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TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Episode 10 "Blood Debts"

01.20.2016

Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.

Episode 10: "Blood Debts

Synopsis: Oliver must deal with the devastating consequences of Darhk's last attack. Seeking revenge, Oliver goes on a brutal manhunt looking for Dahrk.

Review: There have been a lot of ups and downs over the last season of Arrow. Last year, the mid-season finale left us with a cliffhanger that didn't resolve in a way that quite met expectations. But this year, with a major character death looming and everyone assuming they knew who it was in the coffin. Well, the writers have certainly kept us on our toes and delivered one of the more intense hours of Arrow in years. The mystery of what is coming next for Oliver Queen and company is still unknown but we are now able to concretely cross a name off of the potentially deceased list. Hell, they even managed to give us flashbacks to Lian Yu that didn't feel like a complete waste of time!

This week's episode opens with the same cemetery scene from the beginning of the season before flashing back to Oliver rushing Felicity to the hospital after her shooting in the mid-season finale. Intercut with scenes of Oliver hunting down HIVE soldiers as he tries to find Damien Darhk, this is one of the more tense episode openings I can recall on this show. It also sets the tone for what is a very brooding episode with barely any comic banter to lighten the mood. Felicity is in grave condition and is undergoing multiple surgeries to try and save her life. Oliver is staying away from the hospital as he tries to find Darhk as the villain has gone underground since he ordered the attack of the Star City mayoral contender. Diggle confronts his brother for answers while everyone else tries to do what they can to avenge Felicity.

But the secret to Damien Darhk's location rests within the return of another bad guy: Anarky. Lonnie Machin, last seen being set ablaze by Thea in a bloodlust rage, returns scarred and looking for Darhk himself. Oliver tracks the psychotic criminal and believes he can use his hunt for Darhk to his own ends. The team questions Oliver's tactics as the voice of reason, Felicity, is not near to talk her boyfriend down from making rash and violent decisions. Oliver's motivations and actions in this hour harken back to his brutal methods from the first season and it highlights why the original Vigilante version of the Green Arrow offered a lot more intensity than the current iteration. The team track Lonnie and capture him but Thea and Laurel turn him over to the police. Oliver then breaks him out and they track him to Damien Darhk's home where Machin holds the HIVE leader's wife and child hostage.

As the characters all fight to an impasse, Darhk is able to get away with his wife and child after threatening Oliver with weeks to live before Star City is destroyed. Thea has a final showdown with Anarky who feels a connection to her for freeing him to become his true evil self. The episode wraps up with everyone hunky dory, as usual: Diggle plays cards with his brother as they try to find their relationship again, Thea rekindles her romantic interests, and Oliver and Felicity bond despite her diagnosis being that she will never walk again. At the same time, Damien Darhk comforts his wife and daughter after the events of the night. But, his wife chastises him for not killing the Green Arrow and seems to be fully involved with the Genesis plot to destroy the world. Interesting twist.

Flashbacks tonight give us Oliver returned to Reiter's camp by Conklin who reveals Queen's true plans and the maps he recovered. Oliver tries to play it off as a gift for Reiter, but Conklin is given permission to whip Oliver into submission. As he is lashed, Oliver's tattoo (given to him by John Constantine) begins to glow. Reiter takes it as a sign and insists Oliver be spared until his usefulness is up. Still not a stellar flashback, but definitely more intriguing than any from this season or the last. The real interesting scene comes at the close of the episode. We find Barry Allen discussing what Oliver is going to do. This is the same scene from the opening of this episode and the season, but now we see Oliver return to his limo. When he enters, Felicity is sitting inside. She seems to have function of her legs and reminds Oliver that he has to kill the man responsible for the mystery death. But who can it be?

Clearly, the death has an impact that affects Oliver, Barry, and Felicity. My instinct is to say that it is Felicity's mother, but why would that affect Barry? He could have come back to be sympathetic to his friend and former flame. After thinking about it some more, I think it is actually Quentin Lance. Laurel's father has been a major character all through the series and has had interaction with Barry multiple times. His relationship with Felicity's mother this season also seems to point in the direction of impacting her. I think his death would have the biggest impact on the team and his relationship with Damien Darhk this year would also make him the sensible narrative choice. I don't anticipate finding out who is in the coffin any time soon, but Arrow has definitely found a nice groove over the last few episodes that I hope carries for the rest of the season.

Final Verdict:

Next on ARROW: "A.W.O.L." airs January 27, 2016: Diggle must learn to trust his brother Andy when an enemy of their wartime past, an agent of the criminal organization Shadowspire, pays a visit to Star City. However, Diggle learns more than he bargained for about their shared time at war. Meanwhile, Oliverhas to learn a whole new way of life.

