Never trust a man whose last name is Blood. I don’t know if that is just making assumptions but when your name sounds evil in TV or movies, it usually means you’re very evil. This was the case with this weeks Arrow, “Blast Radius” which had a surprisingly thin A plot in favor of fleshing one of this seasons big bad, Sebastian Blood. Not that there was a problem as Blood is a complex and sophisticated villain, but it does mean that our villain of the week got maybe five total minutes of screentime. “Blast Radius” does what Arrow has done so well this season, make all of the side plots accessible and enjoyable to watch. Whether it was Roy’s attempt to hide his new-found strength and healing factor, or the tension between Ollie and Felicity. Each storyline had a gratifying enough payoff that makes me excited to see where things go next. So lets dive in.
Ok, Kevin Alejandro, you have definitely earned my respect for your portrayal of Sebastian Blood. Every part of Blood’s manipulative, lying, preachy nature has been portrayed pitch perfect, but that lie to Laurel was the cherry on top. His lie was so heartbreaking and believable that I honestly felt bad for him right up until the reveal Blood is keeping his own mother imprisoned in a mental hospital. That was stone cold psychopath work right there and to know that Blood would rather live as an orphan then be caught by the police tells you so much about who he is as a person. With all of this great work tonight, I really want to see how he interacts with Slade, as I could not tell if Blood works with him out of fear or admiration. I’m even more interested in seeing how long his relationship with Ollie and The Arrow lasts as that could be a really strong card if Blood ever decides to turn on Slade.
Speaking of Slade, he does not seem to be doing so well on the island as we are beginning to see the origins of Deathstroke and the demise of Team Island. Yes, it is very understandable that Slade is on the warpath after Shado’s death, but to see him have such an amazing lack of awareness about the situation was truly scary. Up to this point, Slade had always been the man with a plan, granted that plan always involved dropping a ton of bodies, but it was a plan nonetheless. Now however, Slade is so unhinged and mistrusting that he almost strangled his only remaining friend to death and has subsequently abandoned him while running of with the Mirakuru. Manu Bennet is did a fantastic job of playing a Slade who is really on the edge and lacks the control he once valued. I don’t know what Slade plans to do with all that super juice but I can’t imagine it will be good for either side.
As for the Roy storyline, we knew he was not going to be able to keep his strength and healing factor hidden for long. What is weird is Roy seems rather hesitant to show off his new strength, preferring to hide it away until he has it all figured out. This is very unlike him as a character and I wonder if he is doing this out of fear or because he has suddenly matured. What bothered me about this storyline is that Ollie apparently has not been keeping tabs on Roy in the five weeks since he got injected. That seems really sloppy for Ollie, especially when he knows first hand how dangerous Mirakuru can be. Hopefully Ollie will be more proactive this time around instead of letting Roy feel out his new abilities on his own.
My only major complaint about this weeks episode was the use of Shrapnel, played by Sean Maher. It’s not that Shrapnel was a bad villain or that Maher did anything wrong, but it felt like he should have been a much more vital part of the story as a whole rather than that of a silly side plot. This is especially true given Sean Maher’s talent and range, he should have had a real standoff with Ollie and not a short interaction. It was another case of Arrow misusing the talent because they had a more important story to tell. I really wanted Shrapnel to be fleshed out, but luckily he was not killed off so there is hope for a return, and possibly a scene with Summer Glau. Do it Arrow writers, you know the internet would collectively fangasm at that scene.
Overall it was a strong start to the back half of the season.
Final Grade B+
+Sebastian Blood is a real interesting villain
+The island flashbacks provided some quality stuff
+Roy hiding his powers
-Shrapnel way underused and one note
-Ollie and Felicity tension was really forced
-If you want more Brother Blood, go rewatch season three of Teen Titans. He is portrayed magnificently by John DiMaggio.
-So how did no one notice Laurel stealing her father’s pills? I thought Det. Lance was a smart cop.
-Barry has been in a coma for five weeks, hopefully he develops his trademark Flash appetite.