Arrow: “Blood Debts” – Looking Ahead

Arrow Blood Debts Closer Look

Arrow is back… in more ways than one! With the Spring segment of the 4th Season kicking off and Oliver Queen out blood – very Season 1-ish – it felt good to be back in the swing of things. What didn’t feel good was the emotional rollercoaster Team Arrow is on right now. Between surprise saves and a new piece of the ‘Future’ segment, we have a lot to talk about.

So let’s get right into it with a Closer Look at Arrow “Blood Debts” and Look Ahead to see what’s next.

Episode Meaning – Blood Debts & Blood Lust:

Between the episode title and subject matter, it wasn’t exactly a secret that this episode would deal with “Blood Debts”, or perhaps it’s more fair to say “Bloodlust”. We directly returned to this ‘Thea storyline’ as Anarky – someone who was literally born out of Thea’s previous bloodlust – returns to wreak havoc and get his revenge on Darhk. Although Thea and Anarky’s bloodlust (past or present) wasn’t the only occurrence in this episode as Diggle also displayed some ferocious tendencies as he pummeled his brother Andy. Yes, Andy’s working for HIVE but we always heard so much about how Diggle loved his brother that it was still weird to see – but understandable as I’ll address in the next section.

Though the posterchild for “bloodlust” this episode was certainly Oliver Queen, and if you thought he was bad when Darhk simply kidnapped those he cared about… you haven’t seen anything yet. Oliver was like a wild animal this episode and seemed to be even more vicious than his Season 1 self. Sure he didn’t KILL anyone, but he got pretty close with a lot of them – and others just killed themselves. So when he and Darhk finally face off at the end, it’s a chance to unleash all that pent up rage. Though unlike Darhk and Anarky, Oliver does set himself apart in the end by doing what the other villains hadn’t: He keeps the fight between THEM and them alone. He doesn’t take his anger out on his target’s family, but rather keeps it focused; and that is what separates the bloodlust found on Team Arrow from that found elsewhere. Oliver and Diggle’s rage was focused; Anarky and Darhk’s will hurt anyone close to their target. Now before you say anything about Thea’s uncontrollable bloodlust, remember she now has control over it; but she couldn’t do that alone… nor could anyone with bloodlust.

Feeling Human Again – Those Who Cure Bloodlust:

This episode wasn’t all ferocity and uncontrollable rage though as we found each ‘bloodluster’ had someone who stands as the remedy to their bloodlust. Take Thea for example, who’s bloodlust was seemingly “magically” cured by Darhk, but still has the psychological repercussions to deal with. This is where Alex comes in, who offers Thea a chance at normalcy. Though as we move to the other ‘bloodlusters’ this episode, we find that their remedy can also stand as the thing that causes their bloodlust. So moving on from Thea we find Anarky – again – someone who was born from Thea’s bloodlust and yet also has a soft spot for her most of this episode. Then again, maybe he isn’t the best example of this since he was already a sociopath.

Blood Debts

Arrow — “Blood Debts” — Image AR410a_0167b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk and Stephen Amell as The Arrow — Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s instead look at Diggle, the character who made us first realize this was happening this episode when he visit Lyla after beating up his brother. To him, Lyla is the one who helps him feel human again even after the darkest of times; and it is also from this talk that he puts aside his rage and tries to be a brother again to Andy. Sure Andy has been acting like a total pain before this; but we learn that he was also a dealer and only joined the military because of Diggle. This changes our perception of Andy as “Diggle’s Hero” to Andy as “Diggle’s little brother”. Though in an ironic twist, Lyla might be Diggle’s cure but has also caused some strong feelings of rage in the past – remember how long he held the grudge against Oliver. So if anything were to happen to Lyla, Diggle’s bloodlust would reach new heights – which brings us to Mr Queen.

Again, Oliver was on a rampage this episode and even went so far as to release a sociopath in the chance that he could taker Darhk down. Though even though all this bloodlust came from what Darhk did to Felicity, it’s important to note that Oliver is acting like this the longer he’s away from Felicity. He barely visits her, but once he does he remembers who he is and what he’s been fighting for. But what about Darhk? This rule has more or less been true for Thea, Anarky, Diggle and Oliver. Would the same be true of Darhk since he was in our previous section? Well, Darhk actually brings us to a different point … or more specifically, his wife does.

Exceptions To The Above Rule – When The Cure & Bloodlust Combine:

Initially, we thought Darhk’s wife and child – like the others – might be the cure of his bloodlust, but as we actually discover at the end of the episode, his wife might actually be the one spurring him on. Darhk spared the Green Arrow and his family for a few weeks as a thank you for saving his own; however, Darhk’s wife insists that he should have killed him anyway. She seems just as dedicated to Project Genesis – if not more than – Darhk himself. With the constant emphasis on his daughter, could this foreshadow that Project Genesis and everything Darhk’s doing is somehow for his daughter?

