Arrow Review: 'The Huntress Returns'
March 21st, 2013 10:48am EDT
I've been watching Batman Beyond on Hub since January. I never read comics growing up, so I missed the thrill of an old villain returning to cause chaos for the superhero. Villains don't return in superhero movies. Batman, Spiderman, Daredevil, Superman, et al, defeat the villain, never to see him again, and only deal with a new threat to the town. I like the recurrence of villains in superhero shows. I like the depth the villains have with each appearance, e.g. the Royal Flush Gang in their third and final (I presume) appearance. Arrow's bringing back old foes of Oliver. Floyd Laughton came back with a nifty new eye which made him a deadlier sniper. The Huntress, Ms. Helena, returns to finish what she started in her first two appearances. Helena's return isn't that great, though.
Helena had a palpable sadness in her first two episodes, but Helena's just pissed off and looking for revenge in "The Huntress Returns". She's like Revenge's Emily Thorne if Emily Thorne stopped wasting time and actually took revenge on the people who destroyed her father's life. Oliver taught her to use leverage to accomplish what she wants to. Unfortunately for Oliver, she threatens his family--using those threats as leverage incidentally--to get Oliver to help her kill her own father. Frank Bertinelli's serving consecutive life sentences, but his testimony in an upcoming case will place him in witness protection, which will allow him a fresh start. Helena tells Oliver that her father doesn't deserve a fresh start after what he did to her fiance. Oliver doesn't want Helena to become a murderer. He wants to save her humanity.
Helena doesn't care about her humanity. The idea of her father living his second chance is repugnant to her. Helena murders many officers, finishes off a mob, and goes after Tommy and Felicity. She even shoots McKenna, which leads to McKenna abruptly leaving Starling City for rehab. Helena is a tempest. Oliver's completely powerless against her. She's learned to defend herself against him, even catching an arrow heading her way before it strikes and kills her. Helena's still wounded by Oliver's intent. Oliver tried to kill her to stop her from spilling more blood. Recurring villains/foes/whatever always escape or else they wouldn't recur. Helena disappears without a trace, and Oliver's left with the destruction Helena the tempest left behind.
"The Huntress Returns" is a frustrating episode, though. The plotting's too convenient. Helena returns to Starling City just in time for the night club opening because of course she does. Oliver hits a point of no return with McKenna. He's ready to commit, but his former flame takes McKenna out of his life. I get how stories work and how writers plot and break an episode. Foes come in at the worst possible time. I don't know why "The Huntress Returns" rubs me the wrong way without citing scenes, plot choices, etc., that could easily be argued against by a commenter. Jessica De Guow is fine in the role (I adore her airy accent). Helena showed her violent side in her first appearance. I don't know what else to write about the frustrating story other arguing that its too convenient in its plotting.
One other aspect of the story that didn't work: Arrow used the 'Will Oliver be revealed?' element of suspense already. Helena's in custody. McKenna asks for the identity of The Hood. Helena says, "Oliver Queen." However, Helena quickly uses Oliver to get to the detectives, which is a trick right out of TV Investigation Room Tropes 101. The threat of exposure for Oliver should be an important part of the series. Of his foes, Helena's one who should expose him. She doesn't owe him, he's trying to stop her, and she pretty much despises him. Oliver can't be exposed, though. Tommy doesn't tell Laurel about Oliver-as-The-Hood either, which makes more sense but Tommy doesn't have a good reason not to tell Laurel. Again, it's understandable given the purpose of the show; but, nonetheless, it is frustrating.
Meanwhile, what the hell was that Thea story all about? Willa Holland's had nothing to work with for the entire season. First, she liked drugs and being mean to her brother and her mother. Now, she likes a guy who stole her purse. The guy got off because he lied about having a poor family, which moved Thea. Roy, the guy, admitted his lie, which only attracted Thea more to him. Thea helped him land a job at the nightclub, but he didn't show. Thea goes to his house, which is in a neighborhood, and gets treated badly. Roy soon saves her life and gets stabbed, so she takes him to hospital and kisses him when he's getting a shot. What the hell? I get Roy's important because the writers gave him a name and a romance with Thea. Plus, he climbs walls and does flips while beating up folk. Roy and The Hood are going to cross paths, aren't they?
The recurrence of The Huntress was a fun idea but the execution was lacking. I look forward to her return in season two. The episode was unsatisfactory with few good scenes. Arrow's had it together for the entire season so far. It is rare for the show to 'miss.' Miss it did, though.
-On the island, Oliver and Wilson hatched a plan to get off the island. Oliver continues to grow as a fighter and strategist. Wilson followed Oliver's plan without any objections or interjections. Also, Manu Bennett was promoted to series regular. Bennett is really good as Slade Wilson.
-Laurel and her parents will try to find their missing daughter. So, there's that.
-Dig's keeping track of Deadshot. Deadshot’s last activity was the assassination of a king. Dig doesn't tell Oliver--it's very much his own mission.
-If Willa Holland worked to get me a job and came to my house to make sure I went to the job, I’d want to marry her. Roy insults her using the word ‘bitch’ and dismisses her kindness because she’s a rich girl. I can’t even get a girl to return my ANGEL season one dvd set to me.
-Jake Coburn & Lana Cho wrote the episode. Guy Bee directed it.
Photo Credits: Cate Cameron/The CW