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Arrow S02E10: "Blast Radius"


After the mid-season finale, I think pretty much anything was going to feel like a bit of a letdown, but I wasn't expecting "Blast Radius" to be that much of a letdown. In a lot of ways, it felt like the leftover core of a Season 1 script—meaning the Shrapnel plot—but with some new elements tacked on to make it feel like part of Season 2. And while those more relevant Season 2 elements weren't bad, they also weren't enough to keep the episode afloat. 

The main burden on the episode was Shrapnel (Firefly alum Sean Maher, doing the best he could with very little). I suggested a connection to Season 1 because the storyline, as a whole, had an issue with villains of the week who lacked personality, who lacked a sense of character, not to mention a lack of time to develop those things. In short, the characters were just there to cause problems for Oliver, and the show didn't provide them with a perspective that pushed them beyond that. If they're just obstacles, then why should we care? What are the stakes other than "They're doing bad things?" What do their plans say about the narrative world? Are they complementing or providing a foil to one of our regular characters in some way? If they don't even have that, does a sense of spectacle "make up for" the other missing traits?

What do we know about Shrapnel? He runs a novelty shop, frequents an anti-government militia website, and seems to have advance training in bomb-making and electronics. He's blowing up buildings and targeting Blood because he's angry with corruption in the political system. That's pretty much it. I admit that Shrapnel is at a bit of a disadvantage, since making any mad bomber anti-government character interesting in this day in age is pretty difficult, but then Batman Beyond managed to at least do a dangerous send-up of that type with Mad Stan, so it's possible.


What would've kept Shrapnel from being such a waste? In "Blast Radius," there was no through-line between Shrapnel's outrage and, say, localized class disparity and corruption in Starling City, elements of the narrative that would have connected to Blood's campaign in interesting ways. So consider how the episode's narrative would've changed if Shrapnel saw himself as an extension of Blood's rhetoric, just in a more (overtly) violent way? If you put Blood's campaign platform into a conversation with an extreme version of itself, suddenly what Shrapnel was doing offers commentary on Arrow's larger issues, as opposed to being amorphously connected to them.

Thinking about other villains-of-the-week from this season, even the weakest of them—the Mayor—at least had a connection and motivation to the larger events in the show as he was assuming control of the gangs in the Glades and remaking himself following the community's devastation. It wasn't all that interesting, but at least it was a part of the world. The Dollmaker wasn't any different from most other TV serial killers, but he had a creepy way of killing victims, and that episode played up a lot of horror tropes in its mise-en-scène to differentiate itself from a typical hour of Arrow

Of course, the episode with the Mayor was buoyed by some good character stuff as Oliver and Sara were reconnecting and dealing with their pasts, so even though the Mayor wasn't exciting, there was still something engaging going on around him. "Blast Radius" didn't have that as strongly, but when I found myself thinking, "I sort of would like to spend more time with the Laurel investigation..." I knew things weren't going well.

Laurel's been a major weight on the show. Audiences, on the whole, don't seem to be responding to the character (or to Katie Cassidy), and the writers have struggled to make the character feel integrated into the show this season. We've had her hunt for the vigilante, followed up by taking on the guilt for Tommy's death, that in turn led to a burgeoning problem with alcohol and pills (the prescription bottle she had at the start of this episode belonged to Quentin), and that resulted in Laurel disappearing from the show for a little while.

I like to think that the disappearance was a deliberate move on the writers' parts in an effort to figure out what the hell to do with the character. The result, it appears, was Laurel deciding to dig into Blood's past. Between Laurel not being on the show too much and the winter break, I honestly can't remember if Laurel's ever come off as suspicious of Blood, or this is a brand new perspective for her, based largely on a building catching on fire and Cyrus Gold's connection to Blood, but I'm going to run with it regardless.

I'm doing that because, finally, Laurel is involved in the bigger plot of the show. One of the big problems with the character is that she's always been separated from the seasonal arcs by a few degrees, but those degrees have been enough that she's essentially been reduced to damsel in distress or the point of a love triangle. By taking on some agency, and by looking into Blood, suddenly Laurel has information that other people don't, which is a reversal of her normal status on this show. It's a nice move forward for the character, so hopefully the show doesn't bungle it.

I'll wrap this up with some brief thoughts on Oliver and Felicity, especially since if there was anything that was really interesting in the episode—provided you didn't appreciate the Laurel stuff as much as I did—it was the fallout of Barry and Felicity's geeky romantic sparks, Felicity rushing to Barry's side in Central City, and Oliver being super-grumpy about all of it. The whole situation is cute, yes, because the actors are digging in in exactly the right way for their characters. Rickards is playing up the unrequited love angle with geeky awkwardness, and Amell is hitting the right notes as the tortured soul who doesn't think he deserves love (but still wants it) yet is trying to be a good guy. In simpler terms: It's not you, it's him, Felicity.

And, really, that's about where it should be. While Oliver is open to romance on some level—remember McKenna?—Felicity's a different game since she's a member of the team and a partner in the mission. As a romantic partner, she'd be a distraction from things that Oliver can't truly afford. Pile on the fact that I don't see the show changing this relationship too much until maybe the end of the season, and I'm not too concerned about this particular aspect of the show. Then again, running-in-place romantic tensions are among my least favorite TV stories, so there you go.



FROM THE QUIVER

– That the island story is shifting parallels from Oliver-then to Oliver-now to Slade-then to Roy-now is a nifty little trick. While I don't think Roy is going to go violently crazy like Slade is attempting to cope with—I think Blood's version of the serum has managed to suppress that aspect, when the serum doesn't kill people outright—I do think that both Roy and Slade having to figure out how to cope with the effects of the serum should make for some decent story opportunities.

– I like that when Arrow takes a long-ish hiatus, it acknowledges that hiatus in the show itself. It did that last season, too, after the mid-season break.

– "You've taken Oliver's... hobby, and turned it into a successful business!"

– "What's with the mask?" "A gift from a friend." "You've got friends?!"

– Blood's mother (or aunt. if you don't think the lady in the asylum is telling the truth), is named Maya Resik. Resik is a nod to Anna Resik from the comics, a woman who's linked to Blood there as well. The Movement, the militia group that Shrapnel borrowed his bomb models from, is probably a reference to the comic book of the same name that deals with young superheroes fighting corruption.


What did you think of "Blast Radius"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/7/2016

Season 5 : Episode 9

Next Episode

AIRS ON 1/25/2017

Season 5 : Episode 10

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Dear Noel, I very much appreciate your reviews and your in-depth look at not only the episode itself but also the analysis of the themes in the show and how the themes are present in each episode. It is really great! Also I am glad my 3 years at uni have come in use today, as I know what you are talking about when you mention mise-en-scene. Hooray! I do agree on that point you made about it and all of the points before it that Shrapnel could have been used much better in this episode. I too, did not mind Laurel in this episode, at least she was doing something helpful.

