Arrow’s eleventh episode was called Blind Spot. It began with Oliver’s quest for the man in the skull mask still – similar to last week – as he fired arrows at an apparently clueless individual. Laurel’s doubts over Sebastian continued to rise, almost to the point of an obsession as she tried to get Donner, her father and the Arrow to help her out. Though in truth, Laurel continued to unravel. Roy was also back in the thick of it, trying to control his newfound abilities with almost deadly consequences. We also had more Slade and more Ivo.
Blind spots were a key theme, on the island Sara’s blind spot seemed to be Ivo and Oliver’s blind spot was Laurel. In terms of the flashbacks and present day mimicking one another, this was the key comparison I could draw. Furthermore both reached a conclusion, both Sara and Oliver seemed to realise their blind spots and the need to drift away from them.
So! Onto the action…
The main storyline was Laurel and Sebastian – the idea of her doubts continuing to rise, a belief he was the man in the skull mask and a determination to find the truth.
She enlisted the Arrow’s help, with thanks to Quentin, who readily put behind him Laurel’s attempts to bring him down earlier this season. The final scene of the previous episode saw Laurel visit Sebastian’s mother who warned her he’s dangerous as Sebastian and the Arrow shook hands. We were back with Sebastian’s mother in the opening minutes, with the man himself visiting her. Ironically I thought he was going to spare her, I literally jumped when he popped up sporting the skull mask. I didn’t expect that. It shows Sebastian will cover his tracks at all costs and obviously Laurel was right – though the obsessive way she’s going about it seems to do her no favours.
Oliver rightly said Laurel is his blind spot and swore it wouldn’t happen any more towards the end, I felt a strange sense of deja vu after season 1, the Odyssey, in which Oliver was shot by his mother and told Diggle she was off limits until they know more. In a strange sense, Oliver is choosing to see past Laurel’s judgement and accept Sebastian is good. It’s dramatic irony of the highest order, as we know he’s up to no good – clearly there’s more to burn here.
Initially I thought she’d brought Blood to his end as she fired shots but it turned out it was good ol’ Officer Daly in the skull mask. That was an interesting twist, I can’t say I’m sad to see the end of Daly – he was a little dull. But with this twist and Laurel’s self-destruction, maybe we’re about to see this plot line fizzle out for just a little while. It’ll be picked up no doubt, but it appears other stories may be coming to the fore – I shan’t spoil you if you haven’t read the press releases.
The relationship between Sebastian and Slade in truth was more interesting than Laurel’s pursuit of Blood. Slade appears to have no qualms in taking out Blood if necessary, we also saw a glimpse of him in full Deathstroke gear – making that chilling threat to Blood at the end of the episode. He certainly can handle a sword and has no patience for failure. Could this relationship really deteriorate? Could Blood seek to bring Slade down? Or would fear of Mr Wilson prevent him from doing so? Manu Bennett is brilliantly intimidating as Slade and his plan, laid out in 2×09, is coming into gear. We were told that Blood is only getting close to Laurel as part of the plan to hurt the Arrow. Surely Blood must have an inkling of who the vigilante may be at some stage? Oliver came to see him to ask about Laurel, Slade wants him to go after Laurel to hurt the vigilante? As things pan out, could he make the jump? It’d certainly bring about a new dimension to their friendship… Or end it.
One of the other stories was that of Roy and his new abilities.
He enlisted Sin, wasn’t it good to have her back? Bex Taylor-Klaus is brilliant. But he enlisted her to help him ‘find a bad guy’ to do some vigilante work. They found a slime ball killer who Roy almost beat to death, accidentally smacking Sin in the process. I had a weird flashback to a scene in Spider-Man 3, dreadful movie that, but it played out in the same way – the ‘hero’ losing control and hurting someone he cares about. Roy’s struggle with it is intriguing, when you consider the vigilante work he used to do – by having powers you’d think he’d make the most of that. But clearly it’s not the case, he’s almost afraid of himself and apparently would have been happy for Oliver to put another arrow through him. However it would seem the Arrow is going to teach Roy how to control himself and his abilities, I’d suspect it won’t go smoothly but he’s gradually getting closer to the Arrow and his comicbook counterpart destiny.
Ivo continues to be, for me personally, one of the most compelling Arrow villains to date. Is he simply unhinged? Or is he deeply manipulative? The conversation he had with Sara was both simple and scary as he continued to try and weave her back to him. “Now the darkness is threatening me again, I need you Sara.” He said, whether he actually has a real darkness or is simply cold and manipulative is something I’m undecided on. His obsession with saving the human race and finding the Mirakuru makes for a good motive, it is sheer obsession. He’s utterly convinced the work he’s done is saving the human race. He’s not aware of the potential consequences, though he did seem haunted by his murdering of Shado. His explosion at the end as Sara refused to help him was chilling, it reminded me a little of Slade’s monologue in Three Ghosts. It’s going to be interesting to see where Ivo goes next, from a man who seemed fairly decent – if a little crazy – when introduced as he helped Sara, he’s fast becoming a cold and obsessed and in truth, a bit of a psychopath.
The flashbacks themselves were a slow burn, Ivo and Sara’s conversation was arguably the highlight. Oliver and Sara got to reconnect with the latter confessing she had an ’embarrassing crush’ on the former. There’s something undeniably likeable about Sara, credit has to go to Caity Lotz for that – she’s been a great addition to Arrow hasn’t she? Oliver’s trust in her seemed to be slightly shaken as she pondered taking Ivo up on his offer, though after flatly brushing the demented doctor aside her allegiance shouldn’t be in doubt. They’re now off to find Slade, really the flashbacks were setting up future episodes – Ivo now seems determined to bring Sara down, Ollie and Sara are off to find Slade and it’s building nicely.
One thing the writers should be commended for is their ability to carve character centric episodes yet still let you know Oliver is their main guy. It could be easy to have him slide away though Oliver still continues to be the lead – as it rightly should be.
Here’s the promo for next week’s episode ‘Tremors’: