Arrow: The Huntress Returns

Oliver: "Helena."
Dig: "Or as I like to call her, your psycho ex girlfriend."

Well, Helena returned. I just wish I was happier with the direction they've taken her character.

From her sexy introduction in a stripper costume that was a nod to her comic origins, this version of Huntress was full on dark avenger. She toyed with Oliver's heart, broke Tommy's hand, tortured Felicity for information, killed nine innocent people who were just doing their jobs... oh, and she effectively destroyed any future for Oliver and McKenna. She's like a whirlwind, causing chaos in her wake.

That being said, I don't think the writers are getting it wrong. They might've gone a little darker than I would've liked. But Huntress has always been a violent character. In one incarnation, she was kicked out of the justice league for going too far. So while I might not like her being a cold-blooded killer, it does work for her character. The question remains, is she going to be a villain moving forward? Or are they going to eventually redeem her?

For a moment I thought McKenna was dead. Thankfully they just wrote her out, although it felt forced to have her move in with her sister in Coast City for rehab. Maybe she won't even be gone for that long, I hope, since I actually liked her character. I wonder where the series will be when or if she returns? The interesting result of her leaving was that Oliver has started to see that his way of life might create conflict? Really? A little late, maybe?

So speaking of characters doing unexpected things (I know, rough segue), Slade seems to be kind of a good guy. He's actively trying to sabotage Fyre's plans to blow up innocent people. Hell, he didn't even think of using the board as leverage until Oliver thought of it first. Up until now I was thinking that Slade corrupted Oliver to the point where he was willing to kill, but now I'm not so sure. Slade seems to have the attitude of a not evil guy. What are they doing with this character? It's fascinating. I also really loved Slade's smile when Oliver's plan worked. I think Slade is seeing Oliver's value, and might even be starting to respect him, too.

I'm not sure what they are doing with Laurel. It's clear they don't want to send her down the Black Canary path yet, and they aren't putting her and Oliver together, either. So that leaves them searching for plot lines. At the moment she feels like a secondary character, attached to Quentin and Tommy's stories more than a central figure in the story, which may be intentional. But this new plot for her feels really underwhelming. Sure, Sarah being alive has a lot of ramifications, and it's neat to see Alex Kingston in anything, but eh. I'm not impressed so far.

Tommy, on the other hand, is growing more interesting per episode. Is he the mirror of Slade on the island, Oliver's best friend turned monster? He has all the right set up to become a great super-villain, but are they going that way? In the most frustrating scene in the episode, he had a fight with Laurel, who came across as whiny even though she had a valid emotional reason for being upset with Tommy. At the same time, he had an equally valid reason to keep secrets. Sigh, I wish the writers could've come up with a way of making this scene less... I don't know, one-sided, maybe.

Finally we have Thea and her brand new love interest Roy. I like that they aren't rushing into things with them, and they do have some chemistry, which is nice. But I'm not so sure I like that he's already kind of a superhero. Of course he is, he's Roy Harper who is Green Arrow's sidekick in the comics. I just hope the reason for his acrobatic superhero antics have a decent background. If they don't address them, I'll be seriously disappointed. Still, it was an effective scene that brought the two characters together, so it could've been a lot worse. Also, I loved the character detail of Roy being afraid of needles. Cute, but how much do you wanna bet that comes into play as a torture method in a future episode?


As a fan of Teen Wolf, I like the idea of Colton Haynes as a good guy.

Manu Bennett (Slade Wilson) has officially been bumped up to series regular for season 2.

So Oliver's club is called Verdant. It means green or more specifically; Definition: ver•dant, adjective (of countryside). Green with grass or other rich vegetation. Of the bright green color of lush grass. Synonyms: green - unripe - verdurous.

As I mentioned above, Huntress's stripper outfit was marginally close to some of her comic book costumes. This must've been a nod to the fans, since they spent quite a bit of time on it in the teaser. Here's a comparison picture:


Oliver: "What do you want me to do? You want me to kill her?"
Dig: "I think you would have a long time ago if she looked like me instead of the T-Mobile girl."

Not exactly the reunion I was hoping for, but Huntress isn't a simple character and to resolve her issues so quickly could be detrimental to her character arc. I may not be pleased with her total disregard for human life, but perhaps she can be redeemed at some point down the line.

2 1/2 out of 4 Purple crossbow bolts.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Austin said...

Very subpar episode, made especially so by the actresses who plays the Huntress. Wow she is simply horrible. Plus her character went too far too fast. What are the writers doing with her character? She's beyond hope, with what she did. Killing innocent people? Good for Oliver for trying to kill her. By the way, how absurd was that arrow catching bit? It's basically inhumanely impossible. This is suppose to be a real and grounded universe. That was simply absurd.

J.D. Balthazar said...

I like the actress in costume, but her Helena persona needs a bit of work. As for being beyond hope, well that depends on a bunch of things.

Ultimately if she breaks down and realizes what's she's become there's hope. There are plenty of characters I could name off the top of my head who have done worse and been successfully redeemed. But you are right that they went too far, killing that many cops like that was really horrible.

Nadim said...

I'm glad someone else noticed how horrendous the actress is. Seriously Jessicsa De Gouw has to be one of the worst actresses I've ever seen on a network television show. I really don't get how they hired her. She's atrocious.

I really didn't enjoy this episode :( I want to love Arrow and they've had some excellent eppies but this felt muddled and useless. Too many useless subplots and not enough main arc momentum. The Laurel stuff in particular is becoming tedious. Here's hoping the final stretch is a homerun until the finish line.

Freeman said...

Yikes, this was a polarizing episode for me.

