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Debi Watches Arrow (sydht!) 1.08: Vendetta 
6th-Dec-2012 02:35 pm
dc

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.

My goodness, this episode was dull, uninteresting, and failed to live up to all the potential set up last week. I didn’t even have L to watch it with this week, so the boredom had to be suffered all on my own.

Okay, so after sleeping with Oliver at the end of the last episode, Helena gets out of bed and leaves Ollie behind, riding to a dark and mysterious alley where China White and some Triad guys are getting into a car. Helena raises her gun to shoot, and is interrupted by Ollie jumping on her from a rooftop. The gun goes off and the Triad are warned, and start shooting at the both of them. Everyone escapes and Helena starts yelling at Ollie. Her plan was to kill the leader of the Triad – Zhi Shan – in order to instigate a war between the Mafia and the Triad. With all the Mafia men she’s been taking out recently, that would guarantee destruction for her father.

Ollie is shocked someone could come up with a plan that even he would consider batshit insane.

They argue about the difference between justice and revenge, but hey are empty arguments. And Ollie has the bright idea of going for a Big Belly Burger! Carly is there, and not entirely happy about serving them. Probably because the place is actually closed and all the other chairs are on the tables. Ollie has the audacity to call it the second date, even though it’s only an hour after they slept together, and the ‘first’ date was a business deal. Anyway, he thinks it’s appropriate second date behavior to lecture about how the way he kills people is different from the way she kills people, and then to invite her back to the Arrow Cave, because he thinks that she can have her revenge on her father without accidentally shooting people’s mothers.

Oliver Queen’s definition of Justice: Revenge without collateral damage.

She says no, and he goes back to the Arrow Cave for some topless brooding time. Topless brooding time is interrupted by Diggle, who asks him about last night, when Ollie had gone off to stop Helena and instead Helo and dudes ended up dead. Ollie explains that he and Helena went on a killing spree then slept together. Diggle’s response to Ollie sleeping with someone as kill-happy as Oliver himself is a round WTF. Oh and also, he points out, gang war.

Oliver is convinced that it’s more important he SAVE HELENA FROM HERSELF.

Interlude at Queen Manor, where Walter is on his way to work, and Moira suggests that maybe they want to talk about the yacht thing, and how she was trying to keep him safe. Walter and Moira are adorable and they agree to be honest with each other from now on. Then Thea wants a lift to school and Walter gets to be adorable dad to his step daughter..

I love Walter. I hope he doesn’t die.

At Bertinelli Manor, Helena comes down stairs to see Helo’s wife standing and crying in the hallway to Frank. Mrs. Helo leaves, Frank threatens ‘the guy who did this,’ and the doorbell rings again. It’s Oliver, but he’s not here to talk business, he’s here to publicly ask Helena out in front of her father.

OLLIE NO. Rule of superhero dating: if your codenames are dating, your secret identities can’t be seen together!

Alright, no one in the history of superheros keeps this rule, but they should, dammit.

Rule of general dating: if one of you says no, especially if it was just two scenes ago, you respect that.

Ollie’s idea of a great third date is to go to a graveyard and show Helena Sara’s grave. Because, um. Because once you’ve stalked a girl to her fiance’s grave it’s only polite to show her the grave of your ex-girlfriend’s sister with whom you cheated on that girlfriend.

He gives Helena a speech about how he was a horrible person who cheated on women and this is why Sara’s dead and Helena’s on an island too and – I have really no idea. NO IDEA AT ALL. Helena tries to tell him to back away by reminding him that the love of her life was murdered and OBVIOUSLY she’s not finished getting over that, but Ollie chooses not to listen.

Another rule of dating: if you dismiss “my last boyfriend was murdered” with “I would never hurt you,” you deserve to be punched in the face.

This time she does go back with him to the Arrow Cave and he tries to teach her archery, because he wants to teach her “control.” Then he gets distracted by showing off his archery skills. Really, it’s a scene about Ollie being awesome with a bow, which I’d usually welcome, but this is supposed to be an episode about Helena. All this does is highlight how incompetent they’ve made Helena in the show (remember the line last week about the shooter being an amateur?) and how shiny and sparkly Ollie’s magic bowskills are. Also, that bows are more JUSTICE than guns.

