Entertainment Magazine

TV Review: Arrow, “Blind Spot” (S2/EP11) – Seems Like Old Times

Posted on the 23 January 2014 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

To read our other Arrow episode reviews please go here.

Blind Spot

  • Airdate: 1/22/2014
  • Director: Glen Winter (Smallville, Arrow)
  • Writer(s): Wendy Mericle (Arrow, Everwood, Eli Stone) & Beth Schwartz (Arrow, Brothers & Sisters)

Last week, Arrow moved some of the pieces of its puzzle while re-affirming the vitality of the central trio of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity as as crime fighting unit that cannot succeed while operating at diminished capacity.  However, the episode felt like exactly what it was – a mostly transitional story featuring a plot-device-villain which largely wasted the talents of Firefly‘s Sean Maher.

What happened this week?  Let’s break it down:


Poor Laurel -

Blind Spot

Sebastian’s not cool with his aunt/mom spilling the beans last week to Laurel.  So…in a really creepy sequence featuring fantastically dark lighting…he forgives her as Sebastian, but then kills her (or inspires a fatal heart attack) as Brother Blood.  Laurel’s investigation goes into overdrive when she learns of the aunt/mom’s death.  Unfortunately, her boss, the Assistant District Attorney, is having none of her soap opera-y, circumstantial nonsense thus denies her requests for subpoenas and phone records and other lawyer-y stuff.  So, she gets her dad to set up a meeting with Arrow, the two exchange unpleasantries considering her earlier attempt to entrap him this season, and she presents enough compelling evidence for him to look into it.  Later, Diggle lampshades how insane everything they’re suggesting about Sebastian sounds, but Felicity basically reminds him of the show upon which they are characters by concluding (paraphrasing), “We’re all leading crazy ass lives.  I could buy this stuff about Sebastian.  Come one – his last name is Blood!”  Oliver mostly stares off into the distance quietly, perhaps pondering how pretty Laurel is or just waiting for the next island flashback to kick in.

Blind Spot

The MacGuffin of the plot becomes the physical case file surrounding the murder of Sebastian’s father, which Felicity locates but only Laurel can access.  So, yadda yadda, Laurel and Arrow work together to find the file, fight off some cops, only to discover the file is totally empty because Sebastian/Slade got their before them.  Slade’s not at all happy that Sebastian’s goofy early life drama is threatening to derail his intricate plan.  Now threatened, Sebastian sets out to neutralize Laurel by having the police raid her house to uncover her pill addiction.  But, wait, that’s not all.  He also kidnaps her just so that she can see someone in the Brother Blood mask murdered only to discover its random police guy and not Sebastian. No one believes Laurel’s rantings about Sebastian anymore, not even Laurel, and the gut punch on top of her crap salad is getting fired from her job for having a substance abuse problem.  Don’t worry – her boss hears their severance package is very nice.  Oh, make that ex-boss now.

Roy Just Wont Talk to His Girlfriend -

Roy won’t open up to anyone…except for Sin, who’s barely had a chance to playfully insult him when he just punches the side of a brick wall to display his new super strength.  She’s freaked, and then kind of insulted he assumed she’d be totally cool with it but Thea wouldn’t.  They decide to be Arrow without Arrow, using Sin as bait to lure a rat bastard who’s been killing a bunch of prostitutes as of late.  It’s maybe a bit odd that the dress she borrows from an unwitting Thea ends up making Sin look like a rather convincing hooker.  Their plan works, and Roy gets the bad guy before he can hurt Sin. Unfortunately, Roy then suffers serious roid rage (just like Slade), nearly killing the serial killer and accidentally giving Sin a hard hit to the side of the face in the process.  Roy snaps out of it, and they get the guy to the hospital.  He’ll live – just not well.  Sin calls in Thea, hoping Roy will spill his secret.  Instead, he lies, and goes off to a corner to cry.  Oliver as Arrow decides enough is enough, and offers to train young Roy to harness his new powers.  Did Team Arrow just become a quintet instead of a trio?  Or were they already that because we should count Detective Lance as a part-time member?

