ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Arrow’ Episode 1.17: The Huntress Returns
The CW’s new superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along all season to see how he fares.
In this week’s episode, a character who hasn’t been gone for all that long re-emerges, Thea finds romance in an unlikely place and Lance family drama continues!Previously: Laurel’s mom returned! Ollie revealed his true identity to Merlyn! Huntress hates her dad and also pronounces stuff weirdly!
The proceedings begin this week in a TV-14-appropriate strip club where a grinning, gap-toothed attorney watches a woman dressed as a sort of bikini Santa dance. A woman whom he somehow can’t tell is Helena Bertinelli, the daughter of his most prominent crime-boss client, approaches him in a sparkly swimsuit version of the outfit her Huntress comic-book counterpart wears and takes him into a private room.
Huntress puts a boot to the attorney’s throat and asks where her dad is. The guy says he doesn’t know, so she takes out her trusty hand-held crossbow and threatens him with it. This threat to his life causes him to exposit wildly: Apparently Frank Bertinelli has copped a plea deal with the FBI in exchange for testimony, and the feds have stopped telling him anything. She shoots the guy with a couple mini-arrows and peaces out on her motorcycle.
Her speech patterns, by the way, have shifted from “robotic Australian accent hiding” to “doing an impression of Willa Holland, who plays Thea.” It’s a little better.
Ollie shows his finally completed new nightclub off to now-steady girlfriend Detective Hall. She marvels at how great it looks even though it’s got some weird decor. There are all these giant red gears along the walls, such that it looks like it might double as the set for a PBS kids’ show on Sundays. They make a date for the opening, where Special Guest Star DJ Steve Aoki will be playin’ stacks of wax (DJs still say that, right?).
At Big Belly Burger, Sgt. Lance shows up to meet Laurel for a Maury-style ambush. His estranged wife literally stands off to the side of the table until Laurel can introduce her. It’s just all kinds of awkward. Then Alex Kingston (whose character is actually named Dinah) struggles her way through explaining in an American accent that Sarah Lance, who everyone thought was dead, may have washed up on an island like Ollie did. She offers what she calls proof in the form of a rather nondescript picture of a young woman in a baseball cap and a scarf that she says a tourist took.
Why would a tourist take a picture of a stranger in a baseball cap? How would Dinah get a hold of the picture? If the explanation is just “Facebook,” I’ll probably break something. Sgt. Lance has a similar reaction, saying the picture could be anybody and storming out in a fit of twitchy emotion.
Out in the Glades, Thea and her friend we only see every five episodes or so are out walking around next to trash can fires and talking about Ollie’s club opening, as the monied so often do. Thea notices Roy Harper standing around on the sidewalk looking, possibly locked in a trance, and approaches for a chat.
She jumps right in to calling Roy a worthless bum who should get a job, and tells him Ollie’s club is hiring valet attendants. Roy asks her to talk to him after subtly threatening to steal all the cars.
Down in the Arrowcave, Dig’s got extraordinarily clear surveillance video of Helena offing the attorney at the strip club, which he shows to Ollie. Instead of wondering why the police aren’t pursuing an all-out manhunt for this murderer whose crime has been caught on tape in stunning clarity, Ollie asks what Helena would be doing back in Starling City given his consecutive life sentences. Dig worries that she might give up Team Arrow’s identities. Ollie tells Dig to ask around to see what she’s planning.
No need, though, because there Helena is, laughing it up with Thea on the couch at Casa Queen instead of going on the run because she’s all over the the news like most people who the police had caught on tape murdering someone would be. Thea asks about that job for Roy and Ollie tells Thea to go call Merlyn about it. Ollie asks what Helena’s up to and she explains her dad’s about to go into witness protection for ratting out the East Coast mob. She wants to intercept any attempt to get him to safety, and asks Ollie to help her.
“I can’t take on a phalanx of U.S. marshals,” she says, in the process committing her second murder of the episode. RIP, the word “phalanx.”
Ollie declines to help Helena just as Moira enters and conveniently interrupts, giving Helena the opportunity to whisper threats against Ollie’s family if he won’t help her. The kiss of death, she gives him!
