Arrow: 211 “Blind Spot” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
After a slow start to Arrow’s UK return last week, things are beginning to move forwards in Starling City, although after a run of episodes introducing well-known DC characters or new villains, “Blind Spot” falls short of being a really memorable instalment of this show.
Well, with the exception of one moment towards the end of the episode, but we’ll come to that further down the road.
My largely negative reaction may in this instance be partly due to the episode’s focus on Laurel, and it’s no secret to anyone who regularly reads my reviews that myself and Ms Lance are hardly the best of friends: while Katie Cassidy does a reasonable job with what she’s given, the character has never felt to me like the essential part of the fabric of the show that the writers want her to be. In some cases, a character-focused episode could be exactly the thing to fix such a relationship, but unfortunately “Blind Spot” doesn’t quite manage this.
The episode opens as Sebastian Blood pays a visit to his mother in the asylum, and almost literally scaring her to death with the skull mask after finding out that Laurel uncovered her identity last week. Laurel, meanwhile, is working to investigate Blood further, but is blocked by the Assistant District Attourney, who is already in an awkward position as the high-standing member of the legal community who took Vertigo on live television, and refuses to help Laurel in any way. So Laurel does what everyone in Starling City seems to do when this is the case, and calls for assistance from the Arrow, who naturally agrees to help.
In order to do this, he assists her in breaking in to the city records archive to find a file containing evidence about the death of Blood’s father. The break-in gets pretty tense as the SWAT team turn up to try and take Oliver down, but he and Laurel both manage to escape in a vaguely Tarzan-esque manner with what turns out to be an entirely empty file. Felicity works out that someone broke into the archive earlier in the week and stole the file, but she can’t work out who did so.
Anyway, shortly after Oliver pays him a visit to talk about Laurel, Blood is visited by a different and probably slightly less welcome figure: big bad eyepatch-wearing Slade, who doesn’t seem too happy with the way things are going. He considers Laurel a roadblock in his plans, and tells Blood that he needs to deal with the situation, so he calls in a favour from Daly, his mole within the police force, and Laurel is arrested for possession of narcotics.
Naturally, Quentin is none too pleased and gives her a stern talking to, basically passing responsibility for her onto Oliver. Then, shortly after she is released, Daly captures her to lure the Arrow out: obviously it works, and during the subsequent fight Laurel kills the man in the skull mask, revealed shortly after to be none other than…Officer Daly, having taken Blood’s place to shift suspicion.
As it turns out, the aftermath doesn’t work out too well for anyone involved: Laurel is cleared of criminal charges, but since her addiction has been uncovered she is fired from the DA’s office. But it’s Blood who things really don’t work out well for, as (in the best moment of the episode), Slade, in full Deathstroke armour, kills three of Blood’s men as recompense for his failure in dealing with Laurel.
While it didn’t exactly make up for the rest of the episode, this scene was a spectacular moment of fan service, and we got to see what a truly powerful threat Slade is in this situation: it looks like we’ve got a Big Bad even bigger and badder than Malcolm Merlyn was last season, and I’m excited to see what Slade has got in store for our heroes.
Meanwhile, Roy is continuing to struggle with his new superpowers: he shows Sin what he can do by punching through solid concrete, and tells her that he wants to use his abilities to do some good. So they track down a nasty piece of work who has been murdering hookers, but Roy beats him half to death and puts him in hospital with some pretty serious injuries. After finding out about this, Oliver decides that he needs help, and, as the Arrow, reaches out to Roy and offers to train him to control his strength, presumably utilising his experiences with Slade and the mirakuru on the island.
Speaking of which, there’s not a great deal going on in that particular storyline this week: Sara takes the team’s radio and talks to Ivo on the ship, who tells her that he never intended to hurt her and the choice Oliver had to make between her and Shado was ultimately and arbitrary one. He also offers her a trade: the mirakuru in return for safe passage off the island, and after considering it Sara turns it down, remembering the torture of the prisoners on that she witnessed Ivo perpetrate on the ship. It all feels as though it is building to something, but much like last week’s episode, that doesn’t make it entirely engaging content.
A few fun elements and one fantastic moment of nerdery save this episode from a much lower score, as Arrow seems to be treading water at the moment: everything seems to be slowly building under the surface, but at this stage in the second season potential for great future episodes isn’t really enough. Essentially I’m waiting for the show to reach back towards the peak it experienced just before the mid-season break, so here’s hoping another spectacular episode is just around the corner!