Check out Our Review [WITH SPOILERS] of Arrow Episode 10: “Blood Debts”
Arrow did not go into the mid-season in the best of shape with a overly dramatic ending leading us into the break. Felicity was shot by Damien Darhk’s men and left for dead in a rather forced bit of business that left a bad taste in this recapper’s mouth. But it’s onward and upward – hopefully – as Oliver and his crew attempt to hunt Darhk down to make him pay for what he did to the heart of Team Arrow.
Well, it’s onward but perhaps not upward as Arrow delivers an uneven episode to kick things off in the new year. We’ll focus on the bad first so we can end on a positive. First of all, Anarky. Anarky is a very annoying Joker-lite type villain who serves the plot well, but man, is he vapidly uninteresting. When last we saw Lonnie Machin, he was set on fire by a Lazarus Pit-crazed Thea. Well, Lonnie is back and he’s pissed, although not at Team Arrow; he’s pissed at Darhk for ratting him out to Oliver and company and causing the villain-flambé. Lincoln, with his new creepy False Face-esque mask (man, no one under 38 is going to get that reference) is hunting Darhk and causing no end of trouble for the men who injured Felicity. Oliver believes that Lincoln can lead him to Darhk so this week’s mission is to find and convince the crazed killer to assist in the hunt. But, Lincoln wants no part of this and taunts Team Arrow, especially Thea, to give up their principles and end his life. There is nothing wrong with the ABCs of this plot, except for the fact that Anarky is neither threatening nor engaging. First of all, Anarky looks like he’s twelve, and second of all, his V For Vendetta shtick gets old fast. This villain is meant to be edgy but he really comes across as generic and robs the episode of the potency it could have had.
So Team Arrow capture Anarky and torture him a bit until he escapes. Ollie tracks him down again and frees him, tasking Anarky to find and complete his revenge against Darhk. Ollie plants a tracker on his foe but the whole thing goes south. Team Arrow end up tracking Anarky down to Darhk’s abode where the madman threatens Darhk’s wife and little girl; bringing Darhk’s family into the mix was a pretty cool twist. Oliver saves Darhk’s ‘fam’, which kind of unmanned the arch villain in front of his wife so that was kind of cool. Thea chases down Lincoln but he escapes, free to annoy us another day. I do like the mask though.
A little more bad- the island flashbacks. Man, absolutely nothing is happening in these flashback vignettes. Oliver is injured; Oliver is threatened; his Constantine tattoos glow ( because Oliver has glowy tattoos) and the leader of the mercenaries decides that he needs Oliver. Oh, and the Russian woman cares for Oliver and the two are locked in prison. Can someone explain something here, please? It’s been like ten episodes. Can this story please just go somewhere? John Constantine can’t show up to save every flashback.
OK, enough bitching, on with the good. We had the fascinating evolution of the Diggle brothers. John Diggle’s brother knew where Darhk might be, but he wasn’t talking. So John laid in some fists on his sibling but got nowhere. When John laid out what his brother truly means to him, the ice begins to melt and the whole thing ends with a very manly, but very sweet, game of cards. I really wasn’t interested in this plot-line until this week as the show took a very human route to get the Diggle brothers on, mostly, the same page.
Also good, the strength of Felicity. As she was lying in the hospital, Felicity’s inner strength truly shined. She doesn’t indulge in the woe-is-me victimization stuff, she remains Oliver’s beacon of light and goodness. Her indulgent demise made me afraid that Felicity would darken, but not the case. Tragically, it is revealed that Felicity will be paralyzed so it seems like those Oracle rumors may be true which would be kind of awesome.
I also enjoyed Thea as an unstoppable bad-ass as Oliver’s sister had evolved into Team Arrow’s greatest weapon. Darhk fears her; she easily took down Anarky and she continues to resist the Lazarus curse. Thea is the closest thing this show has to a super-powered hero.
Now, the elephant in the room. We see a bit more of that oft-discussed graveyard scene. Since season four began, there have been all sorts of speculation over who might be in that grave. We don’t see who it is this week, but we do see who it isn’t. It isn’t Felicity as we see her in Ollie’s limo after Arrow’s graveside meet up with Barry Allen. And remember how I said that she wasn’t darkened by her own ordeal? Well, whoever is in that grave certainly darkens Felicity as she orders Oliver to kill whoever was responsible for that grave being dug.
The season is getting close to being really good; it just keeps hitting a few potholes. But with Darhk’s wife talking about something called Genesis, I am very intrigued. If I see a Boom Tube open, I will take back all the bad things I said.
Anarky is still a soft faced jerk though.