[This is a review of Arrow season 2, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]
Prior to going on hiatus, Arrow managed to cover a great deal of ground with ‘Three Ghosts.’ Not only did it set up the series’ storyline with regard to Sebastian Blood, his connections to the present day, slightly-graying Slade Wilson and the army of super soldiers they plan to build as part of a vendetta against Oliver Queen, but it also managed to work in the genesis of a whole new series revolving around Barry Allen and his soon-to-be discovered super powers. (When he wakes up from the coma he’s in, that is.)
With all the drama and world-building that’d gone on the weeks leading up to the winter hiatus, it’s not hard to imagine that even as a mid-season premiere, Arrow might want to offer up something close to a one-off episode, just to get everyone back up to speed. In a sense, ‘Blast Radius’ is that episode; it’s essentially there to set Arrow’s sights on Sebastian Blood – just when he’s finished with the public shaming of Oliver Queen and Queen Consolidated over the rather unfortunate incident involving the near-complete destruction of the Glades and hundreds of deaths caused by Malcolm Merlyn.
As ‘Three Ghosts’ revealed, Blood is part of a larger storyline that includes the aforementioned Slade Wilson (who only appears here as an increasingly agitated and unstable mercenary in flashback), but he is also the impetus for finally inviting Laurel into the plot. Now that the great love affair between her and Ollie has apparently been suspended in the wake of Tommy’s death (and the writers’ clear interest in pursuing something between Oliver and Felicity), Laurel’s been given a professional boost, but little in the way of her own arc.
While sniffing around Sebastian Blood’s past on a hunch doesn’t exactly make for anything terribly compelling – though Cassidy does get to share a scene with her (also underutilized) on-screen father – it is about on par with the kind of plot we would normally expect from Laurel, even though her investigation consists primarily of asking Blood about growing up an orphan and his ties to Cyrus Gold, and then going to a mental institution to question his aunt (spoiler: it’s really his mom). And with that information, it seems likely Sebastian Blood’s chances at becoming Starling City’s next mayor have decreased dramatically.
Ultimately, ‘Blast Radius’ is just here to act as the bridge between events; it’s the furthering of several plots, which gets characters caught up on plot points the audience is already aware of. That makes it possible for the Blood storyline to move toward Sebastian’s inevitable confrontation with Arrow, and, perhaps the revelation that Slade’s behind it all. But that requires the set up we see here. And in order to buy some time and give Arrow some vigilante-ing to do, the episode comes incredibly close to putting on a mini Firefly reunion, by having Sean Maher guest star as mad bomber Mark Scheffer/Shrapnel. Sadly, there wasn’t enough reason to throw Isabel Rochev into the mix, so fans will just have to wait for the Tam siblings’ on-screen reunion.
As far as table setting goes, this was a fast-paced and fun episode that certainly hints at bigger things to come. So, really, the only thing left to say is: bring ’em on.
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Blind Spot’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below: