Arrow: Vendetta

Helena: "You got a spare hood? Does it come in purple?"

I'm beginning to think that the writers actually have a plan for a satisfying character arc for Oliver. Besides the occasionally cheesy dialogue, Oliver's journey so far hasn't been all that straightforward. Which is unexpected, and very welcome. I am worried a bit that he is still being written a tad unevenly, but this episode gave us a glimmer of what they might be planning.

Helena's journey through this episode wasn't redemptive, but it was for Oliver. He connected to her on a level that he hadn't been able to connect to anyone since his return to the world. Except that he's already passed her on his progress towards becoming whole again. I have no doubt that eventually Helena will see beyond her revenge and become something more. But I'm so glad it didn't happen yet, because that would've felt awfully rushed.

In the last moment of the episode we saw Helena in full Huntress gear, riding off into the night, which is sort of a dark hero's bread and butter. I bet she's going to be gone for a while, but it wasn't clear exactly where she was headed (I'd like to think I was right about Gotham). Though it was clear that Oliver was ready to let her go. I guess they weren't ready to be together. Which is exactly what I thought was going to happen to Tommy and Laurel, except it didn't.

When Tommy had the tantrum in the restaurant, I thought that was it for him and Laurel as a couple. I guess that was just wishful thinking. Don't get me wrong, I don't entirely dislike Laurel and Tommy together. I just don't think they have a really long future together. Of course I could be projecting, since Tommy isn't a lead and she is. Which brings up an interesting question, just because Laurel and Oliver are the leads, does that mean that they have to be the 'couple' of the series? Secondary romances oftentimes become far more intriguing. I just don't see that happening with Tommy and Laurel. I could be wrong, though.

The rest of the cast didn't get that much to do. Dig showed up to lecture Oliver, Thea appeared for a second to remind us that she's in the series, Moira had a short heart-to-heart with Walter, and Walter had a few wonderful moments with the scene-stealing Felicity. I really hope that Felicity's bumped up to a full cast member soon. The island was once again nowhere to be seen, which I'm a little conflicted about. It's great to have that extra screen time devoted to Huntress and her story of revenge, but the island back-story has been surprisingly cool so far, and I want to learn more.

I don't usually mention the action scenes because they are almost all pretty good, but the final act of this episode was especially impressive. For me, the scene where Helena's father and Oliver were facing off, arrow to gun point, and then Oliver turned gracefully and took out a Triad charging up behind him was the hero moment I've been waiting for. Little touches like that one make the action worth the screen time, instead of just filling up some quota. This has been the status quo since the beginning. The show doesn't tend to fill up the limited amount of time we have with these characters with useless action scenes.

Bits:

So Huntress's costume wasn't skin-tight black, purple, and white spandex. It was still pretty cool, and looked a little like one of the more subdued versions of her costume. I really liked the little touches of purple, and the hand crossbow, and I actually laughed out loud in minor excitement when she opened the box containing it.

I was initially confused why Helena went after the Triad with guns, and then switched to her crossbow for the final fight. Then I realized that the crossbow had become hers, she was just using the guns to set up her father. Which means that Oliver got under her skin far more than either of them realize.

For a moment when Helena was shot, I was afraid they were going to kill her off. I guess I should start trusting the show runners more, they seem to be making the right moves.

I have to give Stephen Amell serious props for doing lines while going up a salmon ladder.

I thought the really awkward double date was well done, but a little predictable.

China White's appearance was little more than a cameo again. She is starting to become a presence instead of a temporary villain that Oliver can dispatch. She was wounded, though. I bet that's going to have repercussions later on.

Quotes:

Dig: "I don't know where the next Olympics are at, but you might want to think about signing yourself up."

Oliver: "I'll never hurt you, I promise."
There was a shadow that passed over his face as he said this to Helena. Was that intentional or just coincidental?

Dig: "When I signed on I told you I was going to keep your head straight. But Oliver, you're lonely. Lonelier than you want to admit. And that's why you think you can change this girl, because you need to think you can. You're like a dope fiend who thinks he can deal with his own addiction by making another addict go straight."

Felicity: "I've always wanted to go down under. It's just I have this thing about kangaroos. More of a phobia. They wig me out. They look evil, and I'm sure the pictures are up on like everything, everywhere in that country."

Tommy: "You were a million times too good for me, even before I was broke."

Dig: "Chile cheese fries with jalapenos. That's a cry for help if I've ever seen one."
Oliver: "I don't know what hurts worse. This or getting shot with a curare-laced bullet."

Felicity: "Needs to be dark in here if we're going to do this. (pause) If I had had more time to think of that sentence, it wouldn't have sounded so dirty."

