Arrow – 1.07 – Muse of Fire, or This Is Actually A Good Thing And Let Me Tell You Why

Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver QueenDisclaimer: I haven’t seen the new episode yet. I wanted to get this completed and published before the new episode aired, but it looks like I’m about half a day behind schedule. All the same I decided to post it as soon as I finished it. So if some of what I speculate about seems a little odd given whatever happens in 1.08, please know that it is because I have not seen it yet.

Just a quick note: “muse of fire” is a reference to Shakespeare’s Henry V. The chorus calls for a “Muse of fire, that would ascend, The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act, And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!” So, there’s two parts here – the invocation for a muse – an inspiration – and the need to act/lie.)

Oh, and just for reference, my previous recaps: episode 1, episode 2, episode 3, episode 4, episode 5, episode 6.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (6)Friends, I’m sure some of you are hurting right now. Watching Oliver fall for a woman that isn’t Thea, kiss a woman that isn’t Thea, open up to a woman that isn’t Thea – well, it’s not a spoonful of sugar, that’s for sure. But I think if you stick with me, I’ll be able to make you feel a little better about it.

The episode opens with a phone conversation between Oliver and Thea. SCORE. He’s driving through the city on his motorcycle, and stops, in what looks to me like the very middle of the street (although I realize it’s just an enormous shoulder), removes his helmet, and answers the phone.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (1) Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (2) Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (3) - Thea It’s Thea! She’s reclined on the couch at home, looking pretty inviting if you know what I mean, so I wish he could see her. (School uniforms have become so sexualized in pop culture that I really can’t look at Thea wearing hers without thinking that she had might as well be wearing lingerie. I guess I might feel differently if I had gone to a school where the students wore uniforms.)

Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (4)Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (5)Thea has been tasked with reminding Oliver that he is supposed to pick their mother up for lunch. This is news to Oliver; he has apparently missed five calls from their mother. Weird that he picked right up when Thea called him. (Wish I could say he knew it was her calling, but it doesn’t seem like he did.)

“Just bite the bullet and have a Cobb salad with the woman,” Thea urges, though Oliver hasn’t actually said that he doesn’t want to have lunch with Moira.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (6) - Thea

Oliver snarks back that sometimes it’s hard to remember which one of them is his mother.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (7) Queencest GIF Ha. I feel like I should have something deep to say about that comment, but I’ve actually got nothing.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (8) Queencest

I just really love the way Stephen Amell plays Oliver, especially when he’s interacting with Thea. When Oliver is frustrated with her, or even when he’s bantering with her playfully like in this part but there’s just the slightest hint of frustration, you can really feel how fantastic it would be if they would both just convert their frustration to lust and get it on already. They have legitimate frustrations with each other, so I don’t mean to imply that it’s all jut sexual tension and an angry form of foreplay. But come on. There’s so much heat just boiling under the surface.

This must be a very late lunch, since it would seem that Thea is already done with school for the day.

I really like this continuity from last episode, where we saw Oliver trying to repair his relationship with Moira, and we saw her trying to reach out to him.

This episode is very plot heavy, but a lot of it is necessary to introduce our new character Helena Bertinelli, and her father.

We see Moira meeting with a man who is hoping to convince her to give the construction contract for the new Queen Consolidated Applies Sciences center to his company, but Moira refuses.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (9) - Moira Not long after Oliver pulls up to wait for her, another person on a motorcycle drives by and shoots in Moira’s direction, killing the man she is speaking with.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (10)

Moira falls to the ground, but she is not shot. Oliver rushes over to her, checks to make sure that she’s not in mortal danger, and then chases after the shooter unsuccessfully. A+ effort, though.Arrow - Muse of Fire - A - Oliver Queen (11)

We cut to the hospital that night, where Dr. Lamb, the same doctor we saw in 1.01 before Oliver returned home, is checking up on Moira. Oliver is by her bedside, asking again if she is OK, while Thea stands in the doorway. Thea tells her mother that she was unable to get a hold of Walter.

Moira has a “grade 2 concussion”, which means she can go home, but has to be monitored constantly.

