Editor’s Note: Click here to catch up on ‘Arrow’ Rewind: Season One – Part One.
In my ongoing quest to catch up on Arrow, I’ve taken it upon myself to binge watch several episodes at once. This column focuses on the first season where I will be exploring its themes and revisiting specific key episodes.
In the two-parter ‘Muse of Fire’ and ‘Vendetta,’ we are introduced to Helena Bertinelli, aka The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw). At this point in my viewing, I’m already getting tired of the Ollie/Laurel relationship; the writers have started bringing Laurel together with Tommy, but I’m fearful this won’t last. My biggest problem with Smallville (at least the episodes I watched) was dealing with all the juvenile relationship issues. I’m a fan that’s way more focused on the action than the “will they or won’t they” question.
Helena, aka The Huntress, serves a dual function as both a new love interest for Oliver as well as the show’s first attempt to set up a sidekick for the titular vigilante. Although both roles ultimately end in failure, these episodes work to flesh out more about Oliver Queen than previous episodes up to this point. The introduction of Helena helps bring to the surface the moral ambiguity that is the cornerstone of Arrow.
Helena serves as a great match for Ollie in these episodes, serving as a dark mirror for our hero. From the outside, they both appear as simply spoiled rich kids when they are actually both very damaged individuals.
Helena is a reflection of both the person Ollie is now and the one he is striving to become. In many ways, this partnership is more important to him than to her. I felt like the chemistry between the two worked extremely well, and their conversations raised some very high-stakes moral questions.
Already in less than a dozen episodes, Arrow has accomplished something that Smallville never did. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about the budding romance between Tommy and Laurel. Give me more of the moral debates between Oliver and Helena on vengeance-versus-justice.
The writers work to try to make both characters still seem very human, especially with the awkward double date scene with Laurel and Tommy. I’m okay with some romantic drama as long as it doesn’t overshadow the plot of the episodes. In this case, I don’t feel it did and worked more as a reminder that despite this being a show about damaged people, they still face the everyday challenges of humanity.
Arrow has done an excellent job with balancing the darkness of the character with some very touching scenes, such as the closing with Ollie and Diggle at the diner. David Ramsey has by far been the best actor on this show, and I hope his character continues to develop throughout the seasons. Tommy has started to grow on me a little, and I look forward to seeing the relationship between him and his father Malcolm. (I still can’t stand Laurel though.)
In the end, Oliver stops Helena from putting an arrow into her father. His pleas with her make me think that perhaps this is more for himself than for her, as Ollie finally had the chance to have a partner he could be completely himself with. Despite having Diggle around, Ollie still cannot be completely open with anyone (sorry Diggle). It will be interesting to see if this character develops into a villain or as a hero.
I’m looking forward to a return appearance from the Huntress. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of her.