Arrow Review: Closer to Rock Bottom

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I have to admit that I found Arrow Season 2 Episode 11 a bit upsetting, both on an emotional level and a logical level.

Logistically, it's easier to understand – but emotionally I'm having a difficult time with Oliver choosing Sebastian Blood's newly born bond of friendship over Laurel's long-standing place in his life.

I realize most of you are going to disagree with this on a completely different emotional level, but we're still going to examine it a bit.

Because it was part of the hour and sets up what's coming next week, let's first touch lightly on Roy thinking it's as easy as gaining brute strength, and you're on your way to becoming a superhero. Who in the hell told him that? If anything, after growing up around thugs who reigned with their strength alone, he should have known it would have the opposite effect. 

Putting Sin in harms way just because he's fast and can pull a car door off in a pinch was also incredibly stupid. So much for all the growing up he's done since he met Thea. At least he impishly asked the Arrow to put one through his heart instead of his leg this time. While a tad dramatic, it lead us to believe he might have learned a little something.

The main focus of the hour was, of course, your very favorite character's downward spiral. Laurel took another tumble down the hill on her way to rock bottom, but it's all a very much centered around her poor choices and her proximity to Oliver as someone he once loved.

We do know to what end she has created her own hell by doubting herself and blaming herself for Tommy's death and drowning her sorrows in booze and pills. Because of her family history with it, she has no leeway to make those mistakes. Really, trying to become an alcoholic around an alcoholic is just idiocy. They can spot the signs, even when they're not there. They'll make those suckers up if you're not careful. Laurel was not careful.

But it is what it is, and now she's pretty much lost everything – most recently her job, but most importantly the faith of her father and Oliver. 

I was kind of shocked when Oliver announced he was going to give a friend the benefit of the doubt and it was Sebastian Blood, and that his idea of doing that was to tattle on Laurel and ask Blood if they had broken up or something. Laurel confided in Oliver that she thought Blood killed his own mother (he did) and was a criminal mastermind (he is) and Oliver went against his gut and took her comments (as if she was a child) to the person about whom she was complaining. He almost got her killed.

She nearly had me believing that Sebastian was a criminal mastermind and the only reason that I believed her was because it was Laurel. I do have a blind spot where she's concerned. Not anymore.


The thing is, it wasn't just because it as Laurel. She had valid points, and they never followed up on what happened to his father. The files were missing, so they just dropped the subject all together. Yet even Felicity had to admit with a name like Blood, it can't be a good sign. How long have you been waiting for somebody to make that connection?!

It was too easy to pin it all on Officer Daily. Officer Lance and The Arrow have much more experience in the area and should know that. They just wanted it to go away and for Blood to be the good guy they think he is and to blame it all on Laurel and the pills and booze because in their experience pills and booze always means bad judgment. Not in this case!

I wasn't sure what the flashback scenes were meant to imply regarding Laurel. Sara had a crush on Oliver first, snuck out of the house and went to a keg party and spilled beer on a very drunk Ollie – and then Laurel called the cops and had the party shut down. Since Laurel and Oliver were a couple shortly thereafter, Sara thought it was a setup? I'm not sure how that worked out. Then Sara went on the boat to pay her back? 

They lost me. So what? Sisters do that stuff to each other all the time. It's hardly life shattering. Just because Moira happened to sabotage her husband's boat and Sara was on it didn't mean that they were all caught up in a giant soap opera. Well, they are now.

We know for certain that Slade is using Laurel as part of his plan to hurt the vigilante. Slade likely doesn't know that Sara is alive, and when he does, his plans will probably need to be altered a bit. He's going off of all the information he has available to him. Then again, Sara was chummy with Ivo when I wouldn't have expected it on the island – maybe Slade knows about Sara through the League of Assassins.

The problem with the Laurel-centric episodes is that they always seem to focus on the same stuff over and over and never seem to take a forward step. She's been locked in a single storyline all season while everyone else has been dashing forward. Then she's gone for episodes at a time. When she's back... nothing has changed.

It's no wonder people find it so difficult to wish good things for her in the Arrowverse. Laurel is a slow-moving ship on a sea of speedboats. It's rather unfair.

The real kicker is how everyone is going to feel when the truth comes out. Only Felicity is going to be able to stand up and say "I told you with a name like Blood he would be up to no good!"

