'Arrow' react: Ghosts of the past, a villain of the future

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Image Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the mid-season finale of Arrow, stop reading now!

If this episode were being graded on the number of times I gasped and/or screamed out loud, it would get an A, because that was crazy, people! All of the Olicity moments? Yes, please. Seeing Tommy’s handsome face again? Don’t mind if I do. And Slade’s reveal as the biggest villain this show has ever seen? Count me in. Let’s do this!

We picked up right where we left off last week, with Barry, Diggle, and Felicity working to save Oliver’s life. His blood was clotting “like maple syrup,” but Barry was able to find a solution: Rat poison! And your parents said it was bad for you …

While they worked on him, Oliver had his first hallucination: Shado told him that he didn’t have to fight anymore, that he could let go and be with her.Thankfully, he didn’t let go. Instead, he woke up and instinctively choked the man who’d just saved him. And upon realizing that Barry now knew his real identity, Oliver proceeded to yell at Felicity for divulging a secret that wasn’t hers to tell. When poor adorable Barry tried to step in and defend Felicity, Ollie shut him up real fast with a good old fashioned stare-down. Thankfully, before things could escalate any further, Moira asked Ollie to come home, where she was decorating a tree. Hearing Oliver say “It’s Christmas” like it was genuinely heartbreaking news to him absolutely killed me. I never thought those words could be so sad.

Moira asked Oliver to go talk to Thea, who was locked in her room … probably because Roy was in her bed. Oh, and he had an arrow through his knee. NBD. Oliver removed it and called Diggle to do some first aid. In the hallways, Ollie saw Shado again. She warned that he can’t fight what’s coming. She told him to put down his bow, take off the hood, and stop fighting before everyone he loves dies. These hallucinations don’t beat around the bush, do they?┬áThen again, there really wasn’t time for anyone to beat around the bush considering the serum would be ready in 48 hours.

Back at the lair, Barry was busy geeking out about The Arrow when Ollie showed up asking about side effects to rat poison. Hallucinations was among them, but Felicity was more concerned with whom Oliver was hallucinating. She was caught up on the number of women in his life, though I have to say, for a playboy, he isn’t excessive. But that’s beside the point: Barry informed Ollie that using grease paint was a poor choice to conceal his identity. He needed a mask. Find him one that conforms to his face and doesn’t mess up his aiming, and he’s in. But not now. Now he has to go with Diggle to find Cyrus Gold, a.k.a. super soldier of the moment.

While Diggle got thrown around by Cyrus, Laurel was getting flowers from Brother Blood. Thea and Sin entered, asking Laurel for her help finding out what happened to Max, Sin’s friend. We all know he was one of Blood’s failures, but they weren’t exactly clued in yet. Laurel did some digging and found out all of the blood donor’s at Blood’s event were also subjected to psych evaluations. Those files, however, couldn’t be obtained without a warrant. This was the end of the road for the law, which meant it was the beginning of the road for Roy, who did a little breaking and entering to get Max’s file. Unfortunately, in the process, he was knocked out by Cyrus. We’ll get back to an unconscious Roy in a bit.

At the lab, Barry confronted Felicity about how she worries about Oliver. Also, about how she was jealous of his “beautiful island girls.” He knew she liked Oliver, but he understood it. After all, the guy is a billionaire by day and saves the city by night. I mean, I’d date him. But that doesn’t mean I liked watching Barry miss out on someone he liked. That kid’s not so bad either, amirite?

Just seconds later, Oliver arrived and asked for some privacy. That way, when Slade showed up, Ollie could fight him by his lonesome. That actually wasn’t the plan, but these hallucinations were impossible to control. As Oliver got thrown around by an angry Slade, Quentin took a squad to go after Cyrus. The Arrow had tipped them off. The result: Quentin’s partner was killed and he himself landed in the ICU. Side rant: Where was Laurel when she got the call that her father was hurt? Christmas shopping with Blood! And as much as I want to give her credit for trying to snoop about the blood drive, I can’t stop thinking about the moment she hugged Blood at the hospital. Girl, you can do so much better than a mask-wearing psychopath who wants to build an army of super soldiers. All women can, for that matter.

