Arrow episode 17 review: The Huntress Returns

Arrow is back with something of a filler episode this week. Here's Caroline's review of The Huntress Returns...

This review contains spoilers.

1.17 The Huntress Returns

After a truly explosive episode just before the break we’re back to slow, plodding, earnest Arrow where, admittedly, some stuff still happened. Let’s face it, there was absolutely no need to bring back the Huntress, and she was used as a plot device rather than a character this time around. The fallout from Dead to Rights wasn’t even that big, which was the most frustrating surprise of all. 

In the last episode, Tommy found out about Oliver’s dual identity, and wasn’t too happy about his best friend keeping such a huge secret from him. I’m glad that this wasn’t the whole story, since I sat through more than a couple of seasons of Smallville in which Clark and Lex skirted around his secret identity, as Tommy is actually more upset about his friend being a murderer. It all makes perfect sense once he says it, because it’s how normal human beings might react, but I didn’t expect that extra layer to be brought up at all. 

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But we couldn’t dwell on the messy relationships already in Ollie’s life, as Helena was back to seek vengeance on her father all over again. Despite him going to prison, apparently a deal he’d cut with the police meant that he was going to witness protection instead, and the rest of the episode sees Oliver repeatedly trying to thwart The Huntress’ plans. It’s not too thrilling, since all the exchanges between them are just re-heated versions of the ones we heard a couple of weeks ago. Put it this way, if you were blasting through the season one box set, The Huntress Returns would be a filler episode. 

And there’s nothing particularly wrong with filler episodes – if they’re done right. This was, to be fair, a good example of how to stretch out previously introduced themes and problems before the show is ready to deal with them. Thea and Roy, for example, had a nice little side-plot that resulted in them becoming a couple of sorts, and Laurel and Quentin discussed the possibility of Sarah being alive. I’m not certain how much more of Dinah we’re going to see in the coming weeks, but at least her return forced Quentin to finally deal with some of his latent issues. 

Now he and Laurel will have to investigate whether Sarah really did get off the island. Who will turn out to be Black Canary, should the super heroine turn up at all? We have three Lance women to choose from and, although the show wanted us to assume Laurel would eventually turn to late-night crime fighting with Ollie, we may be in for a bigger surprise. Having Sarah don the cape would certainly speed up the process should the series want more hero-esque characters, but we just met Roy Harper, so they might want to deal with him before assembling any other potential heroes. 

Meanwhile, Oliver is having a pretty bad day, as his burgeoning relationship with McKenna is stopped abruptly by a broken femur and a quick escape to Coast City. You can’t blame her, really, since her dreams of being a cop have literally been shattered, and Oliver’s promises to visit her at the rehab centre aren’t what she wants to hear. Not many fans will be upset about her leaving, but you do wonder what the point of it all was. If it was to make us feel sorry for Ollie, then a few more weeks of him happy and in love would have done that better. 

But now he’s down in the dumps, as his stab at a normal life has been taken away before it had a chance to begin. He needs Tommy now more than ever, since he’s the only person in his life that exists in both of the worlds he’s currently straddling. Diggle and Felicity exist entirely in his Hood Cave, while Laurel and Thea are part of his mask. He has the opportunity to have a real friend in Tommy, but only if the feeling is mutual. Then again, once Malcolm’s identity as the Dark Archer comes to light, we’re all expecting Tommy to turn evil. 

I might sound overly negative about this episode, but it’s still great to have Arrow back on our telly screens. We’re back next week as a new vigilante with a penchant for social media starts stepping on Ollie’s toes. See you there.

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Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Dead To Rights, here.

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