Oliver apologizes to Moira for leaving, he thought she was fine. Moira thinks he’s a real idiot for chasing down some drive by shooter. No kidding, from her POV. He says he wanted to get the license plate, and does a pretty good job of looking a little bashful about trying to be a hero.

We get a reaction shot from Thea: little sister isn’t buying this story.

They hug, and Oliver’s face, once he’s no longer being observed, makes it pretty clear that he is seeing red.Arrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest

Awwwwwwww. Someone has vengeance on his mind.

Thea is ready to ream him in the hallway. She wants to know if Oliver got the license plate – which he didn’t.Arrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (1) - GIF

Arrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (2) - GIFArrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (3) - GIF“Maybe you should spend a little less time trying to be a hero: you’re obviously not very good at it.”

Oooh. Burn.

And she means the full force of her insult. She is not happy right now.Arrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (4)

“That’s cute,” Oliver says. Arrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (5) - GIF

And he’s got to be a little bit amused underneath his mask, because Oliver can say that he’s not a hero, but we all know that Oliver Queen has got so much ego that he actually has to funnel it into an alter ego.

He’s said “that’s cute” to her before, if you’ll recall. And Laurel has said it to Tommy. Must be a favorite line in the writer’s room.

Oliver senses that Thea isn’t very pleased with him, so he tries to play it light, but Thea isn’t having any of that: “I wasn’t trying to be. You left Mom in the street. Alone, and hurt. In the street. To get a license plate?”

Well, first of all: Moira wasn’t really in the street. She wasn’t even really on the sidewalk. But I guess in the loosest sense of “in the street”, she was. And second of all: Oliver did check on Moira first, and getting the license plate is not a bad idea. But, even taking all of that into consideration, I’m still inclined to side ultimately with Thea. She’s got an emotional intelligence in this situation.

Oliver might not have done the wrong thing, exactly, but his instinct was to pursue the assailant rather than care for his mother, and Thea doesn’t like that, and neither do I. Whatever the facts of the situation, Thea sees clearly that Oliver isn’t putting his family absolutely first. And that’s all that she wants.

Oliver has learned the “kicked puppy” look from his friend Tommy, and seems quite devastated when he asks, “You don’t believe me?”Arrow - Muse of Fire - B - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (6) Of course, acting offended and shifting blame onto the other party is one of the most celebrated ways to distract from and get away with a lie, so I find it hard to believe that he’s actually hurt and not just manipulating her. Bad Oliver! Bad puppy!

“I love you,” she says. It’s not the first time she’s prefaced a criticism with that disclaimer. “Mom loves you. But it’s getting hard when you won’t be truthful with us.”

Honestly, I find that a little harsh. I doubt she’s actually finding it hard to love Oliver just because she knows he’s lying to her. Harder to like him, maybe. I can see that. I do love that she blew right through his attempted diversion and stayed the course. He can be as good of a liar as he wants to be, but Thea is connecting with him on an emotional level and she is seeing through a lot of his bullshit. In fact, Laurel is the only one he has lied to during an emotional moment who has fully believed what he said.

Well, Thea goes back into the hospital room without waiting for him to say anything else, and he leaves, thoughtful and troubled.

He runs into Quentin and his partner Detective Lucas Hilton (who appeared in 1.06 despite Quentin’s absence), who inform Oliver that the intended target was actually the man Moira had been speaking to and not Moira, part of a series of hits on mobsters.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (1) Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (2) Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (3)We cut back to town, where Laurel is working in her apartment. She hears the doorbell ring, and answers it, to see a pizza delivery guy and Tommy holding a take-out bag both standing out in her hallway. Tommy jokes that technically he got there first, which I thought was really funny and just the whole thing was hilarious.

Laurel’s pretty stoked about the olive and mushroom pizza from Mario’s that she had delivered (I don’t like olives or mushrooms, so I’ll pass, thanks), but Tommy, because she thought she would be at home working and hungry (both rightly so), has brought her spicy tuna on crispy rice from Toro’s Sushi. (I also don’t like sushi. But for Tommy Merlyn I would love the hell out of sushi.)Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (4)

Laurel is being a little flirty with him, and much more receptive than we have seen her so far. EXCELLENT. She begrudgingly admits that she would rather have the sushi, and the pizza gets put in the fridge for another time. “Damn you, Merlyn! I hope sushi is all you had in mind.”