Source: JoBlo.com

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3:15PM on 01/21/2016
If it's not Felicity, then it has to be either Thea or Diggle. Both characters are close enough to Oliver and Felicity to drive a need for revenge at any cost. Additionally, both characters have interacted with Barry Allen in the past, and they would be close enough to Oliver Queen to prompt Barry to come to their funeral (or at least try to).

Thea's storyline this season has heated up tension in herself in the sense that she is now imbued with an uncontrollable blood lust that can only be
If it's not Felicity, then it has to be either Thea or Diggle. Both characters are close enough to Oliver and Felicity to drive a need for revenge at any cost. Additionally, both characters have interacted with Barry Allen in the past, and they would be close enough to Oliver Queen to prompt Barry to come to their funeral (or at least try to).

Thea's storyline this season has heated up tension in herself in the sense that she is now imbued with an uncontrollable blood lust that can only be satiated by killing someone (literally). There is no possible cure for her as the only way to stop it is to kill the person that killed her, and that person is already dead. So where do you take that? They can't serious have a hero on their side that they need to secretly let kill someone every month while the rest of the crew touts justice with no killing. So remove her from the equation, perhaps it will be a moment of self-sacrifice, but without her you get rid of that problem going forward.

I also think it's Diggle as he was one of the original three on team Arrow. So obviously that would hit Felicity just as hard as Oliver. I really have no other reason to justify it other than the impact it would have on the story as well as the fact that with more and more heroes being introduced into this reality, his contribution is becoming less and less. I hate to say it, but Diggle's worth has expired.

I really don't think it's Felicity's mother though. I just can't see anyone giving a shit at the reveal. That would be a huge let down and just a setback in trying to set this series back on the right track.
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1:56PM on 01/21/2016

It was an adequate episode...

But I'm downvoting you for giving it a 9. That's freaking ridiculous. This episode has more pointless flashbacks (that virtually everyone agrees suck) than almost any other this season, Oliver can't decide if he should see Felicity before her surgery (WTF???), he has a criminal that might know Dark's location so of course Laurel calls the police (then Oliver attacks the police and breaks him out), she then acts horrified over his actions after having done the same thing herself 3 episodes
But I'm downvoting you for giving it a 9. That's freaking ridiculous. This episode has more pointless flashbacks (that virtually everyone agrees suck) than almost any other this season, Oliver can't decide if he should see Felicity before her surgery (WTF???), he has a criminal that might know Dark's location so of course Laurel calls the police (then Oliver attacks the police and breaks him out), she then acts horrified over his actions after having done the same thing herself 3 episodes ago, then after all the buildup Oliver meets Dark and fights him for 20 seconds, then they each decide to walk away (despite the fact that Oliver released a murderer and didn't see Felicity just so he'd get this chance).

Oh yeah, did I mention after 4 weeks of interrogation (including lots of "Oh you're my brother and I love you"), Andy gives up Dark with about 5 seconds of Diggle saying he loves him and is sorry? Why can't the writers on this show just stick with a character arc for more than a week at a time? Ugh....

And I think it's Lance as well. He's the one that gave up Dark's headquarters (which Dark shouldn't even know about since all his men were already dead.....but in this show, of course he will), he's the most useless of all the characters (not even a solid character as a police officer). They need everyone else (although I'd be so grateful if they'd just kill off Laurel), so he's the most likely choice (unless it's Felicity's mom).
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9:43AM on 01/21/2016

I think...

It is probably Thea though it could be Oliver's son. That would be a really dark road to go though.
It is probably Thea though it could be Oliver's son. That would be a really dark road to go though.
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8:37AM on 01/21/2016

I Suspect...

I don't think Quentin's death would cause so much visible anguish, anger, and lust for revenge in Felicity. I suspect it is her mother. They've been developing the mother's character to be less "ditzy" than originally portrayed - moving her away from the comic-relief caricature she was and showing her to be more grounded, thus sympathetic. Anyway, that's my theory.
I don't think Quentin's death would cause so much visible anguish, anger, and lust for revenge in Felicity. I suspect it is her mother. They've been developing the mother's character to be less "ditzy" than originally portrayed - moving her away from the comic-relief caricature she was and showing her to be more grounded, thus sympathetic. Anyway, that's my theory.
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11:49PM on 01/20/2016
Terrific episode. It was great seeing the old Oliver/Green Arrow persona from the first two seasons and I hope we get to see a few more episodes this season where he behaves like that again.

And my top three guess' of who's in the coffin are Thea, Roy (if he returns), or Quentin.
Terrific episode. It was great seeing the old Oliver/Green Arrow persona from the first two seasons and I hope we get to see a few more episodes this season where he behaves like that again.

And my top three guess' of who's in the coffin are Thea, Roy (if he returns), or Quentin.
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