Arrow was back last night after a week hiatus for the stuffin’-your-face-with-turkey holiday, and it came back strong. In an episode without any island flashbacks, though still managed to make the consequences of Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) time there the focus, we were introduced to Helena Bertinelli (Jessica de Gouw), known to most as Huntress, learned the true identity of John Barrowman‘s “Well Dressed Man,” and finally saw Ollie be honest with someone.
“Muse of Fire,” co-written by DC’s wonderboy, Geoff Johns, picks right up with Ollie trying to mend his broken family ties. On his way to meet his mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson), for lunch Ollie sees her narrowly avoid being shot as the man she was speaking with, an “associate” of mobster Frank Bertinelli (Jeffrey Nordling), is gunned down by a mystery motorcyclist. After first suspecting his mother must have been the target, Ollie decides to investigate Bertinelli thanks to a tip from Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne).
While visiting Bertinelli to discuss “business,” Ollie meets Helena, and it’s like a match made in vigilante heaven. All right, maybe not at first but that’s because these two are awkward as hell. They’re forced to get to know each other when Helena’s father pimps her out to Ollie in order seal their business deal, while he goes and has a secret meeting with China White (Kelly Hu) and the Triad. While on their “date,” Ollie actually has a frank and open discussion with someone about how isolated he’s felt since returning from the island. They bond over their mutual suffering, which for her was having her fiance murdered by her father. Of all people to turn to, he’s opening up to the mob boss’ daughter he met like 2o minutes ago.
But that’s because she’s not just a mob boss’ daughter, Helena is pursuing a crusade of her own. All is revealed when after dinner their both back at the restaurant to bust up Bertinelli’s “associates” who came to harass the restaurant owner for protection money. First in is The Hood closely followed by the mysterious motorcyclist. The motorcyclist quickly shoots the mobsters at which point The Hood steps in for some vigilant on mystery killer action. Well, it’s a mystery until Ollie rips off the biker helmet to reveal, dun, dun, DUN – HELENA! Yeah, it’s not that much of a reveal since we, the audience, knew almost from the beginning she was the killer, but it sure surprises the hell outta Oliver.
But if you’re looking for a shocking reveal, I’ve got one for you. First, let’s check in on the other date happening in this episode, Tommy (Colin Donnell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy). Yup, they’re moving on from friends with benefits towards something more serious. It’s a move which brings out this great line from Ollie, “That’s good. If you hurt her I’ll snap your neck. Just kidding.” Haha. Yeah, real funny bro, says Tommy as he discreetly shits his pants.
Anyway, on their date Tommy’s credit card in denied and it’s a major blow to his wooing of Laurel. It gets worse when he realizes that’s not all he’s being denies, he’s also been cut of completely from any of his family’s money. This guy’s a trust fund baby, everything he has comes from his father. Which is why he goes to confront daddy only to reveal he’s, dun, dun, DUN – JOHN BARROWMAN! That’s right, his mysterious “Well Dressed Man” is Tommy’s father, Mr. Merlyn. Which is such a ridiculous notion I love it all the more. I have to admit I gasped when he removed his fencing helmet – the only acceptable sport for the villainous elite – even if it’s not at all what I was expecting his role to be.
For their second date, since their first was simply smashing, Ollie and Helena are kidnapped by her father’s thugs as lead thug, Nick Salvati (Tahmoh Penikett), has deduced it was Helena at the restaurant who shot up their men. During Helena and Salvati’s war of words we learn her fiance was killed because a laptop was found with incriminating evidence he had been leaking to the FBI about her father’s shady dealings. Turns out that laptop was Helena’s as she’s been the one confiding to the FBI, to which Salvati admits he’s the one who actually killed her fiance and it’s all her fault anyway. Enough soap opera drama, cue the fight scene. Ollie and Helena easily break out of their zip tie bonds and kick the crap outta these guys. Helena kills Salvati by snapping his neck and saying she can’t let anyone learn her secret. Sound familiar?
Yeah, it’s much the same rational Ollie has used for killing guys in the past, but this time he has the audacity to call her out on it. Dude, double standard! In the end though, it’s this mutual thirst for justice – or vengeance, depending on who you ask – that brings them together. Together in the sense that Ollie likely spent the night at her apartment after their end of episode make out scene. Those Ollie/Laurel shippers must be in tears. And usually, I’d count myself among them but I haven’t really felt the connection between Ollie and Laurel the same way I do between Green Arrow and Black Canary. I dig the possibilities of this Ollie/Helena, and in turn The Hood/Huntress, pairing. The script of this episode was literally beating us over the head with how similar they were, of course they’d seek to confide in each other.
Next week Arrow is back with “Vendetta,” preview below, and it looks like Ollie and Helena won’t only lovers but crime-fighting allies. Tune in Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.