Arrow: Season 1 Episode 17 – ‘The Huntress Returns’ Review

Arrow Season 1 Episode 17 The Huntress Returns Kiss

In Arrow Season 1 Episode 17 titled The Huntress Returns, Helena Bertinelli coerces Oliver into helping her track down her mobster father.

When the Huntress last appeared in Muse of Fire and Vendetta, it was evident that beneath her desire for vengeance was a conflicted, emotionally tortured young woman. In The Huntress Returns, there’s still a burning rage to end her father’s life but the difference is how Helena revels in her villainy. A self-satisfying smirk is written across her face as she is interrogated by Det. Lance and McKenna and as she kisses Oliver on the cheek after threatening his family in his own home.

After the airing of Muse of Fire, some fans cited Jessica De Gouw’s acting as stiff, however in this week’s episode she is more at ease in speaking with an American accent and is comfortable in her portrayal of a cross-bow assassin.

As an adversary, The Huntress is better utilized in this episode than the throw-away villain of the weeks (eg. Firefly, Dodger). Though at first glance, the episode’s structure is Arrow’s tried and true formula, it does bring to mind how Avenger’s director Joss Whedon constructed his short-lived TV series Firefly.

The structure of a Firefly episode is like a pebble dropped into a pond, with each character reacting to the ripple effect. In this regard, they way each character from Det. McKenna, Diggle, Felicity, even Tommy, is impacted from crossing paths with Helena is preferable to what could have been an isolated story of Oliver dealing with his psycho ex-girlfriend. What would be even better is tying in Thea’s and Laurel’s secondary plot with the main story or saving it for another episode.

Of course at the core of this episode, Oliver is blackmailed into aiding Helena do the one thing he prevented in Vendetta: the killing of her father Frank Bertinelli. If any other criminal was on a cold-blooded killing spree while threatening his family, friends, and secret identity, Oliver would not think twice to put an arrow through them.

In addition to his lingering affections and empathy, Oliver most likely feels responsible for failing Helena and is clinging to the possibility she can be redeemed. However, in the final standoff as she pointing a shotgun in his face, Oliver unleashes what would have been fatal blow if Helena did not catch the arrow. Helena’s devastated expression nicely conveys the realization that Oliver who once believed and cared for her has now given up on her.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 17 The Huntress Returns

Other Quick Observations:

» When questioned by the Detectives on who is the Hood, I was surprised when Helena answered “Oliver Queen … is your boyfriend is he not”. Nice one, confusing for a second or two though. Does it bother you how Helena killed all those agents in the house?

» Because Tommy feels the burden of keeping secrets from Laurel, he better understands the toll on Oliver for not revealing the truth to him earlier. What Tommy should feel is lucky for not having his arm snapped by Helena. :) Will we see Tommy in the not-so-secret Arrow Cave again soon?

» The Lance family members are back on speaking terms. A necessary but largely event-less first step to finding out if Sara is in fact alive. I did feel for Laurel when she wanted to open up to Tommy about everything going on her life. I’m not sure if Tommy’s comment about fighting the blender was supposed to be funny or an unconvincing lie but these two actors have good chemistry with each other.

» The opening of Oliver’s club has been a long time in the making. The first thing I thought when Thea mentioned the valet job to Roy is it would be very convenient if he started working there. But looks like they are going to take a less obvious route to incorporate Roy into the story. When Oliver and Roy first meet it should be written as a memorable scene.

» A less whiny, infatuated Thea is always better than a bitchy Thea. “Stalker, much”. Roy’s fear of needles hints at a dark back story or could be just the producers toying with expectations of comic book fans

» I’ve never cared for Oliver’s relationship with Det. McKenna but when she talked about being with someone you never have to apologize to, I started to root for them just a bit. Then the rug gets pulled from beneath my feet when she gets shot and essentially breaks up with Oliver by moving to Coast City. Is this the last of McKenna for Season 1?

What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? What did you think about the return of the Huntress? What’s the significance to the club name “Verdant” and any thoughts on the island flashbacks?

More Posts You May Like:

Arrow Season 1, Episode 14 “The Odyssey” Review (vs Billy Wintergreen)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 15 “Dodger” Review (vs Dodger)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 16 “Dead To Rights” Review (vs Deadshot & China White)

Read an excellent in-depth backstory of DC Comic’s Deathstroke:

The Character Spotlight – Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) (by Gotham Rogue)

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Posted on March 21, 2013, in Arrow, Comics, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Jessica De Gouw was great in this episode which may be her last for a while if her pilot TV show gets picked up.

    “Does it bother you how Helena killed all those agents in the house?”
    Hell Yes! Killing bad guys is passable but officers of the law? No go for me and she really crossed the line into bad guy territory here.

    “Roy’s fear of needles hints at a dark back story or could be just the producers toying with expectations of comic book fans”
    That’s what is great with this show. If you know the backstory you lean one way and then the show pulls the rug out from you like Slade not being the Deathstroke we first encountered. Roy’s action scene hinted at the potential for him and why he is in store for an increased role in Season 2.

    “Is this the last of McKenna for Season 1?”
    I really thought she was going to be revealed to be the crooked cop on the force that they hinted at earlier this season. I guess this was not the case.

    “What’s the significance to the club name “Verdant”?”
    Merriam-Webster defines it as “green in tint or color”. Appropriate, don’t you think?

    Also can I just say, so happy that they announced Slade Wilson as a recurring character for Season 2! :)

    • After hurting and killing so many people this episode, it would be difficult to redeem The Huntress. But I’m sure the writers will find an interesting way to bring her back if the actress can make time in her schedule. Jessica De Gouw is a good actress, at least from what I saw in this episode, so I’m not surprised to learn she’s starring in her own TV show.

      Although I’m not very familiar with Green Arrow comics, I do like how the producers are both respectful of the source material and not afraid to surprise comic readers with their own spin on things. Roy bounces off of walls and fences like a rubber ball, his actions scenes will be fun to watch in Season 2.

      Even if McKenna is not a fan favorite, I feel her exit was a bit premature. The show could have built an entire episode around the break up. This episode felt like there are too many balls being juggled … I’ll stop the ball analogy now. :)

      Yes, Verdant sounds refreshing like a bubble gum flavor haha. I wonder if Verdant is the same club set used in the pilot and other episodes?

      Very good news Manu Bennett will not be absent from the TV for very long. ;)

  2. I know she’s gone full bad guy but hot damn!

    McKenna’s gone. Yes!

  3. lol at the guy steering in the armoured van when the wheels blew out :D

  1. Pingback: “Arrow” Recap: Psycho Ex-Girlfriend | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man

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