Oliver: "It just so happens that I have a general manager position that is available. You're probably the guy for the job."
Tommy: "Will I be getting dental? This smile wasn't cheap."

So far this two-parter has been my favorite episodes of the season. I'm still not quite sure how my ratings of the series will play out over time, but for now I think this episode deserves;

4 out of 4 Chile cheese fries with jalapenos (I think my stomach just went on strike at the thought of that much food)

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

8 comments:

Patrick said...

I'm going to miss Helena. I liked Huntress in the comics when I was reading Birds Of Prey. Of course, her main teammate in that book was none other than Black Canary. How much fun would an Arrow team-up of Helena and Laurel be somewhere down the line?

I'm glad they didn't kill her off quickly, giving her character time to evolve at a more believable pace.

I'm still not a big fan of Tommy's character. Maybe in my mind I'm just waiting for him to turn evil, maybe become the Merlyn from the comics, and as such I'm utterly uninterested in him trying to be a good guy. Let's face it, with last week's reveal he & his father are basically this show's Lex & Lionel, aren't they?

Once again, Felicity wins the "Scene Stealer Of The Night" award. She is such a hoot! I'd point out her great scene chemistry with Walter, but she's been that good in all her scenes. I don't just want her added to the cast full-time, I want her on Team Arrow, in the warehouse, working the computers and bantering with Ollie via comms!

Billie Doux said...

I love Dig and Felicity, too. The show is getting better with each episode.

PlatinumRosebud said...

Nice review, J.D.
I'm with you on making Felicity a regular cast.
She's so naturally cool.
The writers are giving her the best lines. :)
Digs is still my Teddy Bear.
I just hope he gets to do more scenes, though.
Now that Helena is gone (temporarily, I hope), Ollie is again lonely.
Perhaps in the next eps, we again get to see things in the island.
I, too, am terribly curious with what transpired in those five years in that enigma of an island. :)
Have a nice day, J.D.

ChrisB said...

This last two episodes have been my favorites as well. I like the pacing of the story and I like the fact that I am constantly caught off guard by what is happening.

I agree completely about the Felicity character. She needs to be this series' Chloe.

Nadim said...

It's weird, I'm LOVING the show but I thought this was the weakest episode in quite a well. I found the Helena arc really rushed and forced. It felt like she just went nuts after one awkward little dinner.

And the dialogue was just really bad. Especially the "you failed this city" line. Please make it stop!

In other news, Oliver's handstand pushups? Insane!

Boredom said...

As a martial artist myself, I have to say that Oliver's handstand push-ups just make me want to die -- I HATE doing those with a passion, yet he does them with such ease! Ugh, I'm so jealous.

Felicity Smoak, why are you so darn cute?! Can she just become Arrow's version of Oracle now, please? Everytime she comes on screen I start wanting to giggle and hug my cat from the adorable blond-hair/cherry-lipstick rainbows spewing from the television.

One last thing: When Helena's fiancee's tombstone appeared, I noticed the name Michael Staton. Momentarily I thought it might have been the name of the Question, another DC hero, who lived in a Catholic orphanage (the cross necklace) and had a relationship with Helena before he died. However, after a bit of research, I (re)discovered that the Question's real name is in fact Charles Victor Szasz, a.k.a. Vic Sage. Confused, I then looked up Helena Bertenelli, and guess what I found? The Huntress character was created by writer/artist Joe STATON. Can't seem to find out where they got the name Michael from, but I get the feeling it's probably one of the crew's middle name. Interesting, huh?

Great review as usual, J.D.!

Eliza said...

I just started this show and I'm really liking it so far -- the occasionally cheesy dialogue and predictability needs to be toned down a bit, but aside from that I'm loving it! I don't read comic books, and I've never been a superhero fanatic, I didn't even know what Smallville was until I googled it after reading it in every 'Arrow' review. Maybe it's a good thing that I won't draw comparisons. Anyway, I'm liking the show so far, the cast is good too.

But is it just me or is Thea totally uninteresting? She's like the quintessential whiny teenager on the show, and for a dark show like arrow, I just don't think she's needed. I don't need this turning into another CW soap opera like The Vampire Diaries. The love triangle is also tiresome, if there is one character I would like to see get involved with Oliver, I think it should be Felicity. She is adorable, dorky and hilarious. She's also beautiful and would make an interesting juxtaposition to Oliver's lonely avenger persona.

P.S I have been reading your reviews from days now, for BTVS, Doctor Who and Arrow, and I've got to say it propels my enjoyment of the shows. Thanks for the website, guys! :D

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much, Eliza, and welcome to the site!

And much agreement that Arrow is better than expected. Season three is about to start and I'm still enjoying it. (No spoilers!)