Arrow 2-11: “Blind Spot”
Hey! You know what? This is a really fun episode! All kinds of interesting things happen: Roy and Sin team up and create havoc, Slade debuts his cool new costume, and Laurel—Laurel, of all people—saves the day, sort of. Or maybe she makes things worse. It’s hard to tell. But in any case, Laurel gets to do stuff for the first time in a very long while, and that alone makes this episode noteworthy.
Sebastian Blood visits his mother, Maya, in the asylum to grill her about Laurel’s recent visit. He then dons his skull mask and murders her in some never-detailed way; since her death will later be attributed to her preexisting heart condition, it’s possible he scared the life clean out of her. Upon hearing of Maya’s death, Laurel, who is still popping stolen pain pills, asks Quentin to arrange a rooftop meeting with the Arrow. Laurel and Oliver are both bristly and bitchy to each other at first—Laurel because he showed up late, Oliver because she sicced a SWAT team on him at their last meeting—but eventually she fills him in on her suspicions about Blood.
Oliver corners Roy in the alleyway outside Verdant. He thanks him for saving Moira’s life at the rally last episode, while sneakily trying to see if the mirakuru serum is having any effect on him. Roy dodges his inquiries.
Inside their lair, Oliver and Felicity and Digg all sit around and spy on Roy via surveillance camera as he goes about his business in the club upstairs. In response to Felicity’s query as to whether Roy has talked to anyone about getting kidnapped and injected with the mirakuru, Oliver grouses, “Roy’s not the kind of guy who’s comfortable discussing his feelings.” “Not like you and me,” Digg replies.
Heh. Digg. Digg is a wee bit worthless in this episode—he mostly loiters around the lair while talking about how Sebastian Blood sure seems like a stand-up fellow—but that was kind of awesome.
Digg openly scoffs at the notion that Blood could be corrupt. Felicity is at least willing to consider it: “His last name is Blood. That can’t be a good thing.” Oliver’s on the fence: On the one hand, he doesn’t want to consider the possibility that his new buddy Blood is dirty; on the other hand, he trusts Laurel’s judgment, kind of. Seeking proof of Blood’s wrongdoings, Oliver dresses up as the Arrow and, with Laurel along for the ride, breaks into the City Archive to steal the police file on Blood’s father’s murder. After much derring-do, they abscond with the file… which turns out to be empty.
Island flashbacks: Sara and Oliver hole up in the plane wreckage and try to decide upon a course of action. Sara suggests surrendering to Ivo, insisting that he’s not really a bad guy, even though he shot Shado in the head two episodes ago while playing pointless and sadistic mind games on Oliver. Sara, I don’t get you. Oliver, quite reasonably, refuses to entertain this suggestion. Sara also dishes some dirt on Laurel: Back in Starling City, before either of the Lance sisters were romantically involved with Oliver, Laurel learned of her sister’s crush on him and schemed to win him for herself, going so far as having the cops raid a party Oliver and Sara both attended. I sort of dig the conniving rat-bastard side of Laurel—pill-popping, boyfriend-stealing—that’s been emerging in recent episodes. She’s got layers.
While Oliver sleeps, Sara swipes the radio and makes contact with Ivo. Over the course of their conversation, Sara goes from viewing Ivo as her savior/possible lover to seeing him as, y’know, a sadistic torturer and power-crazed murderer.
It’s about damn time, Sara.
Roy reveals his super-strength to Sin. I love seeing Sin—she’s a great character, and she always brings her fair share of the awesomeness to Team Awesome—and yet I always get nervous when she’s in an episode, because I’m terribly afraid she’s going to meet a grim fate before the end of the season. Roy says, “The Arrow once told me all I was good for was taking a beating,” which is hilariously dickish and cruel, and thus totally sounds like something Oliver would say. Now that he’s got super-powers, Roy wants to put them to good use by fighting crime, thus taking his Arrow-worship to the next logical extreme. He and Sin scamper off to harass ne’er-do-wells.
In no time at all, they locate the perfect ne’er-do-well for their purposes: a high-powered lawyer who’s been slicing up prostitutes in the Glades. Ah, Starling City, where a violent criminal can operate out in the open under his own name and identity, and neither the cops nor the city’s premiere crime-fighting vigilante can be bothered to take him down. (Early in this episode, there’s a quick scene where the Arrow scares the pants off of some low-level miscreant while looking for intel on Sebastian Blood; there was a nearly identical scene in last week’s episode, thus suggesting that this is how the Arrow’s been spending his nights. Okay, fine, obviously he’s got a strong personal interest in tracking down the source of the mirakuru, but… Oliver? Buddy? Maybe you could pencil in an hour or so to go after the guy who’s been violently attacking women?)