Side note: I had the pleasure of seeing Sean Maher in November at a con and he mentioned his work on the show. So it was exciting to see him here after hearing him talk about working on the show. I am also glad they did not kill him off as it means he may return!
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I pretty much ignored bomber dude since he was pretty much only there to provide a reason for the other more interesting interactions on the show.

1. Showing Sebastian Blood is a bit of a crazy pants. So, you've got a guy blowing up buildings as a means of protest? Why not gather a bunch of people into one place and provide him a target. I have trouble believing that this didn't set off more alarm bells to Oli.

2. I've never really had a problem with Laurel, but I can see the flaws in her character. If they could only now do away with this whole addiction thing and just let her expose Blood for what he is and maybe start establishing her some "street cred"...that would be swell.

3. While it's nice that they're not hiding Super Roy for very long, "Hey Speedy, your boyfriend just had a 500lb light stand crash on him and he chalked it up to adrenaline...smarten up!". Additionally, shouldn't Oli be a little more concerned over both Roy and his proximity to his sister given how worried he is about the effects of the drug?

Most importantly...

4. Oli and Felicity. I don't like it when anybody takes liberties with Felicity...even Oli. But it's clear he was just acting out because he was upset. Not cool, but understandable given what an emotional mess he is. "I depend on you", "You're not my employee, you're my partner"...c'mon, would it be so hard to just admit that you missed her?

Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of the "running-in-place romantic tensions", when done properly that is...and so far, it's proper. I want nothing else for the forseeable future than have these two (semi privately) acknowledge that there's something between them but never indulge in anything other that playful banter...mostly of Felicity stumbling into a double entendre. Bond and Moneypenny...that's it...that's all.

The door got cracked open a little when Felicity acknowledged her feelings after Oli and Isabel had this one night. It'd be nice if Oli did the same with Felicity and Barry, since his new found powers will clearly keep them apart.

A great episode? No. But it had enough of the good parts of the series to keep it from being a flop.
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Not the best of episodes, felt like re-heating last nights pizza.

Thought that was buddy off of Firefly. Boy, he could use some steadier work.

Lastly, lasers! 60 some odd years on, still awesome.
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Dang, I watched this episode some time after eating... last night's pizza!
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OK, who wants to buy the action figures? I totally want to buy the action figures!!!!! So happy they exist! But, I gotta say, though I love that there is an Oliver and a Slade , I want want WANT a Felicity!!!! -A Diggle would be cool too-but Felicity is a must.
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Felicity is awesome, how can Oli not want her over dumb Laurel.
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Very strong review. I couldn't believe how much of a misfire this episode was, I got bored so quickly into it and so disinterested with every plotline and how it played out that I actually remember "coming too" about 20 minutes in after realizing I had been watching but was barely absorbing what was going. It didn't even anger me, it just felt like something that was background noise... while in the foreground.

Thanks for pointing out the actor on the evil bomber what bombs at midnight, that was driving me newts.

Sorry I don't have more to add to the conversation, this was just such a dull outing that I can't find the passion to get mad and rant, or even respond to the review's points; this episode was a plate of cold, overcooked noodles without sauce.
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I'm reading through the comments below, and it dawned on me what this episode felt like, it felt like in elementary school when you've finished the test early and the teacher, having nothing to offer you but still having to supervise you, just tells you to put your head down on the desk. This episode was listening to pencils filling in bubbles, and the occasional chirp of a bird outside and perhaps a lawnmower, so that when the office sends someone in for the teacher's paperwork, it lightly captures your attention (Laurel's storylines).
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Have you not read comic books before? Do you know how many countless villains of the week (or villains of the month in the case of comics) existed to do nothing more than give Spiderman someone to punch while he was thinking about what he should get Mary Jayne for her birthday? Hell, I can't even remember what the motivation of the character "Shocker" was, and i have like 40 comic books with him in it. Not every villain on Arrow has to be super important to the main narrative. I'm just pleased they are trying to fit in as many DC characters as possible.
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I've totally read superhero comics before. Which is, by the way, why I can tell you that Shocker is primarily just interested in heists, similar to, say, Flash's Rogues (Captain Cold, Mirror Master, etc).

That aside, it's not (completely) an issue of Shrapnel being important to the main narrative. It's important for him, or other villains, to be interesting or compelling. Yes, his ideology being put in dialog with Blood's would have elevated things significantly, but as I pointed out, even if there was a little bit of spectacle or personality to Shrapnel, it would've helped things out. As it stood in the episode, he's as dull as unbuttered toast. Shocker, at least, has a silly woven foam costume and those neat gauntlets.
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They should have done Shrapnel like how he appeared in Batman: the Brave and the Bold, as an enormous communist monster thing.

-now I don't know if you watch S.H.I.E.L.D , but if you want to appreciate Arrow more you should check it out because it makes even the worst Arrow episode seem like high art by comparison, but I was disappointed with the recent episode where that one bad guy industrialist got linked to the main "Clairvoyant" plot. i would have liked to have some stand alone villains on that show.
I didn't really like the fact that Slade got linked to Blood, but it was kind of a cool reveal anyway because it brought Slade into the non-island plot. I really hope though that they don't tie in the H.I.V.E or Suicide Squad plot lines with this one. Speaking of, remember that one time when Diggle Binged H.I.V.E and then they never talked about it again?
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What's great about Arrow is that they may have characters mention something and "never talk about it again"... But then they will. Just like with the Hozen that he gave to Thea all the way back in the freaking Pilot. Who knew that thing had any real significance? Not I. And yet they brought it all the way back around. Arrow is always leaving these dangling plot threads all over the place, and the exciting thing is that I have, at this point, learned to trust the writers that they will pick them back up again. They haven't forgotten. They're just biding their time until the pull it out to shock us all with another reveal.
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I iked Laurel with the Blood Mother..that was nice scene..
the scene with Oliver and Felicity was greatly done..
Schrapnel i hoped to see more of..like he would tell that he is also fighting for the city, but in his own way and that Oliver would be like, no your not and so on an so on...it was a bit boring....
I wonder how things will go with Roy...i mean he got a shot too..
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I completely agree about Shrapnel. Kinda a wasted opportunity there, especially with having both Simon Tam and River Tam on the same show. Seriously, writers, why didn't ya'll at least have them pass each other on the street for us Firefly fans? That alone would have sent our geekdom into overdrive!

