Arrow is back! And things are heating up in Starling City — literally. Can a murderous firebug light the spark that gets Oliver back to his vigilante ways? Check out this recap of “Burned” to find out.

Oliver has the sad, we get the abs!

Fighting fires is hard. Fighting fires when there is a crazy guy who douses firefighters in turpentine and then torches them is downright deadly. Thank goodness Starling City has a vigilante to keep it safe.

Only not so much. A shirtless Oliver has spend six weeks training, probably without his shirt the whole time, but it doesn’t matter. The hooded vigilante can’t even hit a tennis ball these days, let alone save the city from creepy arson dudes.

It’s not just the defeat at the hands of the Dark Archer either. Walter is still missing after all, and nothing — not even Diggle pep talks or take-out burgers or Zach Galifianakis movies — can lighten the mood. Moira sits in her room, disregarding suggestions that she take over the company. Thea does her standard moodiness and recalls the disappearance of her father and brother.

And Oliver just works out. At least Oliver’s way of dealing means we get to see abs!

A fiery death sparks Laurel’s involvement

It turns out that the latest firefighter killed is Danny, the brother of Joanna (Laurel’s law-office friend). Jo’s sadness and subsequent suspicion of wrongdoing convince Laurel that she has to take action in some way.

Because this is Laurel we’re talking about, action means stealing her dad’s Vigilante iPhone and using it to convince the deadly angel to fix things. Oliver isn’t really excited about helping at first, but he does at least wander into a burning building to see what there is to see.

And what there is to see is a tattoo on the arsonist’s wrist — of a firefly.

Flaming Vengeance

Oliver and Laurel find out from Raynes, the fire chief, that the tattoo was one sported by members of a disbanded unit. Two years earlier, one of their own — Garfield Linz — had died in a particularly awful building collapse and fire. Since then, three more of the original 8 fireflies had died.

It’s almost like Garfield has survived to exact his revenge on the old team…

Meanwhile, Oliver is still trying to not get involved. This leads to a heart-to-heart with Diggle in which Oliver reveals that he doesn’t fear death. Rather, he fears hurting his loved ones yet again. When Diggle points out that this could be a source of strength, Oliver starts getting that vengeful spark back.

Watch out not-actually-dead-vengeful-arson-prone criminals!

Tommy Is Generally Awesome

Let’s switch gears for a moment to discuss Tommy.

Tommy Merlyn is such a nice, decent guy these days that he almost seems to be in a different show. A show in which everyone is stable, humorous and has no cares greater than getting a drawer in the girlfriend’s apartment.

This niceness and normalcy is actually good for everyone around him. Wanting to be industrious, Tommy decides to hold a benefit for the firemen in Oliver’s pseudo-nightclub. He makes Laurel laugh a few times. Oh, and he rushes into a burning building out of fear for Laurel.

Tommy is cool.

Burn Baby Burn

Alas, coolness does not always make for a successful fundraiser. Everyone’s good time is rudely interrupted by the arrival of the yuckily burned Garfield Linz. Garfield has indeed been targeting his old unit, and the Chief is next to go.

Of course, Oliver can’t let this happen. When faced with the flames, our favorite vigilante rushes downstairs (via a totally hardcore circuit-breaker secret entrance!) to grab that bow. And then… OLIVER SHOOTS A LIGHTER OUT OF THE GUY’S HAND! Who needs tennis balls when we can see that?

Chief Raynes and the party guests run for the door, leaving Oliver and Garfield alone. But even though Oliver offers to get help for the emotionally and physically wounded fireman, Garfield chooses self-immolation.


Everybody is a better person. Except Garfield, who is dead. And Lance, who is awful

Thanks — probably — to a pep talk from Thea, Moira decides to get up and take on the corporate world until Walter returns home. Laurel says goodbye to Joanna, who has decided to take some time to be with her mother. Before she goes, Jo hands Laurel her brother’s badge, asking for it to be passed on to the Vigilante.

Then Lance shows up, ostensibly to apologize to his daughter for being mad about the phone and stuff. But he’s really just setting her up so that his tech guy can track Oliver after the next call. Jerk.

At least Oliver is finally ready to go back to being that vigilante. The boy is almost giddy at the prospect of hunting the next time we see him. Yay for more semi-naked heroics!

Incidentally, back on the Island of Doom

Not that it matters much to the plot of “Burned” but Oliver has his normal flashbacks to island life throughout the episode. This time, we see how Oliver ran when the ninjas and Deathstroke came to free their boss. The random Asian archer guy is caught, but Oliver seems to get away.

Only not so much — one of the ninjas finds Oliver, and the two men fight it out. Thankfully, some knifing, a few rocks and a river give this fight to Oliver. The young man steals the ninja’s clothes and gear (including an island map), hides the body and continues on with renewed purpose.

Why does purpose on **Arrow mean more clothes? It doesn’t seem fair. Oh well. More nakedness next week!

Did you miss Arrow over the past several weeks? Has anyone ever had a more attractive crisis of self-doubt? How could is Lance to use Laurel? And will Tommy ever get his drawer? Let us know what you think below and follow Laurel Brown on Twitter for all the latest Arrow news!

Can’t stop talking about this Arrow episode? We couldn’t either! Check out a critics’ roundtable discussion of “Burned” here!

(Images courtesy of The CW)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.