Arrow returned tonight from its holiday hiatus with an incredible episode, “Burned.” The episode takes place six weeks after Oliver lost a fight to the Dark Archer and he’s still picking up the pieces. Physically, he’s back to normal, but mentally he’s not sure that he’s ready to get back out there and resume being the vigilante in the hood. But a tragedy that hits very close to home quickly forces his hand.
In the opening scene, a firefighter is murdered by another firefighter on the scene of a fire. We quickly learn that the victim, Danny, is the brother of Laurel’s best friend Joanna. But it doesn’t take long for Joanna to find out that her brother burned hotter than the fire, which indicates that he was doused with something. Laurel takes the information to her dad, but there’s nothing he can do. She finds out that he has a cell phone that connects to the vigilante and when his back is turned, Laurel steals it from him.
Oliver answers Laurel’s call and goes to see her as the vigilante. He questions her as to why she called him considering she told her father that he was a killer. Laurel asks for his help and gives him the file on Danny. With an additional push from Dig, Arrow investigates, but his confidence is still shaky and he doesn’t succeed in catching the bad guy. He calls Laurel with a description and basically tells her that she’s on her own. Dig is not impressed with that and things get physical between the two as he tests Oliver and reminds him that he needs to do what the police can’t.
Meanwhile, Tommy wants to throw a benefit in the club for the firefighters. Oliver heads to the firehouse to get information and Laurel is there too. She questions the fire chief about the firefly tattoos the fireman have and it leads back to a fire several years earlier. Oliver doesn’t know the story since he was on the island and the chief tensely fills them in and tells them about the firefighter who died then, Garfield Lynns. The chief is cagey and Laurel and Oliver both pick up on it, but Laurel doesn’t want to talk to him about it. As soon as Oliver walks away, Laurel calls Arrow and asks what she should do next. Oliver assures her that he will take care of it.
The pieces all fall into place the night of the benefit party as everyone gathers at the club. Oliver pulls Laurel aside and they go to talk to the chief again. He finally admits that he left Garfield to die in the fire. He feels terrible about it, but he knew they wouldn’t survive if they stayed in the building. But Oliver points out that Garfield did survive as the firefighter shows up; his face is badly burned and starts to torch the club. Tommy rushes to get everyone out and as soon as Laurel is able to make a run for it, Oliver rushes down to his Arrow cave and changes. He returns in time to stop Garfield from setting the chief on fire. Arrow tries to convince him to get help, but Garfield points out that he’s already burned and then he walks into the fire, letting it finish the job.
Joanna is taking a leave of absence to be with her family and she asks Laurel to pass on her brother’s badge to the vigilante, calling him a guardian angel. Detective Lance shows up and apologizes to Laurel. She admits that she still has the phone and he takes it back, but then changes his mind and asks her to keep it. He says he doesn’t like the vigilante, but he appreciates that he’s always putting himself between Laurel and danger. But what he actually did was plant a bug so the police would be able to catch him next time Laurel calls.
Elsewhere in the episode, Thea got through to Moira and convinced her to pull out of her depression and go back to work since she has to take over for Walter as CEO. The island flashbacks returned and after Yao Fei was taken away by the island bad guys, Oliver almost drowned, but then he pulled himself together and discovered a map, which will probably turn out to be important. Back in the present day, Oliver thanked Dig for pulling him out of his funk and Dig asked what was next. Oliver held up the journal and said “we go hunting.”
Favorite Moment: Oliver and Laurel working together. For me, this is a huge part of what’s been missing from the series and it was so nice to finally see Laurel have a bigger role in the episode and to see Oliver helping her both as Oliver Queen and as the vigilante.
Most Cringe-Worthy Moment: Oliver’s flashback hair never fails to make me cringe. Worst. Wig. Ever.
Hottest Character: Dig. Yes, it’s always fun to watch Oliver do his shirtless workouts, but did you see Dig’s arms?!?!? Oliver was not that far off when he quipped that they were the size of bowling balls.
Character We Loved This Week: Laurel for the reasons stated above and for the fact that Katie Cassidy always brings it when she’s given good material and it felt like it’s been a lot of episodes since she’s had any on this show. Honorable mention to Tommy because he’s my favorite.
Character We Wanted to Slap This Week: Detective Lance for using Laurel to try and bring down the vigilante; especially after he gave her that speech about how important family was.
Best One-Liner: “This is one sturdy desk” and “This is not a fancy term for your underwear.”
What We’re Looking Forward to Next Week: Oliver and Dig being on opposite sides has the potential to be very interesting and I’m really hoping this trend of more Laurel continues.