But seriously, it felt like there was an entire scene missing in which Shrapnel reveals his real motivations or something. Remember the guy who would put the bomb collars on people and have them steal for him? I expected something like that with Shrapnel saying, "I'm just like you! Trying to fight the corruption in this city! I'm a hero!" And then Ollie turning around and saying, "You're no hero." Which would have been a nice nod to what Felicity had said in the midseason finale with him no longer denying what he is.

Beyond that, I thought it was a pretty good episode. It came out of the hiatus at a bit of a crawl, I'll admit, but I'm not exactly surprised either. Personally, I think they should have kept Oliver stuck in that store for longer. Having him surrounded by all of those lasers was the most intense part of the show - and it was over in seconds. I wonder how long Diggle's wound is going to last. The show usually is either really good at remembering injuries of god awful, so that's always a toss up.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The Olicity stuff was awesome. And Felicity cussed at Oliver, telling him to take his head out of his ass, which made me crack up. Has she ever cussed on the show before? I don't think so, and I thought that was a nice moment to have her do it. Next week looks like the energy will be more up, so I'm excited for it, even if I am not looking forward to Damsel Laurel all over again. Talk about snorefest. BUT DEATHSTROKE! Exciting.
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I am ready for Laurel disappearing of the show, to be honest. She is worse than Lois Lane. But I am worried for some declarations I've read (in this same site, I will hide them for spoilers. If I understood correctly, Laurel is going to end as Black Canary.
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"Laurel's been a major weight on the show."

Bwahahahaha.

No, but seriously, wasn't she talking about getting ready to do the physical stuff on the show in an interview a few weeks ago? Cause honestly she's looking like a strong breeze would bowl her over. Felicity could take Laurel out with a slap.

Also am the only one who groans out loud when see flashbacks from the island. Ollie's wig is so terrible, it's completely distracting. I'm pretty sure I even saw Slade give it some stink eye. :)

#teamBuzzCut 4eva

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Jeez - I thought I was the only one laughing at that walmart wig.
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It was an alright episode, nothing spectacular but there was still some development. I like that Laurel is investigating Blood and finally has something to do that is integral to the overall storyline. While a lot of people don't like her character, I still think there is hope for her (I think it stems for my love of Katie Cassidy when she was Ruby on Supernatural). I just don't think the showrunners know what to do with her character because they spend most episodes pandering to the Olicity fans and shoving the whole "will they, won't they" crap in our face. Not that the characters don't have chemistry, they do, a lot, but so much time is spent on Felicity making cutesy/funny/awkward remarks, sexual tension, etc. that other characters become nothing more than background characters with nothing to add to the story. I think it annoys me because it is done in EVERY episode. Diggle, a character I love, is nothing more than a sounding board for the woes in Oliver's life. He used to go out and help Oliver in the field, but now he mostly sits in the arrow cave (?) watching/assisting Felicity. (BORING) Diggle can kick major ass - lets have him do some more of that. Hopefully he will have more to do in the second half of the season because right now I feel he is being wasted. I still don't like the Roy character (don't know why, he's just not interesting to me) but I did like the juxtaposition of him and Slade. And I hope Thea continues to question him about what she saw, I have a feeling she will because she is not the type to give up. I am still mad that Shado is dead.
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Maibe I was happy for the show's comeback but I did like it. What's up qith katie cassidy, she is too skiny! and honestly I don't care about her investigation, are you telling me that SHE is gonna find out that blood is the man with that freaky mask??? yeah, right
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Well her character is gonna need to do more if she's supposed to be female lead. I think this investigation into Brother Blood is just the writers way to give her something to do.
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I really hope they tie in Shrapnel or the bombings into the story line later. They've done that before, weave previous stories that seemed to have no connection to others, and make it really important.

I also think it's really neat that Oliver is unaware of at least three Big Bad guys out there. Blood, Slade, and Malcolm. They're sort of just drifting out there right now, but it's going to be really cool to see how or if all three will be resolved by the end of the season. Obviously Blood is working for Slade, but how will Slade and Malcolm deal with each other? Team up? Or one of them join Oliver to take out the other? Lots of possibilities open there.

I wonder if they'll have Sara come back to fight Slade over Laurel, Slade kills Sara, and Laurel takes up the Black Canary to honor her? Because Slade does know about Sara, but does he know that she's the Black Canary?

And lastly, I know this is sick, but I was sort of hoping it was Felicity who was shot. She needs to take a few beatings, roughen up, and really have her character develop. I think it could be great for her character development, how she would deal it, but some how retain her sweetness and akwardness, while becoming stronger. I want her to be able to take a bullet just like Diggle did, and have her no longer being a Damsel in distress. She'd no longer just be a girl, but a woman who can really be Oliver's equal.
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It's not an impossible idea to have Felicity start to take a more active role in Team Arrow. We saw Diggle starting to train her in Season 1, and I was a little disappointed that we didn't come back from five months with her at least having learned a few moves. Granted, I don't Felicity ever needs to become a physical character. She's quite awesome as she is. I just don't think it's an impossible one. Look at Chloe from Smallville! She really came into her own, but it just took several seasons for it to happen. And if they do decide to have Felicity take on a more physical role, I hope they string it out and take their time. We can believe that Sara went from party girl to badass vigilante because she has five missing years. Felicity will need the same kind of time to make it believable, imo.

Hell, I feel the same way about Laurel. If Laurel is to take up the mantel of Black Canary, she's going to need more than just some self defense lessons to make it believable. She just can't put on the mask and then go out and fight crime. That would make no sense! So, if Sara is meant to die (ugh, I hope not, I am rather attached already) and Laurel is meant to take her place, then I hope they do it properly. In that... if Sara dies this season, then we still should not see Laurel as the Black Canary successfully for at least a season if not longer.

That's my thoughts anyway.
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I really can't stand Laurel's character on this show. She drags it down with her lame story lines and bad jewelry decisions. Seriously, who wears that many rings??
I really just want her character to go away, go become the Black Canary and join the Flash. He's too upbeat, he could use a mopey depressed girl. Or just finally kill her character off. I know that's not canon, but how much longer are they going to beat the dead horse.
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Me either, actually. And I completely agree with her fashion choices. Who styles her? It's ridiculous. Hot pink high-waisted pants? I mean, c'mon! I have a very small hope that the writers will realize that Laurel just won't work and kill her off, which will propel Sara to staying in Starling City and taking up her mantel as another vigilante. I think Laurel could be Sara's Tommy... If the writers will be bold enough to go that way. Unfortunately, I think they're dead set on Laurel becoming Black Canary, so I'm expecting Sara's death at some point. I just really like her. And I didn't think I would. I was like, "Ugh, Sara's coming back? That's so... icky, Ollie!" And yet, Sara's awesome.