Though before we can get used to this idea of someone who ‘SHOULD’ be calming someone down actually spurring them on, we see another instance of it … or at least will when Felicity does this four months down the line. As for who’s in the grave, we’ll address that in the next section, but all we know is that Felicity wants Oliver to kill “him” as well. That’s right! The girl who helps Oliver to find the “light inside” now wants Oliver to find the killer inside. Who the hell is in that grave?!?!

Who’s In The Grave – New Evidence & Narrowing Down The Field:

All in all, our initial look at the first FlashForward was pretty spot on as several things we noted remain true. For starters, we knew the death coming in the midseason finale was too early. They said initially 6 months later and only 2 months had passed in show time. This was confirmed in this episode as the new FlashForward’s time stamp is 4 months down the line – WIN!

Additionally, seeing Felicity alive in this new FlashForward proves that (1) the Felicity really was the easy choice (2) why Barry left as he did. As we first noted, Barry said he was running late because of Zoom, making this funeral coincide with either the Flash’s final battle with Zoom OR take place while Barry was stuck in Earth-2. Though considering the time stamp again, Season Finale is the much safer bet. Now about the second part, IF this had been Felicity isn’t not a question of “why was Barry late to her funeral” but rather WHY didn’t he seem torn up. Barry is sad, don’t get me wrong; but it’s not as strong a personal emotional connection. Barry is attending the funeral more to support Oliver, NOT to mourn one of his closest friends/someone he almost got romantically involved with.

Arrow

Taking all this into consideration as well as other hints this season, the tomb person is most likely one of the follow:

  • Diggle – I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I’ve got a bad feeling about this. This season has explored Andy’s fate, the last known piece of Diggle’s puzzle and the more and more we see these two come to terms with each other – and the more Oliver and Diggle show their own bonds as family – the more I fear this grave is for Diggle. Diggle has been a part of Team Arrow since the beginning, so his death would be the most likely to push BOTH Oliver and Felicity over the edge and want revenge.
  • Thea – Thea’s path is truly a mystery. Is there a ‘new identity’ in her future – Cheshire or Artemis – OR is she the one in the grave. Thea’s already almost died once, so this might be a bit of a cop out; HOWEVER there has been some strong support in how Malcolm keeps appearing and saying how he’d hunt Oliver down in anything happened to Thea. Will Oliver’s hunt for Darhk lead to Thea’s death – and thus Malcolm returning as a full villain Season 4? Ehh, it’s possible but I haven’t seen enough to convince me of this one yet. Though with talk of Roy Harper returning later this season, COULD there be something to this – if only coincidence?
  • Quentin – As of the start of this season, I would have never pictured Quentin Lance being the one in the grave; but as the Fall Season concluded we got multiple pieces of evidence to this theory. From his too close for comfort ties to Darhk to all the times he told Laurel how a father would do anything to protect his daughter, Quentin getting killed does have the potential to spur these feelings in Oliver and Felicity – considering he’s also been an on and off member since Season 1. The problem with this is, where’s Laurel? Has she taken the news THAT badly that she can’t even come out – or will she go on as much of a bloodlust hunt as Oliver did this episode?

Though beyond all these theories, there is one potential fact that many still haven’t realized. Oliver didn’t actually say “DARHK”; but rather just “Him”. It’s of course meant to mean Darhk; but what if that is just another misdirect? What if the HIM is actually someone else? Again, I’m 99% sure it’s Darhk; but what if it’s not? Who could cause such an immediate hatred in Oliver and Felicity? Darhk has been tormenting them all season, so it’s kind of has to be him. But IF it’s not … what in the world lies ahead for our heroes? I guess we’ll find out as Season 4 of Arrow continues this Spring! But before we leave, let’s just bullet point some other things we noticed.

Rapid Fire – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:

  • Continuing with their Batman-But-Not-Batman theme, Felicity’s story is most likely now following that of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon who lost the ability to walk and became the tech master of Batman’s crew known as Oracle – which Felicity already kind of did.
  • To be fair, in the FlashForward we just saw Felicity sitting in the car. We don’t know if she was there because she’s paralyzed. Maybe she just had to be alone because of the shock. We’ve seen people return from the dead on Arrow, so what’s to say a character might regain the ability to walk.
  • What was that glowing on Oliver’s chest in the Flashback? Whatever it is, it suddenly made Oliver very valuable to Reiter. Man, won’t he be upset if it turns out the glowing was because that shark that attacked Oliver was radioactive haha
  • Alex has been really good for Thea, which makes me think he’s either (A) a secret bad guy (B) going to die a horrible death…
  • Even though Quentin gave Oliver the meeting place for Darhk, I think his secret is still safe since Anarky was already there and killed everyone. Guess there’ll be another chance for Quentin to let the cat out of the bag.
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