Brian West

Arrow “Blast Radius” Episode Review

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Never trust a guy named Blood……

Spoilers ahead….You’ve been warned….
Arrow returns from it’s mid-season break this week ready to kick up the excitement another notch and continue the streak of great season two episodes……at least that’s what I wanted to write before I actually watched “Blast Radius”. Unfortunately this week was little more than season filler, with a villain of the week that was barely worth mentioning. But given how good Arrow has been this year, it really was only a matter of time before we got at least one below average episode that didn’t have some huge reveal or new season changing plot line. All that said, this is still Arrow we’re talking about here, so there is still plenty of stuff going on worth talking about.

Arrow has had it’s fair share of weak one-shot villains in the past, but Shrapnel might take the cake. I mean he really took bad two dimensional characters to a new level. I guess to be fair, Shrapnel only had like five minutes of air time, and on top of that his story felt more like something added on to the episode than written as the main plot. Basically, Arrow needed something to do besides figure out who Brother Blood is, so Shrapnel was volunteered to get arrows shot at him. I know there was some kind of back story there, I think he hated the government or something like that, but honestly it just never really mattered. This was a throw away character with a throw away story. Hopefully Shrapnel won’t be returning for future episodes.
The bulk of the most interesting parts of “Blast Radius” focused on Sebastian Blood, and the two people suffering the effects of being injected with Mirakuru, Island Slade and Roy. Sebastian Blood got a lot of good back story, or at least some good lies about his back story this week. He is really starting to lay it thick on the people of Starling City as he starts his campaign to become mayor of the city, clearly part of the master plan his real boss Deathstroke has set in motion. Sadly no Deathstroke this week, but if the preview for next week is any indication, he will be here soon. I digress, Blood is the story this week and I did find it a little stretch that Oliver has been sucked so easily into his web of lies. Oliver has been so distrustful of anyone, it just seems strange that a guy named Blood is gonna be the one he decides to back. “Blast Radius” did do a good job of further fleshing out Blood as a villain, even if all any of us care about is his boss. We also got to start seeing the other side effect of Mirakuru besides super powers: mental instability. Island Slade in particular seems to be losing it, but both he and Roy seem prone to being dangerously on edge. Slade almost killing Oliver on the island over nothing in particular, might be giving us our first glimpse into what eventually brings about the demise of their friendship. Roy on the other hand seems to be embracing his new powers and possible hero status, even if he is still a little freaked out by them. This might finally be the start of Red Arrow making his way to the show.

Finally!!!! It’s about time Laurel has something to do this season besides drink, pop pills, or cry over Tommy. I was starting to wonder if the writers were going to write Laurel’s character off the show completely given how little she has been involved with anything this year. To make things worse, even when she was part of an episode, it almost always been the worst part of the show. It looks like that might soon be changing though. Blast Radius Laurel is the first one to realize that maybe Sebastian Blood isn’t all that he seems. I liked how she is finally trusting her instincts that something isn’t right with Blood, and it was great when she told Oliver as much when she compared her feelings of him to Blood. Given how much she’s been lied to on the show, if anyone should be able to start spotting liars its Laurel. There might be hope for her yet.

The last few things of note this week involved the larger DC universe as a whole. The first little tidbit was this episode’s continual use of the number 52. Any DC comic fan can tell you how important that number is to the DC universe, mostly because it references the 52 different versions of Earth. Is it possible that Arrow will be digging into DC’s muti-universe, or is this just an Easter egg for us fans. Either way, I love how much Arrow embraces it’s DC heritage. The other DC thing that surprised me, was how much follow up we got this week to the fallout of Barry Allen being struck by lightning at the end of “Three Ghosts”, and how much that impacted the relationship between Oliver and Felicity. After the Flash episode was pulled from the end of this season, I figured that would be the last we saw or heard of Barry Allen, at least for this year. That said, I was happy to see him keep some connection to Arrow other than Oliver’s new mask (which did grow on me by the end of the episode), and with how much Felicity and him hit it off it made sense she would be with him while he was in his coma. What I understood less was Olivers reaction to having to share Felicity. It made Oliver look like a jealous boyfriend, and with how much he’s gone out of his way to let Felicity know they can’t be together, it just seemed out of character. I was glad that by the end of the episode Oliver had gotten over this particular issue, it was a something that felt forced and needed quick resolution.

This definitely wasn’t the strongest week of Arrow. With an extremely weak villain of the week and a few plot lines that felt forced or out of character, “Blast Radius” failed to have much of an impact. Fortunately, there was at least the usual good action and decent progress to the season long stories that helped keep this episode from being a complete dud. Arrow has been so good that I’ll give this week a pass, especially with an awesome looking Deathstroke introduction on the horizon.

I give 6.75/10 reasons that “Blast Radius” was mostly a dud.

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