For me, if I can't have Olicity, and it must be Canary/Arrow... Give me Sara/Oliver. I can get behind that.
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I wouldn't mind Sara sticking around and helping out Oliver every now and then. She and Felicity could become friends. But Laurel... what connection does really have to the show other than a plot device or sad love interest?? She just needs to go away.
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For the record, owning a clothing/fashion company means nothing in terms of styling yourself. Have you ever seen Project Runway? Half of those people look like they rolled through a Thrift Store before dragging themselves to work.

Also, on a TV show, you have someone called a Costume Designer/Coordinator, and they handle all wardrobe, so while Katie's style may have influenced them, in the end, they get the last word in. And also, it's not just Katie's wardrobe and/or jewelry styles that have been off this season. She started the year off with this really bizarre half-blonde/light brown hair color thing that just was very unattractive on her. She seems to have gone back to her normal brown tresses though I would still like her to go even darker or back to her Ruby-blonde, but yeesh. It's just been rough all over the place.
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I feel like if it Shrapnel's plot comes back, it'll be that Blood and/or Slade have a connection to the militia group The Movement. But that's me spitballing.
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I feel like they treated Shrapnel a lot like they treated Bronze Tiger. Put them in a C storyline and didn't kill them.

I kind of take this to mean that the both of them and Deadshot, and likely any future similarly dealt with villains will make a return in a Suicide Squad capacity. Maybe against Slade, maybe against Malcolm or the LoA. They've already established Amanda Waller as well in a similarly "brief" role.

That could be an interesting little ensemble of rouges. I haven't felt that any of those portrayals were off, just underutilized.
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It was an ok episode. Didn't feel like it moved the momentum forward much except with Laurel digging into Blood and the Hood shaking hands with Blood at the end. I hope they play out the Oliver/Hood and Blood relationship over the next few episodes, not trusting Laurel's judgement on Blood being bad (which let's be fair, she's earned skepticism) and maybe down the road losing some confidence in his ability to tell who the good guys and bad guys are, most likely culminating in his face-off with Slade. I think that is an interesting emotional storyline for the show to take that would allow the continuation of the break down and rebuild themes that comic book heroes often face.

Only other note is that I like that Arrow didn't treat the Barry incident as if off-screen=didn't happen. And I hope they continue to show how Barry's short introduction to the team did create some repercussions on Oliver and Felicity's partnership which is affecting the team's ability to function.
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It wasn't bad. But it wasn't the shows best offering by a long shot. But that is my general opinion whenever Roy and Laurel are featured more.

The bigger issue I have is Oliver's blind spot for Blood. he skulks around and can't figure out that he is the bad guy? That doesn't really fit with his other knowledge about his other enemies. I know this is different because he wasn't in the book, but it just seems off. And making Laurel know the secret means she is going in the show more. Which is not fun at all.

Felicity was great as always.
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Cosigned. I mean the guy's name is Blood, how has no one brought that up yet, even as a joke. Ha.

But for reals I'm starting to wonder if Ollie is aware of Blood and pretending to side with him in order to flush out Slade, I'd like to believe that Queen is smarter than he is pretending to be.
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I'd like to think that too, but I can''t find any rational justification for Ollie not taking Blood down right now.
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I think Oliver is being fooled, as much as it sucks, but Oliver has been known to have total blind spots every so often. Just look at how long it took for him to admit that Moira was up to something. Granted, Moira was his mother, but I think he has the same blind spot when it comes to Money vs the Poor. Blood is an orphaned child who seems to have worked really hard to get where he is, and he supports the Glades, and he is the total opposite of everything he has spent over a year hating and tracking down.

The only thing Blood has that might put him in Ollie's sights is the fact that he is going into politics, but from Oliver's point of view, hey, finally somebody with some integrity! So, in this case, I think he's just generally being fooled. He's trying to find some sort of scientist, some crazy Ivo repeat, another Malcolm Merlyn... and Blood is none of these things. That puts him in Oliver's blind spot. My thoughts!
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I'm not sure that most of the female viewers spend nearly as much time contemplating whether or not the show's villains have depth. I know that's never the part I like the most. One thing this episode made abundantly clear is Laurel will never be a leading lady on this show. Most barely noticed when she was gone an entire episode. Felicity not being in a few scenes was glaringly obvious. She was missed. It felt odd the boys trying to work without her. It's good that they gave Laurel a story that didn't really involve her relationship with Oliver. But I find it disappointing that Oliver didn't have Felicity check out Blood before he endorsed him. I also find the back story with Blood ludicrous. A child shooting a parent would not be able to frame the other parent. Gun shot residue would prove who shot the dad.

It was a good episode, but I agree. Not great. The Olicities were the only thing worth rewatching!
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I hate to beat an anorexic horse, but Laurel ain't looking so good.
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She's got a chin and jawline sharp enough to grate cheese.

I hope its temporary, she was bad ass on Supernatural and needs to be again if she's gonna be Black Canary.
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yes!! what is happening to that girl??
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Maybe she reads the comments about her...
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Seriously, I was so happy to see Arrow back this week! It's easily made it to the top of my required viewing just because of the characters - Team Arrow is made of win, and I'm even enjoying Roy and Thea now. I'm very eager to see how his story starts to develop, and I'm expecting some tension between him and the Arrow now. That arrow to the leg has probably NOT been forgotten, am I right? He seems more stable than Slade, so you're probably right and the serum has been changed. It was interesting to see the effects on both of them in the same episode.

On to Laurel and Blood. I'm going to preface this by saying that it was nice to see Laurel with a role that did not involve feeling sorry for herself. But I felt like I missed something because she was not at all suspicious of Blood before - last I saw, they were hugging it out at the hospital back in ep. 9. She seemed grateful for his presence and friendship. So I felt like her sudden suspicions and willingness to believe a crazy lady, no further questions, required a leap of logic based on the fact that we the audience already know Blood is up to no good. I find Blood pretty compelling as a character, so it didn't quite make sense that Laurel was the ONLY one suspicious of him. Still, it's movement for the character. We still have the regrettable addict storyline. I can only hope they resolve that and move on soon because unfortunately, I don't buy into it and it bores me. They still seem determined to make her BC, but this path leading there is puzzling and not entertaining to watch. At this point, I'd say keep Sara as BC because she makes more sense.

