TV Show Review

TV Review: ARROW: Season 2, Episode 11: Blind Spot [The CW]

Manu Bennett Arrow Blind Spot

The CW’s Arrow Blind Spot TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 2, Episode 11: ‘Blind Spot’ underscored numerous frustrations I’ve had with the series. At the same time, there seemed to be an effort to address some of those frustrations. The whole exercise left me wondering whether that should come as encouraging, or just another reason to be frustrated.

‘Blind Spot’ revisited the reoccurring Arrow theme of trust. In this case, it was a question of who do you trust; who should you trust, and how far are you willing to go to prove, earn, or dispel that trust.

At the heart of the matter were the Lance sisters, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Sara (Caity Lotz). Laurel was determined to expose Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro), after he killed her lead, but was dismissed at every turn. Back at the island, Sara was actually attempting to justify the murderous actions of Dr. Ivo (Dylan Neal) to Oliver (Stephen Amell). Somehow, Oliver managed to put up with it, and the two began to reconnect.

Is it just me, or was Shado’s death sort of set aside for Sara and Oliver’s heart to heart? I may have lost track of the flashback timeline, but Shado’s burial couldn’t have been more than a matter of hours past.

The lesson that Oliver took away from Sara, back at the island, was to never trust anyone 100%. Between Laurel’s unraveling and Sara’s League status, in the present, and Sara’s admission (that they had both been long fixated on Oliver, and resorted to some underhanded schemes to get to him – and past each other), in the past, suggested that there had always been something wrong with the Lance girls. The good news is that I can look forward to some answers, when mother Lance returns.

Laurel had lost trust in the law, so she resorted to the aid of an outlaw. Oliver “still believed in Sebastian Blood,” but The Hood (mindful of the Sara lesson) was hot for any lead on the ‘man in the skull mask.’ So hot, in fact, that he allowed Laurel along for the digging up of Blood’s records. A dead end, but otherwise fun outing, that involved using boxes of files as ballistic shielding.

Regarding Oliver’s need for a sincerity to Alderman Blood, full points to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) for citing Sebastian’s sinister last name, and Diggs’ (David Ramsey) double duty (as Queen body guard and Hood side-kick), to advocate a closer look. For bringing a comic book fan’s sensibilities to a comic book based series, Felicity gets favored character status.

Slowly coming into her own, Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) was taken into Roy’s (Colton Haynes) confidence, concerning his Miracle induced abilities. Apparently the heroics, that had since impressed Oliver, had worn thin with Thea (Willa Holland), now giving him the cold shoulder for shutting her out. It turns out he was eager to share his secret; just not with Thea.

I resigned myself to only say it once, where Arrow was concerned, but the model casting (run amok on The CW) still bothers me. With that in mind, I thought I should mention that Bex Taylor-Klaus, while still cute as all get out, does bring some much needed variety to the cast’s aesthetic. However awkward the character of Felicity is supposed to be, she’s still picture perfect. Sin is truly the odd one out, and I appreciate that her interactions with Thea has been starting to draw the distinction out. Points for Thea making allowance for some… flexibility to Sin’s gender politics. The show could use more characters that takes its cast out of their comfort zones. Make that a network requirement.

I can only assume that Sin was impressed by Roy entrusting her with his secret, and appreciative of his ordeal on her behalf. She doesn’t strike me as the type to get dolled up – let alone volunteer as bait for Jack the Ripper copycats. This was to be Roy’s test run in giving his new powers some new responsibilities. Sin does “clean up niece,” and played her part; Roy overdid it by a few broken bones, and ruptured organs, to the target. Street-wise Sin clearly knows when to walk away from an obligation gone sideways, as she promptly threw Roy under the Thea bus, which turned out for the best. This Roy has much less trust issues.

So, if I understand this correctly, Roy has gone from being a pent up ball of fury, who found inner peace through acts of violence, to having a drug induced sense of purpose, that turns to blind rage when he tries to act on it. I guess the real question is how much of this scenario is due to the drug, Roy being Roy, or the writers just not being all that clear on what to do with him. Between his history with The Hood, and the Miracle powers, I think the ‘Speedy’ ship has sailed. We may be drifting into ‘Arsenal’ waters.