Meanwhile, On the Island…-

Because this is, after all, an island that only has so many standing sets used by the show, Oliver and Sara return to the wrecked plane in search of Slade.  No dice.  All out of ideas, they camp out for the night, Sara doing her best to convince Oliver they should take Ivo’s offer to hand over the miracle drug in exchange for safe passage off the island.  Oliver might have been more receptive if Sara hadn’t argued that Ivo is simply misunderstood – you know, the same Ivo that straight-up murdered Shado.  Sara sneaks off to talk to Ivo over the military walkie talkie, and we get a very clear image of the horribly psychologically abusive relationship the two had.  He comes close to winning her back with his whole, (paraphrasing) “You are the only one who truly understands me.  Please come home.  I need you,” act, but she’s still pretty pissed he pulled a gun on her and killed Shado.  Once rejected, Ivo turns back into a stone cold bastard, but Sara turns off the walkie talkie.  She and Oliver agree to go find Slade.


My first ever episode of Arrow was “Damaged,” the fifth episode of the first season.  That’s the one where Detective Lance did only what a good cop would do and easily put the pieces together to deduce Oliver was clearly the vigilante, thus arresting him for murder.  However, who does Oliver hire as his lawyer?  Laurel!  And what happens while Oliver is in custody?  Diggle pretends to be the vigilante, thus discrediting Lance’s theory about Oliver.  I had held out on the show to that point, but this particular story line hooked me instantly.  Through it, I realized Arrow was most definitely not Smallville, having made a believable, real-world based story line out of the question that plagues many comic books, “Why hasn’t anyone guessed the hero’s secret?”  However, it is one of those episodes that you can nitpick at the end, questioning why Oliver’s ruse seems to completely invalidate all of Detective Lance’s evidence.

“Blind Spot” plays like a smaller scale version of “Damaged,” (the episodes share a screenwriter, Wendy Maricle) except as befits a show much further into its run at this point it’s obviously far more jam-packed with plot and story arcs.  However, the general idea of the A plot with Laurel is to discredit her theories about Sebastian by not only discrediting her reputation but undermining her confidence by giving us a false version of Brother Blood, just as Diggle paraded as a fake vigilante in “Damaged.”  I imagine the success level of this episode for many will rest upon how cool you are with the idea that by episode’s end everyone has been completely fooled by Sebastian and Slade.

Blind Spot

Yes, it turns out that Laurel has a pill addiction problem she’d kept in secret, and yes, that sure as heck wasn’t Sebastian under the mask at the end of the episode.  Plus, the fake Brother Blood was their mole from the police force who was around enough to have maybe been able to pull some of these things off.  However, why is no one looking into what this cop’s possible motivations could have been?  Why would he have cared to remove the file about Sebastian’s father?  Does this really instantly mean that Laurel’s trail of circumstantial evidence against Sebastian is any less suspicious?  Why before even the reveal of the fake Brother Blood was Laurel’s father so unwilling to believe Laurel?  Why doesn’t Arrow find it odd that Brother Blood apparently had no guards of henchman to be fought through while rescuing Laurel?

However, while you can nitpick the resolution (for the record, I’m kind of okay with it) I rather enjoyed the journey getting there.  Laurel’s arc this season has been a point of much debate and ridicule.  First, she was President of the I Hate Arrow Fan Club.  Then, she was “OMG, dad, did you all totally know I was just blaming Arrow for everything because I feel so guilty about Tommy’s death?  Why didn’t anyone tell me!?!”  Then she was boozy and pill-popping and self-loathing, and then…nothing.  She was just gone for several episodes in a row, with some openly wondering if they even missed her.  These past two episodes have returned her to the inquisitive Laurel of the first season, following leads just like a policeman’s daughter and working outside the legal system when necessary.  It was fun seeing her back, even if the quick shot of her opening pills here or there let you know this was a house of cards about to crumble down on her just as she – not Arrow or her dad – was about to crack the case.

Blind Spot

At this point, it might actually be kind of challenging to even remember why Laurel’s taking the pills to begin with?  Kind of a quick, “What was that about, again?  Oh, that’s right, Tommy.”  However, in Oliver’s conversation with Laurel “Blind Spot” argues her substance abuse is perhaps more cumulative.  This is, after all, a girl who has suffered repeated near-death experiences in a very short amount of time.  They also keep arguing it’s in her blood, due to her father’s past with alcoholism, drawing a direct parallel between his mourning of Sara in the first season to her mourning of Tommy.  Either way, it’s been an unexpected direction to take the character, but Katie Cassidy’s acting in “Blind Spot,” particularly when begging her father to listen to her, was up to the task.  Plus, it was interesting to see her actually murder someone at the end.  However, she won’t be charged because it was “clear self-defense,” but, come on, she shot the dude 7 times.  That pretty quickly stopped being self-defense.  Either way, although she was the damsel in distress she was the one who saved Oliver…although since Sebastian is under strict instructions from Slade not to kill Arrow his life was probably never in real danger.

