Arrow – Season 1 Episode 8 – Recap and Review – Vendetta

As the penultimate episode leading into next week’s midseason finale of Arrow, “Vendetta” saw the brand spankin’ new romance between Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Helena Bertinelli (Jessia de Gouw) transform from tumultuous to flat-out treacherous in less than an hour’s worth of time. Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) continued his own humanizing transformation from prince of parties to plain old pauper. Meanwhile, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) complained about having to wait thirty minutes at a grand opening for a swanky new restaurant that I believe was called Table Salt… travesty!

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The episode began almost exactly where it left off. Well, we missed the sex, but Ollie and Helena woke up pretty nude and looking pretty, too. Helena wasted no time, hopping into her clothes and onto her motorcycle for a little late night rendezvous with the Triad. Just before she could hit her target, that pesky Arrow popped up to deflect her shot. All that animosity and nowhere to go. How about Diggle’s diner of choice? Oliver attempted to show Helena the way of justice versus vengeance over a late-night cup of coffee. Someone innocent will end up hurt if she continues her method of setting things straight. Nice try. Thanks for the coffee and the sex, in that order.

Oliver found himself so frustrated with Helena’s “independent woman killing ’em for herself” attitude that he did pushups from handstand position as opposed to his normal superhuman regular old pushups. Diggle (David Ramsey) continued his crusade against sexy lady vigilantes as Oliver pumped up. Ollie quickly jumped to her defense, citing her story as proof that she’s different. Diggle acknowledged that the story was deep, but wouldn’t budge on his opinions regarding Oliver’s plans to change her into the female him. If Helena succeeds in pissing off the Triad, they’ll rain hellfire over Starling City just to get to Bertinelli.

Moira (Susanna Thompson) wasted no time attempting to right her wrongs with Walter (Colin Salmon), who is quite suddenly incredibly more likable as a character. Walter’s arc this week focused on balancing his trust in Moira with the fact that he knows she’s incredibly untrustworthy. Remember how her ex husband was murdered, and she probably had something to do with it?

Helena watched from her grand staircase as her father comforted the widow of Salvati, the man who got his neck all twisted up by Huntress last episode. He was just like family until he tied her to a chair, slapped her around, called her a bitch, and spat on her fiancé’s grave. Peace be with you, wife! Oliver showed up uninvited to spend time with Helena. Did anyone else think it was a little strange when her father said that their relationship was “one merger he wouldn’t stand in the way of”?

Oliver took Helena to the grave of Laurel’s sister Sara and shared his tragic story of sisterly affairs and what it would actually feel like to be Gilligan. Helena is still stranded on her own personal sort of island. In short, the story worked its charm, and Helena came around to training with Arrow. She was originally hesitant to let Oliver in because of how things went down with her last beau.

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To teach Helena discipline and control, Oliver showed her how to use a bow and arrow. After a feeble first attempt, Helena was over it. That’s how you kill innocents. Oliver showed off his own skills by firing arrows at a barrage of household objects Helena tossed into the air. Then Diggle showed up to rain acid on their parade. Before he could even truly be introduced to Helena, he made her uncomfortable enough to leave. Diggle figured that Oliver was using Helena as a means of curing his own inner turmoil.

Tommy visited Laura at work to invite her out on a fancy date to the grand opening of a new top-notch restaurant. Laurel cringed at the idea of poor Tommy (literally poor) attempting to take her somewhere expensive. She managed to convince Tommy to go to Oliver for a job at his nightclub in the making because the one thing Tommy knows how to do incredibly well, besides spend money on things, is party.

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Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) returned this week to aid Walter in his war against his wife. Apparently, Walter had asked Felicity to look into some funky financial records tying company funds to another wonky company, called Tempest LLC, that Moira owned. After Felicity did a little extra digging, she managed to find a symbol left behind by another organization that had tracked the transfer from company to company. Can you guess the magic symbol?

Walter ended up defending Moira’s privacy and lashing out at Felicity for snooping extra hard. Later, Walter did some snooping of his own through Moira’s things and managed to find a blank book baring the symbol in an old grandfather clock. He ran straight back to Felicity, who really is a gem, and enlisted her skills in cracking the mystery. She hates mysteries so, of course, she was happy to sign on. The last guy doing this died, though. Just saying.