But Tommy does have something he wants to ask her: “Will you go out with me?”Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (5) Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (6)

Awwww, he’s asking her out on a real date! Though the trip to Coast City would have been a real date, don’t you think?

Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (7) Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (8) Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (9) Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (10)“You brought me dinner to ask me to dinner?” she asks.

“Well, I also did throw you a really big charity gala,” he points out.

“See, I thought you threw it for the hundreds of people it would benefit.”

Oops. “Hundreds of people, plus one more,” he amends.

He walks over to her, and she’s laughing nervously, because I think there’s still a part of her that thinks she needs to get out of it, somehow.Arrow - Muse of Fire - C - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance GIF (11) Arrow - Muse of Fire - D - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (12)

“I get it,” he says, to reassure her. “I mean, this is all happening for us out of order. First we’re friends for many years, and then briefly we are friends with benefits – extremely excellent benefits – and now I’m just hoping that we can be two people sitting at the same restaurant, at the same table, at the same time. So when I say it like that it doesn’t sound so scary, does it?”Arrow - Muse of Fire - D - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (13) Arrow - Muse of Fire - D - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (14)

I love how patient he is with her. And he understands all of her reluctance.

Well, she looks him over in a way that makes it pretty clear that she has decided to say yes.Arrow - Muse of Fire - D - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (15)

Woohoo! Let this ride begin.

It’s beyond ridiculous that we haven’t seen these two kiss yet.

John Diggle arrives at the lair to find Oliver working out his emotions. John Diggle, who has a certain emotional intelligence like Thea, thinks that Oliver ought to maybe take the day off, but Oliver has a lead on the shooter: the intended target, Caponi, works for Frank Bertinelli, a construction magnate and mob boss. Oliver decides to get on the inside.

Diggle says, “So let me get this straight: your mother is shot at – nearly killed – and the way you process this emotionally is by going undercover with the mob.”

“I’m not trying to process it emotionally,” Oliver responds. And there you have it. A summary of Oliver Queen.Arrow - Muse of Fire - E - Oliver Queen shirtless

“Yeah, well, maybe that’s your problem, man,” Dig responds. “Have you thought about just being there for your family?”

“I tried that today with Thea,” Oliver replies.Arrow - Muse of Fire - E - Oliver Queen shirtless (1) “She told me I wasn’t being honest with her. And she’s right. I can’t very well explain to her that I left our mother alone and bleeding on the pavement because I am fast enough to almost run down the attacker.”

You know, this is one time where I might say, “Why don’t you just tell her, Ollie?”, except honestly, I think even if she had known, Thea still would have been angry with him.

At least he can admit that he came out of that conversation with Thea with the moral lowground.

I think what he’s saying here, again, really sums him up. He makes a middling effort with the family, finds it to be hard, so he retreats into his vigilante world. I think his decision to keep the secret from them and to let his lies drive him so far apart from them is emotional laziness and fear. He’s afraid to be close to them again.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - E - Oliver Queen shirtless (2) Arrow - Muse of Fire - E - Oliver Queen shirtless (3) Arrow - Muse of Fire - E - Oliver Queen shirtless (4)“But what I can do is protect my family. And Diggle, when I find out who this guy is? He’s a dead man.”

Awwwww. I love this super protectiveness coming out of him.

Well, it is revealed to us that the shooter is actually a woman! She has a nefarious board of pictures, and she puts a big X over the faces of the dead ones. A little melodramatic. I’ve always found that silly. First of all, it’s like a smoking gun if the police or whoever ever find her little hideout. And secondly: what’s the point. It’s not like she’s going to forget that she’s killed him.Arrow - Muse of Fire - E (2)

Arrow - Muse of Fire - E (3)Now, I had seen spoilers since the very beginning of the season about “The Huntress”, and I intuited immediately that she would be a love interest for Oliver that started out as an antagonist. She does come from the comics, but I haven’t done any research about that. (Feel free to inform me in the comments.) After watching the pilot, I was sort of excited about this Huntress gal, because I didn’t like Laurel and Oliver, and would rather have Laurel with Tommy anyway. So she seemed like a more entertaining alternative to the inevitability of Laurel and Oliver. And I LOVE Batman/Catwoman, so even if this was a complete copy of that idea, I was on board. But then we met Felicity, and I decided that I loved the idea of her and Oliver so much that I was no longer open to this costumed/vigilante love interest.

