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Friday, January 17, 2014

Arrow 2x10 - "Blast Radius"

"Blast Radius," a busy affair delving into the history, real and fabricated, of one Alderman Sebastian Blood, feels like more of a season one offering of Arrow. Coming off the shocking, seemingly game-changing reveal of Slade Wilson in Starling City of present day, "Blast Radius" disappointingly offers no follow up on that bombshell. It's been a long five weeks for us and for Oliver Queen since Oliver was visited by "Three Ghosts." Since his fateful meeting with the "Man in the Skull Mask," the artist he is unaware is known as Brother Blood, the newly masked Arrow has been spending his dark nights on a rampage in the Crescent Circle section of Starling City. And yet no matter how many dirty perps he busts and leaves for Starling City's finest, no one will talk about the Man in the Skull Mask.

Little does the Arrow know that Laurel has been conducting her own investigation into the very same man, also unaware Mayoral candidate Sebastian Blood is that very same Man in the Skull Mask. Laurel's pill popping seems to have turned her into a pretty good detective; it's through her Lois Lane-like snooping in Blood's office that she finds the name "Maya Resik," a mental patient in Saint Walker's (DC Comics reference to a member of the Blue Lantern Corps) whom Blood pays the medical bills for. Even her father Officer Quentin Lance (call designation DC-52, nice DC Comics reference) thinks Blood would make a fine boyfriend for Laurel (District Attorney Adam Donner, back on the mend from his Vertigo poisoning would disagree). And yet, her Laurel Sense won't stop tingling about Blood. Turns out her Laurel Sense was right: Maya Resik isn't Blood's crazy aunt like he told her - that psycho is his mother!

So who is Sebastian Blood, if that is his real name? (And if it isn't, why would he choose the surname "Blood" and then go into public service? Does he just like a challenge?) Blood's public cover story, which he's proud to tell anyone at his Queen sponsored fundraisers, is that he's an orphan child of the city. The wild yarn he spun to Laurel was that his mother shot and killed his alcoholic father and disappeared. Blood claims Cyrus Gold, the killer hopped up on Mirakuru, was a preacher he'd known since he was a child after his father's murder. Laurel is a lot of things, ask the viewers who just don't like her, but she's not stupid. Blood's story just sounds like a load of B.S. But Oliver is firmly on his side, and after the events of "Blast Radius," when the Arrow saves his life yet again, Blood is now on handshake terms with the Starling City Vigilante himself. Blood's in good with both sides of Oliver Queen.

The person on Oliver's bad side is Felicity. Felicity has been away in Starling City looking after Barry Allen, whom we learn has been in a coma since he was struck by lightning at the end of "Three Ghosts." Diggle's been filling in, but he's no Felicity when it comes to dancing the keystrokes on the Microsoft Surface in the Arrow Cave. Oliver's more of a dick than usual, or at least it seems that way since he's being a dick to Felicity. Oliver's desperate to find the Man in the Skull Mask, fearing how unstoppable an army of Mirakuru super soldiers would be. When Felicity does return to her duties in the Arrow Cave, Oliver accuses her of being distracted by Barry and not having her head in the game, although she did almost send him careening on his Arrow Cycle into a speeding bus. It's uncomfortable watching Oliver and Felicity bark at each other instead of exchanging goofy cute entendres, just ask Diggle, caught in the middle. Later, all's well between Oliver and Felicity when Oliver, lo and behold, apologizes and admits how much he relies on Felicity as his partner. Aww. Give her a raise.

This week's DC super villain guest star is Shrapnel, who understandably but unfortunately does not look like this on Arrow. Portrayed by Firefly's Sean Maher (who was Summer Glau's brother on Firefly - hope these two somehow meet on Arrow), Shrapnel is merely a mad bomber destroying buildings in Starling City as a political statement. (Shrapnel is a message board member of The Movement, a reference to this DC Comic.) Though he targets Sebastian Blood's Unity Rally specifically, Shrapnel doesn't seem mad at Blood, per se. His agenda just seems to be a general hatred of Starling City politics. And though he blows up buildings via a mastery of cellular network signals that confounds Felicity, Shrapnel isn't quite the menace say, Count Vertigo or Malcolm Merlyn is. Shrapnel falls more in line with the lower rung Dodger level of baddie. Not too much of a threat to the Arrow, clever boobytraps aside. But then, tell that to Diggle, who took a bullet in the shoulder from Shrapnel. Still, even Felicity notes the Arrow didn't kill Shrapnel, or anyone this week. In fact, unless there were people in the buildings Shrapnel exploded, no one died this whole episode!

Meanwhile, Thea has been noticing some really weird things about her handsome, broody boyfriend Roy Harper. What's weirder, that he's showing up for work on time, that he suddenly wants to have stock room sex with Thea, or that he seems to shrug off a shard of glass impaling itself in his forearm? "I heal fast" is Roy's meager explanation before running off in an angry huff. But is Roy really acting weirder than usual? Roy's always been that evasive, and apparently he's been avoiding strange men in dark alleys lately. Well, there is the matter of how Roy saved Moira by letting a falling lighting scaffold land on his back during Shrapnel's attack on the Unity Rally. Roy was totally fine, chalking it up to "adrenaline." Boy, there sure is something odd going on with MirakuRoy.

Speaking of odd things happening because of Mirakuru, five years ago on the Island saw Oliver, Sara and Slade burying Shado, with Slade passing the green hood to Oliver because, having seen him and Shado bumping uglies in the woods, Slade knows Shado liked Oliver more than Slade. Slade would like to go and murder Ivo and everyone on Amazo, but Sara doesn't think that's the best idea. Except that Slade has Mirakuru in his veins, which has healed his burned face, given him super strength, and made him super paranoid. The Mirakuru more or less turned Slade into the Island version of Macho Man Randy Savage, and he'd like to snap into it, 'it' being Ivo's neck. Though for a moment there, Slade snapping Oliver's Slim Jim of a neck almost happened. Perhaps sensing the potential risk of Mirakuru Slade coming for him, Ivo radioed Sara and Oliver with a generous offer of bringing the Mirakuru in their possession to him in exchange for safe passage to Shanghai. Or else Ivo will unleash his "scientific curiosity" on them, whatever creepy implication that is. But the joke's on Ivo because Slade is coming for all their hides. One thing's for sure, when all of this is over, just about everyone on the Island and in the present will rue the day they ever heard the word "Mirakuru."