Arrow S2x11 “Blind Spot”
There are Minor Spoilers in this review.
So it’s the second week since the return of Arrow and much like the first half of Season Two, things are progressing at a much quicker pace than they did in the previous season. Whilst this episode may not have been action heavy to the extent that we have seen in the past, it was still a very entertaining episode that continues to prove that the team behind this series can do wonders with character development. I’m talking of course about Laurel Lance, who goes through hell in Blind Spot and comes out the better character for it. She’s been constantly annoying since the start of Season 2 (and even before) when she turned against Arrow following the events in the finale. But here I felt that Laurel, like Blast Radius, has much improved in her character. No longer is she unlikable or annoying, and this is something that I hope the Arrow writers will keep up with through the latter half of Season 2.
Following last week’s mishandled throwaway villain in the form of Shrapnel, I was worried that the show would chuck in another underdeveloped and nonthreatening villain of the week just to provide a distraction from the main Sebastian Blood plot, and whilst we lack large scale action scenes, Blind Spot is all the better for it – the episode is all about Kevin Alejandro, who continues to prove himself as a strong and formidable character and a real threat for Ollie. The show’s starting to build up its list of main rogues for Ollie now after only having Malcolm Merlyn as a real memorable villainous figure in Season 1. We now have the Rogues Gallery expanded to the likes of The League of Assassins, Malcolm Merlyn, Slade Wilson and Sebastian Blood, who are all threats that each feel as though they’re capable of besting Oliver Queen, and you get the real sense of danger whenever you see any of these on screen. I only wish the show would do the same for the likes of China White, Bronze Tiger and Shrapnel, who at the moment are still throwaway villains and I’m hoping that with Bronze Tiger’s return next week the show will have a chance to correct that – at least on Bronze Tiger’s part.
With the plot focused on investigating deeper into the Sebastian Blood mystery however, we get some good advancement in terms of the overall story and some decent flashback scenes as well – but much like the mid-season finale episodes, I was more invested in the present than the flashbacks – signifying a real change for the show – everyone knows that the best bits of most of Season One was the flashback sequences but now it feels like the main storyline has become stronger – or at least to the point where it’s hard to tell which one is better than the other. This is something that I love about the show – it pays off if you stick with it in the long haul, and if anyone was turned off by the earlier episodes then I strongly recommend you play catchup because the show is certainly worth the wait.
Despite the impressive display from Kevin Alejandro this was all Katie Cassidy’s episode. I’ve never been Laurel’s biggest fan mainly thanks to the wooden acting provided by Cassidy and whilst this may still be a problem in places her character arc in this episode was excellent, and one of the highlights featured a team-up between Arrow and Laurel that really worked. If you’re convinced by the fact that Sara is the only one worthy of the Black Canary mantle then this episode will give you some thought as to that spot. However, it wasn’t enough to convince me to turn from Sara entirely as I still favor that character over Laurel so far.
In conclusion then, Blind Spot was great. Blast Radius has really only been the slightly-below-excellent episode of Arrow’s second season so far, and with some good improvement for Laurel Lance as character and a strong performance from Kevin Alejandro, the show has proved that it doesn’t need throwaway villains to bog it down and I’m hoping that we will see more of this in the future, especially given the wealth of A-List threats waiting at Ollie’s door. This episode also included a great (but brief) appearance from a certain character in a great moment that will appeal to comics fans – I won’t spoil it for you here but it was certainly another highlight of the episode for me, and really improved the episode as a whole just by featuring that scene.