The episode picked up right where "City of Blood" left off, with pretty much everyone in Starling City facing their almost certain demise at the hands of Blood's army of Deathstrokes.
I like how Season 2 decided to handle their finale and how it builds upon Season 1's "Undertaking," which if you recall, was pandemonium at the expense of the Glades (Starling City's slums). This time around, the entire city is at the mercy of a more direct undertaking: pure chaos courtesy of super-soldiers that are almost impossible to kill--led by the city's mayor of all people.
The beginning of the episode quickly wrapped up some of the loose threads hanging from last week's cliffhanger. Oliver and Laurel were buried under the collapsed hideout and separated, forcing Oliver to coach Laurel into using one of his explosive arrows to create an escape.
Dig was easily bested by Ravager (Isabel Rochev), but saved just in time by some quick thinking by Felicity (in what was easily one of the most gif-worthy moments of the entire series).
Even Quentin was able to get out of his sticky situation by planting a few well-placed grenades at the feat of the mini-Death terrorizing the police station. Finally, Thea was saved at the train station by none other than her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn (who would have thought we'd be seeing him again before Season 3? Oh, everyone? Okay, understood).
Oliver, Laurel, Dig and Felicity met up to plan their next move, and you could sense the hopelessness in their voices. With 50 Deathstrokes causing havoc all over the city, how could they possibly stop them? The episode dealt with this problem in strides by making the hunt for the Mirakuru cure the center mission of "Streets of Fire," but that didn't mean we didn't get some fun side stories as well.
Quentin met with what's left of the police force to plan the next move, rightfully pointing out that their only chance is the National Guard at this point. But apparently, calling the National Guard magically doesn't work unless you're the mayor or chief of police. Quentin revealed that the mayor is letting this happen, and everyone pretty much just nodded their heads.
Look, I'm pretty sure if this situation is being broadcasted on the news and is clearly a terrorist situation, the United States military is going to send help anyway. I'm pretty sure they won't be peeved if you give them a call, guys.
Well, the military does show up eventually, but it's not actually good news. We'll get to that.
While Team Arrow was off dealing with the crisis at hand, we watched Quentin, Laurel and Sara handle the chaos on the frontlines. It was a nice contrast because these moments with the Lance family were spaced throughout the episode, constantly reminding of us what's at stake.
Sara and Laurel reunited early on, and Laurel was able to brag about how she's in-the-know now. When they met up with their dad, Quentin, I had almost forgotten that he knows Sara's true identity as well.
It wasn't crucial to the story (yet), but we finally got confirmation that Sara is, in fact, "Canary." No, she's not Black Canary (that could still be Laurel as long as the CW gets my fan letters), but she tells Laurel that her name given to her by the League of Assassins was Ta-er al-Sahfer. This means "Canary" (obviously).
But Sara's struggle during the episode wasn't just about reuniting with Laurel and coming up with fun costume names. Sara still feels remorse for the path she was forced to take as an assassin, not feeling worthy enough to be the "real" Sara that her family wants her to be.
This problem that she's been facing all season culminated this week when Sara chose to be a hero by risking her life for a child that was trapped in a burning building. Sure, the episode hit us over the head with this concept when one of the officers at the police station strolled past Sara and Laurel on their way to the water cooler (hey, it's hot during city-wide terrorist attacks) remarking, "Yeah I heard a girl saved someone's life and stuff. She's a hero."
Because that's the only thing going on right now, but OK TV show. Unfortunately, we still don't know who Sara went to for help a couple of episodes ago, which is clearly a revelation being saved for next week.
The episode took a turn for the redemption when Blood realized that Slade is next-level crazy. It turns out that the original deal between these two was that the Deathstroke army would just attack the city a little bit. You know, to make a point. Blood never wanted more than just a handful of innocents to die, apparently.
Slade on the other hand wants to kill every single person in Starling because he wants to take everything Oliver cares about away from him - and we all know Oliver loves this city based on the "you failed this city" report cards he's been handing out for two seasons (which he coincidentally handed to himself this week).
So Blood betrayed Slade by stealing the Mirakuru cure that Slade's men had just stolen from the S.T.A.R. Labs courier (rest in peace). He subsequently handed it over to Oliver and revealed how far Slade is willing to go to hurt him. Oliver pointed out what a lot of us were wondering earlier: Slade said "only one more person needs to die," so why is he killing...Everyone?
Blood kind of shrugged this off as, "Well he meant the person you care about the most." Whatever TV show.
After handing the cure over to Ollie, Blood actually had the gall to make a deal with him: Oliver lets him continue to be mayor of Starling City in an effort to rebuild it, and in return, Blood doesn't reveal the true identity of the Arrow.
It was a such a stupid deal that even Oliver Queen was like, "How about no." and just walked off. None of it mattered, of course, because Ravager showed up minutes later to kill Blood in a painfully anti-climactic death that we all saw coming.
So Team Arrow got the cure, but there's yet another problem: Amanda Waller, who's been watching way too many zombie movies. She decides that anyone who uses the Mirakuru is apparently contagious, so she has to blow up the entire city just in case.
Those military guys guarding the bridges and tunnels that are the only way out of the city are A.R.G.U.S., and their idea of a containment strategy is *POW POW EXPLOSIONS* instead of sniper headshots at anyone wearing a Deathstroke mask. Because who needs logic?
Remember, we're talking about less than 50 guys. It's not like the city has been overrun with super MRSA. But no, the only strategy Waller can come up with is killing off 576,000 people in order to make darn certain the Deathstroke fashion trend doesn't catch on.
Ollie now knows he only has until dawn to stop Slade's army, so he promptly injects Roy with the cure. I'm not really sure why he was actually debating this until Waller gave him the call (does he think unconscious Roy hates needles?)
Finally, the sequences between Thea and Merlyn finished the episode off. Not too much happened between these two save for some awkward father-daughter talk. Merlyn managed to take out two mini-Deaths on his own this week, but that wasn't enough to convince Thea that she should just forget that Merlyn was a part of Starling City's First Annual Apocalypse.
For some odd reason, Merlyn sincerely doubted that Thea was really all that ticked off at him, that is until she shot him with a gun several times before the episode faded to black.
Granted, she could have missed entirely for all we know (we only saw the gun firing, not the bullets making impact). Of course, if Merlyn can survive death once, I'm banking on him pulling through in the season finale.
"Streets of Fire" was an action-packed episode that was pretty much everything we wanted to see as a result of the events in "City of Blood." The show made good on its promise that this isn't your normal, average undertaking. It's Advanced Undertaking.
Not much happened on the island this week--just more setting up for the inevitable answer to the question, "Why did Oliver end up trying to kill Slade instead of cure him?" Oliver went back to the Amazo to save Sara and cure Slade, but he was cornered at the last minute. The suspense!
The Season 2 Finale of Arrow, "Unthinkable," premieres next Wednesday on the CW! In the meantime...