Well, Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) went from endearing tortured soul to absolute whack job over the course of a single hour of Arrow. Way to show up in Starling City to ruin everything! “The Huntress Returns” saw the, well, return of Helena Bertinelli to Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) stomping grounds in order to finish off her quest for vengeance.
The episode opened with Nicki Minaj! I mean, just her voice. Va Va Voom, Huntress. Helena decided to moonlight as a stripper for the evening, hot on the heels of her father’s probably pervey attorney. Her father, the former head of an organized crime ring that saw the murder of her fiancé, was granted a plea deal. Initially, he was set to serve back to back life sentences, but you know how crooked rich folks work! Pull a few strings, and they’re living the high life on a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere. Helena wasn’t standing for any of it. Why should he get a clean slate having never been punished for his evil doings?
Green as the grass, Ollie’s brand spankin’ new nightclub, Verdant, was finally set to open. It seemed like only last episode the big empty warehouse was nothing but an oversized garage. No, seriously, I think it was just last episode. Ah, the magic of television. Presto, change-o via the magic of television. Things were also continuing to heat up between Oliver and McKenna (Janina Gavankar). We were privy to the fact that Huntress was back in town, though, and this time she had a tinge of super-psycho to her. As Diggle (David Ramsey) referred to her, Oliver’s “psycho ex-girlfriend.” Giving new meaning to the term “girlfriend,” Diggle. That was a hot minute of a fling. “Psycho,” though, that seems absolutely correct.
Laurel (Katie Cassidy) decided to lure her father, Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne), to a secret breakfast rendezvous with her long absent mother. Remember, Laurel’s mother had shown up at her doorstep claiming to have proof that Laurel’s sister was still alive. Detective Lance was livid that Laurel had played into the fact that she hadn’t been speaking to him, following that one time he shamelessly used her as bait to catch “The Hood.” What’s the big deal, Laurel? It’s just gunfire, deal. Laurel’s mother whipped out a photo a tourist had snapped in the area of Ollie’s island home. The photo showcased a girl who, albeit somewhat concealed, looked like Sarah. The area contained an archipelago of thousands of islands. If Ollie could meander onto the shores of one, why couldn’t she? Lance wouldn’t hear any of it. Later, Laurel would show up at his office to discuss the matter further. While her mother was adamant and her father was entirely unconvinced, even offended, Laurel remained completely on the fence. In the end, she left him with an envelope containing all of her mother’s research. Eventually, he came around.
Thea (Willa Holland) had taken it upon herself to make Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) her latest pet project. Having spent much of her community service time in The Glades, she happened upon street thief Roy sipping on a latte. Maybe it was an americano? What do purse snatchers drink? After some playful banter mocking Roy for not having a real job, as a high school dropout with a long record, Thea offered him the opportunity to work at Oliver’s new club as a valet. At least, she’d try to pull some strings. Roy took her up on the offer.
Diggle caught wind of the return of Huntress, having discovered security footage featuring her slaying her father’s attorney. The attorney knew nothing and, having failed at getting his client off the hook to begin with, was pretty much innocent. There was blood in the water now, and Helena was out for a feeding frenzy. Oliver, of course, still had feelings for her. He wasn’t privy to the touch of “crazy” that had been instilled in her following a wild backpacking trip around Europe. Seriously, what did she do over there? Ollie figured he’d have to track Helena down in order to prevent whatever she was planning, baffled as to why she wouldn’t settle for a double life sentence for her awful father.
As it turned out, she came to him. Oliver found Helena and Thea talking in his living room, and, after shooing Speedy away, attempted to get to the bottom of things. Helena, of course, is one of the few people to learn of Ollie’s secret identity. Now that they weren’t exactly on great terms, she had leverage. She intended to blackmail Oliver into helping her find her father, even going as far as to threaten his family if he dared defy her. Oliver remained defiant, even after learning the truth about Bertinelli’s looming new trial. At this point, I was sort of still on Helena’s side. Why should a crime lord get off scot free? Arrow has killed plenty of foes. I wasn’t ready for the upcoming series of unfortunate events, obviously. Scorned women are so scary, guys.
Whatever, yolo, party time! The club opening started off fine enough. Moira (Susanna Thompson) even took a break from her league of super-villains to dance the night away. I love a mom at a club. Of course, Tommy (Colin Donnell), still reeling from the discovery of Oliver’s superhero alter ego, refused to talk to Ollie. All he saw was “murderer.” Tommy couldn’t even keep it together enough to talk to Laurel about her current predicament.
Don’t look now, Oliver, but it’s your wretched ex (I use that term loosely.)! Tommy’s current mental state made him easy pickings for Huntress, who was very quick to shimmy Tommy off to the Arrow lair and pin him to a table. With Tommy’s arm twisted up into a pretzel, Oliver had no choice but to comply to Helena’s demands. Already on the outs with Tommy, this was the absolutely last thing Oliver needed to happen.
