Arrow: “Blood Debts” Season 4 Episode 10 Review

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Arrow season four has had a death looming over it from the start. In just four months, the show is apparently going to kill someone major. Tonight we learned one person who it will not be in an exciting entry that played very well with its villains.

For the first episode of 2016, Arrow delivered on a promise from this season’s second episode: Anarky. The anarchist Darhk hired back in “The Candidate” is back out for revenge, but not on Team Arrow. His crosshairs are instead on Darhk. With his creepy translucent mask covering the scarring he received when Thea battled him back then. So when Team Arrow encounters this villain again, his focus is entirely on Thea, but that focus turned out to be interesting and refreshing.

For a show that has no less than four superheroes, only one of them tends to develop an actual relationship with the show’s villains. Sure, Diggle and Deadshot had a rivalry in the show’s early seasons, but everyone still is most interested in Oliver. Now we have Anarky challenging Speedy’s resolve, begging her to kill him in a very Joker-ish manner. With Thea still partially battling her bloodlust, this conflict was rich with possibility.

But the biggest thing going on in “Blood Debts” was really Oliver’s own bloodlust. With Felicity crippled after Darhk’s attack in the mid-season finale, the Green Arrow is seriously considering breaking his “no killing” rule. So when Anarky captures Darhk’s family, and they’re saved by Team Arrow, it’s fascinating to see Darhk essentially have mercy on Oliver’s family. He promises a break in the war for a few weeks. Giving Darhk some honor is perhaps the most interesting thing the show has done yet with the villain.

By returning with a large focus on the interpersonal relationships between the heroes and villains, Arrow showed that it’s not messing around in 2016. Was this the best hour of the show? No, but some very exciting moves were made throughout. There’s new ground to cover here, especially with Thea, who’s whole bloodlust thing has never been more interesting. I’m excited to see where this all goes. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • With Felicity showing up in a flash-forward to the funeral in question, she’s out of the running for who dies. So let’s look at the options. Laurel and her father are probably safe. I doubt they’d want to kill Black Canary or the show’s connection to Star City’s police force. That leaves Thea and Diggle. It’s a toss up. We’ll have to see what clues the show throws at us in the coming episodes.
  • Darhk is putting his war with Team Arrow on hold for a few weeks. Does that mean we won’t be seeing Neal McDonough for a few episodes? If so, boo!
  • With Felicity potentially bound to a wheelchair and the Speedy/Anarky dynamic, Arrow once again looked a whole lot like a Batman show this week.

By Matt Dougherty

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