After The Arrow visited Quentin, Oliver found out his blood was clean. So why was he hallucinating? Diggle told Ollie about his return from Afghanistan and how he had survivor’s guilt. He had hallucinations that only went away after he figured out what the ghosts were trying to tell him.

Now seems to the be appropriate time for our weekly island flashback: After leaving Slade behind, Ivo forced Oliver to choose between Shado and Sara. Ollie could only save one. When his time was up, Ivo pointed the gun at Sara, and Oliver dived in front of her. Ivo took that as Oliver making a choice, so he killed Shado instead. I’m not sure it was a choice as much as it was Oliver getting in front of the gun, which meant poor Shado drew the short straw. That entire scene was unbearable. Ivo was a real dick.

Back in the present, Oliver wanted to go after Cyrus … again. Felicity was worried about him, and in the sweetest Olicity moment of the episode, he said he would come back. “Promise me,” she said to him. And I just melted. I’m on the floor. I can’t write anymore. Sorry.

However, I did promise you we’d get back to the unconscious Roy part, so I guess I’ll pick myself up off the floor for now. You’re welcome. Roy woke up and came face-to-face with Blood in his creepy skull mask. And before Arrow could crash through the ceiling, Roy was injected with mirakuru. Cyrus then started beating up Ollie again, until the moment that made me scream and grab for the screen and even tear up a little: Ollie hallucinated Tommy!! Tommy told him to “Get up. You’re not going to die down there.” Ollie apologized for letting him die, but his bestie informed him, “You didn’t let me die, Ollie. You fought to save me because that’s what you do, what you have always done. You fight to survive. I know I called you a murderer, but you are not. You are a hero. You beat the island. You beat my father. So fight. get up and fight back.” And fight back is exactly what Ollie did, killing Cyrus. I’m not sure on the how — did the serum burn him? Regardless, Blood ran away, Roy finally woke up — he wasn’t dead — and I was busy crying and calling out Tommy’s name.

It seemed Blood ran away to announce his mayoral run. The city needs a leader he told a mysterious man in a chair. Then said man spoke and I screamed once again. It was Slade (with an eyepatch)!! After Oliver destroyed Blood’s serum supply, Slade told Blood that he would give him another sample of his blood in order to mass produce the serum. So that’s how they got the recipe! Then, Slade asked Blood not to confront the vigilante before reminding him that he’s replaceable. Slade then revealed that The Arrow is “my friend.” But he doesn’t want him dead. “Death would be a release form this life and his sentence is yet to be carried out.” Slade wants to “tear everything he cares about away from him. Destroy those who choose to follow him. Corrupt those he loves. Once he’s lost everyone and everything he values, I will drive an arrow through his eye.” Cue another island flashback: Slade woke up in the submarine only to run after Shado. He used his super strength to kill Ivo’s men before he found her. Sara informed Slade that Ivo shot her and “didn’t say why” to cover for Ollie. However, Slade made it known that “whoever did this to her is going to suffer.” I guess now he’s decided that’s our Ollie.

But the episode still wasn’t over! Oliver returned to the lair, where Felicity gave him a bear hug. He updated them on his findings before Felicity got a call from Barry. He had made it back to Central City in time for them to turn on the particle accelerator. But when a storm hit, things went haywire, and Barry ended up … wait for it … getting struck by lightning. *Insert pun about it all happening in a flash* Oh, and Barry also informed Felicity that if she ever decided Oliver wasn’t for her and she wanted to date someone else, “that guy would be on time.” Well yeah, because he’ll be crazy fast.

In the episode’s final moments, The Arrow got his Christmas present from Barry: A mask. Looked good, right?

That’s all she wrote, folks! Amazing, right?! Who else loved the moment when Slade talked about the people Ollie loves and they showed Felicity instead of Laurel? And what do you want to see happen with Roy now that he’s a super human? Surely he can’t keep that from Thea for long, right? How long until the Canary (inevitably) returns? And how long until Slade and Arrow face off? Discuss!

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