**This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Arrow, “Blind Spot.”**
This week’s Arrow was a Laurel episode, as least as much as any Arrow episode can be character-centric. It was also heavy on the Roy storyline (with bonus Sin!) as well as the island flashbacks. That means we saw a lot less of Oliver than usual (both in amount of screentime and amount of skin) and we really only got two good scenes of Team Arrow. But there was this:
This episode felt a little disjointed, especially given that we’ve been treated to tightly-plotted and fast-paced episodes since we met Sara. I saw it as a good thing; I think shows like this need to take an episode or two to step back and reconfigure their storylines, at least to establish a base line of normality so that we don’t start losing our connections to the characters. The alternative would be something akin to The Vampire Diaries, a show that went full-throttle with every episode, to the point that some beloved character had to die (and come back to life) at least once a week in order to maintain the momentum. Arrow is doing a better job of striking a balance, and a slower-paced episode couldn’t have come at a better time. Shado is dead, the Mirakuru is at work in the city, and we know that the end of this season is going to be explosive. It’s nice to watch an episode where Oliver spends most of his time in regular street clothes instead of in business attire or a hood.
Unfortunately, the slower pace happened during a Laurel episode. Her character has many detractors (sometimes including me) so it’s easy to pin this episode’s lack of action to Laurel. I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Yes, Laurel’s scenes could’ve been more dramatic and emotional, but she’s not a superhero or a villain. She’s a normal person struggling with addiction, so her scenes are going to be a little more human than the ones with Roy or the island flashbacks.
I will give Katie Cassidy credit where it’s due: her scene with Paul Blackthorne in the interrogation room is some of her best work. Even though she still doesn’t actually shed a tear onscreen, she looks absolutely wrecked, like a person going through the anguish of drug withdrawal. Her sobbing and begging to her father were heartbreaking, and Blackthorne in turn gave a deeply emotional performance.
In fact, if there’s an MVP in this episode, it’s Blackthorne as Beat Cop Lance, because he straight up Diggled this episode. (To “Diggle” something means “to make the most of one’s very limited screentime by being amazing.” I’m determined to make this an actual verb.) He had three key scenes: One in the interrogation room, one with Oliver, and one at the end where he debriefs with Laurel. The scene with Oliver, in particular, shows his growth as a character.
It also supports my theory that Lance knows Oliver is The Arrow, just because I want it to be true.
And Diggle also Diggled this episode big time.
But let’s get into the meat of the episode: Laurel is busted for illegal possession of narcotics. She’s busted because she’s getting too close to Blood, who kills his mother in the cold open. She went to Hooded Oliver for help, and they went on a wild goose chase for a file that would prove Blood killed his father, but the file turns out to be empty.
Present-day Slade gets on Blood’s case for being sloppy, so Blood has Daly ransack Laurel’s apartment with a warrant, which is how they find the drugs. This, plus the fact that Laurel’s kidnapper turns out to be Daly himself, effectively discredits Laurel’s increasingly screechy theory that Blood is a criminal mastermind, as everyone from her own father to ADA Adam think she’s lost credibility. In the end, she loses her job, as well as the trust of her closest ally: The Arrow.
But things aren’t looking so rosy for Laurel from a backstory standpoint, either. Sara tells a story about how she had a crush on Oliver back before he dated Laurel, and that her dear sister called the cops to bust a party so that Sara would be grounded. A month later, Laurel and Oliver were dating.
It certainly doesn’t excuse what Sara did, going on the Gambit and sleeping with her sister’s boyfriend, but… it certainly provides the motivation. And if the details are to be believed — if Laurel truly busted that party just to get Sara grounded so that she could take her shot at Oliver — it certainly changes the commentary on the elder Lance sister, doesn’t it?
The island flashbacks also explored Sara’s Stockholm Syndrome with Ivo, but she manages to separate herself from him at the end of the episode, just as he vows to find her and end her. Sara turns to Oliver and says they should find Slade. Hopefully they find him soon.
Elsewhere, Roy is dealing with his superhuman strength by trying to use it to make the city better. That involves getting Thea to dress up Sin in her “first date outfit” which of course makes Sin look like a prostitute. She’s able to lure someone called the “Starling Slasher” into Roy’s trap so that he can apprehend the guy, but Roy ends up losing control and beating the guy to within an inch of his life. The resulting angst sends Roy running from a concerned Thea, and he sinks against a hospital wall and cries.
Thea later tells Oliver about the man Roy nearly beat to death, and that finally compels Oliver to go to Roy and offer to train him to control his emotions. I’m not sure how Oliver knows how to do that, but I do think it will involve Oliver finally revealing his true identity to Roy in the near future.
Finally, after Blood has successfully discredited Laurel, sacrificed Daly, and taken the heat off of himself, Slade has a logical response: slaying all four of Blood’s henchmen. He’s wearing his Deathstroke mask and warns Blood that if he fails again, he will be the next to die. It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.
None of that compares to the greatest scene of the entire episode:
That’s a scene you need to listen to in order to enjoy. Never has the question “What color are your shoes?” sounded so threatening.
Next week: Roy gets house trained! I mean… Roy gets trained!