TV Review: Arrow: Season 2: Episode 11: Blind Spot (CW)

The following review contains spoilers.  If you haven’t seen Arrow: Season 2: Blind Spot yet…why not? The day of the premiere of Blind Spot, Stephen Amell posted this on his […]

The following review contains spoilers.  If you haven’t seen Arrow: Season 2: Blind Spot yet…why not?

The day of the premiere of Blind Spot, Stephen Amell posted this on his official Facebook page.
3 hours
But he was wrong. There was no high-fiving.

…there was however cheering, and shouting, and hugging.

 

It’s all about mistakes in this week’s Arrow. Oliver’s trust of the Alderman, Laurel’s drug problem, Sebastian’s sloppiness, and Roy’s pride. The truly impressive thing about it all, is how well it fits together. Oliver has decided to work together with Sebastian Blood for the good of Starling City and, in the process, has started to trust him. But this isn’t something that Oliver can just do, so it solidifies it’s importance. But when Laurel starts to question whether or not Sebastian Blood really has the good of the people of Starling at heart, Oliver has to decide between trusting his old friend or a new one. In so doing, he discovers a blind spot (see what they did there?) when it comes to Laurel.  Blind Spot

Like almost all the episodes of the second season, this one follows the 3 arc formula. Team Arrow’s, Roy’s, and the island. This time though, the villains get their own minor arc, and it pulls out all the stops.

It’s difficult to determine where to start this review. So let’s begin with the main arc. Arrow is searching for the skull masked man, and Laurel has contacted him with a possible lead. She insists that Sebastian Blood is not who he claims to be. Oliver ignores his own perception about Sebastian and decides to hear her out. And what she says is convincing. We’ve seen her gather her own evidence as the show has progressed, so when it comes time for her to lay it all out on the table and come up with a compelling reason that Sebastian Blood is a murderer, she handles it expertly(Kind of like a lawyer). This makes Oliver’s reasons for looking in to Blood’s past much more believable. But he’s conflicted, in no small part thanks to Diggle’s suggestion that maybe the reason the argument sounds so convincing was because it was from Laurel. This puts another important function of Team Arrow on display in this episode, and that is the point-counterpoint from Diggle and Felicity. They constantly challenge Oliver’s judgment, and make sure he has considered all possible avenues before they make a move. The team are always bouncing ideas, talking, investigating, and testing scenarios. Since a lot of this episode sees them sitting around and doing just that, a significant percentage of the burden of exposition is put on their chemistry and ability to function as a team. And as usual, they nail it. Their personalities, how they react to each other, and account for what they’ve been through together makes the simple conversations about their investigation that much more interesting to watch, and stays the show’s most consistently positive aspect. Blind Spot

Laurel and the Arrow’s personal team-up creates a dynamic chemistry on it’s own, and probably gives them the most time they’ve had on the same screen together since the show began. She distrusts the Arrow, but she needs him if she’s going to figure out the truth of Alderman Blood. Her dedication to her cause overrides any of her personal feelings for the Arrow and we finally get to see her with a clear and concise goal. The break-in of the archives was, in my opinion, the most well done scene in the whole episode. The way the music crescendos, the tension as the guards take really effective steps to stop them, and Felicity’s urging them to get out just built up this really intense heist movie type sequence that is made all the more engaging when they find absolutely nothing. But with Laurel getting so close to the truth, Blood decides to bring her addiction to light, discrediting all of her investigation and effectively taking her off the board. This was the first time we’ve seen Laurel really sink her teeth in to the plot since the season began. They touched on her character’s return to form in the last episode, but this is the most significant leap we’ve seen towards her taking a proactive role in this season. It was a nice change, but unfortunately, with her addiction out in the open, she’s lost her father’s trust, her job, and Oliver’s loyalty. It sounds like an awful place to leave the character, but part of the journey of a hero is to fall very hard and I honestly believe what we see from her next will be a lot more substantial than her recent arc, whether she pulls on the fishnets or not.  Blind Spot