Oliver Queen’s definition of Justice: Revenge with a bow.

When it’s time to resume the lecture about JUSTICE, Ollie gets out his book and shows it to Helena. She recognizes the name Anthony Venza as a drug dealer who works for Frank.

They’re interrupted by Diggle wandering in, and Ollie introduces them both by name.

Ollie: “Diggle’s my…”

Me: “FRIEND. Say FRIEND, Ollie. You’re allowed to have one.”

Ollie: “…associate.”

Diggle is coldly rude to Helena, and she storms out, leaving the boys to argue about the stupidity of telling names to the killer ladies. Also with sleeping with killer ladies. Also with generally being Oliver Queen.

“You’re like a dope fiend,” says Diggle, “who thinks he can deal with his own addiction by making another addict go straight.”

Diggle always speaks the truth. Always. I would REALLY LIKE Oliver to listen to him at some point, please.

Because the Helena/Ollie story line is driving me so nuts, I’m relieved when we cut to Laurel and Tommy at her office. Tommy has reservations for the opening night at a ridiculously expensive restaurant, something that worries Laurel, because he’s broke. They remember that Ollie is opening that nightclub thing, and hey, maybe Tommy should work for him, because her knows nightclubs. He tells Laurel he’ll talk to Ollie later.

Even better than Laurel/Tommy is the Grown Ups’ Plot! Felicity Snoak walks straight into Walter’s office to talk about Tempest. When he says that’s all been resolved, she denies it. She’d continued to investigate the money transfer and discovered that someone else had been tracking it. Someone really good who managed to leave nearly no trace of their presence in Queen Consolidated’s system.

Well, except an image file.

I’m not much of computer hacker, but can someone explain to me exactly how you can hack into a system, track a money order, and erase all trace of your existence while accidentally leaving an image file behind? Or is that a deliberate mark, and the Squiggle Organization are just being ridiculous?

Anyway, this is the symbol from Ollie’s book, but Walter doesn’t know that. He tells Felicity to butt out of his wife’s affairs, thank you.

Ollie has invited Helena back to the Arrow Cave for a mission to go after Venza, take down a part of the Mafia, and not kill anyone, because at some point off screen he decided killing people was bad? I dunno, I’m going with it because I wanted him to have this arc, I just don’t think they’re doing it all that well right now. But he’s got presents for her: a crossbow, because “guns are a weapon of emotion and unpredictability” (what) and an outfit!

“Does it come in purple?” Helena asks, and Ollie presses a button on his computer.

They’re going out tonight in this, guys. Ollie can change the color of a real life, already made outfit with the click of a mouse button, but he needs Felicity Snoak to hack a laptop. Just so we’re clear on that.

Note for Non-Comics Readers: Huntress’ signature weapon is a crossbow, and she has always, in all incarnations, worn purple. Never has the crossbow been ‘because I suck at REAL archery.’

In the bad guys’ lair, Venza explains to his goons that what he’s dealing isn’t crack, but high quality oxycodone, for the target audience of rich kids at fancy parties. So – Thea, in other words. Thea who has had one scene so far and will not appear in any others this episode. Thea, Ollie’s sister. I wish they made a bigger deal of him going after the dealers that prey on her and her friends.

Anyway. Manninnahood and Womaninnatrenchcoat show up, give their dramatic ‘you have failed this city’ speech and proceed to a cool fight scene.

Fun fact: I own a trenchcoat that looks just like that and could probably cosplay this Huntress tonight if I could find a crappy looking mask.

Helena is shown to be actually really competent with the crossbow, which would be nice except that we’ve already spent so much time highlighting her incompetence, so it just looks like crossbows are really easy. they take down the bad guys, no one dies, and the cops come to shut it down.

Not Quentin or his partner. They are officers Not Appearing In This Episode.

Ollie tells Helena that her father’s suffered a hit to his operation and no one is dead. Justice.

Oliver Queen’s definition of Justice: Revenge without killing.

They kiss, but I’ve stopped shipping it so I don’t even care.

Afterwards, Helena meets her dad in his bar and he comments on how beautiful and happy she looks and how he likes that.

Meanwhile, Moira has to leave Walter because she’s got an art museum thing.

Line of the week:  ”I don’t know much about art, but I know how to pay for it.”