Anyhoo. Roy comes up with a plan, of sorts, which involves Sin dressing up as a prostitute and offering herself up as bait. (Note: This is not a good plan.) He explains to Thea that Sin has a hot date: “She was hoping to borrow an outfit. Something slutty.” Thea cheerfully obliges.
Things I love about this scene:
1. Roy assumes that anything Thea would wear on a date would be indistinguishable from what a prostitute would wear on the job.
2. Thea is wholly unoffended by this assumption.
3. Roy and Thea both (correctly) view “slutty” as a positive character trait.
So Sin, tarted up in Thea’s finest first-date outfit, starts walking the streets. In no time at all, she’s picked up by the sleazeball lawyer, who pulls a knife on her in the front seat of his BMW.
Roy arrives and goes crazy from the mirakuru, using his super-strength to beat the lawyer into an unconscious pulp. He and Sin are justly horrified by his actions, though… what, exactly, was their original plan? For Roy to beat him into somewhat less of a pulp?
Slade (present-day Slade, the one who wears expensive suits and has a sexy eyepatch, not scruffy island-flashbacks Slade) visits Sebastian Blood to growl at him about Laurel meddling in their affairs. Slade slams Blood against the wall and snarls ominous threats, then orders him to fix the situation.
So Blood has his favorite henchman, corrupt Officer Daly, ransack Laurel’s apartment and bust her for stealing her dad’s prescription meds. (Nice touch: Daly was the officer who arrested Laurel for her DUI earlier in the season.)
At the police station, Laurel tries to convince Quentin this is all Blood’s doing—he’s setting her up because she’s getting too close to uncovering his dark secrets. Well, you’re half right, Laurel: Blood is out to get you, but it’s not like Officer Daly planted those pills in your apartment. Quentin thinks Laurel’s suspicions about Blood are nothing more than the paranoid delusions of an addict. He walks off, leaving her sobbing brokenly.
Hey, speaking of sobbing brokenly: Roy, Sin and Thea stand vigil at the hospital for the badly-injured (and prostitute-slashing, let’s not overlook that part) lawyer. Overcome with guilt and misery, Roy hides in a corner and has a good cry.
I love Roy. Kid breaks my heart. The way he’s coming unraveled is giving me Teen Wolf flashbacks, in the best possible way.
Oliver escorts Laurel back to her apartment. Sebastian Blood, in his skull mask, sneaks up and knocks him out, then drags Laurel off to a creepy abandoned cannery. Suited up as the Arrow, Oliver arrives at the cannery and faces off against him in a balls-out battle. Blood gets the upper hand… and then Laurel picks up an abandoned gun and shoots him several times in the chest.
Laurel, my friend, you are redeeming yourself splendidly for all your glum dithering in the first half of this season.
But wait! Laurel removes the skull mask… and finds herself staring at the corpse of Officer Daly.
Oliver assumes Daly was the mastermind behind the scheme to mass-produce mirakuru all along. Both Oliver and Laurel are wracked with guilt for thinking Sebastian Blood could be a bad guy. As Oliver tells Felicity and Diggle, “The only reason I nearly believed her is because it was Laurel. I do have a blind spot where she’s concerned. Not anymore.”
Poor Laurel. Develop one teensy little problematic addiction to opiates, and all of a sudden everyone stops trusting your judgment. Even when you’re entirely right about something. As an added bonus, Laurel gets fired from the D.A.’s office, thanks to her drug problem. Eh, it’s probably for the best. She’d been spinning her wheels there for the past ten episodes without ever stumbling into anything resembling an interesting plotline; time for her to move on to fresher pastures.
Blood informs Slade that Officer Daly sacrificed himself to throw Laurel and the Arrow off of their trail. Slade, kitted out in his full Deathstroke armor for the very first time, effortlessly slaughters all of Blood’s bodyguards, then warns him not to screw up again.
After hearing from Thea about Roy’s recent violent escapades, Oliver dresses up as the Arrow and pays him a visit. He offers to train him to control his abilities, an offer Roy gratefully accepts.
So Oliver managed to go an entire episode without being a total dick to Felicity, Slade is evolving into a villain worthy of season one’s Dark Archer, and Roy just took another big step on the path toward eventual sidekickdom. Excellent stuff, all of it. Keep it up, Arrow.