Meanwhile, Roy is starting to consider using his abilities to fight crime, and brings in Sin(Bex Taylor-Klaus) to find a good place to start. But when he comes face to face with his first target, he nearly kills him, and hurts Sin in the process.  This makes the truth about what’s happening to him all the more apparent. This episode is an excellent showcase of Colton Haynes’ ability as an actor. The range of emotions from his character as he struggles with finally having the power to be a hero, and the cost of connecting with people you care about as a result, is well conveyed.  As he starts to morph in to this person he doesn’t even recognize, we can see how scared he is of what he can do, and what could happen to Thea if he continues to unravel. The desperation is really sold, and further expounds on the “be careful what you wish for” theme of his character, plus it calls back to his dark periods from the comics. With no one to turn to and no one to understand what he’s going through, The Arrow finally appears to him, and offers to help him learn to control his abilities. If you read the comics, this is what you’ve been waiting for. If you don’t, it’s the beginning of Roy’s evolution in to what he will become, and a compelling conflict between the warring sides of his personality. Culminating in an impressive arc for his character, and closing the gap between Roy Harper and Arsenal (Out of all his different personas, this is the one I think they’ll end up going with if they ever get there).  Finding Slade

Finally, the island scenes were a little more prevalent in this latest entry. Though there was no Slade, forcing Amell and Lotz to drive the flashbacks on their own. Which they do with remarkable proficiency. We learn a little more about the character of Sara, her relationship with Laurel, and even the truth about why she came on to the yacht with Oliver in the first place. Meanwhile, Oliver is beginning to shift in personality from the privileged and naïve boy he started as, in to the burdened and experienced man who would become the Arrow. The way the writers and directors are handling his character’s conversion is incredibly subtle and realistic, and Stephen Amell’s nuanced performance doesn’t overwhelm the change in one way or another. But the real pull from the island in my opinion is Dylan Neal’s Anthony Ivo. Call me old fashioned, but I like my bad guys to be y’know…bad. And he is pulling off bad like a Captain Planet villain(seriously, watch Captain Planet again, they pollute the earth and murder animals like it’s fun. It’s a level of sociopath that nothing else has ever reached). He’s greedy, and angry, desperate, and entitled; so the refreshing thing about this episode was watching him drop the act. When Sara pushes him a little too much, he drops his mask with a thud, and you can feel the ripples it causes. I’m looking forward to seeing him with no pretense. He’s not only a very effective actor, but he carries a level of malice that I’m not sure we’ve seen in the series yet.

Unfortunately, the end of the episode was quite uneventful.

uhoh

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s like they really failed to grab the fans.

Beat2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I expected too much…

Beat1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean, you’d think they would have done something really cool to really drive the conclusion home…

DeathSlade

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah well…maybe next time.

Final Word

Blind Spot improves on last week’s episode, forsaking the formulaic weekly villain design in return for an advancement in character development and overall plot. Oliver and the team are on task and just as fun to watch work as ever, Kevin Alejandro’s Blood persists as a charismatic and interesting bad guy, Manu Bennet continues to push the limit of how close he can get to his comic counterpart, Katie Cassidy sells her character’s addiction, and determination to find the truth, quite well, and Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper manages to pull off a range of emotions and reactions with a pretty sufficient amount of subtly. It’s hard to remain objective due to the amount of fan service in this particular episode. But objectively, I’d say that Blind Spot hits it’s mark. The scenes are engaging, the dialogue flows well, the reveals carry significant impact that isn’t soon forgotten (Remember when they showed Deathstroke!!), and the direction has a way of pulling you in to every scene.

Everything about the series continues to impress. The latest round of reveals hint at an ambitious future that past DC shows have taught us shouldn’t be able to work in a live-action tv setting. But since it’s Arrow, and we’ve already seen the amazing things that they’re capable of, we’re on board. What do you say Roy? Ready to show us what you can really do? When do we start 2

–PS

Arrow airs Wednesday nights 8 PM/7 PM C only on the CW©

All images courtesy of The CW©
Arrow — The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
http://www.cwtv.com/shows/arrow

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