Arrow Season 2 Episode 11 (TV Show Review)

With the show back on air for season 2 following the recent big break and the awesomeness of seeing Barry Allen on the show in the moments before he becomes The Flash, its time to get the momentum going once more for Arrow. The mid-season finale was a hell of a place to stop before the long break, and while the mid-season premiere wasn’t quite what I was looking for despite being a good episode, my enthusiasm in the show is undimmed. In fact, each and every week I am more and more excited because the show has surpassed pretty much all my expectations of it in this season.

Episode 11 is, first and foremost, aptly named: “Blind Spot“. It is all about the blind spots that the various leading characters have with regards to each other. This episode does a great job of thematically exploring that concept even though that’s pretty much what a lot of it has been about from the get go. But I dare say that nothing we’ve seen so far has been quite on point as in this episode. And additionally, the biggest thing of all, I finally got to saw one particular character kick ass just the way that I wanted the character to ever since the character’s first moment on the show. So indeed, this was a pretty good show.

Note: The review contains a spoiler to a really awesome and cool moment from the mid-season finale, episode nine.

Arrow Logo 0001As mentioned above, this episode is about blind spots in the character relationships. We see how Laurel is a blind spot for both Oliver and her father, Detective Lance. We see how Doctor Ivo is a blind spot for Sara. We see how Sebastian Blood is a blind spot for both the Arrow and for Slade Wilson, and how the latter has some ideas about fixing that particular problem. We see how Roy is a blind spot for Thea. We see how Roy’s need for action and the thrill of vigilantism is his blind spot as far as any relationship is concerned. The list continues on. Honestly, this particular episode could have been twice as long and I wouldn’t have said anything negative at all. One of the best things that season 2 has done is balance the character drama with the action really well and this episode is a perfect example of that.

The core plot of the episode is that Laurel is starting to doubt whether Sebastian Blood is who and what he says he is. The ending to the previous episode dropped a pretty big bomb of revelations on her and now she’s taking things one step further and she ends up going to the vigilante for help. This is a big turnaround for her this season since she started off by hating him and blaming him for Tommy’s death in the season 1 finale. She went as far as joining the DA’s office to bring him down, specifically. But now things have changed and she is stonewalled in her investigation, so she calls in the Arrow for help. It creates an interesting dynamic for her and I think the episode does a decent enough job exploring that, although I wanted to see more.

An episode like this does a lot to help her characterisation, which has been quite spotty since her start on the show, which is why I think she needs to be featured more in each episode. She is genuinely a character that I want to see more of, despite how annoying and inconsistent she can be. At least she is no Skye from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Some similar problems there, but Laurel is helped by the fact that she’s gotten much better writing, by far, when compared to Skye.

Given that Sebastian Blood is pretty much in cahoots with Slade Wilson, it is inevitable that he would find out about Laurel’s digging and he immediately takes steps to correct that. Sadly, some of it involves Laurel’s typical damsel in distress sequences, but the end result helps lift that subplot, so I won’t complain. Much. I feel that this episode is a very big transitioning moment for Laurel, and I’m interested to see where the writers take things from here since her life is pretty much shot up by the end. She has inevitably pushed people away or denied their help, and now she’s paying for all the mistakes that she’s made. Sad place to be in.

On the flip-side, we got to see Roy kick some serious butt in this episode. Having suffered through the effects of the mirakuru serum, he is just antsing up for a big fight with someone and Sin, the homeless girl shown to be a somewhat associate of Sara Lance’s Canary, helps give him a target. But things go downhill and we see Roy’s core exposed. He wants to do the right thing, to be a hero like the Arrow, whom he is infatuated with. But his natural aggression plus the effects of the serum conspire to keep his ambitions at bay. I kind of felt really bad for him. Just like Laurel, he can’t seem to catch a break either. He is damaged goods, and this episode takes things further.

And where Sara is concerned, with the flashbacks to the island, its nice to see her forge her own path going forward. Initially, her dialogue bothered me and I was kind of afraid where the writers were going with that whole thing, but its nice to see some… redemption in the end. As with her sister in the present, this episode is Sara’s moment of transition in the past. I think this is going to be the big shift that puts her on the path to joining the League of Assassins and eventually becoming Canary, one of its best agents.

Oliver himself didn’t get to do much here, and neither did Diggle or Felicity, but you know what, I’m totally fine with that. The last few episodes have shown quite an inordinate focus on them so its good to see that the supporting cast is also being developed, even though collectively that might be a hit or a miss. The important part is that the writers are taking every opportunity to really flesh the whole world out and I don’t think that the show could be in safer hands, in any way.

Given all the scenes that they have to do here, Katie Cassidy, Colton Haynes and Caity Lotz turn in some good performances, particularly the last two. Their scenes require a lot of emotional baggage and they performed those scenes flawlessly. With Cassidy, the only problem is that the episode doesn’t really give her a lot of material to really get engaged with. She is decent, but given the right material, she could do a whole lot more, and that’s one of the reasons why I don’t mind the flip-flops of her character so much. I’m waiting for that… right moment.

Arrow Cast 0001

And finally, the big moment that I mentioned right up top. It was awesome. A very brief moment for this episode, but so, so amazing in almost every way. It is just what I wanted and it hints at some great things to come as well. Said character hasn’t been seen in this particular interpretation since the character debuted on the show and I got to say that my jaw dropped when this sequence began. I was like… “yes, yes, yes!!!!!”. Arrow is not a show to stay away from its comic roots and this entire 5 second sequence is worth the entire season, easily.

Next week’s episode’s promises to do some more great things and I can’t wait to see it. There’s a medium-level change in status quo involved, and I’m really interested in how that plays out, not to mention all the other things that have been teased about it.

In the meantime, Arrow for me still remains as THE best show on television right now.

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

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Posted on January 26, 2014, in Arrow, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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