[This is a review of Arrow season 2, episode 11. There will be SPOILERS.]
People aren’t necessarily who you think they are. At least that’s the lesson Oliver and the citizens of Starling City have had to learn time and time again, especially since the arrival of the vigilante (who would really appreciate it if you started calling him the Arrow, by the way). The sense of duality, people living secret lives, and generally hiding behind masks – or hoods, as the case may be – has been a consistent theme in the world of Arrow, and considering the elements mentioned above are familiar staples of the superhero genre, it’s no surprise that the series keeps going back to that very deep well.
For its part, ‘Blind Spot’ is the logical continuation of last week’s ‘Blast Radius,’ an episode that devoted the majority of its runtime to setting up Oliver’s eventual confrontation with the man in the skull mask. And surprisingly, though Arrow has been devoting most of his vigilante time to tracking down the man responsible for injecting people (including Roy) with Mirakuru, it turns out someone else is after the same man, just from a completely different angle. In a move that helps push an underserved character to the forefront, ‘Blind Spot’ filters most of its story through the personal demons and addictions haunting Laurel, which, unsurprisingly, also serve to completely discredit her when she starts pointing an accusatory finger at Starling City’s new favorite son, Sebastian Blood.
Although Laurel’s fall from her perch in the Starling City DA’s office takes center stage, much of the episode generates a familiar throughline, and applying a simple twist of perspective. By combining the early problems with Roy’s newfound abilities and Laurel’s addiction to painkillers (in addition to her DUI troubles from earlier in the season) undermining her discovery about Blood – even though her instincts about him are spot on and, as Felicity states, “His last name is Blood. That can’t be a good sign” – the characters are offered a chance to experience things through a filter that was previously unique to Oliver’s experience.
When the vigilante was just The Vigilante and his method of operation was perforating people with arrows, he had almost no credibility, and, it seemed, didn’t care about policing his own abilities too much. Despite intending to serve the people, Oliver’s myopic thinking with regard to the list made it difficult to see him as anything other than a slight derivation on the criminals he was putting down. The theme of a misjudgment in someone’s character mostly works here, as it gets bounced back onto Laurel, and, to a lesser degree, Roy, but only because Sin and Oliver know what’s really going on with him.
The secondary intention of ‘Blind Spot’ is to show how Laurel continues to be a fixture in Oliver’s life, and his tendency to follow her instincts and trust her judgment could be a problem for both of them moving forward. While it’s great to see the series giving Katie Cassidy a little more screen time, it still feels like the writers aren’t sure where she fits in the ever-expanding Arrowverse. Thankfully, things are left unresolved all around; Roy’s tutelage is set to begin, while Sebastian Blood escapes Arrow’s wrath by sacrificing his mole inside the SCPD, meaning there’ll be another chance for everyone to redeem themselves.
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Tremors’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below: