Episode 8: Vendetta
By: Carlos Uribe
Arrow is a show about the Green Arrow, a vigilante who seeks justice. It is based on the DC comic superhero Green Arrow.
Vendetta has a pretty great main plot. Oliver is trying to save Helena by trying to make seek justice in a way that doesn't hurt anyone. In order to accomplish this goal, he not only needs to get closer to her as a vigilante but emotionally as well. This means having to train her how to use a bow and arrow while at the same time using Laurel's sister's grave to get close to her. He succeeds at first. She starts to let him in and she goes on a mission with him. They bring down one of her father's men by turning him into the police. This capture led to her father losing a lot of money and it was a different experience for Helena. She didn't have to kill anyone but she still managed to hurt her father. She managed to seek justice in a non-lethal way. It really wasn't until their third date that it fell apart. Oliver and Helena happen to run into Laurel and Tommy at a restaurant and their date quickly becomes a double date. This double date makes Helena realize that not only did Oliver used to date Laurel but that he's still in love with her. Helena jumps to the conclusion that Oliver doesn't really care about her and that he used Laurel's sister's grave to manipulate her. She turns her back not only on Oliver but also his method of justice. She starts a mob war between the Triad and her father. Oliver is able to save her dad from being killed at the hands of his daughter and the father is sent to prison. Helena finally admits that she was never seeking justice but revenge. She's not happy that her father survived and she ends up leaving the city. She'll be back but her relationship with Oliver has crumbled.
What's great about this plot is just how messed up it really is. Helena is a character who completely changed when her fiance was killed by her father. She became consumed with the desire to take his world away from him because that's what he had done to her. Helena is really a character who has never allowed herself to emotionally move on from the death of her fiance. That he had only died because they had mistaken who the laptop belonged simply complicates the character's emotions. Diggle believes that Oliver can't save Helena because she has become completely unhinged. The series didn't decide to potray this during one of the missions she goes with Oliver. She could have easily gone too far in her desire to seek justice and killed someone when she didn't have to. This is what other shows would have done but it wouldn't have made for such a strong impact based on what the character has gone through. This is a person who loved so much but got hurt so badly when her own family took it away. It isn't until she believes that Oliver had cruelly played with her feelings that she reveals just how lost she is. That she actually thinks that Oliver is manipulating herself is evidence but that she allows this one date to ruin what they have helps to really show the state of the character. What makes Helena so great is just how similar to Oliver she really is.
What do the two want? They want justice. Oliver is trying to take down the elements of Sterling City that are abusing the people. He's crossing the names off the list in the notebook. Oliver uses his bow and arrow to force people to confess and to capture them. What he seeks is to bring these people to justice. What is motivating him? His father's wishes that his sins be reedemed. Oliver is a character that was emotionally broken on the island. It has isolated him from all the people he cares about and he believes that wearing the hood is the way to redeem his father. He is growing as he's letting more people into his heart but he's still an individual that has been phsyically and emotionally scared by his experiences of the island. It has changed him into a selfish man to a selfless one. He went from one extreme to the other. Helena is a character who claims to want justice but really wants revenge. She tries to achieve this by taking down her father's illegal business. The only difference is that she's willing to kill people to get her goal. She used a gun but she's been trained by Oliver to now use a crossbow and to dress up in a costume that makes her look like her comic book counterpart. What's motivating her? Her father's sins. The two are acting based on what their father had done but there's a huge difference. Helena wants to make her father pay while Oliver is acting on his father's dying request.
There's also other things going on. Walter is trying to uncover the mysterious organization that his wife belongs to. This comes from the help of Felicity, who is quickly becoming my favorite character on the show. This search could potentially lead to Felicity's death so there are stakes for this recurring character. The question becomes if the show is willing to kill a recurring character. It has been building up a universe of characters to draw from but so far there really haven't been any siginificant casualties. The other thing going on is that Tommy is afraid that losing his fortune means he has nothing to offer Laurel. He has always seen himself as a billionaire and he isn't sure who he is without that identity. He does need a job in order to sustain himself but he's afraid of asking Tommy because of his insecurity on how people will percieve him. In the end, Oliver. does give him the job. Tommy also ends up getting closer to Laurel as she tries to make him understand that she'll be there for him.
Vendetta is a pretty great episode of Arrow simply because of the whole Helena-Oliver plot. It simply had so much meat to it and the series managed to sell it really well. The Tommy-Laurel drama is good as well and it's interesting to see Tommy deal with the loss of his fortune and how that affects how he acts around Laurel. The plot Walter is involved in deals with the general mystery of who sabotaged the yacht but it's very slowly developing.
Next week is the Arrow Christmas special where Oliver gets to fight a copy-cat! Assuming it's a copy-cat and not the Asian guy from the island.