Janina Gavankar

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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.

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Dead to Rights” was written by Geoff Johns, who also contributed “Muse of Fire” this season, and it proves to be another of Arrow‘s stronger episodes. No disposable villain of the week here, folks! Nothing but some pretty big and surprising revelations, and almost revelations, topped off with some great action. Really what makes this episode such a strong one is its willingness to move the plot forward. Often the over-arching storyline of Arrow gets pushed into the background while we watch The Hood tackle a lame, weekly villain, or things get overly soap opera-y with excessive family and relationship drama. Not the case this week.

The crux of the episode is the plot to assassinate Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) by the Triad as called on by Moira (Susanna Thompson). China White (Kelly Hu) seeks the help of Deadshot (Michael Rowe) who, obviously, didn’t die at the end of “Lone Gunmen” like we all thought. He’s hiding out at The Bludhaven Apts., the first of many little DC winks and nods Johns litters throughout the episode. It’s nice Deadshot’s not dead, having introduced such a fan favorite only to kill him off the same episode was a bit of a letdown. ‘Course, his role this episode is limited, but Deadshot does what Deadshot does well and that’s all I’d expect. China give him a fancy new eyepiece, and since he escapes capture I’m going to assume he’ll back to wreak havoc for Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Starling City in the future.

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Dodger

You may have noticed – or not, it’s hard to tell – that last week’s episode of Arrow wasn’t reviewed due to my being out of town (at Gallifrey One! Look for my convention recap this weekend.). And what a shame, too, since last week’s “The Odyssey” was Arrow‘s best episode in weeks. It benefited, like I predicted it would, from more screen time for Manu Bennet‘s Slade Wilson, the inclusion of Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) properly into Team Arrow, and some real answers about what happened on the island between Oliver (Stephen Amell), Slade, and Yao Fei (Bryon Mann). For one, Yao Fei has completely switched allegiance to Fyers and his mercenaries because they’re holding his daughter hostage.

But no, that’s not the episode I’m covering today. This week’s episode was “Dodger,” and it’s a return to the tired villain of the week formula sandwiched between both Ollie and Diggle’s (David Ramsey) sorry attempts at romantic entanglements. And no, unfortunately not with each other. A shame because at least that would have been interesting!

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Vertigo

Last week Arrow left off with Thea (Willa Holland) arrested for driving under the influence of Vertigo, Starling City’s newest party high, bringing the drug and its nefarious dealer, The Count (Seth Gabel), center stage. It’s another neat twist on DC lore turning the austere Count Vertigo into a drug dealer peddling a substance that when over imbibed leaves the user suffering from some dizzying effects. With Thea facing jail time because Judge Jerkface wants to see her made into an example for the drug-addled youth of Starling City, Ollie (Stephen Amell) sees his only option as bringing in The Count to take the heat off Thea.

Since it’s his sister on the line, Ollie uses every available means to hunt down The Count. As Oliver Queen he visits an old flame from his partying days,¬†McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar), now a vice cop, who provides him with a couple leads including “The Count” alias. And do you want to know how he earned such a moniker? You sure? Because I’m sorry, it’s pretty dumb. See, Vertigo is a very potent substance and required quite a bit of testing before it was street safe. Testing done on homeless bums and destitute prostitutes. When those poor souls were found overdosed there would be two puncture marks on their necks from the syringe. Vampire bites, get it? Vampire bites, The Count, isn’t that funny!? Yeah … umm, clever.

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