On one hand, I enjoyed everything that happened that didn't concern the Huntress. They keep showing Roy as a good potential hero in the making. Even though I still don't quite get Thea's desire to make out with the "handsome hobo". Granted, he did totally save her life but dag...girl moves fast man. I'm also a bit bothered by the prospect of a sidekick so early in the series but TV shows move really fast nowadays so I guess it was inevitable. They've definitely done some good work with Tommy. I didn't care for him much at the beginning of the series but he's got some good character development going on. But I still think it would be utterly absurd if he became a supervillain that that could somehow hold his own in a fight against Ollie.

On the other hand, everything concerning the Huntress. She's sloppy, rage-filled, poorly acted. Yet she walks away from all encounters with nary a scratch on her. Even Ollie takes his licks sometimes. She's become straight up more villainous than every single villain that has appeared on the show. I think she's killed and endangered more innocents than all the bad guys combined on this show and she's just supposed to be an anti-hero haha. Of course we know all the bad guys are evil because it's obvious they are and we're told as much by Ollie and Dig. But we rarely ever see them succeed at being evil, whereas, as you pointed out, Huntress gunned down a sizable chunk of law enforcement officials, injured an innocent, threatened to injure hundreds more. And for what? Her dad killed her boyfriend? Ollie was trapped on an island for 5 years basically because of his mom (I feel like Ollie should grab anybody who acts aggravating and just yell "FIVE YEARS!" at them). I know I'm diminishing her trauma but still.

And yes the arrow catch was pretty absurd but it is technically possible, and the characters are above and beyond Olympic level fitness as all non-superpowered heroes are. The only thing that made me pause on the arrow catch was that she caught it at such an awkward stance. She was tightly gripping a shotgun and somehow let go, twisted her wrist to an optimal position and snatched it. But that's just me nitpicking. I kind of take the more over the top physical actions as a nice indicator of perhaps more threatening villains on the horizon. Because let's face it, Ollie can only beat up on inept gunmen for so long before it gets really boring.

On a closing note, until Helena pointed it out, I never noticed how many ladies Ollie's swimming in here, even after the playboy days. Good job Ollie...good job. She also triggered my innate shipping tendencies with that comment. I've added it to my complex series of mental charts that are affected by subtle vocal tells and slight shifts in facial expressions during conversations with optimal pairings. The current ship that my brain demands is Felicity x Ollie. It must happen or the beast will never be satisfied.

ChrisB said...

I struggle with any character who falls too firmly into either the category of good or evil. Helena went too far for me and, as I could not discern the slightest redeeming characteristic, I ended up bored. She's bad; she's going to do bad things; she's going to do bad things to good people. Yawn...

And, I agree with Nadim. There simply must be a better actress than this poor woman.

I preferred the island story, for the first time. I'm pleased that they are not using the island as an obvious parallel to the story of the week, but creating another, complimentary story line.

Michal Dvorak said...

I'm not happy about what they did with Helena. It's true that even in the comics she's always been a troubled personality, always a bit too quick to kill, and often at odds with other (super)heroes, but I don't remember her ever being outright psychopathic. If the writers plan on redeeming her, she'll have a long way to go. Also I'm concerned about the actress' ability to carry a redemption story arc, which might be another reason to just leave her evil or drop her character altogether. (Although - was it just me or was her acting a bit better in her previous episodes? Maybe being evil just doesn't agree with her? Ah, wishful thinking...)

Anonymous said...

She took felicitys glasses and made her cry...huntress must die

Eris said...

@Freeman "I feel like Ollie should grab anybody who acts aggravating and just yell "FIVE YEARS!" at them" - Ha! Me too!

I quite liked the Huntress last time out but this time? She killed a rake of cops, she tortured our wonderful Felicity and SHE HURT TOMMY. She must die, she must die! :-)

Patrick said...

I'm wiht Michal, her acting was better in her first two episodes. Jessica De Gouw does better with "wounded" than she does with "psychotic". I definitely think they made a big mistake with how dark Helena's gone since she was last seen. Killing bad guys without remorse is one thing. Killing cops? That's a BIG bright line on the good/evil spectrum, and she jumped right over it without batting an eye. Sad to say, they've made her redemption pretty much impossible unless she either sacrifices herself to save the day, or turns herself in to serve time for the cop killings.

After the last episode, I was very curious to see how Tommy and Oliver would interact. I'm glad Tommy's at least trying to understand why Ollie didn't tell him. Though I don't think they gave us quite enough to sell Tommy getting to "I didn't realize how hard it was on you". I don't think he'll be joining the team down in the lair anytime soon, but I wonder how much Ollie is going to tell him. There's one other thing I hope Tommy will eventually confront Ollie about, though I understand why they felt there wasn't enough time in this episode to deal with it. I would very much like to see Tommy confront Oliver about his interactions with Laurel as The Hood. Both in terms of the danger to Laurel, and the whole emotional side of things. He's got every right to be PISSED.

TJ said...

This episode was a huge disappointment. And it's all because of Helena. She needs to go!

Good news - Manu Bennett becomes a series regular! Yay!
And I like Colton Haynes too. Can they please side-kick him into sidekicking position any time soon??

Marianna said...

I'm getting nervous about the possibility of this Roy fellow being Arrow's sidekick instead of Thea. I actually was looking forward to Thea being the sidekick (far into the future as others said). I think it could be cool to see a female sidekick, especially his younger sister so there's no risk of sexual tension (because no one wants to see that).

This pattern of dangling two possibilities for characters we know and love (or love to hate) is starting to irritate me. We've got two possible Speedys, Deathstrokes, and Black Canarys. I don't really see the point.

J.D. Balthazar said...


It's strange to look back at season one, I can totally see your point. I can only say, there is a point both for character and story.