Writers: Jake Coburn/Keto Shimizu
Director: Rob Hardy
Cast: Stephen Amell/David Ramsey/Emily Bett Rickards/Kevin Alejandro
The Arrow continues to track down Brother Blood (the man in the skull mask to him), and runs into a snag when the terrorist “Shrapnel” detonates bombs across Starling City, forcing Oliver to take action. On the island, Oliver, Slade, and Sarah mourn the death of Shado and try to find a way off the island while keeping the Mirakuru out of Dr. Ivo’s hands.
The Ups: The best part of this episode, and arguably the best part of the series, is the intricate layering of plots throughout the series. This episode had a heavy focus on the Brother Blood subplot, which means Kevin Alejandro gets screen time in both his Sebastion Blood and Brother Blood personas and we get to see him lie and deceive his way towards his sinister goals like any good politician/psychopath does. On top of this Oliver Queen must face the terrorist and explosives expert known as “Shrapnel”. On top of all of these plotlines the island flashback continues and the death of Shado creates tension between the three survivors. This event continues to forge Slade and Oliver into the characters we know they will become, and this grief fueled tension results in a believable and compelling transformation in the two characters. All of these plots are woven together intricately and ensure that there’s never a dull moment throughout the episode.
The Downs: The episode suffers from a few cases of misplaced or inorganic tension. After Brother Blood injects Roy with his Mirakuru based serum he is understandably shaken up, but develops a bad case of teen angst. Angst can be okay if done correctly but this was the “I said ‘I don’t want to talk about’, which means we’re going to talk about it” angst which feels a little out of character when Roy has been shown to be a much stronger character in the past. The other source of tension occurs between Felicity and Oliver after Barry was struck by lightning in the last episode. The tension there is justified but feels a little exaggerated.
Overall: With the exception of a little misplaced angst the episode manages to pull off several different plot threads without a hitch. This episode keeps a very consistent pace with the rest of the season keeping to their formula of having Oliver face off against his “villain of the week” while advancing the various subplots significantly. In particular the Brother Blood subplot accelerates forward as Laurel continues to investigate. The acting was all spot-on in this episode, the action was exciting and believable and as always there’s a great cliffhanger that drastically advances the plot and keeps you excited for that next episode.
Grade 4 of 5