“Blind Spot” is an improvement over last week’s episode of Arrow, but still doesn’t quite get the blood pumping the way some other episodes this season have managed to do. I know I called “Blast Radius” a “disposable” episode, and “Blind Spot” advances the season along far too much to be labeled as such, but there are a few things that keep it from really taking off. There will be major spoilers, so read on with caution if you haven’t watched yet!
For starters, I have to give credit to the opening with Sebastian Blood’s visit to his “aunt” at Langford. It’s moody and atmospheric, and right off the bat there’s a great bit of dialogue. “Still worshipping the old gods, I see,” Blood says, as he walks into the hospital room to find her saying her rosary. It’s a fun villain line, and since Sebastian Blood has mostly been the epitome of charm when not wearing that skull mask, seeing his “true self” creep through here was a nice touch.
And really, that’s the thing about “Blind Spot.” It exists to ratchet up the tension surrounding Sebastian Blood (in both of his identities), but it doesn’t always work. By dispensing with the villain of the week story (which is part of what made “Blast Radius” feel like a step backward) and focusing on Brother Blood again, it does at least feel like Arrow is moving forwards, and that’s what made much of the first half of the season work as well as it did. On the other hand, they may have tried to do a little too much this week.
Has there been a single episode in recent memory where our first shot of Laurel isn’t one where she’s frantically cramming a pill down her throat? I understand that this week her addiction issues finally came into play in terms of the larger plot, but enough is enough. Not only have they been telegraphing this virtually all season long, we’ve yet to see much in the way of any consequences for her behavior. And considering where she ended up at the end of this episode, it still feels too neat (we’re not in “State v. Queen” territory, though, so we’re safe). Plus, I realize that the raid for drugs on her apartment (can anyone get me a number on how many times that apartment has been trashed since the show started? We have to be pushing double digits by now, right?) was a set-up by Sebastian Blood to keep her off his trail, but really…a felony for what looked like an empty bottle of “opiates?” Starling City sure is tough on non-violent drug offenders, aren’t they? All that being said, Laurel made herself quite useful the last two weeks, which is great, as it’s the most she’s had to do since about this time last year.
While plot-heavy, “Blind Spot” is kind of action-light. It makes up for it in a few ways, though. The bit where Green Arrow and Laurel have to steal a paper file that has Sebastian Blood’s real history in it (I told you that Laurel had plenty to do this week) starts off as a fairly by-the-numbers break and enter/beat the clock scenario, but there’s one great shot from outside a window looking in as an arrow breaks through and Ollie and Laurel come diving out in the nick of time. Very comic book-y without being overly stylized, quite well-executed, and really exciting.
Roy also delivers an extraordinarily brutal beating to a serial killer, which involved at least one cool stunt and a gruesome splotch of blood on a windshield. But first things first. I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole Roy developing super powers/becoming even more brooding than before angle. It’s great to see him work closely with Sin, but their plan to take out a serial killer who is preying on prostitutes is so dopey that we knew it would go bad before it even happened. The fact that Sin got picked up by the right guy on the first try is also a little much…even for a show about superheroes. And then what? They bring this comatose, beaten-down guy to the hospital…but do they out him as the suspected killer? None of that is clear, and it all felt a little lazy. Thea’s unwitting participation in the whole thing was really funny, though, and any Thea/Sin/Roy scenes were quite lively.
By the end, when Brother Blood decides that the best way to get Laurel off his trail is to eliminate her, we’re firmly back in superhero show territory. The Green Arrow/Brother Blood fight is predictably excellent, and I’d like to point out that never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get to see a live-action Green Arrow/Brother Blood throwdown on prime time TV. But once again, there’s a convenient ending, and it’s Laurel who saves the day. For a moment, I was a bit shocked that they were going to dispose of Brother Blood so quickly, especially given the recent build-up, but no…it was just one of his flunkies in the skull mask. Why I let this surprise me, I’ll never know, but regardless, it was a relief. Blood is the best out and out bad guy the show has had, and I’m looking forward to seeing him totally go nuts in future episodes.
You’ll note I didn’t cover the island scenes. That’s because not much of consequence happens there, other than Sara’s divided loyalties becoming not-so-divided anymore. These were brief interludes, but there’s a hint of something larger coming for Professor Ivo, and I’m honestly stumped as to what it could be.
All in all, an uneven episode…but there’s enough there to push it to a three star rating. You wanna know where that last half a star came from? Slade. Modern day Slade. Badass, business suit, eyepatch, and goatee-rocking Slade Wilson. More, please. Every damn episode, if at all possible. And in case that isn’t enough, we get the full-blown Deathstroke the Terminator from him by the end. You thought the Deathstroke-type suit from season one’s island sequences were cool? This one buries it. I’m rather enjoying this little corner of the live-action DC Universe, and the promise of more costumed baddies in general and Deathstroke in particular is positively delicious.
DC Universe Watch
Again, not much on the DC Universe stuff, am I right? We did get DA Spencer name-dropped, and that’s Kate Spencer/Manhunter…but if there were more, they slipped past me. It looks like Roy’s promotion to superhero status is something we’ll see by season’s end (with or without the enhanced powers), and we got some quality time with Sin, but other than that, this was too plot-heavy an episode to really plant too many easter eggs. I did miss some big ones last week, so please point ’em out in the comments!