Arrow Season 4, Episode 10 “Blood Debts” (spoilers below)
Bechdel-Wallace Score: 2.5/3
Shukla Score: 3/3
Russo Score: 0/3
There was no LGBTQ representation in this episode. There was more than one scene of two named, African-American characters talking to each other, not about race. That covers the Russo and Shukla scores respectively, and let me digress for a moment on the Bechdel-Wallace score: I don’t award full credit for scenes where two women talk alone about a man, or where two women talk not about a man, but with men present. There are many, many scenes with men talking alone without women. Therefore, representation for women isn’t really happening unless women get to talk alone without men and not about men. Nonetheless, progress is incremental, so I awarded 2.5 points since this episode had scenes where named women talked not about men, with a man present and a scene where two women talked alone, although their discussion was a lot about men. I gave the episode four kittens, all crying, because like Tuesday’s episode of The Flash, this episode of Arrow was both interesting and a bummer.
Low points: For review purposes, low points means part of the episode that were weak and/or I did not like them. The episode was pretty damn sad, but all of that was well done. The only low points were the flashback sequence, which has been a weak spot for the series all season, and Thea’s time with what’s-his-name political operative guy. Thea’s time with what’s-his-name is a low point because their relationship makes no sense, Thea doesn’t always need to be dating some guy anyway, and because this dude is obviously going to turn out to be a bad guy, get killed by the bad guys, or both.
Highlights: Relationships! Oliver and Felicity had a rough hour this week, but their distance most of the episode, then intimacy at the end, were really well done. I thought this was by far the best Olicity hour yet, because I mostly can’t stand their relationship and this was the first episode where it felt human and at all compelling to me. Captain Lance and Felicity’s mom, also, have this totally delightful little affair going on. It is the best use of either character in the whole series and gets a smile out of me every time. Last, but best, is Diggle: Diggle with Lyla; Diggle with his brother; Diggle with Oliver. He really was the highlight of the whole episode, using his marriage as a source of support and wisdom to then shift from an adversarial to a familial footing with both Oliver and his brother. He continues to be the best character on a show with lots of good characters.
Dad edits: I don’t watch this show with my son. Too many guns and the violence is generally too realistic. A dude got whipped and threatened to shoot himself, for instance. So that’s just a non starter.
Arrow will return next Wednesday, January 27th at 8/7c