Coming off of the shocking events of last week’s episode, “Seeing Red,” it was to be expected that “City of Blood” would take a bit of a breather, clearing the air just enough to set the pieces in motion for what looks to be an action packed final two episodes of Arrow‘s second season. This week’s outing does exactly what we expected, though it’s unfortunately a bit of a messier hour than we’ve grown accustomed to. For the most part, season two has been a wild ride, with plenty to dissect and get excited about. This week, however, is a bit of a step back, and perhaps the most disappointing episode since the show came back from its winter break.
“City of Blood” is, unfortunately, a bit of a messy affair. It does have its share of character moments, but those are undercut by bad writing, awkward pacing, and fight choreography that, for the first time since I can remember, felt sloppy and uncontrolled.
Stephen Amell isn’t even seen in the first act of the episode, leaving the supporting characters to do the leg work of setting up the proceedings. Though it’s clear that Oliver is suffering greatly from Moira’s loss, I felt that her death was glossed over a bit in this episode. We open with the funeral, which is chopped up into a montage, and then jump to the reception. These scenes are juxtaposed against the swearing-in of newly elected Mayor Sebastian Blood. The details about his ascension to the office were never quite explained though. Did he win by default after Moira’s death? Or was there still an election? No one questions these events as much as they should, and by the time the pieces fall into place it’s a bit too late.
Oliver’s absence gives more weight to the funeral than his presence would have, and I like that his location isn’t revealed until A.R.G.U.S. finds him. The last time we saw him like this, after Tommy’s death, he retreated to the island, and I thought for a short time that he may have done that again. By leaving it a mystery, it helped us get invested in Diggle and Felicity’s search for him. He’s the one man they need to bring all of this to an end, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth.