We’ve been waiting all season for the introduction of Jessica De Gouw’s Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress on Arrow, as she's the female version of Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen/Arrow. Last night’s “Muse of Fire” delivered our first look at the mob boss’s daughter, and the final product was a little underwhelming. But before you raise your voice in disagreement, here me out. Let’s back up.
When we last saw our hooded vigilante, he was getting some much needed mother/son bonding time at a diner, and while he still has some trouble remembering family commitments it seems like he got through to his mom. Moira explained to Thea that they really need to cut Oliver some slack after his five years away. The time on the island changed him, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I mean, think about it: five years is a long time, and if you haven’t changed in that time, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, something is wrong. We all change and (hopefully) grow as time goes on. So Oliver was marooned on an island for five years… that’s a bit different than living in society, going to school or work, and interacting with your family and friends, but life events – no matter how normal or bizarre – shape our character. It’s time for Oliver’s family to understand that after five years of separation, Oliver isn’t the same person he used to be.
And let’s not forget, of course Moira is going to defend Oliver’s habit of keeping secrets seeing as how she’s been plotting in secret with “The Well Dressed Man,” who finally was identified last night as... Tommy’s father! Who else totally saw that coming the moment his father appeared on screen wearing a fencing mask? That was a nice way to tie in this mysterious character to the already established Arrow story. Especially with the introduction of the Bertinelli mob group, it’s time to focus the scope of the Arrow universe. We don’t want too big of a web of characters because that is when plot points start to fall through and things get confusing.
Speaking of the Bertinelli mob, Oliver finds himself working for the mob boss in order to find out who is attacking his colleagues, because his mother got caught in the crossfire. After taking Bertinelli’s daughter Helena out for dinner to discuss a contract, Oliver finds himself with a big ol’ crush on Helena. She is the first person to ask him if he ever misses the island, and understands that the island changed him that no one else gets. He seems relieved to finally be in the company of someone who he doesn’t have to lie to – except about his secret vigilante mission. Well, that is, until he runs into the Huntress and pulls off her motorcycle helmet, revealing Helena! Turns out, Helena is even more perfect for him than he previously thought. They fight their way out of a sticky situation together, and Helena utters a familiar line after breaking someone’s neck, “I had no choice, no one can know my secret.” You could see it all over Oliver’s face: this girl is ME. He was one part shocked, two parts impressed, and a million parts smitten. He was a goner, crushing hardcore, one candy heart away from doodling Mr. Helena Bertinelli all over his notebook. The two vigilantes end the episode in a liplock, both secrets exposed to the other, all walls broken down.
But while the story worked for me, De Gouw left a lot to be desired.The chemistry between her and Amell is lacking (though I have to say, he was pulling more than his own weight this week, really working his emotions as hard as he could. Plus, chasing down that motorcycle? The guy can RUN). It felt underdeveloped, and forced. I didn’t feel for Helena. Maybe the story was too rushed, and they tried to fit too much into one episode. Or maybe De Gouw wasn’t the right choice for Helena. We’ll just have to wait and see how she pans out next week.
Finally, Tommy was cut off from his family’s money and went on a date with Laurel. When Tommy broke the news to Oliver in a move that was both mature and territorial, Oliver let Tommy see his true self for one fleeting moment. Gone was his fake smile, and out came the deadly threat, “If you hurt her I will snap your neck.” There was a shocked silence, before Oliver’s fake smile was back and Tommy was convinced it was a joke. Little does he know that he just saw who his “best friend” really was, and that he really does have to worry about Oliver snapping his neck...
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[Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW]
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