Arrow 2.22 "Streets Of Fire" REVIEW

TV REVIEW: Clear and present danger

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Episode 2.22
Writers: Jake Coburn & Ben Sokolowski
Director: Nick Copus

THE ONE WHERE: As Slade’s mirakuru-enhanced army runs amok in Starling, Oliver and Team Arrow also face a threat from outside city limits…

THE VERDICT: “Streets Of Fire” begins with its boot heel stamped on the accelerator pedal and barely relents for its entire duration. It’s an episode jammed with incident, intensity and revelation, where the flashbacks feel like pesky interruptions from the main event. Just look at the amount of action crammed into this week’s pre-titles: we alternate between Oliver and Laurel fighting to survive the tunnel collapse, Felicity’s hilariously well-timed ramming of a van into Isabel and Lance battling the mirakuru army in the police station. Every scene finds its characters in a crucible, struggling against the odds, and the adventure that follows maintains the breathless, bruising pace. And it’s not even the season finale…

There are flashes of terrific character stuff, too: Lance is restored to detective status and handed back his badge, a moment that feels genuinely earned. Laurel inspires Sara with a lovely, evocative line (“If you’re that far gone, and so irredeemable, why would they know you by such a beautiful name?”) while Felicity restores Oliver’s mojo with the five simple words “I still believe in you”. And Sara gets to be a textbook superhero, at last, rescuing a kid from a burning building. “Who was that?” asks the mother, in a moment that edges perilously close to cheese but where the cliché ultimately ends up resonating with the power of comic book myth.

Malcolm’s back, of course. John Barrowman brings some surprising new colours to him, too: he’s noble, just a little vulnerable. And, if we’re to believe the shocking closing seconds, newly dead.

Above it all, as ever, is Slade, watching Starling burn from a penthouse window, dismissing the city as “a land only good for thing… graves.” And how he treasures that final word, like a sip of vintage brandy on the tongue. As if there was any last, lingering doubt, he’s now officially one of the small screen’s most convincingly terrifying bad guys. Next week is going to be interesting…

TRIVIA: Ah, the mysterious Arrow/Springsteen connection continues… Last season gave us an episode named for Bruce’s 1978 album Darkness On The Edge Of Town . Streets Of Fire is a track on that LP and also inspired Walter Hill’s 1984 movie of the same name.

DID YOU SPOT?: The intersection of “5 th & Adams” is a nod to legendary DC artist Neal Adams. Best known for his gothic revamping of Batman in the late ‘60s he also drew the politically provocative Green Arrow/Green Lantern series in the ‘70s.

DID YOU SPOT? 2: Monument Point is a locale in the DCU, first seen in Justice Society Of America Vol 3 No 44, where it suffered a catastrophic onslaught by the being known as Scythe. It’s the creation of Arrow producer Marc Guggenheim.

Felicity (in van, after hitting Isabel): “What do you think – hit her again?”

Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD

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Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.