Last Night On “Arrow”: Beware of Shrapnel

Starling City is plagues by a mad bomber. Oliver is plagued by limited social skills. And Laurel is on a mission.

Previously on Arrow….

The adorkable Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) paid Starling City a visit. Even though he was funny, smart, cute and a total Arrow fanboy, Oliver took an immediate disliking to him. That was hard to understand, since Barry is more universally adored than pizza. However, it seems to have something to do with Felicity crushing hard on the science geek. Oliver is like that obnoxious kid in kindergarten who doesn’t necessarily want to play with the toys, but he hoards them all the same so no one else can play with them.

Cyrus Gold came onto the scene as Starling’s first super-powered bad guy. He whupped the Arrow’s butt, he whupped Diggle’s butt and then he killed a bunch of cops. Oliver killed him in a pretty nasty way, but we’re not sure yet if it was a Saturday on which he died.

I’ll let you ponder that one.

Barry returned to his home turf where he was hit by a shockwave, struck by lightning and splashed with chemicals. If he went through all that and still doesn’t have superpowers, he should lodge a formal complaint with TPTB.

Oliver is hunting high and low for the man in the skull mask. He’s terrifying every lowlife and snitch he can get his hands on, but no one has the info. And when he finds out that Felicity is still not back from checking on Barry, he gets really grumpy.

This is yet more Olicity fan service of which I do not approve.

Laurel is trying to find some path to relevance by investigating Sebastian Blood. She (rightly) assumes that since she has the hots for him, something has to be wrong with him. I admire anyone who acknowledges she has bad taste in men—excluding Tommy, of course.

Ironically, Oliver has no such suspicions. He thinks Seb is the best thing since sliced bread. He even hosts an event for his new pal’s mayoral campaign. This makes me wonder what happened to the Queen name being mud in Starling City. Wouldn’t being endorsed by Oliver sink the political aspirations of anyone who wanted to win over the non-rich voters?

Moira shows up to the event, which is even worse for Seb than him being buddies with Starling City’s controversial prince. She makes a comment to Thea about what an amazing job she’s done with Verdant, suggesting she’s taken it up a level from when Oliver was running it.

I am going to dismiss this as motherly hyperbole so I don’t have to list all the reasons this is a dumb plot point.

Sean Maher debuts as Shrapnel. But we barely get to see this gorgeous man. I thought everyone agreed that Sean’s guest star appearances have to include at least one shirtless scene. Greg Berlanti, you have failed this internet!

Hrmph. Well, Shrapnel is your average whack job with a ridiculous plan to bring down the government or something. He blows up a building that is all but deserted, save for a few investment bankers. It’s a pretty dramatic explosion, but it doesn’t even bring the building down. And for no reason at all, Oliver rushes to the scene to help out, even though the firefighters were like two minutes behind him.

Oliver has a new playmate to deal with. But first….

Island Time!

Shado seems to really be dead. This would be more tragic to me if it didn’t seem so pointless. Or worse than pointless, since it seems they killed off a really great character (a female, person of color character to boot) just to give Slade a reason to hate Oliver.

Oliver wants to tell Slade that she’s dead because he chose to save Sara, which is not how I interpreted that scene at all. Sara makes the point that Shado is dead because Ivo is a crazy, evil d-bag. But Oliver seems to want to ride the guilt pony for a little longer.

Ivo radios them and tells them he’ll give them a ride back to civilization if they’ll just turn the mirakuru over to him. Because, you know, he’s earned so much trust with them up to this point. Why wouldn’t they believe him?

Slade takes the drugs and runs off. I’m not sure where this plot is going, but I also don’t actually care. We know Slade lives. We know Ivo dies. So, it’s all a little anticlimactic.

Back in the present, Laurel confronts Sebastian about his connection to Cyrus. He lays out this sob story about his family and how he came to be an orphan. To her credit, Laurel plays along but she doesn’t actually stop her investigation. You go, girl. There might be hope for you yet.

Patrolman Lance teams up with Oliver to find the bomber. I have to say, I like him lots better as an ally than as the perpetually useless thorn on the vigilante’s side. It’s also interesting how the story is essentially proving his misgivings of season one correct—that once you start going outside the law, it just gets easier and easier each time you do it. I wonder if he’ll ever realize that irony.

Their meeting is interrupted by that scamp Shrapnel blowing up another building. But this time, Oliver has his computer whiz sidekick, Felicity, back on the job. Through the wonders of techno-babble, she leads our hero to his quarry.

But that rascally Shrapnel lobs grenades at Oliver and then scrambles the signal Felicity was using to track him. You can practically hear him chortling, “You haven’t seen the last of me!”

Oliver reads Felicity the riot act for losing the bad guy. And, because he’s Oliver, he can’t resist going deep into d-bag territory by suggesting that Felicity isn’t doing her job because she’s too busy crushing on Barry.

First of all, Oliver, crushing on Barry is a perfectly valid thing for anyone to do. Second, don’t be mean to Felicity. Ever. All it does is make you look like a big dumb jerk person. And of course, Felicity will break out her library card and read you like a busted drag queen.

Sebastian Blood makes everyone question his sanity and good sense by holding a rally in defiance of the bomber. Giving Shrapnel a great big target just so you can say, “we won’t be intimidated” is one of the dumber ideas I’ve ever heard. Oliver agrees with me. He goes to Blood in his Arrow guise to tell him to not be a moron.

But Sebastian blows him off. Okay then….

Felicity uses her magic to find Shrapnel’s hangout, which is cool and all, but why would Oliver go there? The rally is taking place. Surely that’s where Shrapnel would be, not sitting home watching Pawn Stars or something. It doesn’t make sense.

Oh, wait, okay. It’s so Shrapnel has a chance to taunt him. All right. I get it now.

With Felicity’s assist, Oliver escapes the villain’s death trap. Unfortunately, she makes a really snotty comment while helping him out, which loses her some of the high ground. I mean, really, giving him attitude while there’s a bomb sitting there ready to blow him to bits?

Team Arrow converges on the rally, and lo and behold, that is where Shrapnel is hanging out. Who would have guessed? Oh, right, me.

Suffice to say, Oliver defeats Shrapnel. I think it’s supposed to be funny. But at this point, I’m just glad it’s over.

Roy, meanwhile, saves Moira from a falling scaffolding thingy. And he lifts it like he’s a little baby Thor. He tries to tell Thea it was just adrenaline, which is at least as clever as any lie Oliver has ever told.

Laurel goes to see Sebastian’s crazy Aunt Maya. I’m not sure what she was hoping to find. But she strikes gold. It turns out Maya isn’t actually crazy. And she’s not Sebastian’s auntie.

She’s his mom.

Oliver apologizes to Felicity, which shows real growth for his character. It usually takes weeks and emotional blackmail to get him to admit he is wrong. There is more Olicity, which I choose to ignore. I focus instead on the fact that, for the moment, they are letting her feelings for Barry play out.

Which means she might well do guest spots on Flash. Score!

This episode was not the mind-blowing hour of TV that Mr. Amell touted it to be on Facebook. But I forgive him because it’s cute how much he loves his show. And because he has shared that bod of his so selflessly with the world.

What did you guys think? All input is welcome! Unless it is in support of Olicity….