All of the information we've been clamoring for was revealed on Arrow Season 2 Episode 9.
Oliver was plagued by stress-related hallucinations that gave viewers a lot of insight into his character and prepared us for the big reveal at the end.
The installment was the perfect setup for the second half of Arrow Season 2, and it was also yet another non-Christmas Christmas episode in what has turned out to be the "thing" this holiday season. It does make it easier, I suppose, for those who binge watch in the middle of summer, for example.
The theme of "Three Ghosts" was, of course, a nod to Dickens' A Christmas Carol. What Oliver didn't know was that all of his ghosts weren't in the past at all, and one was manipulating his present. Aha - a Christmas present!
While it certainly makes sense to give The Flash his own show, having Barry Allen around was a lot of fun and I'll miss his presence. He was the catalyst for change to the team and when someone can have a positive effect on a tight-knit group, they're always welcome.
Although Oliver was dying, he still didn't like Felicity making the decision to reveal his identity to Barry. He was pouty and petulant about it, feeling betrayed. Without Allen, not only would he have died, he wouldn't have gotten his new mask. You have to love the lines the writers gave Barry.
Not to tell you how to do your vigilante-ing but the grease paint thing is a poor identity concealer.Barry
Really? Who knew? Now if only Oliver would cover that gorgeous jaw line which anyone would recognize a light year away.
As Cyrus Gold terrified Starling City, Oliver was seeing ghosts. The first was Shado, and unfortunately we have confirmation of her death. There's no coming back from a bullet to the head. Ivo did that when Oliver "chose" to save Sara by kneeling in front of her instead of Shado.
Her island scenes are over, unless he flashes back even further than the timeline he's in now. Shado's ghost wanted him to live and stop placing himself in jeopardy.
His second ghost was Slade, who accused him of being Arrow to atone for his own sins, such as allowing Shado and him to die. He didn't buy the BS about his father, and told him he belonged with him, wherever that was. Oliver really gets into his hallucinations. He even threw himself into a display case and broke the sucker. That's commitment.
Oliver's third ghost was Tommy, and it was the most surprising. For some reason, I didn't expect him even though there was every reason he should be at the top of the list. Since the first two were from the island, I expected the final visit to be from Robert Queen. Seeing Tommy give the heartfelt speech to his friend wrenched my heart just a bit.
The Internet went wild when Diggle was scouting Cyrus Gold and said "Solomon Grundy born on a Monday," and Oliver said he knew the poem, which symbolized the seven stages of death. It's a moniker that Gold adopts in the comics after he dies and comes back as the first comic zombie after being murdered and dumped in Slaughter Swamp.
Roy, Thea and Sin were still trying to find out about their friend, but it was all to get Sebastian Blood to give Roy Mirakuru. That's right. Little Roy just became a super soldier. He was out most of the time Arrow was saving his ass, so I'm not sure how much of that he'll remember, but if mayoral candidate Sebastian Blood get to him as I'm expecting (the red hoodie and all that), he's going to have a hell of a nemesis for the Arrow in his new soldier.
Roy is still angry at Arrow for shooting him, but he's now healed. The wound was fixed right up after the serum took effect. Thea is behind her guy in his desire to go it alone, which is a far cry from her stance a month earlier. With his new physical presence, her support and Blood's support, things are going to get interesting.
Blood was also getting intimate with Laurel, in one more horrible decision on her part. With Lance in the hospital because of Blood and Gold, she was accepting hugs of concern outside his room without knowing that he was the cause of it all. Someday she will, and it will undoubtedly crush her just a bit more as she searches for rock bottom before she can return as a new version of herself.
There were two big reveals at the end. I'm not sure which was bigger. One has a large impact on the show and one spins off into The Flash; we'll talk about the latter first.
Barry and Felicity had a few moments and he kind of admitted he had feelings for her she didn't return, and he thought she had feelings for Oliver. Once they got all of that out, he was in a hurry to get back to Central City to see the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator turned on. He was late, as usual.
Barry was standing in his office, the floor covered in water during a horrible electrical storm with rain pouring down, when he went over to the sky light to pull on some enormous chains. The accelerator exploded, he was struck by lightening and his face was lit up, kind of like Dorian's in Almost Human. There are nanites or something in Barry Allen now. A new superhero was born.
Both Barry and Roy were infused with powers tonight, but we won't get to see Barry until he either gets his own series or that falls through and he becomes a part of the Arrow-verse. I'm not sure which one I want more at this point.
The second revelation was the discovery of Blood's boss. As expected, a blood donor was at the bottom of the Mirakuru serum. Oliver's ghost was of the present, because Slade Wilson is alive and well, sans one eye, in Starling City. He woke just after receiving his injection on the island and immediately found Shado dead. Hell hath no fury like a super soldier scorned.
Slade told Blood Oliver is his friend, and I think he still considers him that, even though he believes he was betrayed. Time doesn't heal all wounds, it gives them time to fester and bring them to the boiling point. The pain between Slade and Oliver will be an ultimate fight. Will these men stray from the fates of their comic characters? Can they be redeemed?
With the recent mention of H.I.V.E. and the presence of Deathstroke, it will be interesting to see if they come together in the death of Diggle's brother. Slade may be beyond redemption. Given what they've all been through, are any of them beyond that point? I guess we'll find out.
I'm sure there are a hundred other things that happened or are worth discussion that I didn't touch upon. That's your job. Hit the comments and strike up a conversation. Let's get this ball rolling!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.