It’s been over 12 hours since “Arrow” first aired “Streets of Fire,” and we are still struggling to figure out whether or not we actually enjoyed it as much as we wanted to. For an episode that did so much right when it comes to action and character moments, it also had a few moments that are hard to really understand.
The biggest gaping hole for us in the story is simple: How in the world did Sebastian Blood make off with the mirakuru cure? At the point that he saw it, Slade and Isabel knew that he was not fully with them anymore. Therefore, the circumstances leading to the Mayor’s death by dual-wielding katana blades were a little sketchy. Kevin Alejandro was great in this role, but we even still do not fully understand what his real goals were in having Slade’s army storm the city. Was it meant to just be some sort of orchestrated show of power as a Mayor, or a theater performance to boost his approval ratings?
In the end, though, we all knew that Sebastian was probably going to die before Slade, though we are a little surprised that he outlasted Isabel. What surprised us more than any of these things, though, was that the real adversary now may actually be Amanda Waller. In an effort to properly ensure that the mirakuru army is contained and does not spread anywhere else, she is getting set to nuke Starling City and leave it as a crater on a map. We understand her “greater good” philosophy here, and at least the motivation makes a little bit of sense given how hard it is to kill some of these people.
This sets the stage for the finale, as Oliver now has to figure out how to spread the cure quickly enough for it to have an impact. His story was overall here very strong, and there were some nice moments with him and a teary-eyed Felicity as they ultimately ended up injecting Roy as a human guinea pig when time was running out.
The other great part of the story was the return of the devilish Malcolm Merlyn, and we will fall over in shock if this dude is actually dead. Our rule of thumb is that if the show was going to have Thea really kill him, it would’ve been shown in full rather than given the cliffhanger treatment. She was probably protecting him from something behind him. But John Barrowman is fantastic, and hopefully this leads to him having a huge part in the story next season.
Now, we turn to the last major critique with this story: The sheer number of conveniences. Yes, it’s comic-book TV, and there are going to be a few of them. But having Sara Lance return out of nowhere to save Laurel, and to have the two of them run into Quentin at the right time? Also, having Thea being saved by Malcolm at the right time, or having Felicity being in the right position to hit Isabel with the van? That’s a lot of coincidences for an hour, and that starts to put you in “really suspending belief” territory.
We still enjoyed parts of “Streets of Fire” very much, but this episode really made us do more work than we wanted to trying to answer questions rather than get into the story. We don’t typically do that with “Arrow,” so there is a problem when we do. Grade: B-.
Photo: The CW