Back from another hiatus and with the promise of an epic Deadshot showdown, my hopes for this episode of Arrow were high, so my slight disappointment is really all my own fault. Well, possibly mine and those behind the marketing of “Home Invasion.” And this isn’t me saying this was a bad episode, it’s not, but when you promote the hell out of Deadshot and he basically is filling in this episode’s B plot, I’m going to be a little let down.
So what was the A plot of “Home Invasion”? A family Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is representing plans to sue a greedy, corrupt business man who lost all their savings. Unfortunately – because nothing good ever happens in Starling City – that business man, Edward Rasmus (Al Sapienza) calls in a hit on the family and the mother and father end up dead. The only survivor is the little boy who Laurel takes into her custody until extended family can be found and she and the boy become the hunted targets of Rasmus’ hitman (J. August Richards). Which means protecting Laurel becomes Ollie (Stephen Amell), or rather The Hood’s, top priority.
This doesn’t sit well with Diggle (David Ramsey), who since learning Deadshot (Michael Rowe) wasn’t dead has made it his crusade to see him in a body bag. Already calling in favors with past military associates, Dig would also like his best bud the vigilante to be there to back him up when they stage a trap for the sniper. Oliver, isn’t so accommodating, deciding rather to take down Rasmus when he tries to flee town. Leaving Diggle and the other agents high and dry, Deadshot is able to avoid capture, easily in fact. He kills at least four and when Diggle pursues, Deadshot disarms him, pistol whips him, but says he won’t kill him because no one’s paying him to. Uhh, Floyd? Just who do you think will be picking up that tab? I’m pretty this was your chance to get Dig off your back and add his name to your tattooed list of kills, but sure, yeah, you’re a mercenary, we get it.
The episode treats the Deadshot plot line with about as much respect as Ollie, who when he returns and sees Diggle having his head wound treated by Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), explains he needed to make sure Rasmus didn’t get away for the sake of that little orphan boy. To which Diggle counters with saying Oliver did it for Laurel, like everything he does. Yes folks, we’ve now reached the point in the season where events are going to aggressively push Ollie and Laurel towards each other because there’s never been another option. Instead of developing a believable relationship between the two, Ollie and Laurel will get together just ’cause. Feeling betrayed Diggle breaks up –I mean leaves –shit, that doesn’t sound any better. Oh! Who am I kidding, Oliver and Diggle were totally in relationship but now it’s over. Sad music.
But what about the other man in Oliver’s life? What about Tommy (Colin Donnell)? He only recently learned his best friend is Starling City’s most feared criminal, err vigilante, and is at the same time dating said dangerous man’s ex-girlfriend. It’s a tricky situation, to say the least. And I’ll admit, for a character I felt was real waste of space for much of this season, Tommy’s really giving me reasons to give a shit. Not only is there the countdown for when he goes full-blown evil by teaming with his father (John Barrowman), but after last week’s clever ruse to keep the police off Ollie’s trail and now this week’s comforting of the young orphan, I’m kind of rooting for him. I applaud him for deciding to leave Laurel. Sure his reasonings dumb – he thinks once Laurel learns Ollie’s the vigilante, who she’s so obviously crushin’ on, she’ll dump him toot sweet and leap into The Hood’s arms – but this whole love triangle thing was a disaster from the get go.
Everything wraps when this assassin – who I’d like to point is probably the most capable villain Arrow‘s had thus far – breaches the security of the Queen mansion where Laurel and the little boy have been staying. This is after he posed as Rasmus’ lawyer and kills him, too. Just who is this guy and who really hired him? Is he simply a well-trained gun who doesn’t like leaving loose threads? We’ll never know because in his confrontation with Oliver he gets stabbed in the heart with a fire poker. It’s a shame really, I was hoping for him to be involved with some broader, more sinister plot, but no, in the end he’s just another villain of the week.
With Diggle and Tommy out of the picture, there’s nothing standing in the way of Ollie and Laurel getting together. Not that I expect Arrow to spend the time giving us a good reason for this other than they’re meant to be together. Which I guess is all right because that’s how much of the plot development happens on this show. Things happen because they need to, end of story. Just look at Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), the street thug turned superhero wannabe ever since he was saved by The Hood a few weeks back. He has this calling, this pull of destiny to seek out The Hood to repay him for saving his life. Seriously, can the motivations on this show get any more transparent!?
– When the assassin comes for the little boy at Laurel’s apartment we have another instance of Laurel being pretty damn kick-ass. While Tommy shields the boy with his body and hides them behind a couch, Laurel goes for her shotgun. So she only gets off one shot before it jams, but the fact the lady’s got a shotgun handy and has no qualms grabbing it and using it makes me love her all the more. I want more of this Laurel, protecting what she loves like a fierce tigress, and less of her acting like puppy dog drooling over the vigilante.
– I’ve already mentioned it, but this week’s villain, the assassin, was believably threatening and I’m sorry he’s done for already.
– Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) doesn’t have a whole lot to do this week, but he does cleverly trick Roy to get back the police radio he swiped and tries to scare the little punk straight by taking him to the morgue to show off the vigilante’s handiwork.
– Speaking of Roy, I’m still searching for why I should care about him beyond the fact he’s going to become the sidekick to The Hood. I don’t know, maybe that is the reason I should care about him, but it’s a weak one.
– You’ll have noticed I didn’t really touch on the island flashbacks, and that’s because they aren’t all that necessary. There’s more training of Ollie by Shado (Celina Jade), not nearly enough snarky Slade (Manu Bennet), and the only important development is Yao Fei (Byron Mann) bringing Fyers’ men to their crashed airplane hideout. This probably could have been covered next week.
– And, I’m still disappointed Deadshot was basically a subplot, with not further significance than to break up Ollie and Diggle. Seems a waste to me. Hopefully with him escaping, again, there’s more for him to do in the future.
Finally, in next week’s episode, “The Undertaking”, we’ll see the beginnings of just that, the undertaking. It also looks like Felicity gets more time in the field, something I support 100%.
Arrow airs Wednesday nights on the CW at 8pm.