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Arrow Review: 'The Huntress Returns'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
March 21st, 2013 10:48am EDT
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Arrow Review: 'The Huntress Returns'

I've been watching Batman Beyond on Hub since January. I never read comics growing up, so I missed the thrill of an old villain returning to cause chaos for the superhero. Villains don't return in superhero movies. Batman, Spiderman, Daredevil, Superman, et al, defeat the villain, never to see him again, and only deal with a new threat to the town. I like the recurrence of villains in superhero shows. I like the depth the villains have with each appearance, e.g. the Royal Flush Gang in their third and final (I presume) appearance. Arrow's bringing back old foes of Oliver. Floyd Laughton came back with a nifty new eye which made him a deadlier sniper. The Huntress, Ms. Helena, returns to finish what she started in her first two appearances. Helena's return isn't that great, though.

Helena had a palpable sadness in her first two episodes, but Helena's just pissed off and looking for revenge in "The Huntress Returns". She's like Revenge's Emily Thorne if Emily Thorne stopped wasting time and actually took revenge on the people who destroyed her father's life. Oliver taught her to use leverage to accomplish what she wants to. Unfortunately for Oliver, she threatens his family--using those threats as leverage incidentally--to get Oliver to help her kill her own father. Frank Bertinelli's serving consecutive life sentences, but his testimony in an upcoming case will place him in witness protection, which will allow him a fresh start. Helena tells Oliver that her father doesn't deserve a fresh start after what he did to her fiance. Oliver doesn't want Helena to become a murderer. He wants to save her humanity.

Helena doesn't care about her humanity. The idea of her father living his second chance is repugnant to her. Helena murders many officers, finishes off a mob, and goes after Tommy and Felicity. She even shoots McKenna, which leads to McKenna abruptly leaving Starling City for rehab. Helena is a tempest. Oliver's completely powerless against her. She's learned to defend herself against him, even catching an arrow heading her way before it strikes and kills her. Helena's still wounded by Oliver's intent. Oliver tried to kill her to stop her from spilling more blood. Recurring villains/foes/whatever always escape or else they wouldn't recur. Helena disappears without a trace, and Oliver's left with the destruction Helena the tempest left behind.

"The Huntress Returns" is a frustrating episode, though. The plotting's too convenient. Helena returns to Starling City just in time for the night club opening because of course she does. Oliver hits a point of no return with McKenna. He's ready to commit, but his former flame takes McKenna out of his life. I get how stories work and how writers plot and break an episode. Foes come in at the worst possible time. I don't know why "The Huntress Returns" rubs me the wrong way without citing scenes, plot choices, etc., that could easily be argued against by a commenter. Jessica De Guow is fine in the role (I adore her airy accent). Helena showed her violent side in her first appearance. I don't know what else to write about the frustrating story other arguing that its too convenient in its plotting.

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Photo Credits: Cate Cameron/The CW