The villain was a bit of a letdown, but there was so much else going on in the episode that the actor didn't get much chance to play with the role. He was basically there to provide the reason for suiting up and the action scenes, which I enjoyed immensely. But I can deal with that occasionally if we have character development in the same episode. The Team Arrow scenes were entertaining, and I was on the edge of my seat when Diggle got shot. Diggle, by the way - how awesome is he? He's like an older brother guiding Oliver back from the hell he endured those five years. I only wish we saw more of him because he's underutilized in the show. As for Oliver, I think we saw some growth for him here, too. He is a very emotionally confused man, and he lashed out at Felicity. I don't think it boils down to simple jealousy; rather, he had a lot of tension building up and he seems a bit confused about his feelings (jealousy probably being among them) and he acted like a douche. It just goes to show how much Diggle and Felicity really do ground him, and he felt her absence. But I think it's clear now that he feels something for her and is choosing not to act on it. Right now I think that's the right choice even though the UST is off the charts this season! I admit I enjoy watching it. But I want to see him learn more about Felicity as a person before they barrel down that road too fast. And he's got some serious issues that need to be dealt with. My guess is the Isabel situation is going to rear its ugly head again soon. But I want to know more about what's up between her and Moira, so I can live with it. All in all, I enjoyed most of the episode! Can't wait for next week!
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I'm a Laurel fan so this episode was mostly positive for that. I agree it was a little left field. The writers could have planned better for the whole Blood/Laurel romance leads to distrust, leads to research, leads to crazy lady he's stashed away. That happened a little quicker than I would have liked. I did think there was some exposition to explain that, though not adequately. In one of the scenes with Quentin he tells her to be happy and quit looking for excuses, or something to that effect. I can see that. I'm sure she thought he cheated on his taxes or had a gambling problem, not a crazy lady in the proverbial closet.
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Yeah, it felt like they just needed to get to the resolution as fast as possible. The show tends to do that at times with other characters as well. I'll be honest - not a big Laurel fan and it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly why. I wanted to like her because I love the comic Dinah/Canary. I think it's a combination of the terrible Oliver/Laurel backstory, some of the writing, and the actress. I've never watch Cassidy in anything else, but I don't find her very compelling in this role, especially this season. She doesn't fit my image of this character at all. And she's so thin now that it's distracting me when she's on screen (though I feel bad about all the nasty comments she's getting lately.) There were times I liked her in season 1, mostly with Tommy. I like her relationship with Quentin when she's not being a brat - we saw the good side of that in this episode. But really, I still wish they'd keep Sara as Canary, and I don't understand how Laurel would be believable as Canary when she doesn't even look capable of taking on Thea right now. Still waiting to see if the big plan can really redeem her for me.
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What really bugged me in this episode,nevermind Laurel atm....I hate her...what bugged me is,when Lance asked him,if he is wearing mask now. That means he saw before under the hood,which we all knew,ANYONE sees under the hood,but that question kinda confirmed it. Rest was great and I enjoy watching it.
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Seriously, this mask is not doing much to hide Oliver's face. I can't understand how detective Lance, standing so close to him, can't see that Arrow is Oliver.

The episode was blah.
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confusing and badly edited.
Setting up Blood as a big-time threat is obvo the game plan now that Malcolm is gone, and yeah he likes to mask up and experiment on people, and the bad-guy/good-guy trope is the core of comic genre, so there's a palpable sense of tragedy to Sebastian as well. There are times, especially during his chummy chat with Laurel about his childhood, where he genuinely does seem like a lost little boy trying to make the world a safer and more orderly place.
But WE ain't buying it are we? I can only hope for a better build up to the shut down of Blood.
bring on Raas al ghul
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While I agree the episode was fairly boring; I am really happy that the investigation is being done by Laurel. The fact that she is the only one to suspect Blood, even when Oliver trusts him, gives more believability to the fact that she is a hotshot attorney. I also liked how she didn't listen to her dad and trusted herself on it. It's not like her taste in men has ever been particularly great, two former womanizers and then crazy Blood.
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What is it with TV writers making attorneys into detectives? Perry Mason never tried a single case through the law, it was always Hamilton Burger doing real legal work while Mason just had an idea that Paul Drake followed up on and saved the day. It's generally the same, and Laurel is now continuing that tradition of "lawyer=detective" lazy TV writing. Hotshot attorneys generally use the power of the law to make things happen.

That said, yeah, Laurel actually DOING something, that's a rare thing! I didn't remember how she got there though, how she became the one to suspect Blood, stupid break (uh, it was Thea and Roy, and Sin's friend, right?).
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she started suspecting Blood because he has a weird connection to Cyrus Gold, the man who escaped from jail earlier this season that her father went after. He fed her an excuse about him being a preacher for him , but she didn't buy it. And while I agree, the lawyer-detective thing is overdone, I'm just glad the writers are not only giving Laurel, but Katie Cassidy something to actually do. Most of people's issues with her stem from horrific writing of her character. They don't seem to know what to do with her while she is in transition to become the canary.
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Cyrus Gold was a link in the chain, but she was already looking into Sebastian Blood when she came across that, I believe. That's the thing I was trying to get at, Laurel's investigation didn't START in this episode, that was an ongoing thread from the last episode but since it was before the break it wasn't memorable.

Katie Cassidy I still think is hated by the producers due to how they allow her makeup and hair and costume work to be so shabby, not to mention the mediocre writing and directing for her character. At no point does it feel yet like there's a crimefighting Black Canary inside her, and that's a shame because having seen just a little of Katie's performance on Supernatural (I don't watch it so I had to look it up), it's clear she has a much more interesting range of acting she could be bringing to the table. Instead we get Smallville's Lana Lang 2.0, or is it 3.0 since Smallville rebooted her already towards the end?
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Oh I 100 percent agree that its a real shame. I've seen Katie in both supernatural and Harper's Island and with decent material she can do so much better, and look sooo much better than they allow her to on this show. Honestly , it kind of bothers me that they have upgraded Felicity's wardrobe and material so much, while downgrading Laurel's, when Laurel was supposed to be the main female.
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Laurel scenes took away time to develop decent story!!! Down with her. They did improve her (pencil line) eyebrows and she was wearing a truckload of expensive makeup and was somehow given the best writers of the show and still I don't want to see more of her. Felicity didn't have enough sassy lines and Oliver screaming at her felt unnatural. He wasn't angry at her, he was just a screamer because ok. But I get it. The writers were all about making Laurel miss popularity while cutting time for (ruining) other more interesting character stories that I actually want to see more.
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Oliver has actually snapped at Felicity multiple times, so I thought it was totally in character for him to do so again. He always then ends up having to apologize and then they're golden once again. The difference this time is that he totally crossed the time, and he knew it, which is why the apology scene felt so much more personal.
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I'm surprised that quite a lot of you didn't like the episode; I thought I was going to be in the minority because Arrow has never exactly been a favorite of mine. But yeah, I didn't like this one, and not just in relation to the fun episodes to end the first half of the season.