Ollie hotfoots it back to his club — which, by the way, is called “Verdant,” because I guess the name “The Guy In the Green Hood’s Headquarters” was already taken — so he can tell Dig to call in help protecting Thea and Moira. Merlyn steps behind the bar so he and Ollie can hash out that whole thing where Merlyn found out his best friend kills people last episode. They don’t make a lot of progress.
Speaking of minimal progress, Flashback Ollie and Slade are still looking at Fyers’ missile launcher, figuring out what to do about it. Slade concocts a plan to destroy it, but can’t figure out what to do about the numerous guards. Ollie stumbles his way into suggesting they should gather all the guards in one place, and Slade agrees.
Laurel swings by police HQ to make the hard sell to her dad to look at the evidence Dinah’s compiled. He concedes to do it, but is pretty unhappy.
But now it’s time to get crunk, y’all! Steve Aoki’s spinning up in that hot new club, Verdant! Arrow makes up for its distinct lack of club scenes in recent episodes with like four straight minutes of club in this one. So much club! Even more characters talk about how great Verdant looks, as if the show is trying to convince itself of something at this point. Laurel reminds Merlyn he missed that terrible ambush breakfast with her parents, and he understandably heads downstairs. Shortly thereafter, Ollie gets a note from “Dig” telling him to come down immediately.
Of course, it wasn’t from Dig at all. Helena’s got Merlyn in a crossface chickenwing or some such down there, which she doesn’t release until Ollie says he’ll help her grab her father out of FBI protection. He initially resists (“I tried to teach you to obtain your objective without killing!” he growls, and Stephen Amell tries to make that line not awful, oh, he tries), but has to give in.
Here’s my question: Wouldn’t Ollie know Dig’s handwriting by now? How the hell did that trick him? Maybe he’s just a bad friend.
Later, Dig gives Ollie a well-deserved finger-wagging through what might be stealth product placement: “I think you would have [killed her] a long time ago if she looked like me instead of the T-Mobile girl.” David Ramsey makes it work, though. Ollie argues that at least by being with her, he can help minimize any collateral damage, because he’s generally so cautious, you know?
Helena enters and after a weird, three-second diversion where Felicity Smoak is swept away like a mouse out of a kitchen (but it’s plot necessary, it turns out), Ollie explains the situation: the marshals are going to take Bertinelli to the Justice Department using two vans, one of which is a decoy.
On Flashback island, Ollie, disguised as one of Fyers’ soldiers (because that worked so well for him last time he tried that), escorts Slade to the enemy camp. The guards all approach, giving Slade the opportunity to shoot every last one of them. Slade’s a pretty capable dude.
In the present, Merlyn comes to Laurel’s office to briefly mention to Thea that Roy never showed up for work and take a tongue-lashing from Laurel because he won’t confess to being upset about his best friend being a vigilante that kills people. You kind of really feel bad for the guy.
Thea goes to Roy’s to ask why he didn’t show up for his new job. He makes some decent points about how he doesn’t really want pity and Thea doesn’t understand the value of money before shutting the door in her face. Of course, Thea gets mugged all of 10 steps away from Roy’s house by a couple of CW-approved, shiny-faced street toughs. Roy bounds in and does a completely unnecessary flip thing against a wall to save her, taking a stab wound to the stomach in the process.
For a moment, this show turned into the video for “Bad.”
Night falls, which means it’s time for Helena and Ollie to go motorcycle-chasing after the two vans headed to the Justice Department. Ollie warns Helena that nobody but Frank can get hurt, or he’ll shoot her himself. Foreplay. Ollie catches up to his van and throws some magic door-opening device at it, revealing nothing in the back. Helena shoots the front end off her van, and it comes to a stop. She gets off her motorcycle.
“Give me Frank Bertinelli!” she shouts while pointing a crossbow at the van’s back doors. This seems like a bad idea. Wouldn’t the van have some kind of security inside it? For that matter, wouldn’t it have at least one police escort? Either way, two cops come out of the back, and what appears to be the full Starling City Police force rides up behind to arrest Helena.
“Where’s the Hood?” asks Sgt. Lance, apparently oblivious to the fact there was another van and maybe he’d be somewhere around that one. Really. The cops just didn’t have the time or manpower to make both vans a trap? Ollie rides up in his motorcycle, sees what’s going down and turns right around. Somehow, Helena is the only person who sees him do this. Starling City Police, you are awful.
