have a feeling she is close to learning the truth about Oliver, as well.
There are still a few episodes left before the season 2 finale, and it's already proving that season 3 is going to be a major departure from the typical formula. Even if Oliver gets through all of this, he's definitely not going into season 3 without some major scars.
Slade points out that "only one more person needs to die before this is all over," which could mean a variety of things. Slade could be pointing out that Oliver needs to die or that Oliver needs to kill Slade, thus breaking his no-kill vow. Slade could also be referring to Sara needing to die, since she was the one who was saved instead of Shado.
In the next episode, we'll probably learn more about who Sara is on her way to see (someone who will apparently help Team Arrow). The mystery of the show lately has been whether or not Sara is actually Black Canary, Green Arrow's main love interest. Some fans are suggesting that Black Canary will eventually turn out to be Laurel, and I'm not too quick to disbelieve that the show would actually go in that direction.