Not only was the story in this episode a little dull, the dialogue-writing and acting were seemingly worse in this too. Even the scenes between Oli and Felicity, which are usually cute, felt a bit forced here.

Also, it's a small thing, but when Oliver and Lance were meeting on that rooftop, they didn't shade Oli's face as much as they usually do. From that close, there was no way in hell Lance wouldn't be able to see that it was Oliver wearing an almost insignificant eye mask.

And yes, as has been said, Laurel's face (and presumably her body) is getting way too skinny. First her character kinda sucks, then her acting kinda sucks, and now she even looks weird? Bleh.

I did like this line from Felicity, though, after Diggle tells her about the dead-man's switch on the bomb trigger:
"That was a thoroughly depressing turn. And a little bit sexist."
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Saint Walker's Hospital, nod to Saint Walker the first Blue Lantern.
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Gah. I didn't even connect that. Excellent catch.
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Like most of you, I am also feeling disappointed after the episode. I was looking forward to have Arrow back! And this wasn't great.

I am not sure if they will manage to save Laurel's character, but I also noticed the improvement. As Noel explained, she now has some advantage over Oliver in terms of information. And also, they managed to make her skin not plastic-glowy.

I love Felicity and I rather have her as a regular character and partner in anti-crime with Oliver/Diggle than getting an Olicity romantic situation that will fade and take her out of the picture.
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So what was up with the zip codes on the hospital bill? They made it real obvious what it said with a nice big closeup.

I can buy that Starling City is a stand-in for Seattle, WA, since Vancouver is the stand-in for Seattle most of the time anyway. But why use a mostly South Carolina zip code for a mental institution in Nebraska? Did Laurel just fly to Nebraska/South Carolina on her off-time?

And why use "N.E."? Does anyone put periods in the state abbreviations anymore? I don't think so...
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Also, is it just me or does this show condense and play with time worse than anything else on TV? One moment Arrow is talking to Blood, telling him to call off the rally. Then with no time transition, suddenly it's 24 hours later and they're holding the rally. I appreciate editing as much as the next person, but this seemed kind of... abrupt.
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I don't know it's the CW it could be worse. Music montage transitions. ... Roll credits, music under announcer voice "Tonights music performed by .... inspired by the CW's Arrow..." I'll keep funky time.
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Can't speak to it now, but Game of Thrones time editing was ridiculous to me in Season 1.

Perhaps we should bring back an emphasis on Aristotle's classical unities.
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I agree that after such a great previous episode, last night's was a big let-down. It's a sad day when Laurel's story is more interesting AND the piece moving the plot forward. Roy's symptoms are interesting but really not a lot was done about that other that two "oh my gosh" from moments from Thea.

  • The villain was uninspiring: no real back-story and no emotional connection. He was just some d-bag that's causing problems.
  • There wasn't nearly enough "island time" in this episode; just 2 short scenes that didn't tell us much we didn't already know. Slade is upset over Shado's death, Oliver feels guilty, and the bad guys want the serum.
  • What kind of mad bomber tries to be menacing without a dead-man's-switch? Seriously... if you shoot me I'll push this button? It's supposed to be "if you shoot me then my corpse will release this button"
  • Oliver giving Felicity s*** about standing over her friend's hospital bed? Really?
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The island did give us Dylan Neal monologuing over a walkie-talkie, which was pretty much the highlight. He's having a lot of fun with Ivo even when he's not on screen.
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Unfortunately, Ivo isn't really much better than Shrapnel. He's basically a sadistic jerk that likes to experiment on people. He doesn't seem to have any motivation beyond "I'm eeeevvilll." Who is he working for? Why is he working for them? Why does he have such a stupid name for his ship? :)
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Which gets back to my point about spectacle as a "make up": Neal's scenery chewing helps to alleviate some of those issues in terms of enjoying and providing leeway in character detailing.

As for the working for issue, it's also the difference of a one-off character needing to make an impression versus the storytelling involved in dealing with a recurring character with an agenda that doesn't go much beyond "I want this serum." I would also say that "I want this serum." has had larger implications for the island story than "I want to blow up buildings and people" even had on an episodic basis here.
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Yeh, at least in Ivo's case he'd demanding something. There's some passion and it's an important widget that has far-reaching ramifications for the show's story arch.

Ivo: I want the serum!

Shrapnel: I want eggs
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Apparently the writers think that the only way to make Laurel likable is to turn her into the Lois Lane of the show.
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She could NEVER be Lois Lane. Lois Lane would have NEVER let Oliver back in his bed after what he did. There's some things you do NOT get over!! LOL
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I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one disappointed in this episode. It also seemed like the normal stunt coordinator was on vacation because the opening was atrociously done, as was the final take-down of Shrapnel. I can't even stand to watch Laurel now. I kind of feel bad that I wince whenever she appears on screen, but I just can't help it. I have been loving this show so far, but this was a horrible misstep in it's return from break. Hopefully they will be back on track next episode.
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It was not that bad. It was not as good as the previous one either. The motorcycle reminded me of Batman :) The story with Roy has to lead somewhere. Oliver and Felicity were really cute. What I think is that the whole thing between them came up exactly because of the good chemistry between the actors, the way they interact and the way they play their parts. And because they were not planning it, they are not sure how to proceed with it. Anyway, that's the feeling I get. And also that every episode that has Laurel in is worse than the rest of them. I think that the last 3 episodes where pretty awesome and none had Laurel as far as I can remember.
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Thank god it's back I missed arrow. This was a good episode I loved it.
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i have to say this episode was good! not great but good. Maybe they spoield us with amazing, full adrenalin rush last episodes but it was low key. It was the episode that prepared us to what is jet to come. The bad guy was not in the center, the people that are the show were and there relationship. Beacuse there are fans of the arrow that are not just interested in waching how he saves the world but enjoy watching the everyday life he has to lead in order to do his thing. And everyone around him. The great thing about this show is that is not strickly in shi-fi directed. But also shows other layers...oliver is just a human and yes he can be also "distracted" with love...if it's felicity, laurel or someone else...
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It's like the writers partied too much over the holidays and when someone woke them up on Jan 2, they went"script, what script, oh hell, just grab whatevers in the printer".
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Except the episode was filmed around the begining of December, so maybe a Thanksgiving hangover? Eitrher way one of the worst episodes of the season, but it did have Sean Maher in it so the odds of it sucking were already pretty high.
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They had this problem last season, too. The Firefly episode was their first episode back after the winter break, and it was pretty dreadful (this episode was slightly better than that one). If they do it again in Season 3, it's a trend!
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So the Sean Maher was bad and The Firefly episode was bad, hmm. Now as much as I love the tragically short-lived Whedon show (yes, I'm still looking at you FOX!) maybe the Arrow producers should steer clear of anything connected to Firefly no matter how tangentially?
Oh dear, Summer Glau.
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To really shake things up, the producers should introduce a character known as Aquarius--with the alter ego of Ed Raymond--combining both the killer of (Quentin) Larry Lance and the destined husband of Felicity Smoak into one enigmatic figure...
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honestly I'd rather see oliver with laurel. felicity and oliver don't make sense to me, they seem forced. laurel and oliver both have the same strained past and all of that and appear vastly more mature. felicity should remain the cute sidekick and be given a love interest of her own if she needs to have one. and again, i'm effing pissed they killed off tommy if it wasn't to make room for oliver and laurel ending up together. dude was one of the better actors on the show and the character was pretty upbeat.

