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Jan 16, 2014

TV Review: ARROW: Season 2, Episode 10: Blast Radius [The CW]

Sean Maher Arrow Blast Radius

The CW’s Arrow Blast Radius TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 2, Episode 10: ‘Blast Radius’ began with the canvasing of the city’s seedy bits for dirt on “The Man in the Skull Mask,” encountered by The Hood (Stephen Amell) during his rescue of Roy (Colton Haynes). The accompanying action might have been a little on the hokey side, but I suppose someone with a genuine knack for ballistics could pull it off.

As if failure to track down Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro), and anxiety over Roy being injected with Miracle, wasn’t stressful enough for Oliver, there was a new tension between him and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Apparently, the time she took off to visit a comatose Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) had a negative affect on Oliver’s ability to function – just not in any way he was willing to admit. When anti-government bomber, Shrapnel (Sean Maher), came to town, that tension became a rift, after The Hood’s first botched pursuit.

Shrapnel interrupted Quentin Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) quest to avenge his former partner, and brought The Hood directly to Sebastian Blood – but as a would be protector. The Alderman wanted to hold a rally of public defiance to Shrapnel, citing hypocrisy in standing up to him while warning the public to stay away. Never mind the hypocrisy in endangering the public he was supposed to be protecting. A perfect target of opportunity for Shrapnel. While The Hood tried to head off Shrapnel, the Miracle infused Cyrus Gold lead fell to another Lance.

Roy, for his part, seemed to be coping with his own infusion. The drug supposedly alters personalities, as well as physiques, making its recipients psychotic. In this case, it may have made Roy less of a prat. If Thea (Willa Holland) was slow to appreciated the difference at first, she was certainly impressed later, when evidence of his new abilities came from a rescue of Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson).

The island flashback focused on the immediate aftermath of Shado’s burial. Shado was executed by Ivo (Dylan Neal) after he forced Oliver to choose between her and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). A Mirakuru infused Slade (Manu Bennett) saved Oliver and Sara, but Oliver, racked by guilt, was intent on taking his culpability to Slade. Sara talked him out of it, noting the psychotic affect of the drug. With Ivo still a clear and present danger, Slade was out to finish him. An attempt to reason him away from that course would have resulted in Slade killing Oliver, had Sara not left Slade sobered (but unfazed) by a log.

I must say, I am not entirely thrilled about Slade being made out to be a deranged victim of a very bad “chemical imbalance.” The source character was a cool-cat-stone-cold-killer that was enhanced; not a noble warrior turned into Frankenstein’s (Ivo, in this case) Monster. This is Arrow (aka Revision-Junction of DC character function), however; it’s as good a live-action Deathstroke as we’re gonna get, for the moment, so everybody enjoy. I’d extend that same concern over Roy, but I get the feeling this turn might actually make him more interesting.

Speaking of character redemption: Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) was both functional and useful, this episode (Yay – no more being mean to her). Taking her concerns to Blood, over his past connection to Cyrus Gold, resulted in a swift and heartfelt sob story that seemed to shut her down (still a sucker for emotional angles. Boooo. Boo, Laurel. Boo). It turned out she still didn’t quite trust him, though (boos too soon?). Clearly, this was Laurel’s self-immolation in effect; she does have trust issues, after all. Here’s the rub, however: the one time her instincts served her well, she got the talk-down from dear old dad (and I should probably hate her for making me care, dammit). Still, full credit to her stubborn cynicism, she followed up on Blood’s story. What she found could take the polish off the Sebastian/ Oliver bro-mance.

Yes, I said bro-mance. Sebastian Blood and Oliver were on friend terms; Blood’s stunt with the rally prompted The Hood to make him an ally (they even shook on it). Laurel’s restlessness may spare us an interpretive dance rehash of the Oliver-Laurel-Tommy number. You go, girl (take your time getting back, I won’t wait up).

Mark Scheffer, aka Shrapnel, was a let down. A glorified Timothy McVeigh, his role amounted to little more than just another nut-job, merely passing through, that Blood turned to his advantage. I would have been willing to look past the fact that he self-monologues (y’know, out loud, ‘n all), due to his proficiency and meticulous set ups. Carelessly executing his grandest effort in person, however, then giving away his escape contingency, was not to his credit. This might have been an entry level effort, though, so I see room for his character’s redemption.

Other than a stretch or two (three of Oliver’s loved ones showing up on camera, at the perfect moment for a mortally preoccupied Oliver to notice them on a random TV screen – all three even turning to the camera as he does – was a hell of a koinkidink), ‘Blast Radius’ was a decent episode. Not quite a premiere event, but a good lead-in to some promised fireworks to come.

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  • Andy

    I agree, the episode was decent, but it felt extremely rushed. The writers should’ve focused on Shrapnel more, I was really looking forward to Sean Maher.

  • dissncuss

    Well, their take on Count Vertigo improved, over time; so there’s some reason to expect better from future appearances. Thanks for reading.