Entertainment Magazine

TV Review: Arrow, “Unthinkable” (S2/EP23) – I Love You, Too, Oliver

Posted on the 15 May 2014 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

To read our other Arrow episode reviews please go here.


  •  Airdate: 5/14/2014
  • Director: John Behring  (Vampire Diaries, Numbers, most recently directed Arrow‘s “Birds of Prey” episode)
  • Writers: Arrow‘s EPs Greg Berlant, Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg

This is part 3 of what has unofficially been a 3-part finale, Arrow‘s producers clearly challenging themselves to outdo last season’s truly phenomenal finale.  What they gave us in part 3 was almost non-stop action, and the type of episode remarkably fun to watch just so long as you don’t think too much about it:


Team Arrow -


As far as entrances go, this one did not suck

Roy’s not so super punch of one of Slade’s goons attacking them in the clock tower proves the mirakuru cure works.  Luckily, Diggle’s ex-wife/gal pal Lyla uses a helicoptor and bazooka (a bazooka!) to bail them out.   Lyla and Diggle head off to do something about Waller’s incoming drone strike, Roy departs to check on Thea, and Sara leads Nyssa and the League of Assassins to Oliver’s super secret Verdant lair to offer help in taking down Slade.  

Team Diggle - 

With an assist from Deadshot, whom they free from his Suicide Squad cell, Lyla and Diggle get into a stand-off with Waller, who is mighty impressed Lyla would commit such treason considering that she’s pregnant with Diggle’s child and everything.  Not exactly the way Diggle wanted to learn about that, but, still, good news is good news, right?  

Team Merlyn -

Malcolm’s not even mad Thea shot him; he’s impressed, saved from harm by his kevlar padding.  That Thea shot him is proof that she’s a Merlyn, dangit.  Horrified, Thea runs away to Roy, with Malcolm’s blessing because he knew Thea’d discover Roy was still lying to her.  Sure enough, as the two make-up he lies to her about the Arrow, and lies about where he’s going when’s called away to help out Team Arrow.  In packing up Roy’s clothes, Thea comes across his Red Arrow equipment, and decides she can’t trust him.  We close with her driving away in a limo with Malcolm to destinations unknown.  Thea Queen is dead.  Long live Thea Merlyn, who will never be weak again.

Team Arrow…Again

Oliver, Sara and the League attack Slade at Queen Consolidated, but he escapes via zipline.  The bastard leaves poor, crazy Isabel behind, and after Oliver refuses to kill her Nyssa does so quite quickly.  They need a new strategy because Oliver’s plan to cure/not kill Slade isn’t working.  So, at Felicity’s suggestion they get clever.  Slade has managed to take Laurel hostage, thinking her to be the one Oliver loved the most. Secretly knowing that Slade had bugged Queen Manor, Oliver stashes Felicity there, assuring her she needs to stay safe because Slade picked the wrong girl.  Oliver loves Felicity.  Awww.  Except it was all an act (or was it?) to trick Slade into kidnapping Felicity just so she could inject him with the mirakuru cure when he wasn’t looking.

Oliver, Roy, Sara, and the League bottlekneck Slade’s goons in a tunnel, and neutralize them with the cure (and just general old fashioned butt kicking).


Once Oliver is called by Slade to come and see Felicity die he distracts ole eye patch McGree long enough for Felicity stick him with the mirakuru cure.  Sara, Felicity, and Laurel get the hotel out of there while Oliver and Slade duke it out, the hero ultimately winning the day and refusing to kill his once best friend.  This was juxtaposed with seamless flashbacks to Oliver’s final fight with Slade on the island when he chose to stick an arrow through his eye rather than cure him.

With Slade neutralized, Waller calls off the drone strike.

Wrap-Up -

Sara leaves Starling City, rejoining the League of Assassins because she wanted to (and also needed their help to help Oliver), and bids a temporary farewell to Laurel and Quentin.  She evens gives Laurel permission to be there for Oliver.  Literally like one minute later, Quentin spits up blood and falls to the ground, having unknowingly been suffering from internal bleeding from his earlier fight trying to protect Laurel before she was taken.  Laurel calls for an ambulance.