Blind Spot

Interestingly, the other Lance sister also got her most significant screen time in quite a while, Caity Lotz again absolutely nailing the character of Sara Lance.  The island flashbacks are sometimes a pain, constantly pulling us away from the more immediate action in the present.  This week, the flashbacks might seem even less essential than normal since nothing really happens.  However, we are the middle of the season where they can afford to take a breathe, and feature some interesting character work for Sara.  Plus, her new background information about how Laurel was weary enough of Sara’s crush on Oliver to crash one of their parties does tie in to Oliver’s consistent blind spot when it comes to Laurel, even if this new information might seem like retconning to some (I kind of loved it, giving us a new look at the Lance sibling rivalry).  Her conversation with Ivo was also a fascinating insight into the psychology at play in their deeply unhealthy relationship, with Dylan Neal playing the “contrite, man of science merely gone astray” one second and “psycho ex-boyfriend” the next second rather seamlessly.

As for Roy, the approach they are taking with super powers on this show so far is to equate them with corruption – that you don’t get to just stay the same person who can now hit really hard but are instead made into something you don’t recognize.  So much angst.  With Slade they are giving us a worst-case scenario, making us worry that Roy could go down the road as well.  As such, it was inevitable that Oliver would eventually seek to save Roy.  That’s good because Roy sometimes pulls too much focus away from Oliver when off on his own.  However, for a change I enjoyed his story line this week, probably because I get a kick out of the always-enjoyable Sin.  Heck, I even liked the supposed-to-be-funny scene where Thea quickly realizes she has no idea if Sin is straight or gay.

I have to mention, though, am I the only one who found Deathstroke’s entrance at the end unintentionally funny?  Yeah, I know, Deathstroke is a bad-ass in the comics, cartoons, and on Arrow.  Did they have a standing appointment meaning he knew when to commence the killing?  If not, was he just standing off to the side in his costume for hours waiting for them to show up?  Why kill the 4 guys to begin with?  If they’ve had so many problems creating their Brother Blood acolytes why sacrifice 4 of them just to make a point?  Also, why do that, threaten Sebastian, and then just randomly disappear?  That’s your office.  Do you think that maybe like a minute later Deathstroke stormed back in, shouting, “I forgot this is my office.  I’ve still got some work to do.  Ah, dang, that big one bled all over my desk.  I just hate that.  Sebastian – why are you still here?  Get out.  You have a mayoral race to win.”


For Laurel, “Blind Spot” was the culmination of all of her story lines this season, representing her hitting rock bottom even though her skills of deductive reasoning are now superior to both that of her father and Oliver.  For Roy, this was about finally getting him ready to be a sidekick instead of a glorified street informant.  Plus, this episode ended with Slade Wilson officially revealing himself as Deathstroke, killing 4 guys for no real reason in a kind of stupid scene that still managed to also kick ass.  Throw in a couple of quieter scenes with Sara on the island and three or four major action scenes and you’ve got yet another jam-packed season 2 episode of Arrow.  As such, it’s an easy one to nitpick, but the big moments that needed to land emotionally did so perfectly.


1. Oliver actually admits he has a real blind spot when it comes to Laurel, and Diggle shows great restraint in not responding, “No shit.  I’ve only been saying that now for as long as I’ve known you.”  Considering that Oliver finally admits this a week after he actually brought himself to apologize to Felicity, and it kind of seems like he’s making some real progress as of late.

2. Considering all of recent in-fighting with Oliver, I loved Felicity’s prefacing her suggestion that they find a new way of investigating Brother Blood by saying, “Now, don’t yell at me, but…”  I was getting a kick out of Oliver as Arrow shaking down random drug dealers from the streets for information.  I will miss that.

3. Apologies to any frequent readers who missed my normal review format of breaking it down into the things I liked, and things I didn’t.  I decided to instead focus most of my review on the Laurel portion of the episode since this was a really big one for her.

What did you think?  Like “Blind Spot”?  Hate it?  Love it? Let us know in the comments section.

All of the pictures used in the above review, unless otherwise noted, came from CWTV.com © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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