I love Thea, she is just amazing. Best character on the show. Okay, just wanted to get that out of the way, onto the review.
Okay, this episode gave me all sorts of chills. If you could see me, where would be goosebumps on my arm, Helena being back, Laurel’s falling to darkness, Sara pulling herself out of it! To much amazing for one hour. Lets get into it.
On the island we see Sara and the others that escaped from the boat arriving at the plane, she then receives a call from Slade, telling her that he still has Oliver and offers her a trade, Oliver for the Henrdicks. Slade needs Hendricks to repair the boat so that he can leave, and tortures Oliver until Sara agrees to turn him over. Hendricks, of course, is not in favor of this plan but in the end ends up being part of the trade, negotiations via pipe induced bludgeoning may or may not have been a factor. Before Slade releases Oliver, he gives him the same tattoo that Shado had on her back, a constant reminder that Oliver failed to save her.
Really the island scenes were pretty boring this week, we got conversations and torture. The only really interesting part was seeing how Oliver got that tattoo on his back, this didn’t even really do much to act as set up for the future. They could have just cut these scenes and nothing would have been lost from the episode, in fact I think spending more time focusing on Helena would have just made it that much better.
In the present, we open with a police raid, Oliver and Sara hiding in the shadows to keep an eye on Lance. When Lance takes a bullet in the vest, Sara looses it and tosses a guy out the window while Oliver chases down a fleeing bad guy who turns out to be Frank Bertinelli. His capture is made a public, and Oliver worries that Helena will return to Starling to finally kill her father. At the same time Laurel is offered her job back at the District Attorney’s office by her old boss, he wants her to act as the prosecutor in Bertinelli’s trial. This worries Sara and Oliver, the former is unable to talk her out of proceeding with the trial, the latter shows up at the courthouse to keep an eye on her. Things take a turn when Helena, aka Huntress, shows up and takes hostages. Turns out the entire thing was a set up to capture Helena, but like the Boy Scouts of America, she came prepared. A fire fight breaks out, hostages are taken, and Laurel is able to slip away. At the same time Sara gets in, intent on getting Laurel to safety. Laurel refuses, not wanting to leave without helping the other hostages, and in a surprising show of strength is able to convince Sara to help. Sara and Helena duke it out, and Sara gets defenestrated (I love that word) and Laurel joins the hostages. After Helena and Laurel share a brief conversation about falling to the dark side, Helena gets a call from Oliver and says that she will release Laurel if Oliver hands over her dad. With help from Sara and Lance they get Frank to the meeting, Helena able to sneak out of the courthouse dressed as a cop. Oliver tries to talk her down, but before anything can happen the moment is broken up when SWAT member that followed Helena shoots up the scene, killing Frank Bertinelli in the process. Helena breaks down, gets arrested, and close out with a rather touching scene between her and Oliver, Oliver apologizing for not being able to help her, before Helena is led away in chains.
This was an amazing story to watch, I have been waiting for Helena’s return since she last left the show, I loved her character and the impact she had on Oliver. She could be seen as his first failure as hero. Oliver tried his hardest to save her, to stop her from becoming a killer, but his efforts ultimately proved pointless, he was a killer at the time himself after all. Helena’s return acted as a way of throwing that failure back into his face, making him even more determined to save her, only to once again fail. Helena’s scene at the end, her breakdown at the death of her father was handled beautifully. She was not mourning his death, but rather devastated that she hadn’t been the one to do it. Her with Oliver at the end was amazing as well, it gives me hope for the future of her character, that she could still become the hero that Huntress is in the comics. Her scenes with her father were great as well, him mourning the loss of his little girl, broken hearted at what she had become. Overall, everything with Helena was fantastic to watch, she acted as the worst case scenario, what Oliver, Sara, and even Roy could become if they weren’t careful, didn’t closely guard themselves. She also served to act as a reflection of both Sara and Laurel, showing them their darkest aspects, the parts of themselves they were fighting against. I could go on and on for the entire review about Helena, but I’ll end it with saying that every part of her being back was fantastic, and this had better not be the last we see of her.
Sara and Laurel had some solid moments this week as well. We get to see Sara struggling with line between being a hero and being a killer, brought on by her family being put in danger. I was bit hesitant about this at first because Sara being a killer vs being a hero hasn’t really been to big a thing recently, but given her training as an assassin, and the lengths she will go to to save her family. In the end Oliver, with some help from Laurel is able to get through to her in a way that he wasn’t with Helena, and stop her from going to far down the dark path. Unfortunately the same could not be said for Laurel, who actually proved to be interesting this week. They are finally doing something with her character and we see some solid groundwork set up for her. She shows that strength and determination that we saw from her in season one, her not backing down from taking the case, trying to save the hostages, and in the end blackmailing her boss to get her job back. This was the biggest part for her this episode, she parrots back the words that Helena said about letting the darkness in, and that evil looking smirk on her face at the end, partly responsible for the aforementioned chills. It will be interesting to see where they run with this, hopefully they don’t fumble the ball.
In one other brief, but important, plot, we see Oliver telling Roy that he needs to stay away from Thea. Oliver is worried about Roy and what happens to him when he loses his temper. Roy refuses to at first, but after an incident in the club is able to see that Oliver has a point. He tries to break up with Thea, who flat out refuses to allow that to happen, forcing him to up the ante. He arranges for Thea to catch him making out with some girl, which gets Thea to dump him. In a surprising twist, Thea is well aware that Roy just did to drive her away, and is more hurt that Roy won’t open up to her and let her help. This is why I love Thea, instead of being the idiot teenager we saw in season one, she is constantly proving to be an insightful and smart young woman. We need more of this, we need more of Thea, she is definitely one of the strongest parts of this show. It has honestly heartbreaking at the end when she tells Oliver that he is the only one who doesn’t lie to her, and how hurt she is from all the lies in her life. You just want to give her a hug and tell her everything is going to be okay! Which it won’t she did get into a car with Slade at the end.
Overall, this was an amazing episode, and is in the running for best of the season. The island bits were boring and did break up the tension from the main plot, in a bad way, but the good parts far out weighed the bad. We got the return of an amazing character and a resolution to her story, I only hope that its not her only story on the show. If the Flash shows does well, I would love to see them try and use Arrow to launch a new Birds of Prey series, lord knows we need something to wash the taste of the last one they made out of our mouths.