In the interrogation room, Helena sits handcuffed to a table so she can’t escape the torture of Sgt. Lance saying, “You are quite the hunter, Miss Bertinelli. Well, I guess I should make that huntress.” That’s real dialogue an actor had to say out loud. What did Paul Blackthorne ever do to you, writers?
Sgt. Lance and Detective Hall ask Helena who Arrow really is. She stalls for a while until the lights turn off and the fire alarms start ringing. Then Arrow cold walks into the interrogation room and strolls out with Helena, shooting Sgt. Lance with a tranquilizer on his way out. I say again: Starling City Police, get it together.
Thea and Roy are at the emergency room, getting him patched up. Roy freaks out about getting a shot, so Thea kisses him to take his mind off of it.
Ollie and Helena do what any pair of fugitives who just broke out of a police interrogation room would do: they stand in a well-lit alley and talk things out. Ollie offers Helena a passport and a ticket to Rome. He sure drummed those up quick. She takes them.
In a flashback, Ollie and Slade rig up the missile launcher to blow, but just before they destroy it, Ollie decides to grab the circuit board instead. “Computers won’t work without them, and neither will this,” he congratulates himself. Slade says it’s leverage. Yup! Computer parts sure can’t be replaced!
Present-day Ollie pays a visit to Detective Hall to tell her he feels like he’s letting everyone down. Hall offers some encouraging words and before you know it they’re between the sheets, having TV-14-acceptable relations. As that’s happening, Smoak calls Ollie to alert him someone stole a crossbow from a sporting goods store. And, speak of the devil, there’s Helena, threatening Smoak at Queen Consolidated! Do no buildings in this city have any security?
Ollie and Dig show up at the IT department to find Smoak tied up. Helena forced her to hack the FBI’s servers and find the safe house where her dad was being kept. Ollie goes to stop Helena.
Of course, Helena’s already hard at work murdering FBI agents. Nine of them! I counted! She kills nine federal law enforcement agents before Arrow shows up and saves one guy. In the scuffle, Helena’s dad, who is in an orange prison jumpsuit for no good reason other than to identify him as Frank Bertinelli because apparently Jeffrey Nordling wasn’t available, jumps out a window and runs off into the woods. Helena gives chase. Arrow stops her. There’s a standoff.
Detective Hall, who’s just hanging around outside the safe house even though the FBI probably had it handled (also, how did she not hear all the murdering going on inside?), goes charging in. Arrow takes a shot at Helena, who catches the arrow (!?) from like five feet away. They fight, and Arrow eventually gets the upper hand. Before he can shoot again, though, Hall tells him to freeze. He starts to put the bow down when Helena picks up a shotgun, shoots Hall and runs off.
Ollie visits Hall at the hospital (someone should keep a count of whether this show has more hospital scenes or club scenes), and she’s feeling pretty low. She’s got a shattered femur and knows she probably can’t be a cop anymore. She’s moving to Coast City to live with her sister and get physical therapy. Sure it’s not Coastling City, Arrow? Ollie tries to say he’ll come visit, but Hall insists it’s over between them.
At police HQ, Dinah visits Sgt. Lance so they can finally figure out which of them has the shakier American accent. Dinah wins. Sgt. Lance says he’s ready to listen to his wife’s crazy claptrap about their daughter still being alive.
Ollie and Merlyn talk things out again at Verdant. Seriously, those gears look ridiculous. Like Thomas the Tank Engine could come through at any moment.
Merlyn says he’s sorry for being a jerk; Ollie comes to the conclusion that dating and Arrowing just don’t mix.
On Flashback Island, Ollie radios Fyers to tell him he has the circuit board for the missile launcher. Fyers asks how he can get it back. Ollie proposes a trade: the circuit board for a way off the island. I’m sure that’ll work out.
This one was head-and-shoulders above the previous Huntress episodes, but I’d rather cut my own feet off with a cheese grater than watch those again, so that’s not saying much. Considering the just plain awful dialogue in places, a main story that ultimately didn’t seem to matter too much, setpieces that didn’t make sense, flashbacks that barely progressed and the loss of one of the only characters I genuinely liked in Detective Hall, I’d have to put this one in the bad column.
Also: It’s weird that this show has made the Huntress an out-and-out villain, right? It doesn’t much seem like there’s any pulling her back to good guys after killing multiple FBI agents and ruining McKenna Hall’s life.