Arrow “Blood Debts” Review (Season 4, Episode 10)

Arrow "Restoration" Season 4 Episode 3 (9)

Vengeance is the act of turning anger in on yourself. On the surface it may be directed at someone else, but it is a surefire recipe for arresting emotional recovery. Jane Goldman makes an excellent point. Never has that statement applied more to anyone than it applied to Oliver Queen in this week’s Arrow.

In the mid season finale, Damien Darhk attempted to assassinate Oliver after Oliver thwarted his plans with the bay. Sadly, as is often the case when you’re the significant other of a hero, Felicity ended up getting seriously wounded. I’m not going to lie, if the show had gone the route of killing off Felicity, I would’ve been furious. It would’ve provided some excellent dramatic ground to cover, but I still would’ve been angry because I love Felicity so much. I’m not the only one either. Oliver went completely off the rails in his attempts to find Darhk and make him pay for almost killing Felicity. One thing that’s always been true about Oliver is his tendency to allow himself to be ruled by his emotions. On the surface, he usually looks calm and collected, but very rarely is that actually the case. He spirals out of control at the drop of a hat and then hates himself for what he’s done after he has a chance to reel himself back in. Felicity keeps Oliver grounded and centered, and this episode let us (and Team Arrow) see what Oliver would be like if he ever lost Felicity.

Color me heartless if you want, but Oliver was actually pretty selfish in this episode. It was selfish of Oliver to abandon Felicity. I understand why he did it. Oliver would much rather have something that he can punch/kick/shoot than a spinal injury that he has no power to fix. I also get that Oliver wanted Darhk out of the picture by the time he talked to Felicity because he wanted to be able to tell her that she was safe. Those are perfectly legitimate reasons for avoiding the hospital. However, Felicity needed Oliver. Whether she showed it or not, she was scared and her fear had very little to do with Darhk. Felicity was more afraid of her life as she knows it being over. The fact that one of the first things she said to Oliver when he finally made his way to the hospital was that she figured the reason he was staying away was that he’d decided he couldn’t be with her anymore lets you know where her mind went. She told the others she understood why Oliver wasn’t there, but it was a front. Oliver’s absence through the majority of Felicity’s surgeries gave her mind time to form those doubts, and Oliver was wrong to do that to her. I get that when he’s angry his default is to direct that anger at bad things, but that’s not really what he was doing.

Oliver was certainly angry with Darhk, but he was also angry with himself. He felt like he had failed Felicity, and his manhunt for Darhk was really about assuaging that guilt. The problem with that line of thinking is the lengths to which Oliver was willing to go to accomplish his mission. He released an insane anarchist (who also seems to have an obsession with Thea) back out on the world, and he felt perfectly fine about doing so. The fact that he didn’t tell any of the other members of Team Arrow his plan goes to show that somewhere deep down Oliver knew what he was doing was wrong. I use the word “team” loosely here because it’s kind of hard to be a team when you don’t actually work together. Oliver was on his own mission and whether Dig, Laurel, and Thea were on board was completely irrelevant to him. The lack of cohesion and infighting within Team Arrow is actually really becoming a problem. I can almost give Oliver a pass in this case though because his head wasn’t right. Almost.

Whereas Oliver pretty much listened to no one, Dig listened to Lila and was able to make a crack in the stone wall that is Andy. I’m kind of glad that the show finally gave us a little bit more insight into Dig and Andy’s relationship because I was having a bit of a hard time with it. Ever since we first met Dig, his love for his brother has been a fundamental part of who Dig is. That’s why I had such a hard time buying that Dig would a) believe that Andy had become a drug kingpin while in Afghanistan and b) write Andy off as just another one of Darhk’s groupies so quickly. However, finding out that Dig found out that Andy was dealing drugs before he encouraged him to join the military makes some of Dig’s responses make more sense. It’s not that Dig ever stopped loving his brother. It’s that Dig, much like Oliver, allowed his hurt to obscure his vision.

I’m a bit confused about Thea. At the beginning of the episode she was worried about the fact that her encounter with Darhk sated her bloodlust. Yet halfway through the episode she’s turning back into a blood-thirsty rage monster just because psycho anarchist came back? I get that she feels guilty about what she did to him, but it doesn’t make sense that her bloodlust suddenly returned when he came back. It also doesn’t make sense that she seems to forget how to fight whenever she’s fighting him. Maybe that was her holding back because of the whole guilt thing, but c’mon. Get it together sister! I’m also not completely sold on Thea’s relationship with Oliver’s campaign manager Mr. Preppy. I’m not entirely sure exactly what’s going on there, but something seems off. It could just be that there’s no real chemistry there. I don’t know, but something seems weird about Mr. Preppy.

This episode was ok. We did find out that Damien Darhk’s wife isn’t as ignorant of who he is as we first thought. Apparently she is in just as deep as he is or maybe even more. The look of disdain she shot Darhk when she realized he’d let The Green Arrow go was just priceless. I wouldn’t be opposed to finding out a bit more about her. I’m also glad they’ve stopped with the teasing about whether it’s Felicity in the grave four months from now. I am kind of intrigued to find out who died that would make Felicity send Oliver to kill someone though. I have a few guesses as to who it is, but I’ll keep them to myself for now. So what did y’all think of the Arrow mid-season premiere?