Arrow, Ep. 2.11 “Blind Spot” makes a very odd – but true – point about its hero

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Arrow Season 2, Episode 11 “Blind Spot”
Written by Wendy Mericle & Beth Schwartz
Directed by Glen Winter
Airs Wednesday nights at 8pm ET on The CW

 

I hate to say it, but one of the key reasons season two of Arrow is far superior to its freshman offering is the presence of less Laurel Lance. Her constantly melodramatic, self-involved story lines sometimes engulf entire episodes, while the show ping-pongs her relationship to the protagonist (and her perception of his alter-ego) for dramatic effect. With all sorts of new characters (and still-alive sisters!) to introduce, the early episodes of season two mostly put Laurel on the back burner: and it worked to the show’s advantage, where emotional angst could be wrought in other, more interesting places than Laurel’s mind.

For the first thirty minutes of “Blind Spot”, The Laurel Problem is front and center: the overwrought camera angles of her taking her father’s (pain? anxiety? erection?) pills, the complete lack of subtlety in the writing or performance of the many, tear-friendly emotions she feels in the episode… it’s all just a jumbled mess of a Very Special Story about Laurel – and more disturbingly, gives her an addiction for the sake of making her unreliable for the events of this particular episode, a purely superficial reason to give a character such a debilitating disease.

Putting aside how light and carefree Arrow handles serious drug abuse, “Blind Spot” doesn’t really become interesting until it turns the attention away from the Lance sisters (back on the island, Sarah betrays Ollie and calls Dr. Ivo, who of course is in love with her) and back to Oliver. At first, it seems silly that Arrow would expose himself to Laurel again, given her recent verbal tirades against him (not to mention her multiple attempts to capture him over the years, in between the times she’s working with him.. she’s not the most consistent, is she?) – but once the episode’s events reach their climatic points, they reveal Arrow’s biggest weakness: he’ll trust any women he’s sexually interested in. I don’t think that’s the intended point, but unfortunately, it’s kind of true: Sarah, The Huntress, Laurel… they’ve all betrayed him in some form or another, mask on and/or off, and it’s because even after five years of training, Oliver lets himself be lead around by the arrow in his pants.

Regardless of how it’s interpreted, Arrow’s moment of realization is an important one for a superhero: part of keeping people safe (and yourself alive) is becoming detached from your personal connections: and although Arrow wasn’t really deceived by Laurel (she thought she was being attacked by Blood, but shot and killed dirty Officer Daley instead… I like to think he died trying to pay for his kid’s tuition), Blood’s trickery fools him into thinking she did, raising an important question about Arrow: is he really a ‘hero’ yet? Part of being a hero is sacrifice: and Oliver’s only deepened his personal connection to Laurel (and Sarah during her brief stay in Starling) since returning to the island and making his personal pledge. The Lance sisters are his weakness – and before he can enter the toughest battle of his life (Daly puts up a good fight, even though he’s clearly not taking any Blood Juice), he’s got a lot of soul-searching to do about ol’ Betty and Veronica (does that reference age me?).

Like Oliver’s realization about the Lance ladies, Roy’s journey from pissed off and jacked up, to jacked up and semi under-control come with a fair dose of Bitchy Thea, my least favorite character on the show (right next to Crying Oliver and Staring Laurel). It’s almost comical how quickly Roy goes from protecting his secret to letting Sin spill the beans about him beating a guy nearly to death – but I think it finally gives his relationship with Thea an intriguing wrinkle. Yes, Thea was mad that Roy nearly beat a man to death, but she wasn’t trying to run away. She wanted to support him, dropping the pissed off facade once she realized that something was really wrong with him – and although Roy rebuffs her, it’s only a matter of time before he confides in her over the violent things he’s probably going to do under the wing of Arrow to become Speedy/Red Arrow, (but with the powers of Miraku making him season one-Oliver murderous, of course).

“Blind Spot” certainly sells its females short (except Thea, and Moira who is… somewhere else this week), turning their scenes into melodramatic talk-a-thons and ‘suprises’ – Laurel’s fired! Sarah’s a little weirder than we thought! – to make a simple point of Oliver’s over-trusting ways with the ladies (let’s not forget his co-CEO, who seems shady as a tree’s shadow during a summer evening). Without the last ten minutes of misleads, new directions, and the first appearance of Deathstroke in full uniform (killing Blood’s bodyguards in a matter of seconds), “Blind Spot” could be easily confused with a season one episode – thankfully, the third act pushes the season’s big arcs forward in exciting fashion.

 

Other thoughts/observations:

– boy, SWAT teams show up quick to protect the city archives, don’t they.

– Blood kills his mother to keep this secret of him killing his father secret: not only does it make him a fucked up character, but makes his life story a hilarious thing to say out loud.

– Sin makes an appearance, bonding with Thea, setting up the Starling Slasher, and rocking a baller haircut.

– Daly carries three guns to a bow and arrow fight… R.I.P., ya dirty bastard.

– Love the look of Deathstroke: what do other DC fans think?

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