Left on his own, Walter starts looking through Moira’s things until he finds a box in a clock with the Symbol on it in the form of a clear bronze plaque. The Squiggle Organization suck at secrecy, but they sure have style. in the box, he finds a book. In the book: empty pages.

Tommy and Laurel are at the fancy restaurant, where they have been waiting half an hour to be seated. This isn’t exactly long for New York City, but maybe it’s ridiculous in Starling City. Tommy doesn’t have enough money to bribe the maitre d’ and so they wait. Until Ollie and Helena show up, and then it’s awkward! Well, for the boys. The girls are cheerful and polite and Helena invites them to share their table.

They chat about old times at the table and Laurel asks about the nightclub, in which it comes out that Tommy hasn’t asked Oliver for a job, yet. In that conversation, their history as exes comes up, and Helena isn’t happy. As shes reacting to that news, Tommy storms out and Laurel follows.

He’s unhappy, it seems, with the whole ‘asking Ollie for help,’ and that comes down heavily on the side of insecurity and jealousy. He accuses Laurel of always looking for a White Knight (proving he’s not been watching the same show I have for two months),

Out of a completely different door, Helena is also storming out, and Oliver is following, trying to apologize for – I don’t think he’s sure what. Helena rants at him about him still being in love with Laurel because she can see it in his eyes and he promised he wouldn’t hurt her and this is exactly like her fiance being murdered. And she’s DONE TALKING, and continues to storm off.

I don’t expect Helena to be stable or ready to date right now, but the show is doing its best to paint her as just another Crazy Woman. Sigh.

To prove that Laurel/Tommy is the stable couple here, Tommy goes over to Laurel’s apartment to apologize for his insecurity and outburst and how nervous he is of losing her, because now he’s broke he’s got nothing and she actually works for what she has and she’s way to good for him.

(She is. Way too good for him. She and Diggle still need to have their own show.)

In turn, she apologizes for pushing him to work for Oliver and says she thought working for him would be a good idea because they’re best friends. And that his losing his fortune doesn’t affect how she feels about him and they’re going to be supportive of each other because they’re a couple now.

Talking of apologizing to your SO: Ollie goes home to the Arrow Cave to apologize to Diggle (who I guess lives there now? IDK). Anyway, they both agree that Helena is a crazy lady and cannot be helped. They don’t just gendered terms, but I can’t help squinting at this scene somewhat. The show’s not really done a particularly good job of explaining why Helena’s supposed to be so much crazier than Oliver at this point.

Anyway, the Triad are playing cards, Womaninnatrenchcoat marches in with guns, SYMBOLIC of her descent into emotion and crazy ladyhood. Zhi shan quotes Confucius (may not actually be Confucius, my Google search was inconclusive) at her: “when you seek revenge dig two graves,” because a) he’s Chinese and all Chinese people quote Confucius and b) he MAGICALLY KNEW she was after revenge, I don’t even know. She kills him. And tells one of the survivors “hello from Frank!”

Walter changes his mind about having Felicity investigate things for him, and gives her the notebook, asking her to – um, use her hacking skills and hack into the notebook? Paper is like computers, right? He does have the good manners to warn her about what happened to Josiah Hudson, however, and she decides that she just wants to crack the puzzle.

Predictably, the Triad retaliate by showing up at Bertinelli mansion with a rampage in mind. They kill a couple of people and then Oliver turns up and starts killing them. Frank’s response to having his castle seiged is to run to a safe and get out a laptop. Which I get is the Laptop of Macguffin, but I still don’t know why he went for it. China White is about to kill Frank, but Oliver takes her down with an arrow to the leg, before going back to his obviously killing of unnamed characters.

Oliver Queen’s definition of Justice: only killing people you don’t know the name of?

Everyone is dying except Frank, who takes the Laptop of Macguffin and runs into the grounds, where he encounters his daughter! And a crossbow, from which she fires a bolt into her father’s leg. Speech about payback blah blah everything taken from me blah blah betrayal by family blah blah. Ollie shoots the crossbow out of her hand and they fight hand to hand.

At this point I am too bored to take screencaps, sorry.

