TV Review: Arrow: Season 2: Episode 10: Blast Radius (CW)

Arrow Season 2: Episode 10: Blast Radius (May contain spoilers for Arrow:Season 2: Episode 9: Three Ghosts) 5 weeks have passed since… Hold on…I have to do this for just […]

Arrow Season 2: Episode 10: Blast Radius
(May contain spoilers for Arrow:Season 2: Episode 9: Three Ghosts)

5 weeks have passed since…

Hold on…I have to do this for just a moment…

Flash1
CAN ANYONE BELIVE THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!? Not only did we get Barry Allen, we got his origin story! Right before our very eyes! I don’t want to start rumors or anything, but I think someone in the world is walking around without a soul.

Alright…sorry about that.  Back to being semi-professional.

…the Arrow has put an end to the superhuman terrorist Cyrus Gold, Acolyte (played effectively by the imposing Graham Shiels), and the skull masked man is still at large. Frustrated with his search, Oliver turns his attention to his support of Sebastian Blood for mayor. However, his break from the hood is interrupted when a mad bomber begins setting off devices all over Starling City. Alderman Blood(Guest star Kevin Alejandro) announces an event in defiance to the attacks, which The Arrow attempts to advise against. When the alderman refuses to call it off, Oliver & company (HA!) go in to action to try and find the bomber before his next assault. Felicity manages to identify the bomber as Mark Sheffner (Guest star Sean Maher), and tracks him to an antique store, where Oliver encounters a deadly trap. Meanwhile, Laurel chases a lead in to Sebastian Blood’s past after finding a connection between him and Cyrus Gold, and Thea notices Roy acting suspicious, and tries to get the truth out of him. Blast Radius is directed by Rob Hardy, and scripted by Jake Coburn and Keto Shimizu.

Blast Radius

This episode sees a return to basics for Team Arrow, pulling back from the sci-fi heavy precursor, Three Ghosts. It gets off to a shaky beginning, with awkwardly delivered lines and inconsistent direction, but finds it’s own form and makes for a solid showing; though coming off the very eventful mid-season finale, it feels sparse in comparison. This is especially frustrating considering the proactive nature of the main characters. The bomber himself, who goes by the tag Shrapnel (DC Comics super villain), played with proficiency by Firefly’s Sean Maher, lacks any real grounding or evolution compared to some of the other well realized minor villains of the season (The Dollmaker, Deadshot, and Al Ow-Al for example).  For this, he suffers tremendously in the realization of the character, replacing moments of actual development with substandard villainous exposition, despite Maher’s attempts to give the role more life. Regardless, his threat makes his presence more convincingly dire, and makes the synergy of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity that much more apparent; owing the speed at which the episode moves to the efficiency of Team Arrow. Also, there should be a set number, per episode, of how many bullets are allowed to magically miss Oliver (the same goes for the frequency of rooftop vanishing acts).

Meanwhile, Roy is beginning to show symptoms of the Mirakuru, and Thea is starting to think that something might be wrong. Willa Holland’s dry wit, and matter-of-fact delivery, adds a bit of charm to this particular story-line, which otherwise doesn’t really have a whole lot going on. Regardless, Colton Haynes handles his character changes well, making this particular plot-line much more involved than it could have been.Blast Radius

Speaking of Mirakuru, the last time we saw Slade, on the island, his strength had increased exponentially; in the process, feeding his burning desire for revenge against Ivo. There isn’t a lot of time spent on the island this episode, but seeing the future relationship between Slade and Oliver start to take shape is a compelling plot-point, fueled effectively by their infrequency. Shado’s death is downplayed to an appropriate level, Manu Bennett continues to command the screen in his role of Slade, and Stephen Amell’s cowardly and inexperienced Oliver is an ideal contrast to his persona of The Arrow. As usual, these scenes are consistently impressive, thanks in no small part to their dramatic irony, and how they continue to add to the suspense of not where the story leads, but where it will stop along the way.

This time Laurel gets a more proactive role in the plot. After a startling discovery linking Blood with Cyrus Gold, the man who killed Officer Lance’s partner, she goes on the offensive, launching her own investigation. It’s good to see the character of Laurel getting something to do, but this direction takes her farther and farther away from her comic book counterpart. When they first started the series, I was worried that they were going to try and make her a Lois Lane, when she really isn’t like that in the source material. Then she had some strong scenes in season 1 that made me change my mind and really look forward to her character’s growth. Now we’re halfway through season 2 and it feels like they continue to take steps backward with her development. Although she manages a capable and consistently interesting plot-line in this episode, her strongest showing in the season was still the beginning, when she was hunting the Arrow herself. Katie Cassidy can do scared and damsel in distress quite well, but when her character is challenged she can also project confidence, and maintain a dominating presence.
Cop Dad

 

She manages a decent side-story, but isn’t really given anything to do beyond read papers, and project looks of fear, surprise, and awe (y’know…kind of like Lois Lane).

 

 

 

 

Final Word

All in all Blast Radius is a refreshing return to basics, putting the series back on the ground. The development of the weekly bad guy wasn’t substantial enough though, and ends up being the most detrimental of the problems. However, the competence and efficacy of Team Arrow is on full display. Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, and Emily Bett Rickards’ chemistry and cooperation remains the strongest asset of the show, and makes every scene involving them fun to watch. Colton Haynes and Willa Holland maintain an interesting narrative, but aren’t given enough screen time to do anything worthwhile with it, and Katie Cassidy’s Laurel continues to stagnate developmentally; but still manages to run a competent sidebar on her own.

Blast Radius

Ultimately, there are a lot of different arcs in this episode. The main focus stays too long on the bomber storyline, which is unfortunately the least interesting of the four; and though Sean Maher’s performance as Shrapnel is effective, due to a lack of character development and history, it is ultimately forgettable.  Also, though there are a few impressive trick shots and stunts, the action is practically nonexistent (not to mention the bad guys all shooting like Storm-Troopers). Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) doesn’t get enough screen-time, despite having a serious stake in the plot, luckily Manu Bennett’s Slade continues to drive the island flashbacks forward, and maintain a consistent interest in that story-line.

Blast Radius is easily to weakest entry of the season, but considering the season, it’s still pretty okay.

Also, I admit I was worried about the mask, but those fears have been put to rest.

–PS

ARROW: Blast Radius airs Wednesday, January 15, 8 PM/7 PM C

Image credits
(Images link to sources)

Featured Image:  Arrow — “Blast Radius” — Image AR210a_0046b (http://www.cwtv.com/shows/arrow/photos/00707530198) — Pictured: Stephen Amell as The Arrow — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Lightning Bolt: Used with permission by Laurel Brown (http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2013/12/arrow-gifs-explain-why-fans-need-the-flash-asap.html), Original image Arrow — “Three Ghosts” — 10-arrow-flash-spinoff-gifs-cw-lightning-1 –Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen /The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Sebastian Blood: Arrow — “Blast Radius” — Image AR210b_0021b — Pictured: Kevin Alejandro as Sebastian Blood — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Thea: Arrow — “Blast Radius” — Image AR210b_0235b — Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Willa Holland as Thea Queen — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Laurel: Arrow — “Lone Gunman” — Screencap Arrow: The Complete First Season: Warner Bros. Entertainment, CW, CBS Studios Inc. — Pictured: Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Arrow Motorcycle: Arrow — “Blast Radius” — Image AR210a_0096b — Pictured: Stephen Amell as The Arrow — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

 

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