Whereas last week’s Blast Radius gave us a decent, solid return for The CW’s Arrow, this week’s episode looks to amp things up a little. With Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) snooping just a little too much for the liking of Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro), Blood and his puppet master Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) look to take Laurel out of the equation. In an act of desperation – the last time they met, she lured him into the sights of an attack squad – Laurel turns to the only person that can stop Blood: the Arrow (Stephen Amell).
Whilst Arrow is still on his quest to bring down ‘the man with the skull mask,’ his alter-ego of Oliver Queen is firmly behind Sebastian Blood’s run for control of Starling City, unaware that Blood and the man he seeks are one and the same. Adding to Oliver’s troubles is his growing concerns over Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), with Oliver worried as to how the young street-kid will react to having been injected with the mirakuru serum. Desperate to avoid telling girlfriend Thea Queen (Willa Holland) of his new-found powers, Roy turns to Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus). Deciding to demonstrate his powers on some curb-crawling serial killer, Roy loses control and nearly kills the guy, much to Sin’s shock. Just how will Roy Harper, often so troubled in the comic book world, deal with his issues in the Arrow world?
As for the island flashbacks for Blind Spot, Slade is still AWOL and Professor Ivo (Dylan Neal) is dangling freedom as a carrot in the faces of the stranded Oliver Queen and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) to test their mettle. That’s pretty much about it on that front, with most of this week’s scenes set in modern-day Starling City.
And that brings me to the villains of the piece. The early scene with Sebastian Blood visiting his incarcerated mother is simply chilling, like something out of a grimy, supernatural horror film. Now whilst Brother Blood gets to thrown down with the Arrow at one point – and yes, it’s pretty cool to see… and of course, there’s a twist – it’s with Slade Wilson that fans will get the most enjoyment. Proving to be the empowered, strategist overseeing the Arrow’s planned demise, this telling of Slade is brilliant to watch. Despite generally remaining calm, this man is clearly not one to be fucked with. Slade in a suit and eye patch demands respect but, even cooler for long-time comic book fans, we get to see Slade Wilson as Deathstroke in this episode. And whilst ‘Slade in a suit’ demands respect, it’s safe to say that Deathstroke simply slices it out of you, as he gives Sebastian Blood a demonstration of just how brutally clinical he can be.
Blast Radius gives us a few twists and turns through its running time, and we’re left with several questions going forward. Added to that, it’s still awesome to just see two comic book characters going at it on the small screen, so the Arrow/Brother Blood stuff gets a thumbs up from me, and it goes without saying that seeing Deathstroke is always going to be a winner.
Arrow is a something that isn’t afraid of what it is. In a world where we have grown accustomed to seeing comic book characters appearing in films – I’m looking at you Man of Steel and Nolan’s Batman trilogy – that are seemingly ashamed to be seen as an adaptation of a beloved comic book character, it’s great to see Arrow being open and comfortable with what it is. Nolan’s movies and Man of Steel took the grounded-in-reality approach and shoved it down our throats, but we, as fans of these characters, don’t need to see justification in what goes on in these films; there doesn’t need to be real worldly explanations. If you tune in to watch something based on a comic book, be it on the big screen or small screen, you have to be going into it with a certain part of logic left at the door; you need to enjoy it for what it is. That’s why the recent spate of Warner Bros/DC movies dug themselves into a hole at times, as they were looking to pull things from the comic books yet explain them in real world terms – something which isn’t always possible. I digress, as I’m aware I’m going waaaaay off point, but Arrow balances things just right, and the show’s cast and crew deserve massive props for this. During the opening, Sebastian Blood spews lines that could’ve been literally pulled from the page of a comic book; during a cat-and-mouse escape, there’s a beautiful shot of the Arrow firing an arrow through a window pane before spilling out into the night – something that’s pure comic book in its execution; as Arrow takes aim at Brother Blood, who’s holding Laurel hostage, Amell delivers some wonderful lines, through gritted teeth, that are pure ‘comic book.’ Some may watch these particular scenes and find them a little too much, a little too over-the-top, but Arrow is a show that isn’t afraid to risk this wrath.
Back to the case at hand: Blind Spot. Very good episode. Lots of great development for Brother Blood. Some badass Slade Wilson/Deathstroke moments. Great dialogue perfectly in tone with the comic book Green Arrow tales. Nicely shot direction. Amell again brilliant as the simmering Oliver Queen/Arrow.
Right, I’m off for a lie down before I continue to rant about the big screen WB/DC world. Arrow, just keep doing what you’re doing.
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