Arrow returns from its break with a new episode dealing with a new threat for Oliver and the gang. Seems a bomber has made Starling City his target, blowing up several buildings after releasing an anti-government manifesto. The bomber is Mark Scheffer (guest star Sean Maher) who goes by the name Shrapnel, yet another tie with the show and the larger DC universe. Shrapnel was a character that first appeared in volume 2 of Doom Patrol in 1988, and has been affiliated with Suicide Squad and the Secret Society of Super Villains. He’s been altered a bit for the show, having his super strength taken away. In a sense, that seems to have happened to this show as well. Arrow has been on a hot streak with the episodes leading up to the midseason finale, but this return was weak in comparison, seeming more to be a filler episode with some set-up for future installments.
While Maher imbued Scheffer with a nice amount of menace, he was put away far too quickly in the end, serving more as a villain of the week rather than the supervillain he is in the comics. It is possible he may return in a later episode, but rather than making an explosive debut (sorry about the pun, couldn’t resist) he kind of fizzled out. Yes, he blew up two buildings, and threatened a political rally held by Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro), and trapped Oliver in an antique store rigged with explosives. It seemed to be a missed opportunity for the show to generate some real suspense, as Ollie escaped (with the help of Felicity, of course) a bit too easily by firing an arrow into the fuse box, destroying the power source for the bomb’s triggering mechanism. A chase through the streets earlier in the episode seemed lackluster, and in the end Shrapnel was apprehended fairly easily, despite shooting Diggle in the shoulder. Hopefully this was just an introduction to the villain and not the last we’ll see of him, and that he’ll play a bigger part in the future, much like Count Vertigo and Deadshot have. On that we’ll have to wait and see.
A bit of the mystery surrounding Sebastian Blood was uncovered by the show’s end, as Laurel investigated the alderman as her suspicions have been raised. She talks to Blood about his connection to Cyrus Gold, who Blood knew from the orphanage he was in and whom Blood described as a “father figure”. Blood told Laurel that his mother shot his father, and then ran. She finds a hospital invoice on his desk for a Maya Resnik, and does some research. She at first finds that Maya is Blood’s aunt, and that she has been committed to a psych ward. While visiting the aunt, she learns the truth- Maya is, in fact, Blood’s mother, who has locked away since she witnessed him killing his father. She tells Laurel “Sebastian is the Devil”, and warns her that he is not to be trusted. This scene played out nicely, as the voice over of Maya telling Laurel to be wary of Blood was played out over a scene showing the Arrow and Blood shaking hands, vowing to work together to keep Starling City safe. We already know that Blood is Brother Blood and has connections to Slade and the serum Mirakuru. It’s a nice little foreshadowing that Ollie is being set up for a fall, and it will be interesting to see how the show plays that out.
In other events, Thea and Roy had a talk, with Thea being worried about his moody behavior. We know that Roy has been injected with the Mirakuru serum, and Thea eventually gets a glimpse of what the serum has done to him, as he saves Moira’s life from a falling light tower at Blood’s rally. Earlier in the episode a crate of glass bottles had fallen on Roy, causing a shard of glass to be imbedded in his arm. By the episode’s end, his arm is healed, and Thea takes note of this. Roy makes light of it, saying that he’s a quick healer, but Thea’s suspicions are now raised. With Roy’s greater strength, we’ll have to see what the show does with that, if he eventually joins Ollie in his vigilante crusade to protect Starling City.
The island flashbacks dealt with burying Shado after she was killed by Ivo, and we see Slade give Oliver Shado’s green hood. We also see the ill effects the serum has on Slade. By the end of the episode, we learn that Slade has fled with the serum, and Ivo threatens Sara and Oliver, telling them they need to turn the Mirakuru serum over to him, and if they do so he’ll set them free and get them off the island. With Slade gone, that option is removed. Future episodes still need to fill in how Slade made the complete crossover to being Deathstroke and how Ollie and Sara both got off the island.
In another bit of fan service, the episode also addressed the accident at the S.T.A.R. Labs in Central City and what happened to Barry Allen, who for now is in a coma. When the show opens, Felicity is in Central City at Allen’s side, and returns after the first bombing to help. Her and Ollie get into an argument when Ollie blames her when he loses Shrapnel during a chase, accusing her of not having her head in the game because she is worried about Barry. By the end, they work things out nicely, with Ollie telling her that he needs her and Diggle. Felicity asks if she can be employee of the month, and Oliver tells her, “You’re not my employee. You’re my partner.” It was a nice scene that showed Oliver can’t work alone, and wants a support group behind him, even if for now that group only contains two people.
In all, it was a decent episode, but felt weak in comparison to what had come before. Hopefully, things revealed in this episode will be built on in the future, and the show will get back on the hot streak it’s been on.
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