Arrow: Blood Debts Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

“Blood Debts” returns viewers to an Arrow that picks up in the aftermath of Damien Darhk’s violent attack on Oliver and Felicity’s limo.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

After a mid-season cliffhanger that left Felicity shot and bloody, the success of “Blood Debts” relies mostly on the ability of picking up the pieces of the shooting. Felicity’s life and death struggle, and Oliver’s response, was what made the episode work. Everything else was a rushed mess.

Just like The Flash, Arrow’s successful episodes are grounded in character drama and arcs. In the aftermath of the shooting Oliver takes gigantic steps back in his character development. Season four started with an Oliver that was happy and carefree. That Oliver has all but vanished. He’s returned to a vengeful, angry, and reckless character that resembles past seasons. He was even willing to venture onto the other side of the law, something he hasn’t done for some time. It’s now clear that Felicity is the one who anchors him to the light and brings out his humanity. Without her, he would fall right back into old patterns, which he did in “Blood Debts.”

Because of Oliver’s state of mind, the hunt for Darhk works as a plot piece. What doesn’t, is how Lonnie Machin, aka Anarky, was the character who Oliver relied on to find Darhk. Once again, Anarky barely resembled his superhero counterpart. And, I love that Mrs. Darhk is just as evil, if not more evil, than her husband.

Instead of a rushed episode with a lot going on, I would’ve liked for the episode to take a slower approach to Felicity’s injuries and initial hospital visit. It would’ve been an intriguing character piece. Something Arrow doesn’t do that often.

Typically Diggle is Arrow’s most grounded and level-headed character. The Diggle in this episode hit a new low. At this point I don’t care about Andy, but beating his brother for information was too much.

The series continued to tease the death in the flashforward. I didn’t appreciate that the episode using old footage from the season premiere in the first scene. We know someone dies, we’ve been speculating all season, so we don’t need a reminder that someone close to Team Arrow, or from Team Arrow, is in that grave. It’s a waste of time that could’ve been used toward something else.

However, I’m surprised we got a new scene at the end of the episode. At least we now know Felicity survives. Not surprising. If it was Felicity in the grave, Oliver would’ve been more torn up about it. We’ve seen how he acted with her being shot. It would’ve been a much more severe reaction if she died. I liked that the director had Felicity sitting upright with her legs together, motionless. It was a clever way to hide from the audience whether or not she fully recovers from her paralysis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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