There was a fascinating idea behind tonight's episode of Arrow. That idea asks us to ponder whether or not Oliver is a good teacher. Can he be a good mentor to budding superheroes? Tonight, we have to see him face his failure (the Huntress), as well as see how he handles another potential one (Roy).
The show doesn't dwell on this issue too much--and too bad for it, as that could have taken us from a B+ episode to an A. Instead, we're left with a fairly simple episode that ends on a cliffhanger quickly ruined by the previews for next week's episode.
Helena Returns to Starling City
Only one thing could bring Helena/The Huntress back to Starling City. And that would be her father.
Oliver, as the Arrow, helps capture him at the beginning of the episode on a mission he and Black Canary are assisting Quentin and his fellow police officers with. It's interesting that Starling City's finest are becoming increasingly OK with Black Canary and the Arrow helping out, even if Oliver and Sara disappear seconds after they capture Frank.
Knowing that Helena is likely to arrive soon, Team Arrow gets Sara up to speed on who she is. And apparently, that she's been killing mafia members over the last year while looking for her father.
While Team Arrow prepares for the expected arrival of Helena, the D.A. recruits Laurel straight out of AA to reclaim her job and try Frank.
Helena arrives in town that night. Team Arrow thinks they've tracked her down, but all they've managed to track down is her decoy--someone whom Roy almost kills in anger when he literally shoots a bullet through his hand.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver warns Roy that he's dangerous and he needs to break up with Thea because he (Roy) loves her and he could hurt her.
Just as Oliver wants to protect Thea, Sara wants to protect her sister, Laurel. She tries to talk her out of prosecuting Frank, but she refuses. Oliver tries as well, but Laurel is determined. That is, until the Huntress sets off a gas canister and prepares to kill her father.
But it was a trap by the police captain and the ADA. Tons of police are ready for the Huntress, but she has a group of armed men in the courthouse as well. A firefight breaks out and hostages are taken. Oliver puts Laurel in a room, but she escapes, while he gets Frank outside into police custody.
Helena calls the police and wants a trade of the hostages for her father, but they refuse. We also learn that the captain REALLY hates the Arrow and Black Canary. He tells the ADA, "This is what happens when you let freaks with masks run wild."
Quentin, of course, has other ideas and calls the Arrow. Oliver has to fake a phone call from his mother so he can answer it. While Oliver calls Team Arrow, Black Canary gets inside and helps rescue Laurel. It's at this point, that I have to marvel at the fact that Quentin still hasn't told Laurel that the Black Canary is her sister.
Meanwhile, Roy is NOT recruited into this mission, probably because of his near straight up murdering of Helena's decoy earlier in the episode. Still, it does seem strange to have the scenes of him trying to break up with Thea intercut with the action at the courthouse.
At the courthouse, Laurel reaches for a conveniently placed bottle of alcohol, which the Black Canary talks her out of opening. Laurel realizes the trial was a sham and that she was there for window decoration. The police just wanted to trap the Huntress. And if she's going to be there, she wants to help Black Canary rescue hostages.
The two sisters jump into action just as the Huntress is about to kill a hostage. During the fight, the Huntress is able throw Black Canary out a window, and therefore, out of the action. She then wants to make a different trade. Just one hostage - Laurel - for her father.
Meanwhile, Roy is making out with a random girl at the bar to get Thea to break up with him. It's cruel and it's kind of interesting, but wow, it just feels out of place in the episode.
Quentin winds up helping Arrow and Black Canary take Frank, with Arrow assuring him that no one will actually die. The police captain, who is plotting his own attack, assures his men that, "If they're wearing a mask, they get a bullet." We basically have a season one era-Quentin--just without a name.
At the trade-off, a firefight quickly erupts when one of the cops opens fire. The Huntress and Black Canary get a re-match, while the captain almost kills the Arrow until Quentin knocks him out. Laurel, meanwhile, has to talk Black Canary out of strangling the Huntress to death. As the Huntress gets to her feet, with cops closing in, she realizes one of the cops killed her father. "It was supposed to be me that did it," she says, with anger in her voice.
Later, Oliver goes to see Helena in a jail cell. He tells her he's trying not to be a killer anymore - she has no idea, of course, about the promise he made to Tommy - and she seems quietly reflective and less angry now that her father is dead. Perhaps with Frank dead, she can finally begin her own Oliver-like quest for redemption.
Laurel, meanwhile, gets her job back for real this time when she threatens the DA with blackmail if she doesn't give her job back. Otherwise, Laurel will tell the press about the stupid plan the ADA cooked up that led to the hostage crisis in the first place.
That night, Thea tells Oliver about what Roy did and all I can think is that Thea is going to hate her brother for all the secrets he keeps from her. That he's the Arrow. That he knows they're only half brother/half sister. "You're the only one that doesn't lie to me," Thea says to him, really driving the knife in.
What Oliver can't foresee, of course, is that Thea is what's keeping Roy's anger in check. And, now he won't be around to protect her as she's picked up on the street by Slade, closing the episode.
Other Odds and Ends
- Even though comic history (http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Speedy) says Roy has to be called Speedy, he tells Oliver in tonight's episode that he hates that nickname.
- The flashbacks seems largely inconsequential as Sara wrestled with whether or not to do a hostage exchange with Slade to help rescue Oliver.
Arrow airs 8pm Wednesdays on the CW
(image courtesy of the CW