After the cliff that Arrow left us hanging on, we finally rejoin the Emerald Archer, and boy oh boy was this a great way to return to Starling City!
In true Goon fashion, we shall start with the island flashbacks. We rejoin our plucky band of island dwellers as they are holding a funeral for Shado. Slade is now all patched up thanks for the super drug they pumped into him and is hell bent on revenge against Ivo, and Oliver and Sara are trying to talk him down. Not much is done with the flashbacks, the biggest part of it being the reveal that the wonder drug causes some unfortunate side effects. Slade his losing it, mentally, almost chokes Oliver to death. Not pretty to watch. This seems to primarily act as foreshadowing for both Roy getting dosed and the further development of the island story. It closes out with Ivo delivering a quasi-decent villainous monologue to Oliver and Sara while Slade has slipped away into the night with the whats left of the wonder drug. For the most part the island scenes fell in the category they usually do in this show, set up for relevant plot points and a usually fun break from whats happening in Starling City.
Back in the present, we have picked up five weeks after the events of the mid-season finale. Oliver is desperately trying to track down any leads on Brother Blood, or the man in the skull mask as he knows him, but is having little luck. Felicity is spending time in Central City, staying with Barry who is currently in a coma after the events of the previous episode. Gonna say right now, this was my favorite aspect of this episode. I loved that Barry wasn’t just forgotten about now that his guest starring stint is over. It really helps to show just how big of an impact he had on Oliver and team, and really helps to establish him in the universe and keep him in the viewers minds, I can only assume this is done to help with the spin off that is in the works. This also serves to lead to some drama between Felicity and Oliver. The writers are really teasing us with the whole will they/won’t they thing here, and while right now it is nice to see that there not just throwing them together, I can’t help but feel that it will get really old if its dragged on to long. Personally, I am guessing that we will see them finally paired off in the season finale, that seems like a solid season finale thing to do.
Oliver’s search for Brother Blood is put on the back burner as a serial bomber starts targeting anything government related. He strikes a few times, and is always able to escape, before targeting a rally being help by Sebastian Blood as part of his bid for Mayor. Working together, Team Arrow is able to stop him and save the day. Few things about the villian, Mark Scheffer aka Shrapnel. Like many other villains we have seen thus far, he is not a member of Green Arrow’s rogues gallery. He is primarily an enemy of The Doom Patrol and The Outsiders, and is made of organic metal that he can shoot out of his body, hence the name Shrapnel. Turning him into a bomber makes sense here, Arrow is still pretty light on the superpowers at this point and throwing in a supervillain now would be a bad choice. Granted, I think it would have been much better if they just slapped a different name on the character, but hey, what can you do? I do have to say that he was played amazingly well by the very talented Sean Maher, who is the second Firefly actor to appear on the show. I think it would have been great if we could have had the chance to see him on screen with Summer Glau, but it makes perfect sense that they didn’t. He was still a great as the villain, and I am sad that it looks like he’s gonna be a one off.
In our subplots this week, we saw Roy trying to deal with getting the super juice, and the effect it’s having on his relationship with Thea. He is becoming more distant from her, and Thea is having none of that. I must say, I do so love their relationship, it is one of my favorite aspects of the show, mainly because its not burdened down with unneeded drama that bogs down so many other teen shows these days. Sure there is some there, but its the kind that actually gets me invested in the show and eager to see what happens next. At the end Thea discovers Roy’s new abilities, and I can’t wait to see how that goes.
We also see the return of Laurel, woo. I’m sorry, but at the first shot of her when she is shown popping stolen pills, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at this. Throughout the entire first season they did their best to portray Laurel as a competent and intelligent woman, and that is pretty much all crumbling this season. Yes her boyfriend died, and I could totally understand her character going through some depression over this, but this whole drinking/drug problem of hers is just a stupid attempt to build drama, and not the good kind. The kind that just makes you roll your eyes and groan in annoyance. I will say her subplot of investigating Blood was somewhat interesting, but that is more because I am finding him to be such an interesting villain. I am loving Blood as the bad guy so far, he is the master manipulator, even convinces Oliver, who is desperately trying to hunt him down, to be on his side. Bravo to you Blood, bravo to you. We see Laurel’s story close out with her finding Blood’s mom locked up in an asylum, who warns her that Blood is basically evil. Horribly horribly evil. I will admit, it seems a bit early for the reveal to happen, thought it would be something they would string out till closer to the end of the season, but I respect the show for spicing things up bit and not being overly predictable. I look forward to seeing this new information play out in the next episode.
Overall, solid way to kick off the new batch of episodes. Blood is establishing himself as a solid villain, Oliver is going a bit off the deep end, Roy’s got super powers, and Laurel is still pretty much a waste of a character. It was a great episode and makes me excited for the rest of the season.