The next day, Tommy attempted to paint on a smile at Laurel’s office. That is, until Laurel laid into him for being completely absent during her time of emotional stress. The worst part was that Tommy couldn’t even explain why he’d been acting so distant. Not to be a buzzkill, but did anyone else find a few of the jokes this week a little disjointed? For example, Thea’s quip that Tommy “cut himself shaving” after catching a glimpse at his wrist wrapping? I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider my wrist to be a part of my face.
Felicity (Elizabeth Bett Rickards) was excited at the opportunity to try hacking the FBI’s computer system, but the mere sight of her in the lair, with Helena present, prompted Oliver to aggressively hide her away. Out of sight, out of mind? Helena kept making japes about Oliver’s extensive lists of love interests. Get a clue, batty. Eventually, Oliver managed to discover when Bertinelli’s hearing would take place. The catch was that the only additional information could scrounge up was that there would be one van truly carrying the man and one decoy. Shoot, Ollie’s original plan was to work with Helena side by side, thwarting her attempted murders of innocent police officers.
The motorcycle duo sped off in different directions that night. Oliver, of course, ended up picking the decoy van, initiating an intense race back to Huntress, who’d most likely uncovered her father’s location. Surprise! The entire situation was a setup to capture her following the murder she’d committed at the strip club. Life is all fun, games, and Nicki Minaj until you get arrested for murder. Oliver watched from a distance, knowing they were also searching for him.
Helena’s interrogation was her “nail in the coffin” moment for me. McKenna and Lance attempted to weasel out Arrow’s identity in exchange for a shortened sentence. I was sure she’d cover for him, knowing all that she’d already asked of “Hood Guy.” She didn’t. Right under the bus with you, “Hood.” Funny thing; the two people interrogating her didn’t believe her explanation, and it was Oliver who sprung her from the precinct. Of course, she never admitted the truth. She just pouted when he handed her a fake passport and a ticket to Rome. Ah, last time she went to Europe she came back totally nuts. Huntress couldn’t believe that Oliver truly lost his feelings for her, which he didn’t. Still, why would he care? She’s trouble, and he has a hot new girlfriend who understands his demanding work schedule and requires no apologies about it. Have a nice trip, freaky! See you never?
Nah, see you within a few minutes of screen time. Oliver ran straight back to McKenna, realizing how good he had it with her. All that sex, and a missed phone call from Felicity. A high-powered crossbow had just been shoplifted. Seriously? This girl is so clumsy! An unnecessary, out in the open, murder, and now this. Felicity was her next target, obviously. That was the last straw. After finding Felicity tied up, having been forced to hack into the FBI’s system for Bertinelli’s location, Arrow was out for blood. Purple blood, that is. I said that because The Huntress wears purple, and now I’m thinking that didn’t make sense.
Before the shocking conclusion, let’s catch up with Speedy and Roy! Thea was miffed after learning that Roy had skipped out on his first day of work. He chose not to be a “charity case.” Couldn’t he have made that choice on the spot while sipping his mocha? Stomping away from Roy’s house, Thea found herself in the midst of yet another attempted mugging. That’s what you get for wearing a super expensive looking royal blue coat to The Glades. Luckily, Roy whipped out some more of his ghetto ninja skills, even taking a light stabbing to protect her. At the hospital, we learned of Roy’s very endearing fear of needles. To take his mind off of the pain, Thea turned up the heat, and they had their first kiss.
Huntress ripped through Bertinelli’s veritable fortress of police guards just before Oliver could arrive to stop her. He fired an arrow at her heart, having not realized that she’d been practicing catching them to the point of developing an instinct. How does one practice that? Helena was appalled at Oliver’s attempted kill-shot. When McKenna arrived on the scene to break up the death match, Helena fired a powerful shot into her gut and escaped. At the hospital, we learned that McKenna would be out of commission for a year. Devastated, she broke things off with Oliver and decided to move away to a city with a top-notch rehabilitation center. In the end, it was Tommy who was Ollie’s shoulder to cry on, understanding now the burden that Oliver holds on his shoulders. “Hood Guy” needs lovin’ too.
P.S.- We visited the island shortly, as well. Last time we checked in, Oliver and Slade (Manu Bennett) discovered the mega missile launcher, Scilla. This time, Oliver concocted a plan to steal the computer chip required to control the death machine. Now, the duo had a powerful something or other to trade for a ride off of that island. First, they’d have to prevent what Slade made out to be a looming apocalyptic war. Is anyone else surprised that Oliver’s favorite method of duping the enemy is still by dressing up as one of them and playing dumb? They fall for it every time!
What did you all think of Arrow Season 1 Episode 17, “The Huntress Returns”? Are you happy to see things heating up between Speedy and Roy? Is Ollie flying solo for a while, or is there a new lady waiting in the wings?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of Arrow Season 1 Episode 17, “The Huntress Returns”!