Oliver stashes Slade in an ARGUS underground prison cell back on the island, and has an open-ended conversation with Felicity about just how well they each sold their part in the “I love you” charade.  We end with Oliver flashing back to reveal that after “killing” Slade on the island he awoke in a bed in Hong Kong, ushered away to work for Amanda Waller.


Back in July, Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim told ComicBookResources that season 2 would be about Oliver’s transition from vigilante to hero:

“This has always been about the first two years of Batman Begins. Right before the show premiered, we had a meeting with the head of the studio and we basically said, it’s about going from being the Hood to the Arrow to Green Arrow. We knew all along that it would take us two years to do that.”

We didn’t know at the time just how much he meant that because “Unthinkable” is quite clearly their attempt to conclude not just season 2 but the first two seasons altogether, right down to how the “Previously On Arrow” segment didn’t just summarize recent episodes but the entire Slade Wilson story arc going back to last season.  “Unthinkable” then used its closing minutes to hint at a potentially different show next season.  At the very least, they’ve robbed us critics of our power by taking away the island flashbacks (e.g., how many freakin’ people are going to pop up on this island?) and dropping flashback Oliver into Hong Kong with Amanda Waller.  A change of locale is, well, different, but will it really make the flashbacks feel any less unnecessary?

But I’m getting off the point.  If we’re not quite clear what “Unthinkable” is really about Oliver outright tells us in his final conversation with Slade, proclaiming his journey to becoming a hero now complete.  He’s not a stone cold killer anymore.  Even after everything Slade has done and promises to do in the future, Oliver still spared his live.  He once let a mad man with a bomb destroy half of his city, but this time he saved all of it, albeit with an implied high level of civilian casualties due to Slade’s marauding goons.  Despite what had largely been feared, none of the primary cast definitively perished, although it doesn’t look good for Quentin Lance whose potentially fatal wound came when Oliver wasn’t physically around to protect him.


Did this show seriously just kill off Detective Lance? Come on – he just finally became Detective again.

That’s all fine and good, but other than adding “To honor my friend’s memory I must be someone else, I must be something else” to the opening credits’ voice-over it’s not exactly like Oliver’s quest to transition from hood to hero has been a consistent through-line of season 2.  He killed Count Vertigo to save Felicity even though Felicity pleaded with him not to violate his moral code for her thus indicating his struggle to adhere to his promise to Tommy.  On other occasions, though, it sure seemed like he was flat out killing people with no reference to any kind of qualms about doing so, such as the entire finale of the Russia episode.  So, while in the context of this individual episode and in comparison to last season’s finale Oliver’s ascension to hero status works remarkably well.  However, if this was truly always their endpoint they could have done a far better job with threading this needle throughout season 2 to make Oliver’s dilemma carry a bit more dramatic weight.

It’s perhaps a minor qualm for an episode which was likely the show’s most ambitious and technically challenging yet.  There were people descending tall buildings via zipline, bazooka launchers, a sinking boat whose interior chambers were flooding with water, a massive brawl on a bridge/in a tunnel involving almost every major cast member (Roy’s archery skills seemed a tad sudden) plus a guest star and many extras, and shots of a military drone about to level of a major metropolitan city.  Some of their effects shots were a bit wobbly, like the bazooka, and some of their staging of the Amazo fight could have likely benefited from more time on set, as Slade being trapped under scaffolding seemed sudden and the heavy use of ADR from Caity Lotz hard to miss and her being sucked into the ocean a tad rushed.

While all of this effort was appreciated and mostly paid off in unfailingly engaging, if at times over-insistent, action, what makes the action work are the dramatic stakes.  There is way more action involved here, but the first season finale was a likely more dramatically affecting episode because it placed every single character in harm’s way, teasing us with Quentin’s death before surprising us with Tommy’s.   “Unthinkable” was a bit more focused on the action since it never seemed to be in doubt that all the heroes fighting the bad guys during the big brawl weren’t in danger of perishing in combat.  As such, we were left caring about whether or not Slade would cut Felicity’s throat, with whatever threat to Laurel left mostly undepicted.


