She’s baaaack. Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) old flame, or “psycho ex-girlfriend” as Diggle (David Ramsey) affectionately calls her, is back in Starling City. And she’s back for only one reason, REVENGE. Jessica de Gouw‘s Huntress has returned to finally take out daddy and she doesn’t care who gets in her way. It’s exciting she’s back, even if she’s more villainous than I was expecting.
The opening sequence for “The Huntress Returns” is so obviously wank fodder and usually I’d hate such an objectifying scene. I mean, how many time have we seen a female character disguise herself as a stripper in order to interrogate or kill a man at a club? Hundreds, maybe thousands! It’s an overused trope is what I’m getting at, but Arrow manages to turn the scene into a humorous nod to Huntress’ more common, and far more revealing, comic book costume. I laughed, but was also happy to see her quickly change into the crime-fighting trench coat she got from Oliver. I love that coat. I want that coat.
Huntress’ return works well to play with the ‘secret identity as a liability’ theme they’ve been toying with all season. Since she was last in Starling City a lot more people have learned Oliver is also The Hood, and it’s knowledge she’s going to use to her advantage. Helena burns through Ollie’s friends and family, using them as leverage, until she can convince him to help her kill her father before he can be placed in witness protection. Of course, Diggle is there at each turn to remind Ollie had he gotten rid of Helena last time, she wouldn’t be causing trouble now. The question of whether he’s holding back because he still harbors feelings for Helena hangs over this whole episode, especially as his relationship with McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar) becomes a little more serious.
As they tail two armored vans, one a decoy, one containing her father, – and, I’m sorry, but could they have tailed those vans a little more obviously? – their duped by the police who knew Helena was in town to kill her father. Both vans are decoys and Helena’s arrested by the police. This puts Oliver in a tricky situation. A Huntress in custody won’t kill anyone, but what’s stopping her from revealing who he really is?
And this brings us to what’s easily the most interesting scene of the episode. While being interrogated by Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and McKenna, Helena outright names Oliver Queen as The Hood, but because of the way she spins it and plays on McKenna’s jealousy, they don’t believe her! It’s sort of genius, actually. Never once does she lie, and I’m still wondering if she knew they wouldn’t believe her or if she was really giving Ollie up? Doesn’t matter, The Hood shows up and springs her almost immediately.
Oliver gives Helena a plane ticket to Rome and as nicely as he possibly can tells her to get the fuck out. She doesn’t listen, she’s filled with the thirst for vengeance! She forces Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to hack the FBI database, finds where her father’s being kept, and goes on a crossbow fueled rampage. What I would give to see her and Daryl of The Walking Dead hang out! They’d make one hell of a team. Ollie shows up to stop her, now by any means necessary, and when he goes for the kill shot she, amazingly, catches his arrow. Someone’s been practicing. It’s then that McKenna shows up after being advised to wait for backup, and Helena shoots her. Oh, did I mention by now Helena’s had to swap her crossbow for a gun? Yeah, she shatters McKenna’s femur and escapes.
Due to her injuries McKenna will be in need of at least a year’s worth of physical therapy and plans to move to Coast City to stay with her sister, thus ending any future her relationship with Ollie might have had. Which couldn’t have been much, eventually she’d of learned Oliver is The Hood and things would have ended horribly. And honestly, I’m surprised she was able to leave this relationship alive. Just run, McKenna, run. Good luck in Coast City.
His girlfriend gone, his psycho ex-girlfriend also gone, Oliver battles with being The Hood and being happy, as the two seem to be mutually exclusive. There’s a really nice moment between him and Tommy (Colin Donnell) where Ollie opens up about his fears, about lying to those he loves, and the toll it’s taken on him. Tommy is surprisingly supportive considering how angsty he’s been all episode. Oh! And since he had his arm painfully twisted behind his back while being used as leverage over Ollie by Helena. There may be hope for this friendship, yet, assuming Tommy doesn’t spill the beans to his father.
There was something like a dozen other subplots running through “The Huntress Returns” that it was tough to give a damn. The plot line of Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) mother, Dinah (Alex Kingston) returning with evidence of Sarah still being alive could easily have been its own episode. There’s a great scene early on when Laurel and Dinah confront Quentin with the evidence and Blackthorne reacts wonderfully. He’s hurt, he’s angry, but at the same time wants to believe his other daughter could still be alive. Usually I think of him as basically J. Jonah Jameson the cop, but he delivered a lot more depth this week.
– Dig had what was easily the best line of the episode. Referring to Ollie’s reluctance to take out Helena he said, “I think you would have a long time ago if she looked like me and not the T-Mobile girl.” Ha!
– We didn’t get much from the island flashbacks, but I’m so excited Manu Bennet has been made a series regular. Island Ollie and Slade are my new BroTP.
– I literally LOL’d when Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) confessed to a fear of needles. Roy Harper. Afraid of needles. Hahahahahaha!
– Other than the needle bit, the ENTIRE Thea (Willa Holland)/Roy subplot. I’m tired of it already, and it hasn’t even really begun. What is this, Gossip Girl?
– While I love de Gouw’s Huntress I’m a little sad she’s become a full-on villain. Here’s hoping there’s some redemption in her future.
Arrow returns next Wednesday at 9pm on the CW with “Salvation.”