Blast Radius Review: Slow… but with a bang

It’s been 66 days, but finally, tonight, Arrow returned and did so in an explosive but tame way. This wasn’t the most memorable episode ever, but it wasn’t the worst. If you were to compare it to last season’s midseason return, it outshines it, but a lot of the excitement came in the action, of which there wasn’t too much.

The villain of the week was another throw-away villain. There was no apparent backstory to him, or any explanation as to his motives for blowing up buildings. The one attempt at showing us some insight into Shrapnel’s life was poor, and didn’t do anything to affect our view of the character. Having these kinds of villains that we are meant to dislike just because they are committing crimes is what brings the show down a little, and I was disappointed that we had one here. Despite his lack of development, I enjoyed the danger he posed. The takedown was quite good but it was reasonably obvious that Oliver was going to shoot that wire.

Laurel continued her downward spiral by stealing and then taking her father’s drugs, all the while investigating Sebastian Blood.. and dating him at the same time. It’s gotten to the point where she seems like she could go and join Maya Resik in that mental institution. The worst part about it is that we know she’s right about Blood, but the way she is going about that, and everything else in her life, has just become annoying. No character development is better than developing the character to a point where they are disliked.

As we know, Sebastian Blood isn’t exactly the nicest face in town. Laurel’s suspicions are interesting because it will be interesting to see how Blood goes about dealing with them, and whether or not anyone else in Starling City believes their next mayor is a killer. What we do learn is some backstory on Blood. I’m still not quite sure whether or not the situation he described for his father’s death was accurate, even if it was he pulling the trigger instead of his mother, or if the whole thing was made up and he killed his father in cold blood.

There were some problems down in the ArrowCave, with Oliver getting frustrated about Felicity failing to keep track of Shrapnel. Oliver’s jealousy of Felicity and Barry was just as clear here as hers was after Oliver and Isobel’s indiscretion back in ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’. It wasn’t really the most enthralling portion of the episode, and it’s very disappointing that Diggle has to play marriage counsellor instead of having more storyline development. What also annoys me is how it was so easily resolved. The point should be to develop any story put in, especially if it involved two of the main three protagonists. If they’re going to have a falling out, make it last more than an episode, or, conversely, don’t make them have a falling out at all.

Roy has recovered quite well from the arrow in his leg, which considering his recent Mirakuru incident isn’t really surprising. What is surprising is how long it has taken Thea to notice any problems. Somehow, she hadn’t noticed how fast his leg had healed despite his (off-screen) obvious ability to walk properly. Now that she knows something is going on, it’ll be interesting to see how she reacts to all of this.

On the island, Slade’s Mirakuru injection began to take effect on a psychological level as well as a physical level. With Sara talking about the results of the research, it’ll be interesting to see how it affects Roy. Obviously, Slade cannot control himself and once he finds out that Oliver chose to save Sara instead of Shado, that will almost certainly be the end to their friendship. Slade seems to have gone lone wolf now, and it’ll be a race for Oliver and Sara to stop Slade from killing Ivo, and probably himself.

Here’s the promo for next week, titled ‘Blind Spot’.

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