the drug and alchol deal with laurel is about the only thing that bothers me about her. katie could use to put on some healthy weight imo but ragging on her character because of her looks if they aren't self inflicted botched plastic surgeries or the like doesn't feel right.

lastly I'm all for roy remaing in the show - the actor doesn't bother me when arrow himself is far from veteran performer- especially when it means more thea who would have to be second only to moira in terms of acting ability. that chick is a serious breath of fresh air every time she hits the screen. and gorgeous to boot.
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I actually feel like maybe just the actors just have really good chemistry.
But the writing and story even their personality difference makes me think it's what makes it so hard for me to ship them.
Like I can feel the chemistry between them much better than any of the other women that have been an interest for Oli.
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Personally I don't think Oliver should be with either one of them. Him and Felicity don't make sense, and him and Laurel don't really have any romantic chemistry.
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oh and while I was glad when felicity wasn't actually going to be gone the whole episode but her saying barry is still in a coma means she probably won't be appearing in early "flash" and I was really hoping she would be. the more emily bett rickards screen time the better..
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I have a feeling that the beginning of the Flash TV series will be the moment that Barry wakes up. I'm hoping that Felicity makes at least a cameo in the pilot though...
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A lot of people are talking about Laurel/actress that she's back in investigating but at the same time looks skinnier than before. Maybe shes getting into character. Laurel is stealing her dad's pain meds and is a drug addict so maybe thats why? I'm not trying to defend her. I'm an Olicity fan. but its a comment.

I forgot Simon Tam would be here today. New 52 reference okay. Manu physically looks good cooler than before. Brother Blood got a little too jumpy if Oli didn't say a word I think he would have given himself away. Would have been funny. Especially when Oli figured it out. Brother Blood isn't even using a monicker.

Olicity tension is on. I'm still half way through the episode now so more later
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I don't think it's right necessarily to rag on the actress about her weight. It feels kind of mean, though I didn't take your comment that way - just some others I've seen. I'll admit it's gotten to the point of being a distraction, mostly because of how her face looks at certain angles (they've bulked up her wardrobe to hide some of it, it seems.) But as far as getting into character.... this is the CW. I think they're a lot more invested in pretty than they are in their actors gaining/losing weight to project a character image. I sincerely doubt they'd approve that for their female lead. My guess is that it's related to Katie's fashion blog and the modeling she's been doing for that. It's still puzzling though since it's a HUGE change from last season. I was watching some S1 eps over Christmas break and was shocked by the difference. My brother was a model for a few years in high school and college, and his contract was scary strict about changes in physical appearance - down to weight, tanning, hair, muscle tone, etc. I'd be really surprised if the CW doesn't have something similar in their entertainment contracts. Hopefully she'll start looking a bit healthier soon.
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Oh good god Laure's back... ugg... Why oh why wont she stay away?
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At least they are fleshing out her character this time.......
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This chapter was very filling, regrettable after the great closing of midseason ... and on the other side, what is going on with the actress who plays Laurel??? Each day is more skinny, she done something to her jaw??? she really looks odd.
I think it would be better to add to Arrow costume a goathie beard as part of his character, it would be much more credible and in direct line with the comic.

In the meantime the other Arrow (Smallville) is gaying up in "Revenge"



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I actually disagree about the goatee. It's out of fashion nowadays, and it wouldn't make sense for Oliver to put one on, because nobody else wears one, so it'll make him stick out like a sore thumb even more than the mole on his chin does. That's pretty much asking for everybody around him to be very, very dumb. Because, wow, how many people do we know with goatees? One? Oliver Queen, CEO, famous tabloid dude, and the mailman down the street... who ways 300 lbs. Arrow must be the mailman, yep.
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Correct! :D, my point is that he wear the goatee only as Arrow (Fake one), then nobody will notice jo jo well i really dont know how they didnt notice it so far
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I noticed the difference in her jaw too. I actually thought she was hot in season 1, but ever since I saw her in season 2, she looks very different. She already had a big chin, but it didn't really affect her appearance. Now that she's lost weight, her chin is super pointy and it's all I see when I see her, lol.
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I said this last time. She's getting way too skinny it doesn't fit her at all. I wonder if someone is pushing her because she may end up in skin tight suit soon. Either way she looked a lot better last season. And she's rarely in scenes with Willa Holland or Felicity to compare her to.

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thank u I was thinking the exact same thing she's getting skinnier from each and every episode , kate cassidy never looked this bad
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Yeah she did. Did you watch Melrose place 2.0?
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i'm happy to say I stayed out of that one
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Well that's when I realized how skinny she was. So I was surprised to see her in Arrow last year that she looked less skinny. But honestly I think that what you are all seeing this year is her usual look.
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Seriously what's with this!!
- Ollie knows Roy was injected with the miracle and Ollie doesn't think to even check up on him and see if he is ok?

- If Laurel put this much effort into Ollie as she does Blood she'd know who the Arrow is by now.

- I still want to know where Ollie went to learn how to do tricks on the motorcycle.

- Finally I don't want Laurel to die or disappear anymore.

