“Blast Radius” wasn’t a barn burner, but it’s an adequate return. While this wasn’t the best Arrow episode this season, I just didn’t care. I was like an old friend was back and I had my Wednesday night comfort. The whole gang was around for this one. Ollie, Digg, Felicity, Thea, Roy, Laurel, Quentin, Slade, Sarah, and even Moira popped up to remind us that she exists too. Good for you Moira. While everyone was busy though, did anything happen? Yeah…maybe…sort of.
Our villain of the week likes making things explode. He blows up things real good. He’s taking out innocents around Starling City because…well it had something to do with, or it was really because, come to think of it he could be, oh let’s just call him Arrow’s version of the Unabomber. He’s nuts. His whole act of doing carnage in protest of how the government isn’t protecting it’s citizens only stood out because we were shouting, “Hey, it’s that guy from Firefly!” Turns out steel tipped arrows trump wiring for explosives. Something else I can put in my Angus MacGyver catalog of useless gadget knowledge that might someday save lives in the strangest of scenarios.
Once you got beyond the thin villain plot (it was good seeing Sean Mayer again though), the whole purpose was to push character dynamics while slowly unraveling a small bit of mystery behind Sebastian Blood and the Mirakuru. Laurel, who is still popping pills but was sans booze this week, has decided that Blood is a fishy dude. She tries to investigate that while Quentin is trying to find the cop that tipped off Cyrus Gold and ultimately got the jerk who demoted him killed. He decides to pass the message that he needs Felicity’s help to access phone records through the Arrow rather than going to Queen Consolidated and asking her himself, kind of like how mom will send a message about taking out the trash to her son through the daughter that was going upstairs near his room anyway. What I loved the best about Quentin’s appearance is he’s the only one that commented on the new Arrow mask! Put him in the “Love It” camp. The man has good taste.
Then there’s Thea, who thinks that because Roy can heal quickly from a chard of glass sinking into his arm and stopping a steel tower from falling on Moira by catching it with his back and not breaking it means something might be wrong with him. You think? Roy is denying it, but it’s not like he knows what’s happening to him either. Considering the island flashbacks showed Slade growing very unstable in a hurry after being injected with the Mirakuru, I think that’s some pretty profound foreshadowing for poor Roy. It turns people into monsters. Normally I would worry about that but honestly, a chance to “man-up” a bit might not be a bad thing for Roy.
As for Team Arrow, Diggle gets shot in the shoulder and plays it off like a flesh wound (isn’t he just awesome or what), and I’m dismayed the show didn’t take the opportunity to show his wound being stitched while shirtless. Really?? Have you seen that tank underneath that clothing? Yes, we have, and we want more. But, I digress. Digg does manage to handle this very heavy handed “will they or won’t they” struggle this week between Oliver and Felicity without losing his lunch.
I get that this isn’t the first episode to push the whole sexual tension between the two, but this week’s struggle played out to the maximum just frustrate the living crap out of the Olicity shippers and the fanboys. Poor Barry Allen is in a coma in Central City after the freak accident that will make him The Flash, and Felicity has sweetly been there by his side waiting for him to wake up. Oliver takes her act of compassion and turns it into irrational jealousy, the kind that makes him rip her a new one when the bad guy’s technical savvy turns out to be a trite better than hers. So that leads to the “apology” scene that involves so much over-the-top foreplay that cavalcades of fanboys everywhere could be found in their living rooms sticking their fingers down their throats. On the other side, the Olicity shippers are fainting. But hey, Arrow has established itself as an action hero soap opera, so it’s not like they’re exactly stretching themselves here.
Despite the clunky character moments, the real interesting story is Sebastian Blood, and this dude is creepy. Oliver still hasn’t figured out Blood is the skull mask dude, and is avidly supporting his “new bud” for mayor. He’s even approaching him as The Arrow and warning him about evil plots. Turns out Blood has much of the same backstory as Barry Allen. Something killed his father and his mother was blamed for it. Sebastian was the innocent child in the middle of it all, and he grew up in the orphanage. His closest relative, an aunt, went ape shit crazy, so the orphanage was the only option. Except, Laurel found his aunt in the nuthouse. I’m not sure how she was able to get through pretty easily (too easy), but she figured out she wasn’t his aunt. It’s mommy! And she saw Sebastian kill her husband. He’s evil! Yeah, I think we all pretty much saw that one coming. The whole world doesn’t know it though. I’m sure Laurel will tell them and they’ll believe her.
It all ends on the island. Ivo is threatening Ollie and Sarah and Slade has gone off the rails. This isn’t going to go well, is it? Ah well, the plot bunny did move forward, well more like limped, but forward motion is better than nothing. Or, it kind of jumped all over the place, much like this review. Looks like this Blood story will be the big crux for next week so I say bring it on. And with Summer Glau on this show too, they really consider that Firefly reunion.