Arrow returned from it’s winter break on Sky One on Thursday 20th February, picking up the story soon after the events of December’s stunning mid-season finale. The first half of season two focused on Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) struggle for control of a strength enhancing drug called Mirakuru, in Starling City and on the island in his flashbacks. The previous episode concluded by revealing that Slade (Manu Bennett), who had been injected by the substance whlist on the island, was alive in Starling City and providing his blood to Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro) in order to create ‘super-soldiers’.
Since the mid-season finale may have been the best episode of Arrow since it premiered in 2012, episode ten was a little disappointing. There were not any further glimpses of Slade in the present day, and no detail was given on his aims or precisely how he is influencing Brother Blood’s experiments. He will probably be slowly introduced as the main villain for the final part of the season but it would have been good to continue the show’s momentum with a brief appearance.
However, this episode was certainly a turning point for how Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) will be presented in the rest of the season. Laurel (Katie Cassidy) has discovered that his public, good-guy persona is not everything it seems. The writers have done well to create an evil, yet likeable, villain in the first half of season two and the decision to have Laurel find out the truth behind Sebastian’s facade, rather than Oliver, will give the vigilante a tough decision to make about who to believe.
Although the action and set-pieces were up to the usual high standards, the ‘villain of the week’, called Shrapnel (Sean Maher), who planted bombs throughout Starling City, was underwhelming. Whilst he initially posed a huge threat, Oliver and co. quickly and easily stopped him causing havoc which seemed like a waste of what could have potentially been an excellent character.
Barry (Grant Gustin) was originally introduced in Arrow as a pre-pilot for the upcoming The Flash show but his presence has also developed Oliver and Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) relationship. The tension between the two of them seemed quite forced but culminated in a nice scene with Ollie acknowledging Felicity as a partner. There was also a hint that events on the island, in Oliver’s flashbacks, may be beginning to get exciting. A cat and mouse situation has started with Slade disappearing with the Mirakuru formula and Edward Fryers (Sebastian Dunn) hunting Oliver and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) to gain control of the drug. It will be interesting to see if these events lead to an explanation of how Slade and Sara returned to civilisation.
In short, although the action was up to the same high standards as usual and the new episode set up an intriguing situation on the island, it certainly not among the best episodes of the show. Episode Ten’s failure to address some cliffhangers from December’s brilliant mid-season finale meant it was unable to continue the momentum the show had created before it’s break.