While they’re fighting, Frank finds her crossbow and shoots her in the shoulder. And I get really mad ’cause I worried they were going to  do this whole “Helena can’t be saved by Ollie so she has to die!” storyline. Luckily, they don’t. He brings her back to the Arrow Cave and gives her a lecture about how she just doesn’t get it, and will never understand his pain!

“You think that just because you’ve killed you understand what it’s like to have blood on your hands.” <– actual quote.

Ollie is the MOST TRAUMATIZED, and no one gets to take that special little crown away from him. Not his friend who is an Afghanistan veteran, not his lover whose fiance was murdered for something she did. Not ANYONE, okay?

He tells her that the police found the laptop, and that Frank’s going to be put away for the rest of his life. This is Justice.

Oliver Queen’s definition of Justice: I don’t even know anymore!

Wouldn’t it be nice if Ollie was actually shown making this journey for himself, rather than being inconsistent with how he lectures people?

Helena tells him to get lost. Ollie says “everything I’ve done, I did because I care about you.”

I try to think of one thing this cold refer to, and fail miserably. Helena says she can’t say the same, which I guess is because she’s not a lying bastard.

Oliver deals with this by going to Big Belly Burger and ordering chilli cheese fries with jalapenos. Diggle turns up because Carly called him, and it is heavily implied that she took one look at Ollie ordering comfort food and ordered the only decent person she knows in that dude’s life.

Diggle tells Ollie that love shouldn’t ‘changing or saving a person’ but about finding someone who you can already love. He glances at Carly there, which makes me distinctly uncomfortable – there are too many men ending up with the ex of their dead or presumed dead best friend in this show already. But Diggle is proud of his man making some progress in being a human being, so that’s okay, right?

Walter is at his desk working when Felicity walks in, turns the lights out and tells him she has something to show him, but only in the dark. She hands him back the book and a pair of high tech goggles from Applied Sciences (that division that doesn’t exist yet because they’re still negotiating with contractors.)

These goggles are “able to pick up the subvisible variations in the UV spectrum. He looks through them at the book and BAM. Names.

Hey, Felicity, even assuming this book is invisibled using different chemistry from Ollie’s and that therefore, matches wouldn’t work, you do realize a blacklight would have been cheaper, right?

Frank Bertinelli’s name is conveniently on the List. The rest of the names I don’t recognize.

THE END.  Except for a touching scene between Tommy and Oliver in which Tommy finally admits he’s been cut off by his father, and Ollie offers access to his own money. Tommy turns this down and settles for a job at the nightclub. Which works, because I’m sure someone was going to worry about this nightclub never appearing. They are adorable. They even hug. Tommy is growing on me. He even asks after Helena, and Oliver admits they fell out.

“But I have a feeling I will be seeing her again.”

Cut to Helena riding out of Starling City on her motorcycle, and we’re done!

Ugh, such a boring episode, that would have been so good, if they ever put any words that made sense into Ollie’s mouth.

Sort it out, show.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

Opinions 
7th-Dec-2012 04:21 am (UTC)
Spot-on review!

So in this magical show that stars Laurel and Diggle, can Felicity Smoak come along for the ride? I love her!

And Justin Hartley can step in as Ollie. (minus the season 8 and beyond broody BS) That would be lovely.

I want to like this show so much. I do like it in some ways but there is so much ridiculousness and inconsistencies. And I'm happy that they chose Helena Bertinelli, but they could have handled the character so much better.
10th-Dec-2012 01:11 am (UTC)
I have no attachment to Justin Hartley - every time I tuned into Smallville I wasn't a huge fan of his interpretation of the character.

But eh, I feel that if Ollie's just not in the show, it'll be an awesome show. Laurel and Joanna do Law! Diggle does actual crimefighting! Walter is excellent and Felicity Smoak does hacking. :)
10th-Dec-2012 03:47 am (UTC)
I would be okay with a show without Justin Hartley too though I did like his take on Oliver. Hated that they changed Ollie's look so much but liked that Justin brought a humor to the role. Though in the later seasons, the route they took Oliver was melodramatic crap. But that's sort of the curse of the Smallville full-time cast member I think.

And I want a show where Laurel dons the fishnets and does crimefighting too! My ideal show would involve Laurel and Helena kicking ass with Felicity playing an Oracle-type character. Throw some Lady Blackhawk and Batgirl in there and I would be a very happy fangirl.
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