Arrow episode 20 review: Home Invasion

Arrow returns with another guest star, and another disappointing damsel-in-distress scenario for Laurel. Here's Caroline's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.20 Home Invasion

It feels as if Arrow has been away from our screens for far too long, but now we have a direct line to the finale over three consecutive weeks. This return from the show served to push characters in the directions they were already edging towards, isolate Oliver even more, and set up Roy Harper’s transition into Red Arrow: Superhero Apprentice.

The big news for geeks in Home Invasion is the J. August Richards (Angel) guest spot as villain of the week, Mr Blank. He does a good job as the creepy assassin after Laurel and the little boy in her care and, frankly, it’s just nice to see him again. Oliver’s case of the week is the first to truly combine his two lives, mainly due to Tommy’s awareness of what he’s really getting up on his ‘business meetings’ (“I just need to swing by the club and pick up my best suit”), but this causes renewed friction between him and Diggle when he fails to come through on a promise.

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In truth, his two worlds are characterised by Laurel and Diggle, and he finally decides which side of himself means more to him this week. It’s not the outcome the fans are likely to approve of – I certainly don’t – and it causes Diggle to walk away from life at Oliver’s side. It’s simply a continuation of their argument last week but, by not showing up to a promising and meticulously-planned set-up for Deadshot, he finally showed where his loyalties lie. Neither target was someone on his list, and the decision came down to whom he values the most. Even superheroes think with their downstairs brain sometimes.

To get to this point, the love triangle has to come to the forefront again. It’s all very Smallville, especially when we’re spending so much time in the Queen/Luther mansion towards the end of the episode, and I really could care less with whom Laurel ends up. Tommy astutely deduces that Laurel would choose Oliver without a second thought should she learn of his secret identity as The Hood, and I have to say that this hypothetical situation would be the only thing that could liven up this tired storyline. I know some people are coming to the show for the relationship drama, but I’d guess a large portion of us just aren’t interested.

It’s also annoying to see yet another episode that has Laurel targeted and attacked in her home. She stands up for herself just enough to be called feminist, but ultimately fails so that Oliver can literally swoop in and save her. Either let her take care of herself – we’re meant to assume she’ll one day become Black Canary, after all – or stop putting a target on her. She’s even maternally protecting a child here and, added to the fact that two men are childishly fighting over her, she’s becoming too much like a damsel for my liking. Hopefully Tommy’s callous break-up speech will shake her into tapping into some of that kick-ass potential.

Meanwhile, Roy was pursuing his fascination with The Hood by stealing a police radio and following any leads he thought might lead him to his idol. Quentin put him down by, after leading him down a blind alley, showing him the twnety-six bodies that have come to the morgue as a result of Oliver’s night-time antics. It’s a high enough number to make him back off, but I suspect his belief that most of them deserved it will lead him to Ollie’s door before the season is out. Will Thea be with him when he decides to suit up? That would be awesome, but it’s likely that the show will tease it out a little longer than that.

Next week we’ll see the return of Malcolm, presumably with a darker Tommy in tow, and Felicity gets involved in Oliver’s mission. I’ll see you there!

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Unfinished Business, here.

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