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Welcome back, Arrow Squad! It feels good to have our show back, doesn’t it? The media-pandering cliff-hanger, the likes of which have now become so common in television, not withstanding, Arrow is back with its usual butt-kicking, bad-guy hunting, angst-filled superhero gang down one significant member. Nevertheless, we’re back talking about Season 4 Episode 10 “Blood Debts”, which originally aired on January 20, 2016.
The episode titles for Arrow used to make much more sense to me. I feel, particularly this season, that they’ve become more abstractly poetic, rather than descriptive, of the episodic content. Even so, from Dark Waters to Blood Debts, Arrow certainly is making us wade through the mire of tension as we await Felicity’s ultimate fate. Fortunately, we were appeased not long into the episode that Felicity is, indeed, alive, and that the upcoming surgery was for the purpose of repairing nerve damage. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and it appears as though Felicity will never be able to walk again.
I did a little research, because that’s my MO, on blood debts. I found an interesting article about a version of the term’s origins as it pertains to the oath of revenge for vendetta (sometimes called a law of vendetta), practiced in the Balkans throughout the 15th century. In this cultural paradigm, when a family member has been killed, the offending family has a blood debt (called a krvni dug) that is only fulfilled when the family of the murdered individual kills either the murderer or a member of the murderer’s family. Unsurprisingly, the feuds between the families in the Balkans during this period of history created major instability throughout the geographical region.
The episode title would make more sense had Felicity been killed, but the sentiment is nonetheless strong. The dance Damien Darhk and Green Arrow have been doing in Star City over the course of Arrow season 4 has resulted in major instability, but now there’s a quasi blood feud trifecta as Darhk extends his tentacles out from Green Arrow to include the man behind the mask as well. However, as a result of this episode, whatever feud Darhk has with the Green Arrow is, for the time, tabled…which leaves only one arm of the triangle. Darhk and Oliver.
Before I belabor the concept of blood debts to a degree that my irritation outweighs my general intrigue, I cannot deny the fact that any feud resulting in a lot of blood shed will undoubtedly lead to chaos. Chaos, an environment in which Anarky reigns! As the instability of the feuding clans hovers over Star City, Anarky will continue to slip in and out of the grip of those he torments.
While it’s hard to do nothing but dismiss most of the comments the character of Anarky states throughout the episode, as the writers seem to have his philosophy on shuffle, it was very interesting to me to analyze his character in the context of the ongoing blood feud. The only significance Anarky’s comments had was to aggravate the chaos he’s bringing to the lives of the feuding clans. Whether the seemingly incorrect comments were intentional or not (for the comment I’m referring to here, please listen to the podcast!), they absolutely contribute to the chaos of his game plan.
Season 4 Episode 11 “A.W.O.L.”
The promo for episode 11 references “Shadowspire”, which, according to my research, is a criminal organization that supplied South American drug cartels with necessary tools. Guess who one of the members of Shadowspire is? Baron Blitzkrieg, aka Baron Reiter, whom we’ve met On-Island in Oliver’s flashbacks this season. There are some fan theories circulating that other characters in the flashbacks, like Conklin, may be other members of Shadowspire.
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