This week’s episode of “Arrow” promised to do two things: introduce The Huntress, also known as mobster’s daughter Helena Bertinelli, and reveal the true identity of the well-dressed-man, who has been pulling Moira’s strings all this time. While the episode accomplished both of those things, overall, “Muse of Fire” felt like a letdown after the fantastic “Legacies” that aired before the Thanksgiving break.
Let’s start with the well-dressed-man character. He showed up to see Moira after she was nearly shot (more on that later) and Thea let him into the house without question so that was the first clue that he was obviously someone close to the Queen family. He mentioned to Moira that he had known her and Robert a long time and they’d been through a lot together. So was it really that big of a surprise when Tommy went to have a conversation with his father and lo and behold, the two were one in the same?
Again, I know very little about the comics aside from what I’ve read on Wiki, but I do know that Tommy Merlyn turns into a villain at some point so it’s not even a little surprising that his father is already one. Maybe the show will go a different route and only have the dad being the bad guy or maybe it won’t even explore that, but once again, I find myself thinking of “Smallville” and the early seasons where Lionel Luthor was bad and Lex was still a mostly decent guy with some bad tendencies before he went all out evil. He was also best friends with future hero Clark just like Tommy is best friends with sort of hero Oliver and like Clark and Lex, Oliver and Tommy are interested in the same girl. It’s hard not to make comparisons.
That being said, I am enjoying Tommy and Laurel a lot more than I thought I was going to. It was nice to see him dropping pretenses once again and just being honest and telling her that he wanted to take her out on a date. It was also nice that Tommy was man enough to give Oliver the heads up. Oliver took it pretty well, although his threat against Tommy if he hurt Laurel seemed a lot more serious than his tone implied it was. I really enjoyed the scene where Tommy went to Laurel after his father cut him off. These two could be cute together for awhile; at least until Thea is aged out of high school because that needs to happen. Colin Donnell and Willa Holland have too much chemistry to waste.
Now let’s circle back to the beginning of the episode. Oliver was meeting his mother for lunch and a person on a motorcycle came by and shot the man Moira was with, causing her to fall down and hit her head. Oliver chased after the cyclist and nearly caught the person until a truck blocked his way. Then we got to see the cyclist remove her helmet and that was our first introduction to The Huntress. Like Oliver, she’s got her own little lair and a bulletin board of her targets. She made a red x over the guy she shot and somewhere in the Hamptons, Emily Thorne smiled.
So Helena’s dad is a mobster and Oliver decided he was going to befriend him to try and get the goods on the mob so they didn’t go to war with the Chinese Triad (Remember them? China White was back again and still had no purpose). Mobster guy ended up setting Oliver and Helena up on a date (I’m still not sure why, but does it matter?). The two were wary of each other at first and Helena asked some pointed questions like, ‘hey do you miss the island?’ It turns out they’re both lonely souls and they get each other. Helena is super bitter because her father had her fiancé killed (can’t blame her for that). The two close down the restaurant with their bonding, but then Dig calls and tells Oliver that there’s an emergency so he makes an excuse and leaves.
But it turns out that the restaurant is the emergency because some mob guys are coming to shakedown the owners. Arrow swoops in (guess he keeps the costume in his trunk?) and then the motorcyclist is back and she and Oliver fight, leading to him pulling off her helmet and revealing Helena (Personally, I think the show should have waited until this point to reveal her identity, but no one asked me). She runs off and Oliver is left to ponder the fact that his new lady friend almost killed his mother.
Dig is not happy with Oliver getting close to the mobster’s daughter and he doesn’t even know the half of it. Surprisingly, Detective Lance is also worried about Oliver’s safety and warns him off. But Oliver has never been one for heeding warnings so he tracks down Helena again, just before she’s about to be kidnapped by some mob dudes. They take Oliver too and he lets them so he can find out more information.
It turns out that Helena’s father’s enforcer killed her fiancé because he was giving evidence to the feds. Except it wasn’t him – it was Helena – so the enforcer points out that she’s responsible for his death and then he’s about to kill her, but Oliver breaks free and stops him. Helena gets free too and they fight with the mob guys, killing two of them. Then Helena utters Oliver’s line from the pilot, “No one can know my secret.”
Oliver is shocked (not sure why since he literally did the same thing and used the same words), but he gets over it pretty fast and turns up later in Helena’s bedroom. She tells him that she knows he’s the vigilante (because she saw his eyes just like Laurel did, but apparently the woman who knew him for like a day has better facial recognition skills than his longtime girlfriend). He tells her that what she’s doing is wrong and she tells him that sometimes revenge is justice and then they start kissing.
Here’s my problem. I wanted to like them together. Even though The Huntress costume is a little too Nolan’s Catwoman for my taste, I like the idea of them coming together because they have so much in common and I appreciate what the producers and writers said about Helena being the darker reflection of Oliver. But to go from zero to sixty in one episode was a complete letdown. I know the character is not going to be a series regular or anything, but I really think a slow build would have worked so much better here. As much as I enjoy this show most of the time, the pacing is terrible.
Next week, The Huntress is back again and Dig is worried as Oliver and Helena continue to get closer. There’s also a scene coming where Oliver teaches Helena how to use his crossbow and all I have to say about that is “Smallville” did it better as evidenced below. See you next week…