Elsewhere, Blood was taking heat for his handling of the ‘Laurel plan’ he was entrusted with, and set out to tie up loose ends. His mole in the police department, Officer Daily (Jesse Hutch) framed Laurel, by way of her chemical dependency. Throw in her father’s scorn, and Laurel was reduced to a picture of manic distress; her case against Blood discredited.

Of course, the frame job was total nonsense. How far down the D.A. chain do you have to be to forget the one about illegal search & seizure? Daily presented a warrant to back up the ransacking of Laurel’s apartment, but no grounds were given for the issuing of said warrant. Were we to believe that Laurel (and her loved ones) were so broken up, over her arrest and addiction, that the grounds for that arrest were completely ignored? Looking into the warrant might’ve exposed Daily, or left a trail to the Alderman; so I guess it was just more convenient to let it go.

In any case, Laurel had now lost the trust of the law. Blood, in response to a courtesy visit from Oliver, decided it was time to suicide her. This led to a rematch between The Hood and Brother Blood. Had The Hood noticed that his quarry had grown some fighting skill, since their last confrontation, the outcome of this one might not have so easily taken him and Laurel off Blood’s trail.

Assuming Blood was under strict rules of engagement orders, and considering that he understood that he was meant to get close to Laurel in order to mess with The Hood, Blood should’ve at least been able to guess Oliver’s secret (assuming he doesn’t already know). She had only recently been crusading against The Hood, so why would the vigilante care? There is a very short list of people who would actually care about the association, and only one of them shares The Hood’s lower facial features (Oliver really should give The Hood a false goatee, while going clean shaven).

Blood may have redeemed himself, but there was still a hard and fatal reprimand in store. Slade (Manu Bennett) did make an appearance, which is good. More importantly, his alter-ego, Deathstroke, also made an appearance – which was great. Unfortunately, it was something of a tease – meant to show us what we can expect from him – so… buttons. It did turn out to be a pretty awesome tease, however, so… far so good. They can call him Slade all through the series (Teen Titans TAS did it), I see the official mask, I see Deathstroke. All that said, I am a little worried that the deck might have been stacked, a bit. Given the level of difficulty Oliver experienced with Cyrus Gold (who never got his due, as Solomon Grundy, either), Deathstroke may be too far above his pay grade.

Meanwhile, viewers half (or more) expecting Roy to play thigh-for-a-thigh with The Hood, upon their next face-to-face, got more of a male bonding moment (after a very quick spar – it can be a bonding thing). Apparently, Roy was just happy to see that red arrow shot into a wall, again, instead of a green one into him. Never mind his now inherent psychotic component, The Hood believes that Roy can be trained to harness his new power. Roy trusts The Hood; Oliver has faith in Roy’s potential; the mentoring will now commence.

Okay, show of hands: who thinks Roy will be the one to bring balance to the (Team Arrow) force, once Slade finally cuts loose?

Ultimately, ‘Blind Spot’ boiled down to a matter of trust over Arrow‘s own material, and the show’s regard for its viewers. At one point, Oliver, for all his talk of survival skills learned, got ditched for sleeping with both eyes closed. No, not really. Sara, in turn, did the ditching to make an appeal to Ivo. Stockholm syndrome is a thing; I get that. When the predictable dialogue crosses the line between drinking game, and pouring a drink for the sole purpose of hurling the glass against the far wall, however… well, she got better.

So, was the whole point for the characters to test each other, or was Arrow‘s creative team testing the audience? Were we meant to feel vindicated that these characters were not as dumb, or as far gone, as they were initially made out to be, or was the show playing on our supposedly low expectations of them? My take away from it all is that fans of these characters wouldn’t buy such lapses in skill/ judgement, making it a pointless exercise; while cynics would view this attempted ‘sting,’  to draw and call them out for their lack of faith, as one more reason to rip the show. So why bother? I got a Deathstroke fix, so unless these arbitrary lapses become a thing, I’d say the show is still headed in the right direction.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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