Episode 17: The Huntress Returns
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.
The title basically gives away what this episode is about. The Huntress comes back to Starling City and she proceeds to kill her father's lawyer. It's a cold action but she's desperate to find her father. Her dad recently cut a deal with the policy that he'll testify against the east coast family in exchange for a new life in witness protection. She's hoping to put an end to him before he can begin a new life that she doesn't feel he deserves. She enlists the help of Oliver but he only agrees to help her when she threatens Tommy's life. His agreement includes a stipulation that the only person who dies is her father. There will be no collateral damage. She agrees to this and the two do their best to get her dad. Only this turns out to be a trap by the police. They figured out that she wants revenge on her old man so they tricked them. Oliver rescues her from the police station because he doesn't want her to tell them anything about him and because he might still have some feelings for her. He tries his best to get her away from her path of vengeance but she sticks with it. She forces Felicity to find out the safe house where her father is being kept. Oliver realizes that he can't just stop the Huntress. He's going to have to kill her because she's too dangerous and misguided. He rushes to stop her but then tragedy hits. McKenna arrives at the safe house and stops the two of them from fighting. The Huntress takes this time to shoot McKenna before getting away. McKenna does survive but she's going to have to spend a year in physical therapy. She's sent on a bus to live with her sister because that's where the best physical therapy centers in the nation are. Their relationship comes to an end remarkably fast but I just have to wonder what the point of it was. It seemed like the writers were preparing for Oliver's personal life to collide with McKenna's life in a way that threatened his secret identity but it feels like the plot was aborted a little earlier than expected.
A major theme in the show and in this episode is the personal cost of being a masked vigilante to Oliver. He loses his girlfriend this episode. It comes at the price of her career but we don't really know what that means to her since we haven't spent enough time with her. He believes that everyone that the Huntress kills is on his hands because he didn't stop her. Feeling responsibility for all of that death must weigh heavily on him. What is the hardest isn't really the life-or-death of it all but rather how he has to keep this a secret. Tommy is slightly mad at Oliver for most of the episode for keeping this hidden from him. He at least does understand why he would be kept out of the loop. What he's really angry about and trying to wrap his head around is that his best friend is a cold-hearted killer. It isn't until he gets captured by the Huntress that he starts to realize that Oliver only kills when it's his last option. He might have been a cold-hearted killer when he first arrived at Starling City but he has come to value human life. This is not just because he's reconnected with society again but because Diggle is guiding him on the right path. It really isn't until Tommy realizes how difficult keeping this secret from those closest to you can be that he is able to get over his frustration. He might still be angry but he's still willing to be Oliver's friend. He does go to comfort Oliver after he loses McKenna but he does note that Oliver is on a path of loneliness. So it must be.
There are two other major plots in the present day. The first has to do Roy Harper. He's going to be a main character in season two so the show is doing it's best to set him up. Thea likes the guy so she decides to try and get him a job. He accepts but then he doesn't show up because he decides he doesn't want charity from a rich girl. He's really hung up on the fact that she has money. It's pretty clear that class is a pretty big theme of Arrow. When some robbers try to mug Thea, Roy saves her while wearing a red hoodie. The two share a kiss. It's nice that the plot is moving along a little bit faster but I'm hoping we get to learn something real about Roy soon. We know he stole her purse, lied about his backstory for pity, and then gave the purse back. Why did he feel the need to save her? Why pretend to accept the job? What is his real family story? I'm interested in getting to know this character but it does feel like he's a little bit inconsistent at times. At least the show has a clear direction for where it's taking this plot.
The other major plot has to do with Laurel's sister, Sara. Her mother continues to claim that she's still alive. She does have a pretty decent theory. There's a whole bunch of islands where she could have been stranded on. She even has a picture of a girl that looks like their daughter. Here's where the theory has a huge hole: if that's their daughter then how come she hasn't tried contacting her family once? It would make sense if she was in captivity but the picture seems to imply that she's free. She might be ashamed for having slept with her sister's boyfriend but we have no way of knowing this. The major obstacle to the mother is Quentin. He's still struggling to cope with her death after all of these years and this investigation into the possibility that she's alive is understandably something he wants to avoid. It's Laurel who ensures that he does go down the rabbit hole. It's an interesting concept to bring up but I must wonder about the timing of this. The season is about to enter it's last stretch of episodes so I'm not sure how this plot is going to play into the big picture.
The Huntress Returns is a pretty great episode despite all of it's flaws. It tried to make McKenna leaving Oliver a bigger moment than it actually was but it is great to see the series use Tommy to explore the toll this secret can have on a character. The Roy plot is working at the moment but his character needs to be fleshed out more. Laurel's sister being alive is an interesting idea but it might be coming in at the wrong time. It simply depends on how they're able to fit this into the grand scheme of things. In conclusion, I did liked the episode and the Huntress had some pretty great scenes this week. It just could have been a lot better.
In the flashbacks, Slade and Oliver steal a computer processor from the anti-aircraft missile launcher so that they can have leverage. Also, the actor playing Slade just got promoted to series regular for the second season so I guess he's going to be sticking around for a while.