Episode 20: Home Invasion
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.
This week's villain is a hitman who likes to finish jobs and tie loose ends. He gets hired to kill a family when they sue a financial executive after he steals all of their savings. The hitman is actually pretty good at his job as he's able to kill the mother and the father but their little boy is able to get away. A little boy that just happened to see his face. The hitman will spend basically the whole episode trying to kill this boy. This is even after the Hood is able to get the financial executive to fess up to all of his crimes. The hitman actually kills the person who hired him because it's a lose end. Oliver is able to stop him at the end of the episode. The boy might be psychologically scared for life but at least he'll have one. The bad guys of the week are dead. It's a pretty standard weekly case but it's actually used by the show for two different, but ultimately related, reasons. The first is that it uses it as an obstacle between Oliver and Diggle. The second is that it allows Oliver to get closer to Laurel. The two reasons are combined at the end when Oliver has to pick between Diggle and Laurel. His choice ends up costing him his sidekick but at least Laurel is available again. Tommy realizes that even though Oliver had slept with Laurel's dead sister, Laurel will always pick Oliver because she loves him. The weekly case on it's own would have been good but forgettable but it's how it played into the world of Arrow that allowed it become memorable. This created an episode that was largely compact although the whole Roy Harper sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm not suggesting it was a bad plot but that it simply didn't fit as well.
The previous episode, Unfinished Business, had set up a conflict between Diggle and Oliver. Diggle was trying to take down Deadshot because he wanted revenge. Oliver needed him for a mission and Diggle couldn't show up because he was busy with Deadshot. It created a conflict between the two but Oliver realized that this was important to Diggle. He might have agreed to help but it wasn't that high on his priority list. Case in point is how this episode used the weekly mission to drive them apart. Oliver was given a choice to try and stop Deadshot or to stop the financial executive from fleeing the country. This is sort-of a false choice. The financial executive might have been trying to escape but I don't buy that Oliver couldn't have followed him. It's not like Oliver has any financial issues that would stop him from following. There might have been a hitman trying to go after the kid but they had placed him in the Queen household which is protected very well. Granted, the hitman is able to easily get through security but it's not like Oliver knew this when he was trying to make this choice. As far as he knew, the kid was safe in the Queen mansion. This is a small logic hole within the choice. It's there and it gains some significance because so much of the episode is built around that choice. Oliver decides to go after the financial executive. Why? He wanted to protect the kid but Diggle also sees the choice between helping Laurel or himself. I think both are valid reasons for why he went after the executive. He might have wanted to ensure the kid was safe but he definably wanted to help Laurel out with her case and safety.
This choice has repercussions down the line. Diggle believes that this choice proves that Oliver will always chose his own priories over Diggle's goals. This isn't a partnership as Oliver doesn't see him on equal terms. Diggle quits. He'll come back eventually because he has to. What else is the show going to do with him? He might try to hunt down Deadshot on his own, or using ARGUS, but that's only going to work for so long. His role is to be by Oliver's side. He might leave it temporarily but he's going to have to come back if he wants to fit within the show. So while I don't believe this is a permanent change to the status quo, I do think it's going to be important for the Oliver-Diggle relationship. That's not all as Oliver is not the only one do lose someone. While Oliver is with Laurel, Tommy realizes that Laurel is in love with him. Tommy and Laurel might be a couple right now but Tommy has no doubts that Laurel would pick Oliver despite his vigilantism. This revelation is only able to come out because they need to resort to the Queen Mansion in order to stay safe from the hitman. So Tommy decides to end things with Laurel. He wants a serious relationship and that means being with a girl whose going to commit to him as opposed to settling for him. Since he knows Oliver can't be with Laurel, he breaks up with her in a way that makes it like he's not ready for a serious relationship. Laurel is shocked because this isn't the changed Tommy that she has grown to love. Little does show it's that this is the changed Tommy by making the ultimate sacrifice.
Home Invasion is a pretty good episode. The title refers to the hitman going into the homes to kill the characters but also to how he invaded the status quo. He went in and proved to Tommy that Oliver was still in Laurel's heart. He went in and disrupted the partnership that had formed between Tommy and Diggle. The weekly case would have definably been weak on any other series but the writers properly used it in order to impact the show's universe. The flashbacks were strong and the Roy Harper plot was okay. Finally, I don't really care that much about Oliver and Laurel so it did hurt my tolerance for this episode but that's okay as it was still an immensely good time.