Arrow was back from hiatus Wednesday night with “The Huntress Returns.” While I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Helena’s appearance since her first two-episode run on the show was just plain awful, I found myself pleasantly surprised by this episode. It wasn’t so much Helena who came back as it was The Huntress and she had her full bitch-mode activated. I have to admit that I like that in a character (see also Rebekah Mikaelson of The Vampire Diaries).
Before we get into what brought her back to town, let’s touch briefly on the other two side stories going on in the episode. First, there was the return of Laurel’s mother and her theory that Sara is alive, which she shared with Detective Lance, who was NOT amused by any of it. Basically, Mama Dinah thinks Sara is alive because there are a lot of islands near the one Oliver was found on and someone sent her a blurry picture of a girl who looks like Sara as in she’s a girl with brown hair. But Laurel convinced her dad to help, even though she doesn’t really believe Sara is alive either. Let’s be honest; no one cares. Please let this plot die.
The other story centered on Thea wanting to help Roy find legitimate work. He made some rude comments about her being a rich bitch, but then he agreed to let her talk to Oliver about getting a job at the club. However, in a brief Thea and Tommy scene (still totally here for them, even if I do like Thea and Roy’s current dynamic), Tommy mentioned that Roy never showed up. So Thea headed back to the Glades, he gave her a hard time about not accepting charity, then she was nearly attacked by gang members and Roy was stabbed saving her. But then he was afraid of a needle so Thea kissed him and he seemed to like that.
So let’s get back to Helena. The episode opened with her posing as a stripper so she could threaten her father’s lawyer to find out where the FBI was keeping him. The lawyer didn’t know and Helena believed him, but that didn’t stop her from killing him with a crossbow (Side note: the outfit Helena was wearing as a fake stripper was similar to the uniform she wears in the comics). This put her on Dig’s radar and he warned Oliver that his psycho ex was back in town. Oliver made it clear that he couldn’t kill her, but he seemed to be having second thoughts when he went home and found Helena chilling with Thea. She wanted Oliver to help her kill her father or else. He turned her down, which was a mistake because she’s got nothing to lose.
Oliver’s club finally opened and DJ Steve Aoki was there (To be honest, I don’t know who he is, but I gather from Twitter that he’s a big deal?). Tommy and Oliver were still on the outs, not so much because Oliver lied, but Tommy has issues with the fact that he’s killed people. Unfortunately, that caused a problem between Tommy and Laurel because he couldn’t be honest with her and he wasn’t really there for her when she needed him. Sadly, their relationship is probably not going to last much longer. But Tommy had bigger problems when Helena used him as leverage and did some painful looking wrist-bending to get Oliver to agree to be her backup killer so she could take out her mob daddy.
Dig wasn’t happy with Oliver’s plan and both men were even less happy when Felicity stopped by the Arrow Cave and Helena was there. They sent her away, but not before Helena could question just how many girlfriends Oliver had (ha!). Oliver and Helena put their gear on, got on their motorcycles and proceeded to follow the two FBI vans; one of which was a decoy while the other had Helena’s dad in it. Oliver had the decoy van and he quickly went to find Helena, but it was too late. The other van was filled with Starling City’s finest and Detective Lance and McKenna arrested Helena for falling right into their trap.
The interrogation scene that followed was probably one of my favorite moments of the episode because Helena was just pure bitch through the whole thing. When Detective Lance asked who the hood was, she replied “Oliver Queen,” but she was actually about to start in on McKenna, wanting to make sure the cop knew that she had dated Oliver first and he couldn’t be trusted. McKenna wasn’t amused, but I was because McKenna is truly the worst and at this point, I started thinking that if Helena took out McKenna, I would gladly take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about her. Detective Lance tried to get the subject back to the hood, but the man in question showed up to rescue Helena before the detectives could get anything from her.
Oliver offered a ticket to Rome and a passport and begged Helena to move on with her life. She took them and Oliver went to visit McKenna at her apartment. Some chemistry-less sex happened as Felicity tried to call Oliver’s cell and warn him that someone had stolen a high tech crossbow from the local sporting goods store. She was attempting to finish the message when Helena showed up in her office (I wasn’t too worried, but if Helena had hurt Felicity, all of her good, bitchy points that she’d earned with me would have gone right out the window).
Instead, Oliver rushed in and found Felicity tied up behind her desk. He untied her and she tearfully told him that Helena forced her to hack the FBI database and find out where her father was being held. Dig came rushing in as well, but it was hard to care that he was there because Oliver and Felicity were having one of those moments of chemistry where it was so palpable that I was holding my breath. I still don’t think Oliver deserves her, but damn, THAT is some chemistry they’ve got going on. The show would be insane to ignore it…
Oliver suited up and went after Helena and the two had a showdown on the lawn of the FBI safe house. When Helena wouldn’t back down, Oliver fired an arrow at her and she managed to catch it, admitting that she’d practiced that move, knowing this moment was coming. She was more than a little hurt that Oliver had almost killed her and then McKenna showed up, demanded the hood put down his bow and turn around. He did the first part, but before he could do the second, Helena shot McKenna! Unfortunately, I could tell it wasn’t a fatal wound, but it allowed Helena time to get away.
At the hospital, McKenna told Oliver that her femur was shattered and she was going to have to be in rehab for a year. She also told him that she was moving to Coast City to stay with her sister (say ‘hi’ to Hal Jordan!) and she ended things with Oliver since his life is in Starling City (Okay Helena, I don’t have to take back every bad thing I’ve said about you since you didn’t kill her, but you did make her go away so I’ll compromise and say that next time you come back, I won’t be upset about it).
Oliver and Tommy kind of made up or at least Tommy told Oliver that he understands better now and Oliver insisted that it was better for him to be alone. There were some flashbacks to the island in the episode and I wish I could care about them, but that part of the show just does not interest me. By the way, Manu Bennett, aka Slade Wilson, was upped to series regular for Season 2 so on the one hand, that’s nice because I think he’s a good actor, but on the other, ugh, the island…
All in all, this was a pretty good episode, much better than I was expecting. I’m glad McKenna is gone and as long as Helena stays bitter and bitchy, she’s welcome to pop by every now and again. Felicity remains the best; I’m still enjoying Roy and Thea, even if I did like the little, tiny Tommy and Thea interaction more. I think what was really good about this episode was that it was fairly balanced. Obviously Oliver had a lot of scenes, but there were other stories going on and screen time was divided a little bit better than it normally is.
Next week, Roy is in trouble and it’s up to Arrow to save him. Until then, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. See you next week…