'Arrow' Season 2, episode 20: Rage and death come to 'Seeing Red'

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Yes, "Arrow" fans, that really happened.

In a tragic turn that harkens back to Oliver's decision to save Sara instead of Shado, Moira Queen died in order to save the lives of her children in "Seeing Red." She may have died with the ultimate lie still unspoken -- that Malcolm Merlyn is alive -- but the death still had honor.

And that's the central paradox of Moira. She lies and bends the rules and does unspeakable things whenever necessary, but she will always and forever protect her children.

Because death isn't enough for this "Arrow" episode, there's also the rather major issues of Roy's uncontrollable, mirakuru-fueled rage, Sara's abrupt departure and that long-ago pregnancy scare that's totally going to return to Oliver's life someday.

Roy rage

Thank goodness for steroids! That's the only explanation people in Starling City need when Roy Harper, mindless with mirakuru fury, begins his violent expedition across the city. Even though most steroids don't allow someone to lift cars and kill with bare hands, at least it's something that the innocent bystanders can hang onto while Roy rips his foes to shreds.

Unfortunately for everyone, a lot of damage is done before Sara's pit-viper venom finally knocks out the boy. A policeman gets killed, Oliver's knee is seriously injured (thankfully treated by a vigilante-loving doctor), Thea's poor heart gets broken (again), and a whole bunch of destruction lies in Roy's wake.

He even tries to kill Thea, thanks to your standard, vengeful mirakuru hallucination. In Roy's case, that's Thea explaining how she needs to die because she broke Roy's heart or something.

Sara skips town

Although integral to the eventual capture of Roy with her venom, Sara has definitely begun to check out of Team Arrow in "Seeing Red." She may have started the episode having fun times with Oliver in a hotel (that he can't afford), but she ends it broken-up and disappearing into the night. Only Sin gets a proper goodbye.

Does this mean Sara Lance is gone for good? Would she really leave her family like that, not to mention the mortal danger she's leaving for Oliver and company?

Moira then ...

With no island flashbacks to deal with, "Arrow" gets to spend some time looking back into the lives of Moira and Oliver Queen seven years earlier. You know how Oliver was a spoiled d-bag back in the day? Well, that's on full display here.

It seems that younger Oliver went and got a girl -- neither Laurel nor Sara, by the way -- pregnant via a fling. He is, to the boy's credit, trying to figure out what to do rather than disavowing all responsibility. But that virtue is limited, considering how quickly Oliver turns the whole matter over to his mother.

Moira and her checkbook swing into quick action, tracking down the girl and making an offer. Despite protestations that she didn't do this for the money, the girl ends up taking the cash with a promise to tell Oliver she miscarried. Then she disappears into the wilds of Central City, never to be heard from again.

Not until Season 3 anyway ...

And Moira now

Moira isn't buying off pregnant girls these days, but she does have a lot of other maternal responsibilities. She has decided to suspend her mayoral campaign more or less immediately, mostly because Thea is an emotional mess that hates her mother.

Neither advisers nor Sebastian Blood can talk Moira out of her decision, but Oliver does it rather well. He notes that Moira's greatest strength is her ability to take care of things and that Thea isn't exactly going to be pacified by the politics going away. Also, the Queens need the paycheck.

So Moira decides to stay in the mayor's race and holds a triumphant rally to make that clear. There are only two little distractions:

1. Thea takes the podium to lure Roy to Verdant, thus beginning a bit of a riot there.

2. Moira informs Oliver that she knows he's the Arrow and that she has known he was the Arrow for about a year now. She is really proud of him too. It's incredibly touching.

Slade finally moves forward with his deadly revenge

With Moira seeming determined to make things right in her family, even the secret of Merlyn's continued survival looks ready to slip out. But that's when there's a car accident.

The Queen family awakens bound and held at gunpoint by Slade. He wants Oliver to choose again, this time between saving his mother or his sister. There's no way Oliver can do this, of course, so it's fortunate that Moira is super noble when it comes to her children.

She takes Slade's bullet by choice. And the Queen family is even more messed up than ever before.

Team Arrow?

Maybe it's a good thing that so many people are figuring out Oliver's secret identity these days -- Team Arrow is facing a serious manpower shortage. The group is down all the way to the core three again: Oliver, Diggle and Felicity.

While there are some good things about this -- who doesn't like seeing those three interacting constantly? -- there is also the fact that Oliver is about to go up against his most dangerous foe yet. With limited backup, does Oliver stand a chance against Slade Wilson, Isabel Rochev and the entire mirakuru army of doom?

We're not even going to think about the seemingly inevitable return of Malcolm Merlyn to this deadly picture.

Photo/Video credit: The CW