Last week's episode of Arrow led Arrow recapper Chelsea Mueller to abandon (at least for now) Team Oliver/Laurel in favor of Team Oliver/Helena—as in Helena Bertinelli, mob daughter and masked vigilante Huntress. And while I'm holding out hope that Laurel will don the Black Canary persona and get in on more of the show's action at some point, I gotta say that going into tonight's episode, I was right there with Chelsea: Oliver/Helena FTW! Did that remain true after “Vendetta”? Only the recap will tell.
(Need to catch up? Don't miss H&H recaps of the pilot episode, episode 1.02, episode 1.03, episode 1.04, episode 1.05, episode 1.06, and episode 1.07. Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)
The episode opens with Helena awakening to the realization that she's spooning Oliver after what one would assume was a very enjoyable night. Now, while I would have taken at least a moment to enjoy, Helena apparently has no such appreciation for her situation and slides out of bed right away, failing to notice, I guess, that her leaving did not go unnoticed.
And in fact Oliver's right behind her when she turns up in some dark alley prepared to take down her next target, the leader of Triad. As she explains to Oliver when he stops her (it's pretty cool: he does a flip off a building and lands in front of her just in time to cause her shot to go wide), killing this guy would further weaken her father and his organization. Win/win as far as she can tell. Only Oliver wants her to see that this is NOT the way to go about getting justice. And this pretty much sets in motion this week's story as Oliver would like to tell it: The Rescue and Redemption of Helena Bertinelli. Except things don't go quite as planned and relationships are affected.
Oliver/Helena: Ollie really does put a lot of himself into his mission to save Helena from herself. He tries to talk to her in a diner, all casual like, and when that doesn't work he shows up at her house and convinces her to come with him to see something—Sarah's grave.
He tells her the story of how he got her killed and destroyed what he had going with her sister, and how his time on the island changed him into a better person than he'd been. He tells Helena that she's on an island too. She seems moved by his story and agrees to train with Oliver and to go along with his plan to take down one of her father's associates (who's also on Oliver's list) without hurting anyone, which in the end she seems to enjoy.
Things all go to hell, though, after an awkward accidental double date with Laurel and Merlin reveals to Helena that Ollie's still in love with and will always be in love with Laurel, and Helena realizes that she could very well get hurt all over again. Something snaps in her and she goes full steam ahead with her revenge again. Even after struggling with Oliver in battle and being shot by her own father, Helena can't/won't stop, and the end of the episode shows her riding off on her motorcycle to parts unknown. Oliver knows he'll see her again but has also seemed to accept that she's, well, totally off her rocker.
I'd have to agree that while this was fun, Oliver/Helena would probably never work in the long-term and not just 'cause she talks about Michael in every. single. scene. and is clearly not going to be over him for quite a while. No, the other problem is that they are REALLY similar and as damaged as they are, they could be very bad for each other. Digg points this out, actually, which leads us to...
Oliver-Digg: As ever, Digg is the voice of reason in this episode and tries to tell Ollie a few different ways (once, memorably, during a VERY distracting workout session of Oliver's; I mean, seriously, is it a mandate that Oliver work out shirtless at least once every episode?) that he's making a mistake trying to save Helena, that it's not going to work because she's already changed—into something dark and twisted. But when Digg's proved right, there's no gloating. In fact, Digg points out that Oliver opened his heart to her and never would have been able to do that a couple months ago. It's a really nice moment between Oliver and Digg. I love this bromance. A lot.
Merlin/Laurel: Dinner with Helena and Oliver throws a wrench into Merlin/Laurel too in that Merlin used it as an excuse to mention again that it's always going to be Oliver and Laurel and that Laurel's always going to run to him, her white knight, to fix problems—hers or, in this case, Merlin's. Really, though, this is about Merlin's pride and his not wanting to go to Oliver for a job now that he's been cut off by his father. Once he admits that to Laurel, all's right with them again. They're pretty cute, I have to say.
Merlin-Oliver: Groveling to Laurel done (and he did good), Merlin goes to Oliver and does end up explaining the situation to Oliver and asking for that job, which, of course, he's given: general manager at the new night club. The banter between the guys is charming (Merlin wants to ensure he'll get dental because his smile wasn't cheap) and I'd enjoy seeing more scenes between them, especially ones not having anything to do with how they both love the same girl.
Moira/Walter: These two are trying to patch things up after Moira's injury, but Walter's suspicions are again aroused after his employee/gifted computer hacker Felicity comes to him with more info on the funds Moira diverted to her fake company. That info leads him to the discover with what he thinks is a blank book but turns out to be full of names. The same names as Oliver has, methinks. (It's not Oliver's copy, is it? Did I miss that?) So I'm thinking things might be remain rocky with them for a while.
What did you think of the episode? Will you miss the Huntress or are you glad she's gone (for now)?
Heather Waters works for H&H and is a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_