Arrow "Blood Debts" (Midseason Premiere REVIEW)
Written by Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
The return of Arrow finds us back at the start of the season where we are teased as to whom is exactly in the grave. We again are given very little. Just that Oliver is made about it and must exact his revenge. Something Felicity echoes at the end of the episode while we still are unclear as to the person in the grave so at least we know it isn't her.
As for the rest of the episode, we see the continued search for Dahrk with the new wound of Felicity being in critical condition driving the mission. Getting nowhere with the ghosts, Oliver enlists Diggle to "put the screws" to him and managed to get some information. This leads to a dead end but turned out for the better later as Diggle and Andy reconciled with a good old fashioned game of cards.
The next lead was one that the team was eager not to have to use. They ask Captain Lance where he and Dhark hold their meetings and attempt to take him down. It's here we see the return of Anarchy as the main villian. He is out to get Dahrk just as much as Oliver and company. When they track him down he is waiting for Dahrk but finds Team Arrow instead. They get into a skirmish and are caught by police. Team Arrow flee, leaving Anarchy to get caught and sent to jail. However he is soon broken out of the van escorting him for processing by Oliver to gain his favour in tracking down Darhk and taking him down. This plan works out for once as Anarchy does indeed lead them to Darhk's house where he is torturing his family as well as burn them alive with a flamethrower. Before he can do this the team bursts in and stops him, saving Darhk's family. Damien however is close by and sees Oliver and assumes he is there for him and the two get into a fight. It starts as a fist fight that Darhk clearly can not win, so he resorts to his magical powers. When Oliver explains he saved his family from death he grants him some time to give his last goodbyes over the next few weeks before he decides to kill him. Typical "I'm so good, if i wanted to kill you I could at any time" routine. My guess is arrogance will be his downfall, but not before he gets some significant deaths under his belt.
The Island story this week advances slightly as Conklin returns them to camp with the treasure maps they found to his boss Baron. Baron tells Conklin to have his way with Oliver. He decides on the classic whipping technique. But whilst being whipped, the magical tattoo given to him by Constantine glows, and the orb in Baron's possession glows in response. He tells Conklin to stop but Oliver ceases the oppertunity and steals a gun away and threatens to shoot himself if they try anything and offers that he will help find what they are looking for if they promise Taiana's safety. They agree and shove him in a cell with Taiana until further notice.
More side stories involved were to do with Felicity's hospitalization. It appears as thought despite everyone's best efforts she has suffered a severe spinal injury and will likely never walk again, a pretty devastating blow for Arrow's "it" couple, which lands in the "I'd be a total ass if I left her now" type deal, which I don't see happening. I wouldn't be surprised if someone from Central City, or Palmer Tech makes her some high tech thing that could make life for her managable. The other thread that runs through the episode is Thea and her "blood lust" it appears at least for the moment she has been able to control it, thanks to Darhk's soul sucking abilities. When faced with her creepy stalker boy Anarchy she managed to not shoot an arrow through his eye and leave him for dead. Her off and on again relationship with Alex is back on and she feels as though she has worked through her problems once and for all and that she is a stronger person than she gave herself credit for. As a twist I think it would be interesting if Darhk was able to somehow regift that lust to Thea and use her to kill someone, potentially whomever is in the grave. That would be devastating and would really cement the anger Oliver and Felicity have for presumably Darhk.
Not to shabby for a return for Arrow, I do feel like the show is hitting that middle of the season rut at this point. Too little story and too many hours left to tell it. Arrow is a much more linear show compared to that of the Flash that can go off on fun tangents for a week or two. Arrow I think is more suited to a 13 episode season run but like I say almost every week, time will tell how these mysteries all play out and maybe the show will earn its 22 episodes.