Reviewed: by Tyler Olson
***The review below contains minor spoilers.***
According to all the advertising, Arrow should have returned from its winter hiatus with a bang, but it appears that someone forgot to make sure the fuses didn't get wet.
Shrapnel, which is known for his explosive tenancies, made an introduction during Blast Radius, but instead of exploding onto the screen he just kind of walked on by. The problem was, and I can't believe I'm saying this during season 2 since the writers were so good until now, Shrapnel had no background. This shop owner turned bomber stated he was blowing buildings up to destroy the corrupt government, but we don't know why? Did the government raise his taxes on his store, which was about to force him to close? Did the previous mayor (who isn't even alive any more) steal his wife? We just don't know. Worse yet, the city was in the middle of an election, so his timing made even less sense. Sure, we got some huge explosions out of him, but without a purpose they didn't really mean anything.
Let's just hope that when he gets out of jail we will learn more about what makes him tick. This might happen sooner than later since I can't see him sitting in there for long. Someone evil and with lots of power is sure to find use of his gift.
Thankfully, the main characters made the episode was far more enjoyable.
With Felicity and Barry's quickly forming relationship, I feared that the Flash was going to steal Felicity away from us, but it looks like that thankfully won't be happening. Or not yet, anyway. It was getting close to her leaving a few times, especially with Oliver's behaviour, but so far it seems that Felicity is here to stay. I hope she doesn't head off to join Flash next year, though. Arrow just won't be the same without her. After all, who will run the Clocktower (I'm sure they will move there eventually) if not her?
Oliver's reaction to the stress created by the Mirakuru's return is also very welcome. We don't yet know everything that happened to him on that island thanks to that serum, but we already know enough to know his attitude is quite justified. I just don't understand why he doesn't tell them about it, though. What we need is a flashback episode so he can fill in his two partners.
Roy has also shown a few new tricks thanks to his forced injection. With what we know about the side effects of Mirakuru, it is a bit surprising that Roy off taking his first steps to being a new super villain, though. Is it because he didn't get the full dose, or did they actually fix that insanity issue? Either way, it shouldn't take long now before Oliver has no choice but to start training him.
The highpoint of the episode, though, was definitely Laurel. For far too long she's sat in the background or filled the role as the lowly damsel in distress, but for once she is finally taking charge. I'm sure her investigation into Blood will lead to some more damsel saving, but at least she is finally diving into the situations realistically instead of just going along for the ride. I doubt her sister will improve of her actions, though.
Even though the main story of Blast Radius was a dud, the rest of episode was just as solid as ever. Sadly, that means it wasn't as fantastic as most of this second season, but it was still a fun episode.