Tonight’s Arrow picked up five weeks after the events of the midseason finale. Oliver was desperate to track down the man in the skull mask as he worried about the effects the drug would have on Roy. Meanwhile, we learned that Barry has been in a coma since the particle accelerator went haywire and Felicity has been spending quite a bit of time at his bedside. We also learned that Laurel and Sebastian have gotten closer, but it’s not exactly a fairytale romance from the lady’s perspective.
“Blast Radius” was a solid return after the hiatus, even if the episode was not quite as good as the two-part midseason finale. The villain fell a little flat, but I did enjoy the way storylines were set up for the next arcs and even more than that, I loved the focus on character interactions. We got to see a lot of important (and fun) conversations throughout the episode and it was a nice reminder that even though there’s always chaos, these characters are still people who matter to one another.
Now let’s talk about the episode highlights.
#5 Shrapnel arrives to bomb things
Maybe it’s because I don’t read the comics, but random villains tend to bug me. I’d rather have a villain around for more than one episode than just have a bad guy show up and cause trouble that just happens to be a DC Comics’ character. Shrapnel was basically the Unabomber (he had a manifesto and everything!). After blowing up buildings and leading Arrow on a high speed chase, he decided to target Sebastian’s Unity rally (clearly no one told him Blood is a bad guy too. Where’s the honor among villains?).
But I will give props to the big action scene when they were trying to stop him at the Unity rally and Team Arrow was on scene to save the night. I wasn’t a fan of Dig getting shot (thank goodness it wasn’t serious), but I loved when Oliver bested Shrapnel by disconnecting the wire with an arrow and then punched him in the face. That was a BAMF moment and I mentally stood and cheered for him.
#4 Slade turns on Oliver
The island flashbacks started out on a somber note as they buried Shado and Slade insisted that Oliver take the hood. Oliver wanted to tell him the truth, that he’d chosen to save Sara, but she warned him that it wasn’t a good idea because Slade was not stable. He proved her point a little while later when he attempted to choke Oliver and Sara had to hit him over the head to make him stop.
He seemed to feel bad about it and took some time to himself. But the real interesting part came when Ivo contacted them over the radio and they discovered Slade was gone and he’d taken the Mirakuru. That’s definitely not going to lead to anything good. But again, I can’t say enough how much more invested I am in the flashbacks this season thanks to Sara being there.
#3 Thea catches on to Roy’s strength
Another scene I loved was Oliver trying to subtly interrogate Thea about Roy and her messing with him. Add in Moira coming over and mocking Oliver’s ‘hobby’ and it’s safe to say I loved the Queen family scenes. Then Thea and Roy were sharing some quality storeroom time getting hot and heavy and Roy got hurt. But thanks to his newfound abilities, he healed quickly, something he attempted to hide from Thea. She was suspicious, but was willing to let it go…until she watched him save Moira from getting crushed at the rally…by taking the impact himself and walking away without a scratch.
I’m still not thrilled that Thea is the supporting character in Roy’s story instead of the other way around, but I do love that she’s quick on the uptake and the writers are not making her look stupid. I’m curious how this is going to affect their relationship and how much Roy is going to keep to himself.
#2 Oliver loses his cool with Felicity
Felicity returned from Center City once she learned about the bombings and Team Arrow was reunited, but there was more tension than usual in the Arrow Cave. Things downright boiled over when Felicity made a mistake during the motorcycle chase and Oliver accused her of not being all there because her head was in Center City. Felicity retorted with where she thought Oliver’s head was (yes!) and then went to get some air while Dig correctly pointed out that Oliver never had a problem with Felicity’s performance before Barry came into the picture.
Things remained tense while they worked to take down Shrapnel (but not too tense that Felicity wasn’t scared when Oliver was trapped in the store). Once everything was said and done, the two had a talk and Oliver admitted that Felicity being gone made him realize how much he needed her there. She made a joke about having a shot at employee of the month (okay, how many of you held your breath when she paused after ‘shot’?) and Oliver told her that she wasn’t his employee, she was his partner (aw). Then he said some encouraging things about Barry waking up and it was a really sweet, honest moment (and fine I ship it a little).
#1 Laurel discovers the truth about Sebastian
I’ve been waiting forever for Laurel to have a story and a purpose outside of being a love interest and this episode finally gave me hope that it might happen. Everyone thinks Sebastian is some sort of savior, but there was something about him that troubled Laurel. Even after Oliver threw him a party and her father urged her to trust that he was a good guy, Laurel still had her doubts. Then Sebastian told her the story of his father murdering his mother and how that haunted him. Between that and Quentin discovering he was caring for his aunt, that should have been enough to prove he was a good guy.
But Laurel still wasn’t convinced so she went to meet the aunt in the facility she was living in. Maya told Laurel that she couldn’t trust Sebastian because he was the devil and he’d killed his father. That was when Laurel realized that Maya wasn’t his aunt – she was his mother and she’d witnessed his crime and that was why she was being hidden away. As this was happening, Arrow was shaking hands with Blood and vowing to save the city together.
I loved that Laurel got to be smart and that she kept pushing when the people closest to her said there was nothing there. Even more than that, I love that she’s at such a bad place in her life (she stole her father’s pain pills!) that she’s not in the best position to get people to take her word, which means she’s going to have to fight even harder. I cannot wait to see where this story is going.
What did you guys think? Was this episode worth the wait? Did you enjoy Shrapnel? Were you Team Oliver or Team Felicity? Do you miss seeing Barry? Are you impressed with Laurel putting the pieces together? What do you think will happen next week? Hit the comments and share your thoughts and theories with us!