Do you think Oliver put his friendship with Sebastian Blood before his with Laurel?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Finally I watched the episode and I like it and the story made sense. 1. In Oliver's eyes Laurel can do no wrong cause for him she is like this good girl who never can make a mistake, He does not see that she can also make a mistake, for him Laurel is this poor girl. I do believe the writers had been misusing her character this season. She started spiriling out of control the moment Tommy died plain and simple. If Tommy would have not died, she wont be the Laurel we have today, messy, taking prescription pills, etc and to top it all off, she feels helpless that noones believes her that Sebastian Blood is a bad guy. How do you think will feel if you are going through all of these things? and alos that your won father does not believe you. In order for her to become Black Canary I guess Laurel has to hit rock bottom for sure and emerge as a new person maybe now is the beginning of that transition, who knows. Only the writers knows. Sarah is no angel here either. 2. I like that Roy will come in terms with his new found power, and I hope he chose Team Oliver instead of Team Slade and dont end up in the dark side, as Im sure the minute Slade finds out that Roy has this power he may want to use him to his advantage against Oliver. 3. I dont like the new mask of Deathstroke too much Iron Man. I like the original one. I know Slade and Ollie will come face to face at one point. Slade is eaten by revenge and that is why he does nto see far away from his eyes, he only wants revenge and do harm to Oliver and his family is the only way he can live now but he does not know that the Mirakuru is the one messing with his mind and tha tis why he is acting the way he is now. I hope those two make peace at the end of all, I like them as friends, as they were good friends at the island 4. It was obvious the guy in the mask was not Sebastian Blood, do you think Sebastian will risk himself kidnapping Laurel and could be killed along the way? I dont think so. He would have lost too much, and he needs to be at Slade service all the way also he wants to win the election. He could have not risked that much if he was the one under the mask kidnapping Laurel. He of course had to find a guy who was useless and did not have much to loose if he dies.

@ Arrowfan

1. I agree, Ollie needs to revise the way he sees Laurel. As I said in a comment below, he had an idealized vision of her that was almost more fantasy than reality. Now that this version of her has been shattered, maybe he'll be able to look past it to see the truth of her (admittedly paranoid) accusations.
2. It's a very real possibility that Slade might try to take advantage of Roy; Roy's in a very vulnerable position at the moment, emotionally and mentally speaking. We'll have to see if Ollie's training in the next episode is successful in keeping him on the side of light, as it were.
3. I see Slade and Oliver coming face to face in the season finale. It's possible that Slade will realize that the Mirakuru totally scrambled his brain, but I won't hold my breath. I agree with you about their friendship on the island, though, that was one of the things I liked about the flashbacks.
4. I, too, thought it was a bit obvious that the man in the mask was a decoy. Anyone remember "Kill Ari" on NCIS? Gibbs said, flat out, that the man was sent to die, not to kill. Same deal here. Of course, Blood is now short an inside man in the Starling City Police Department. I wonder if that will come back to bite him in the long run?

John kidby

Not much to add to the discussion, except... Don't like Daethstroke's new mask much.


I really don't envy Blood's bodyguards - they get Swiss-cheesed in about three seconds flat by Slade, and for something they weren't even responsible for! Man, it stinks to be a low-level goon, doesn't it? You get all the pain when the boss messes up.


As you know, I'm pretty much over Laurel but I totally agree with she's "a slow-moving ship on a sea of speedboats." The writers have done the character an injustice since day one. That's why so many fans just don't connect with her and will never buy her as Black Canary. I'm also over the fact that Ollie and Lance have fallen for Blood's nonsense. Deathstroke needs to come front and center in the next few episodes. I'm really excited that Roy's storyline is moving along finally. Sure he pulled some dumb stuff this episode but he's a hothead. The crap Ollie pulled, almost getting Laurel killed is much worse. He knows better. Looking forward to Arrow training Roy and some kind of relationship forming between those two. It's not going to be easy though.


I don't think Oliver chose to be on Sebastian's side, I just think he has reasons to belive that Laurel isn't the most reliable source right now.
If you had sisters who did to you what Laurel did to Sara, they were horrible I'm sorry.
And I agree with you I think they should and will investigate more in that missing file.
I missed more Felicity and making Laurel so miserable doesn't make me like her, so...

