With the mid-season return of Arrow this coming Wednesday, with season 2’s 10th episode Blast Radius, here’s a look at what to expect over the next 14 thrilling new episodes. The show’s already proven to be a ratings success this season, as well as delivering a compelling hour of action and high stakes that has viewers going ‘woah!’ every single week. And we’re only nine episodes into the season. They’ve definitely set the bar high for their final 14 weeks.
Since Blast Radius is just around the corner, there’s a lot of information already out about it. For instance, Firefly alum Sean Maher is making his first appearance as DC Comics super villain Shrapnel – who, as comic book fans will know, is a serial bomber. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Arrow version will be terrorizing Starling City with bombings. No one is safe – not Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro), and not Arrow/Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). For easy viewing (and so I make sure I get everything I know into this) I’m going to split the rest up into sections – episode by episode, in order that they’ll appear in. Some might overlap, so be warned I may repeat myself.
2.10 Blast Radius (US airing 15/1/14)
Stephen Amell as Arrow, 'Blast Radius', copyright The CW/WB 2014 Stephen Amell as Arrow, ‘Blast Radius’, copyright The CW/WB 2014 ARROW HUNTS DOWN SHRAPNEL — Oliver must tackle a new threat to the city when bombs start to go off in Starling City. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) discovers the person setting them off is Mark Sheffner (guest star Sean Maher), a man who goes by the nickname Shrapnel. Arrow discovers Shrapnel’s next target is Sebastian Blood’s (guest star Kevin Alejandro) “Unity Rally” and tries to talk the alderman out of hosting it, but he refuses. Arrow sets off to stop the bombing, but Shrapnel tricks him and traps him in a bomb-laced antique store where he is unable to move without setting off the device. While Felicity helps Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey) races to the plaza to find the bomb before it goes off. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) continues to hide his new strength from Thea (Willa Holland) but, after she witnesses his super strength in action at the rally, she demands answers. Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) suspicions about Sebastian grow stronger once she learns that he grew up with Cyrus Gold, the man who killed Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) partner. After Donner (guest Star Dylan Bruce) refuses to help her investigate, she turns to Arrow (Stephen Amell) for help. Rob Hardy directed the episode written by Jake Coburn & Keto Shimizu. So… the stakes are high. And so are tensions – no, not just the bomb threats. But before I go into that, lets have a look at the bigger picture.
Oliver supports Blood in his political bid, hosting an event in Verdant as shown in the episode’s promotional images. Arrow is, since last episode (Three Ghosts), trying to take down the man in the skull mask behind the appearance of Mirakuru in Starling City. Arrow and ‘Brother’ Blood crossed paths in Three Ghosts when Blood had Roy. “Oliver is obsessed with whomever the guy in the skull mask is,” says Stephen Amell. Of course, Oliver doesn’t know yet what us viewers do – that the man he’s hunting is the man he’s openly supporting. Which, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, will prove to be some very exciting action as Oliver does his best to save the one man he’s “losing his mind” trying to find. Both the promotional images and episode synopsis show what happens – Oliver gets pulled into a trap by Shrapnel; finding himself in a bomb-laced antiques store. Which will lead to a lot of tension, and Oliver relying on Felicity to get him out. However, it’s not just bomb threats that make Blast Radius such a highly-anticipated explosive episode (pun intended). It’s been confirmed that there will be a carry-over of the tension between Oliver and Felicity (Olicity to their shippers, like me) from Three Ghosts.
Things were shaky for two-thirds of Team Arrow last episode, after Felicity chose to reveal Oliver’s secret to Barry Allen (guest star/Glee alum Grant Gustin) in order to save Oliver’s life. Oliver was furious, and while they did seem to appear to have patched things up, the cracks are going to form again this week when news of Barry’s accident reaches the team. In the closing moments of Three Ghosts, viewers watched on as Barry was struck by red lighting that was affected by the particle accelerator’s malfunction-caused explosion, which, comic book fans will know, leads to Barry changing from loveable geeky scientist to ‘the Flash’. Arrow Executive Produce Andrew Kreisberg has, as quoted by almost every article post-Three Ghosts, said that there “will be fallout” from Barry’s visit that will not only be felt in Blast Radius but also “continue through the season”. We do know that Felicity has gone to Central City, Barry’s home, to be with him after she’s heard of his accident. And, given the latest sneak preview of the episode (see below) Oliver’s a little jealous over it – not surprising, concerning it “will draw [her] out of Starling City when he needs her the most”.
The episode went out to the media around Christmas, and those who have seen it have said that events – including Felicity’s trip to Central City, and Oliver getting trapped in a bomb-laced store – will trigger one very intense argument between Oliver and Felicity. TV Guide’s Natalie Abrams has warned Olicity fans to “brace yourself for a devastating lovers’ quarrel.” While others have recommended Olicity fans have wine on hand while watching. Pretty intense, huh? Oliver is definitely jealous over how close Barry and Felicity have become – but does he see it? Not entirely. “Oliver isn’t quite sure what he feels,” Kreisberg says. “He knows he feels something for her, but can’t quite define it. He’s surprised in [the mid-season finale] when Dig [David Ramsey] points out to him that what [he's] feeling right now might actually be termed jealousy. For Felicity, she doesn’t want to like Oliver in a way because she finds him unattainable, and in a way he is unattainable especially after… he said that it’s probably better that [he's] not with somebody he cares about. While she really does like Barry, I think she probably throws even more into it because now he’s somebody who is available.”
I’d like to point out that the reference to Diggle pointing out Oliver might be jealous in the mid season finale has yet to be confirmed as to exactly which scene that is (although, if you pay attention to their chats throughout the episode, it’s most likely the actual entire episode than just a scene). It seems like Oliver’s the only one blind to his feelings for his geeky and smart IT side-kick – because fans, critics and everyone in the show who knows the duo can pick it. But isn’t that sort of the point to a ‘slow-burn’ ship?
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