- Why isn't Diggle used anymore and how quick can Felicity go from Barry's side to the Arrow Cave?
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I actually would love to know where Olivier got his tattoos I doubt he got them on the island
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He probably got them during his Russian mobster period.
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All soo true!
-As a fan of Colton Haynes I wish they gave him a little more personality. Was watching old Teen Wolf, and Colton can be funny while still being all mysterious.
-Yeah Same but I guess the fact that she was in love with Ollie and has known him for ever makes her more likely not to push on his secrets. Especially since she could write off her feeling of missing something is just him being different from being in the wilderness for years.
-Yeah I mean Diggle/Oli could cover more ground if they were both out roughing up the low level criminials for info.
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I MISS SHADO!
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bitch woman was fine!
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I lol'd. I thought you deserved to know this.
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I enjoyed that one. Nice fire explosions. Interesting ending and next week's episode preview.
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Lance's call sign was DC-52. Lol
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The call sign thing came up in the first couple of episodes of this season
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And keeps coming up... and coming up...
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I guess that's the first time I've noticed it
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I have been waiting for Arrow to return since the mid-season finale & I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I loved the story-line. I am so glad Laurel has something to do because even though I have always hated her, in this episode I just started to feel story for her. So, I am finally glad that she is actually apart a GOOD plot arc. It was good to see my team Ollie, Dig & Felicity. Something that really bothered me in this episode was the overboard tension between Ollie & Felicity. It was just WAY too much for me. I mean I usually like the little sexual tension here & there, but this one is getting was way to annoying for my taste. It seems like sometimes Diggle gets left out. Anyways, the writers cannot do this will-they-or-won't-they forever because soon I will become COMPLETELY sick of it. Also, Roy & Thea are so adorable. I like their little story on the side. Lastly, SLADE is BACK with a vengence for REAL ! My poor Slade is so heart broken. I feel so sad for him :/
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Is this show just fucking with Olicity shippers at this point?
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I just hope we don't get to see love triangle between Laurel, Oliver and Felicity.
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Yeah, love triangles are the worst. Although, I hate love triangles with two guys even more (probably because I'm a guy), so at least it wouldn't be that.
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this "shippers" crap is the worst thing to happen to referencing relationships since combing the two parties names into one. "casket" excluded.
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"Shipping" is a specific term for fans who want two characters to become romantically involved. It's not just a reference to relationships in general. If you have an issue with the practice then fine, but there's nothing wrong with the word. I'll admit combining names is getting old, but again, it's an easy way for fans to state their hopes.
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Yeah it does. They are really messing with us. I say this who ships them but never thought I'd see this type of tension.
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At first I didn't think it was even a possibility. Kind of like Chloe and Clark in Smallville. But there has been such hardcore tension lately, I think it's only a matter of time.

(P.S. You shippin' Isaac and Alison?)
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At first I wasn't, because Isaac I didn't want a love triangle especially with Isaac having the most to lose.
-I don't want her to come between Isaac and Scott. Their friendship in past episodes was absolutely adorable. And Scott is all he has left for the moment.
-I just hope Allison is actually over Scott and we don't see any form of jealousy. Also I think he's given her more character. While I don't mind the actress, Allison as a character was kinda bland and lacked personality. I mean try giving an adjective to her without mentioning her beauty or bow skills in comparing to what you could say about other characters even the Scotts new interest.
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lol! seems that way.
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I don't think that this was intended to be a very strong episode since it was an opener and the network might think that people would not be able to catch the episode. I usually notice that after a huge long break, most TV shows usually come back with a filler episode with some hints of mythology so that people get warmed up for the next episode the week after. So, no problem for me this episode. Although I kinda like the development on Laurel's side, this plot put her in a collision course with Blood thus making her involved with the main plot.
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So by extension the networks consider post-break ep budgets as throwaway cash? Wish I had that kind of disposable income lying around!

Seriously, though, I get your point, but Noel's point is well-made. Some shows out there are raising the bar on handling the midseason, with much more finesse, even with "throwaway" eps by making them either big reveals or a lot of fun. (Think of all that Person of Interest has done with midseasons the past three years.)

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To some degree, they consider some episodes in a 22-episode season "throwaways.". a) They've got to hit 22 episodes to fill out a season, and b) they've got to hit 22 episodes a season to make the general syndication magic number.

But (almost) nobody sets out to make a bad episode. It's pretty rare to get a show that hits the 9-10 rating mark every episode. If original Twilight Zone and Star Trek couldn't do it... We just tend to remember the City on the Edges and Nightmare at 20,000 Feets, and desperately forget the Spock's Brains and From Agnes With Loves. Those shows had plenty of mediocre episodes, too.
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I don't watch POI but I think Arrow could only do what it had with the episode and the current chapter of the storyline. It felt like a stepping stone to a more compelling storyline. Remember that dams often have a lot of floodgates before they let the water loose out into the river. :)
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If you don't like crime dramas, it's got science fiction.

If you don't like science fiction, it's got crime dramas.

If you don't like either... oh well. :)
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Is there a specific reason for you NOT watching POI? Because it really can't be the quality of the show....

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You should catch up on Person of Interest. A much better show that delivers, even on it's "one off, filler" episodes. Check it out.
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I would love to but maybe some other time. I do get to see bits and pieces of it especially with Root since she is played by one of my favorite actresses, :)
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Very interesting and thought-provoking review. I can't quite decide whether Laurel is a problem character for the show/writers i.e. "separated from the seasonal arcs by a few degrees," or whether her character serves to illuminate the compartmentalised nature of Oliver's life. She is a reference point for his past and reflects his betrayal from a version of himself he no longer identifies with. If the issue is simply one of integration then one could presume that her knowing the identity of the Arrow and being on the 'inside' would cure this. By contrast, Diggles is much more integrated and yet I find him quite an ineffectual and uninteresting character.
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No issues here. Shrapnel didn't need any development. It's TV. They have 42 minutes. There is a lot going on right now (as usual) in Arrow and spending time on a villain that is just gonna die anyway is pointless. Spend time on Blood. Spend time on Slade and Roy. I don't care about Shrapnel and certainly don't care about his back story. He was nothing more bit a minion and minions don't get, nor do they need, a back story.

Kinda tired of the Laurel bitching. We are stuck with her. They can't recast. She may may not be a good actor, but AT LEAST she has a story line now that's connected to the main arch.

Roy and Slade having parallel story lines is cool.

Mentioning Barry is nice. Also the sexual tension between felicity and Oliver is just insane. Let's see how long they drag that out.
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Shrapnel didn't die anyway...
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What I think is going to piss me off about Laurel is she will not tell the Arrow about the new information she found on Blood. She'll keep it to herself, conducting her little investigation. Meanwhile, Blood will be getting stronger politically and making moves that will get people killed. If she tells the Arrow what Blood's own mother said, I'll be shocked. But I bet she won't.
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My two favorite shows had sort of this same feeling this week sort of a deep breath and the writers taking an easy way out and throwing in a couple of plot points( POI John returns to team, HirshI is ali've and Wtf is the Machine doing). I am actually totally fine with this. I have a sense where Laurel is going (but finding myself wondering would she be less skeletal if she got a hair cut and returned to a blonde color like she had in Supernatural). I am also guessing we are going to have a total Island episode at some point because it has sort of been like scene end scene.
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