Ah, yes, Felicity.  I’ll admit to having been fooled by Oliver’s ruse, although I’m still not 100% clear whether or not Felicity was in on it the whole time or just when he placed the syringe in her hand.  However, my gut reaction to Oliver’s declaration of love for her was similar to how I felt after Oliver rushed back into bed with Sara earlier this season, “Not like this.”  At this point, Oliver telling Felicity he loved her felt wrong, and not necessarily in the “I only see those two as being friends” kind of way.  It’s more in the “a couple of weeks ago that guy was asking another girl to move in with him” kind of way.  Plus, Felicity’s reaction was a lot closer to the “Well, this is awkward,” end of the spectrum than, “I love you, too, you big lug!”  This was almost like a litmus test, to put those words into Oliver’s mouth and let Felicity hear them and see how each reacted.  By the end of the episode, Oliver pretty much smiles and lets Felicity ramble on about the whole thing, Oliver either basking in his love for her or simply delighting in how much he enjoys it when Felicity is all cute and nervous and talkative like that.   One thing’s clear: if these two ever do kiss it won’t be wasted on a charade meant to fool a bad guy.

It’s a good thing Laurel received some fine moments in the prior two episodes because she’s not really much of a presence in the actual finale, although they do fit in some more teasing about Laurel’s future to potentially replace Sara as Canary.  She’s got the black leather coat now.


“Unthinkable” is an episode I enjoyed with minimal to no reservation upon first viewing, but now find my enjoyment somewhat tempered the more I actually think about the plot of the episode.  Does it completely follow that Oliver knew about the surveillance in Queen Manor, how did Felicity manage to get caught without her stash of the mirakuru cure being discovered, why would they have Quentin possibly die like that, it was kind of quick how Roy re-embraced Arrow and his improbably good archery skills, etc.  In that way, it seems a perfectly fitting end to the second season, which grew more comic book-y and clunky yet insanely dramatically compelling.  The season began with Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle on that island, and it ended that way, too.  Some of its extra parts are gone (bye Isabel Rochev), spun-off to a new nasty territory (hello Thea Merlyn), or held off screen for an inevitable return down the road (Sara, Slade).  Someone may even be dead (poor Quentin).  However, it’s the Original Trio versus the world, as it should be.  Next step: get Oliver a job.  I heard Queen Consolidated needs a new CEO.  It’s old one was apparently killed by an international league of assassins who broke into the main office.  Strange, huh.  


1. First Moira.  Now Quentin (maybe).  New rule: Sara simply isn’t allowed to leave town anymore.  Every time she does a major family member dies.  Like right away.  Within less than an hour of her departure.  Or literally less than a minute after she says goodbye.   

2. Is it bad that I never truly believed this show would kill off Slade Wilson because he’s Deathstroke and Deathstroke is such a popular character in the comics?  

3. It was really effective the way they seamlessly segued from the “Previously on Arrow” segment to the beginning of this episode.  

4. Kudos to Arrow’s lighting department for its work during the final island scene with Oliver and Felicity.  Due to the way the light hit her face, that might be the cutest Felicity has ever looked.  

5. If Lyla could so easily take out a fraction of Slade’s army of goons with a well-placed bazooka shot then why wasn’t Amanda Waller trying that before resorting to bombing the entire city?  

Arrow Harley Quinn

6. I can’t be the only one who really wanted Harley Quinn to pop out of one of those Suicide Squad cells when Diggle and Lyla freed Deadshot and other Squad members.  

7. Well, Lyla blew up the clock tower.  So much for that potential landing spot for the Birds of Prey.


Goodybe, Summer Glau. I hope you were paid extra for any day you had to wear that deeply stupid Raveger costume.

Well, I’ve said enough.  What did you think of this episode?  Let us know in the comments section.

All of the pictures used in the above review, unless otherwise noted, came from CWTV.com © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


  • Arrow Review: Unthinkable (screencrush.com) – Presumed first line of season 3: “Oh, so here’s the next thing I never told you guys, which will undoubtedly ruin our lives over the course of this year.”

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog