(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, episode 1.07, episode 1.08, and episode 1.09. Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)
When we left Arrow last month it was on a bit of a cliffhanger; Tommy’s dad was playing Green Arrow copycat. Moira’s secret rich people club kidnapped Walter—and she let them. We started to learn a little bit more about the list, but Oliver was laid up in the hospital after his run-in with Merlin Sr.
Did the midseason premiere give us answers (and abs)? Read on.
See, the CW knows us. They know there is this healthy demographic of female fans, and that explains why the backstory montage includes more than one shirtless workout scene. Oh, CW, I heart you.
There’s a truck in the opening scene with a bumper sticker that reads “Stay Safe at Night, Sleep with a Fireman.” I think this adds credibility that Arrow was made for H&H readers.
Firefighters (yay!) are working to put out a massive warehouse fire. One man calls to another for help. You’d think he’d have noticed his new friend’s uniform didn’t match. Maybe you don’t pay attention to those details when a building is burning around you. Still, the NOT fireman douses the sweet fireman and we watch him go up in flames.
To make up for the sad of fireman in flames, the next scene is shirtless Oliver working out. Abs. Abs. Abs. Arms. Abs. Crotch shot. Abs. Sexy Ollie face. Arms. Chest. Basically, a man candy parade.
Six weeks have passed since Walter was taken. There have been no ransom demands or proof of life. Enough time has passed that both Digg and Oliver are willing to admit he may be dead. Digg wants Oliver to get back to working on the list. He’s been recovering, but Oliver is now back at fighting level. (And how!) Only Oliver is focused on protecting his family with Walter gone. Clearly he doesn’t know about Mommy’s involvement.
FLASHBACK! In his early days on the island, Oliver escapes a siege from the guys in black. They capture his mentor.
Turns out the sweet firefighter was Laurel’s BFF Jo’s brother. Is everyone connected in this city?
I always enjoy the brother-sister bonding time on this show. This week we have Ollie and Thea sharing burgers, debating possible movie choices and trying to figure out how to help their mom.
Convenient news program informs us that when “the vigilante” was active crime in the city was down and people were safer. Now they want to know where he’s been for the last six weeks.
Jo comes to Laurel (and Tommy) for help with her brother’s death. She thinks he was murdered. “How did my brother burn hotter than the fire that supposedly killed him?” Laurel jumps to help and goes to her dad to encourage the investigation. Jo’s brother isn’t the first person to be doused in turpentine and set ablaze in the city.
When Dad says no, Laurel snatches the phone Oliver As Arrow sent the detective and uses it to call him. Oliver’s reaction is… confused.
But he comes as Arrow to Laurel’s apartment to talk with her. She asks where he’s been, and he deflects. Then he calls her out for saying he’s just a killer without remorse. She doesn’t exactly retract the statement, but Oliver As Arrow does take the file from her and agree to investigate Jo’s brother’s death.
Because two shirtless guys are better than one: Digg training scene. Nom. Abs!
The progress on the nightclub is slow. Tommy seems to be stepping up to actually working, in this case arguing with contractors. Tommy then suggests that he and Oliver hold a fundraiser for firefighters. Ollie has to do a double-take that Tommy Merlin is thinking about others. I wonder if this new leaf is legit, but so far I trust in it.
Digg comes to Oliver with information about the guy killing firefighters. Ollie doesn’t want to go. He wants Digg to go to the police, but it won’t be fast enough.
FLASHBACK! Ollie learns how to make a fire and then has to put it out quickly because he’s being tracked.
Back at another big building fire the murderer is at it again, killing firemen. Oliver As Arrow is there this time to try and stop him. The guy escapes, but Oliver sees a tattoo on the guy’s hand. (We call that a lead.)
FLASHBACK! Oliver fights with one of the masked men on the island. They tumble over a side of a cliff.
Oliver As Arrow calls Laurel with all the information he has so far, including that the firefly tattoo belongs to all of the members of Engine 15. Oliver looks so downtrodden. I miss badass Arrow. Digg needs to shake some sense into that boy.
Oh, wait. That’s what he does. Diggle manages to even land a punch. Again, though, Digg points out how this other archer managed to get into Oliver’s head. They really do make an excellent duo. Even if Oliver doesn’t listen to him, Digg said the right things.
Oliver runs into Laurel and they end up talking about Tommy. Apparently, Tommy wants to have a drawer at her place. She reminds him she’s an all-or-nothing girl.
Laurel’s attempts to get answers about the firemen ruffles some feathers. It looks like men from the now disbanded Engine 15 are being killed. Oliver sees the interaction, and how he is going to get involved. Some would suppose because he wants to help her.
Oliver explains to Digg that when he was on the island he didn’t fear death because he had nothing to lose. Now he’s let all these people into his life and when he met with that archer he thought of what would happen to those people if they lost him again. Digg supposes that it’s more powerful to stare down death with something to life for than with nothing to lose. Again, Team Digg.
At the fancy charity party, Oliver and Laurel try talking to the fire chief again. This time he admits that something was off with the big fire that took down Engine 15. One guy stayed in to try and stop the blaze. He asked the chief to send the others back in, but the chief refused. Everyone assumed the guy inside died. Only, of course, now we think he’s the one killing off the remaining members of Engine 15.
How much longer is Laurel going to accept that Oliver just happens to be interested in her cases? She’s working with Arrow on this, but Oliver is asking all the questions. She’s not a dumb person. If she doesn’t get brought into the circle of trust soon, I’m going to be concerned.
Our revenge killer shows up at t he benefit and starts setting the place on fire. He reveals himself to be thought-dead firefighter.
Oliver runs down to the secret lair to get his gear. The timing on that is less than stellar. Oliver stood there while the fire chief is coated in turpentine, then left. Good thing the bad guy liked to monologue.
Oliver As Arrow shoots a lighter out of midair. Kind of cool. Then he offers the guy help. Only he’d rather kill himself than have to live. Instead of Oliver taking him out, we see yet another act of immolation. I miss badass fight sequences. Work on that for next week, Arrow.
Turns out that the detective is using his own daughter as bait to take down Arrow. He’s put a chip in the phone she has that will allow them to hear everything the two talk about.
FLASHBACK! Ollie finds a map that doesn’t prove all that helpful, but I’m sure plays a role later on.
ANOTHER SHIRTLESS WORKOUT! I managed not to lick the TV screen. Did you?
Highlights: So much shirtlessness. Training sequences. Brother-sister time. Digg pep talk.
Lowlights: Lack of actual fight scenes. Too much burning up nice firefighters.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. Her appreciation of Alexander Skarsgard is well documented. Bother her on Twitter — @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.