Oliver figured archery lessons wouldn’t do the trick, so he scrounged up a crossbow for Helena; like a girlier version of his bow for a girlier version of himself. Afterwards, he showed her the costume he’d designed for her.

Helena: “Does it come in purple? I like purple.”

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Lastly, Oliver brought out the book, and Helena immediately recognized one name off the list. Anthony Venza, a big time drug dealer, had ties to her father. The two then embarked on their first true mission as a duo, following Oliver’s typical protocol. They even split up his now famous “you have failed this city” line. Arrows flew, nobody died, and Helena had to admit that the success felt pretty damn good. Good enough to kiss again, at least. Kissing was fine, but it probably felt better for Helena to return home to her father boozing while watching the news of his buddy getting busted.

After thirty minutes of standing by the bar (yes, standing!) Laurel was ready to bail on Tommy’s date. Tommy didn’t even have enough cash to bribe the hostess. Thankfully, Oliver and Helena showed up just in time to take things from uncomfortable to impossibly awkward. Laurel gave Helena the stink eye but jumped at her offer to join their date when Oliver got to cut the line. At the table, things went from bad to worse as Laurel blew Tommy’s cover to Oliver. Tommy wasn’t ready to talk about being a hair away from broke, so he stormed out.

Helena flipped when she put two and two together and realized that Laurel was Sara from the story’s sister a.k.a. the love of Ollie’s life. Honestly, though, Helena was the one who insisted the other couple join them. Oliver seemed as though he wasn’t into it from the get-go. Laurel got dumped. Kind of dumped, at least. Then Oliver got dumped. He definitely got dumped. Helena realized that he still loves Laurel. Tommy and Laurel made up shortly afterwards. He was just embarrassed to admit that he lost everything. Laurel was never into him for his money, anyway. I thought that was always pretty clear but figured it would take Tommy time to adjust to having to make a life for himself. Laurel was worried about ruining Tommy’s street cred.

Burnt over her bad date with Oliver, Huntress showed up at the Triad’s secret warehouse ready to kill, and so, she did. The leader warned her in his native language that vengeance digs two graves; one for them and one for you.

Huntress: “I don’t speak Chinese.”

Oops, Triad leader! *death* Huntress made sure someone heard that she was “sent” by Bertinelli so they’d retaliate against her father. Arrow swooped in shortly after to clean up her mess. After speaking with Diggle about the bad date, Oliver realized that he couldn’t change Helena because she’d already changed. She changed into something dark.

Helena’s father continued to hit the bottle hard when China White showed up with her band of goons, and she was livid. While Bertinelli attempted to escape with his briefcase, Arrow showed up to protect him. If you ask me, Arrow was quick to kill a few of those fools in the scuffle. Maybe he was deflecting his own lust for vengeance onto Helena as Diggle suggested. After crippling China White, Arrow made sure Bertinelli could get away before Helena’s plan could get him killed. Too late, though! Huntress cornered him with her crossbow outside, revealing her identity to her father! After explaining her cause and raising her bow, Arrow intervened. The two who began the episode in bed together fought pretty hard, until her father picked up her crossbow and fired… at her! I was pretty sure he would fire at him to prove that he was truly protecting their family.

Arrow carried the injured Huntress back to his place to clean her up. Once she came to, the two broke it off once and for all. Even thought he police confiscated her laptop containing the evidence to lock her father away forever, she wasn’t satisfied. She needs revenge and she threatened to blow Oliver’s secret if he stood in her way again.

The episode ended with Felicity cracking the blank book Walter found bearing the symbol. Using special glasses that detect shifts in UV, Walter read a list of names that looked identical to those in the book Oliver’s father left him. In the Glades, Diggle surprised a down-and-out Oliver with some of his sage advice, letting him know that he was proud of how Ollie took a risk with his heart. After returning home, Oliver was surprised to see Tommy, who was ready to share his own story of loss. In the end, Oliver hired Tommy as the manager of his club. Tommy wants to make it on his own. *bro hug*

Oliver: “My trust fund is your trust fund!”

I need a rich friend.

What did you all think of the episode? What will become of the Huntress? Do you like how the show has evolved over the season? Are you pumped for the midseason finale next week?

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