Deep into the final stretch of episodes we pause to mourn and set things up for the end of the season. Leading to a surprisingly subdued and emotional hour.
This was really Sebastian Blood's episode. He is a bit more subtle than Slade or Isabel, but no less evil. Blood is totally nuts, but like all good villains thinks he's doing the right thing. Whatever his motives, it's one step removed from Malcolm. So while he's undoubtedly a second banana in Slade's quest for revenge, he still has a pretty nasty agenda of his own.
The person that really surprised me in this episode was Laurel. She stepped up all of a sudden, as if the revelation that Oliver was the Arrow gave her just the right push to bring her back to the land of level-headedness. She's not quite there yet for me, but I'm actually starting to like her again. Plus, Katie Cassidy is looking normal and very pretty again. Which makes me wonder, was her excessive thinness earlier in the season an acting choice (i.e., she lost some weight to play a drug addict more effectively?) Or was her arc designed around some issues the actress had?
No matter, that kind of stuff isn't as important to me as the character's actions. Here Laurel did pretty much everything right, except run in to help Oliver in the den of the beast as it were. Even though she did save his life, it was foolish to follow him into an unknown and potentially deadly situation completely unprepared. That small gripe aside, she did the thing I always like characters to do, but they seldom do. She delivered important details to the rest of the group instead of sitting on it for plot reasons. See, communication isn't a bad thing.
Because of that, we finally got that great little scene between Oliver and Blood. The gradual way it became antagonistic was well played. Both actors brought a lot to the table, so to speak, and elevated the scene in just the right way to feel tension without resorting to violence. Blood was right though, what can Oliver do to him directly? The Arrow doesn't kill any more, even though it must be tempting in this case, and he doesn't have enough direct evidence against him yet. That e-mail is incriminating, but it was procured through less than legal means.
Of course I loved that Quentin jumped onto the bandwagon to help Laurel dig up some dirt on Blood. She came to him again with a renewed claim that Blood was dirty, and this time he believed her. Good character moments for both of them there. I'm not quite as happy with the other family dynamics, though, with Thea acting out through much of the earlier part of the episode, and then deciding to leave town. At least Oliver managed to patch things up a little between them.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the insane multiple cliffhangers. Pretty much everyone was in danger. We got Sara no longer answering on the walkie talkie in the Lian Yu flashback, Diggle outmatched and stuck on defensive against a juiced up Isabel (more on her below), Thea and Quentin in the middle of attacks from the Blood Army, and of course Oliver and Laurel trapped and potentially buried alive beneath a ton of rubble. At least Felicity isn't in direct danger... yet.
One thing I will add, is that I didn't care for her mask at all. It was too round, and not nearly as successful as it could've been if it were more streamlined.
Good to see Walter again, even if he didn't have much to do besides console Thea.
Isabel's entrance at the wake was fun, especially Diggle and Felicity's reactions.
I could probably write a whole paragraph about Felicity at A.R.G.U.S., from her interactions with Waller to her geeking out over the advanced computers, she was delightful. Of course Sisko called at the last minute, probably about the cure. Or perhaps to give her the news that Barry is awake and is flashing around the hospital like Sonic the Hedgehog.
Isabel evicted Thea from Verdant. Logical, but oh so cold.
Laurel bugged Blood's office, and like all television/movie bugs, it's blinking.
Of course Oliver had a second lair, but I love that the writers thought about it.
Kamikaze torpedoes. Wow, what a horrible touch.
Why did the torpedo do that U-turn?
The use of pink flowers was an odd way of symbolizing Oliver's grief and anger. There were some sitting in his place at Moira's funeral, and on the table between Oliver and Sebastian during their confrontation.
Felicity: "I don't even know why I'm crying, I didn't even like Moira. Terrible thing to say about someone after they've just died. In my defense, she was not nice. She was diabolical."
Anatoly: "It's like riding a bicycle… underwater."
Henchmen: "You bitch!"
Felicity: "Bitch, with Wifi."
Lovely interrogation scene, I never thought I would write that sentence.
Felicity: "Hi, I'll be your interrogator."
Another really strong episode, in what is shaping up to be an excellent back half of the season. Two more to go!
3 1/2 out of 4 Masked Mirikuru Enhanced Super Henchmen
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.