@ Cece

What did Laurel DO to Sara, exactly? She allegedly called the cops on an underage party. From what I can tell, it was supposition on Sara's part, and in return, Sara slept with Laurel's boyfriend. In the first instance, Sara was crushing on Oliver and drinking illegally and in the second, Laurel was really dating Oliver and Sara slept with him. How is it that Sara comes out smelling like a rose here? The dislike for Laurel comes with interesting blinders.

@ Carissa Pavlica

I'm not arguing with you about the calling the cops on an underage drinking party, but I think there's some kind of code where you don't date your sister's or best friend's crush.

Fearless diva
@ Carissa Pavlica

I like to add my own two cents here. I think that what Sara was essentially saying was that even Laurel isn't perfect and that she, just like the rest of us does have skeletons in their closet. Which is great because Laurel is one of those characters that the writers made to "saintly". Even Felicity and Diggle commented on this last season. Basically, Laurel could do no wrong in Oliver's eyes

@ Fearless Diva

You've hit upon something here: up until now, Laurel could do no wrong... in Oliver's eyes. Laurel, I think, had become a sort of talisman or idol for Oliver during his time on the island. The memory of her became almost a fantasy, a sort of exaggeration of the life he used to have. But, obviously, she's not *really* perfect - that idea of her as the representation of all that is good in his past life really is just a fantasy. This is something that Oliver, up to this point, hasn't actually accepted.

Enrique rea

I thoroughly enjoyed the episode. On a visceral level the show unlike other action shows truly delivers. As far as logic goes yes I can see some of your points but I agree with Robin Harry that the other characters aren't privy to what the audience knows. I'm sure the missing file will come up again and lead to something. The episode had a lot of moving parts - Roy and the Island for example- so i'm going to watch it again and see what i missed. Overall it was a strong episode with more on the way now that Roy is in training.

Fearless diva
@ Enrique Rea

They were obviously not going to reveal Sebastian Blood this early. I think he will most likely get unmasked in the season finale and from there... Oliver and his team will find out that they may have defeated Blood but there's someone even more dangerous lurking in the shadows(AKA: Deathstroke).

Sarah silva

I know a lot of people find Laurel annoying but I have always liked her. I feel really bad for her. Yes she took her dad's pills and has been drinking that is not good. However she is right about Sebastian and no one believes her, and she lost her job. I hope her downward spiral does not last long.
Carissa I agree with you : It was weeks ago that Oliver did not like Sebastian due his bad mouthing Oliver etc, however he chose to take his side over Laurel's. Yes Oliver does not see what the audience sees but he should believe her over Sebastian.
I am looking forward to Arrow training Roy.

Fearless diva
@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

But like Oliver pointed out at the end of the audience, Laurel has been his achille's heel. So while we, the audience know she's being set up, the characters don't. Which was basically the final nail on the coffin on his unwavering trust Ollie puts on her. What if the situation had been reversed? What if Laurel was actually wrong but Oliver continued to believe him? People would be complaining that Oliver's judgement is being clouded.


I found this episode kind of boring. Probably because I have a hard time empathizing with Laurel. Sara is more likeable. Though...Oliver is being an idiot...he just doesn't know it yet.


WOW, so many comments, so many opinions :)
I used to like the Arrow, I still do but it is getting a bit strange. The Laurel character is sooo annoying. Used to hope Oliver still can be with her one day but truly hope this is never going to happen. I'd rather see Felicity with him.
@Carissa - Great review but let me disagree with you on a couple of details.
"sisters do that all the time" NO! They don't!
I agree with you on the fact that Roy made a huge mistake putting Sin's life in danger but let's not forget that he's been injected with the miraculu which is messing with his head. I guess he's not really aware of the danger in those moments, he only thinks about his power. Yes, the missing file. Relax, this is not forgotten, it's just that now anyone only sees that it wasn't Blood under the mask. The missing file is going to be a recurring thing, don't worry.

@ martinelli

You mentioned that everyone is focused on the fact that it wasn't Blood under the skull mask, and suddenly I'm reminded of the first season episode when it wasn't Ollie under the hood, it was Diggle! I wonder how long it will take for this fact to occur to Oliver and his team?

@ Dreamrose

Oh - good one! You're really on your toes with this. Logistically, so much of it just doesn't gel. Keep your thoughts coming. I like them!


Deathstroke like a muthafuka !! #thumbsup

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 11 Quotes

Now I don't need his help to protect this city. Let's find us a bad guy.


His last name is Blood, that can't be a good sign.