Arrow Season 2 Episode 10 (TV Show Review)

Its been a long, long wait, but after almost a month, Arrow returned this week to CW and all was right with the world. In episode 9, the mid-season finale before the Christmas/New Year break, we got a really good half-resolution to the second season and saw a lot of new beginnings for various characters. Mirakuru, Sebastian Blood, Slade Wilson, Barry Allen, Roy, and a lot of other things got addressed, and it was a really fun time. There was also a character death involved, which was really heartbreaking, but something like that was coming, so I wasn’t too shocked by it. Saddened yes. Still, all in all, CW ended things on a good note.

And now we are here with episode 10 as things get back underway once more and we see some bigger changes on the horizon than we have seen before. Overall, while I liked the new episode, I have to say that at times it felt as if the writers were channeling the season 1 mentality rather than the season 2 mentality. The show wasn’t quite as intense as previous episodes have been this season and if I had to sum it up, I’d say that they played off things safe rather than take some left-field chances. But that’s fine with me. There’s been a long break in between the mid-season finale and this episode, so they need to rebuild their momentum so to speak.

Arrow Logo 0001This episode sees the on-screen debut of DC villain Shrapnel, played by the excellent Sean Maher who had a pretty damn good (brief) fun on Firefly alongside Arrow star Summer Glau who played his sister on that show. Maher has also been in other big shows like Warehouse 13 and The Playboy Club, although I haven’t seen those. One of the things I was wishing for when it was announced that he would be stepping in was that there’d be some sort of a scene between him and Summer’s character Isabel Rochev, a corporate heavyweight who manages Queen Consolidated as Oliver’s partner, but sadly, that is something that this episode does not deliver on in any way. In fact, Isabel hasn’t really been around for a while, and that saddens me since I really like her character (and the actress of course), so I would like to see more of her. Additionally, while I enjoyed seeing Sean Maher return to a sci-fi property like Arrow, he was underused. A lot more could have been done with his character I feel, since he was largely just a one-off villain, or close to it, here.

Still, all things said and done, its nice of the show to temporarily focus on a villain other than Sebastian Blood and his mysterious benefactor. The larger story here has focused on Blood, as well as the League of the Assassins, so there hasn’t been all that much room for smaller villains barring a few exceptions and that’s a niche that this episode fills quite well.

Where Blood himself is concerned, he has grown a lot since his first appearance. He started off as an alderman looking to help the people of Starling in the wake of the destruction of the Glades thanks to Malcolm Merlyn’s crazy plans, and now he is in the running to become the next Mayor of Starling. Blood has been somewhat of a quiet villain in that his “bad stuff” has largely been confined to when he wears his demonic mask, rather than when he doesn’t. It has created a really interesting dichotomy that the show has done well to explore and the mid-season finale’s reveal about his benefactor has me really amped up to see where the larger plot thread is going. Given his importance in the show thus far, he is definitely the season-long villain, despite his quieter moments when compared to Malcolm. We see some really interesting reveals about him at the end of the episode, and those proved to be quite sinister and even a bit creepy.

This guy is definitely a psychopath of sorts, and I wouldn’t want to meet this guy in a dark alley, ever. I hope that the writers continue to do more with him, particularly since Kevin Alejandro has been so damn good in that role. I first saw him in True Blood and he was quite decent there, but Sebastian Blood has been a complete about-face in that respect and Kevin has played the role admirably. He is one of the reasons that I keep coming back to the show with so much excitement this season.

On the other front, we continue to see things develop between the Queens, and Oliver’s relationship with Diggle and Felicity go to some new lengths. On the one hand we see that Oliver finally has his family together, that they are now past all the subterfuge and what not (despite the revelation about Thea from a few episodes back). On the other hand, we see how Oliver’s dependency on his co-conspirators has mad him lax and even frustrated to a degree. When he started the whole vigilante business, he was going to do everything by himself, but now Diggle and Felicity have become an integral part of his operations and he has come to really rely on their skills and expertise. And when something goes wrong, he can get a bit short-tempered. With the Mirakuru now loose in Starling and no leads on the whole debacle, he is even more antsy with a tendency to lash out. What I really liked about that angle though was that the relationship between Oliver and Felicity was firmly kept platonic here, and that’s all the more important since Felicity now has a small but growing relationship with Barry, although five weeks on since the events of Three Ghosts, Barry is still in a coma following his accident (aka turned him into a superhero). So that’s that.

Arrow Cast 0001

And the island scenes, well, they lacked a bit of a punch, but we are finally starting to see Mirakuru affect Slade and none of it is pretty. The gene-drug works on both mind and body and everybody’s favourite close-combat specialist is not having a good time of coming back from the dead.

Stephen Amell, Colton Haynes, Manu Bennett, Emily Bett Rickards and everyone else involvd delivered a pretty good performance with this episode. Things have slowed down in terms of the story and there aren’t all that many “tough” scenes that really push them into doing more, but that’s fine I think. Like I said, the momentum needs to be rebuilt following the month-long break. There is so much going on here that at times it can get a little overbearing, but the execution is damn good, helped by all the actors doing their jobs damn well, so that definitely helps.

Oh and one thing more. Laurel is back once more, and I kind of liked how she was portrayed by the writers this time around, and how Katie Cassidy played her. She has started to suspect that something might not be right with Sebastian Blood, who is kind of her boyfriend right now but not quite, and she has started to investigate deeper into his back story. Its a really great angle that parallels Oliver’s own relationship with him, but going in the opposite direction, and that’s where this episode ends. Another dichotomy that I absolutely loved. This subplot adds a lot to Laurel’s character arc this season, which has been somewhat disappointing of late, but this marks an up-surge I feel. She is shown to be smart, resourceful and independent, which is how I’ve wanted to see her. She is looking beyond facades to see what lies beneath and that’s great!

All in all, while this isn’t exactly the mid-season premiere that I was looking for, Blast Radius is still a good episode in the second season and it builds up a lot of threads that I can’t wait to see explored further in the future episodes.

More Arrow: Reviews of all the second season episodes can be found here.

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Posted on January 17, 2014, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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