When she pulled off her helmet, and we saw her face, and her stupid board, I was still very much opposed.

Back at Queen Manor, Thea is bounding down the stairs, all dressed up.Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest

“Speedy, where are you going?” Oliver demands, catching up with her as he comes down the parallel staircase. If he was already at the house, I don’t know why he didn’t find her earlier? He could have walked in on her while she was changing, or something delightful like that.

“Clubbing,” she says, “Which is difficult to do in your house, and not at an actual club.” OK, but did she see Oliver’s jail party? Pretty much as good as a club.

“I have to go out tonight,” Oliver admits, in a tone that makes it clear that he knows he’s putting her out. “I thought you’d be watching Mom.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (1)

Thea frowns. “I spent the whole day with her,” she points out. They never really showed us this, but apparently it’s now the following day. “I thought you were taking the night shift.”

“I’m sorry, but this thing? It’s important.” Ha. I’m sure Oliver says that every single time. Because every single time he thinks it’s important and urgent. More important than being with his family. And even though this is about avenging their mother, it’s not like he’s going to be able to make Thea understand that she would agree about the importance of this “thing” as opposed to the importance of all the other “things”.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (2) GIFThea sighs. I’d say she takes it well, but I think that instead of chewing him out, she just sadly accepts his deficiencies. “You know, Ollie, sometimes I just don’t get you. And by sometimes, I mean ever.”

“You’re actually not the first person to say that to me today,” Oliver tells her.

“Why am I not surprised?”Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (3)

This is all just so sad.

It’s clear that Oliver is feeling very misunderstood, and Thea is feeling very lied-to.

Well, as it is his wont to do, Tommy strolls right on in through the front door. The first thing he does is look at Thea and say, “Oh, nice dress, where are you headed?” Um, Tommy…REMEMBER LAST EPISODE? Maybe this is not such a good idea. Her dress is very short, and you don’t want to “confuse” her again.Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (4)

It is a nice dress, though. I’m not crazy about the necklace, but gold is good color on Willa.

“Upstairs, apparently,” she responds annoyedly, turning around and returning upstairs.Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (5) GIF

I’m kind of disappointed that this little exchange between Tommy and Thea didn’t hint at all about what happened last episode. I wonder if they had been alone if something might have come. I’m sure Thea is eager to put that in the past, but I can see Tommy, who is actually quite good at communicating, wanting to bring it up again to reassure her before putting it to rest for good.

“Long story,” Oliver tells Tommy as Thea leaves, to explain why she isn’t in a great mood.Arrow - Muse of Fire - F - Oliver Queen Thea Queencest (6)

Oliver, of course, is on his way out, just like last time Tommy came over to talk to him. I can actually see Tommy deciding that Oliver disappearing is getting out of hand before his family does. At least his family actually does see him sometimes.

“Hey, I heard about your mom, is she all right?” Tommy asks, chasing Oliver into the next room.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn

Tommy needs to be a little bit more on the ball when it comes to Queens getting shot at. He didn’t come over after the shooting in 1.03, now he’s only coming over the next evening, when he’s actually there for another reason? Then again, we don’t see Laurel calling Oliver up to ask about Moira in this episode. So perhaps it’s not expected.

Oliver tells him that she’s resting, “more shaken up than anything”.

“I gotta run to this…business thing,” Oliver says. (Oliver almost sounds like he wants Tommy to know that that’s a lie.) “But I do appreciate you stopping by.”

“No problem. Just so long as your mom’s all right.”

“Yeah,” Oliver says, sort of awkwardly, and then begins to leave.

“Hey, one more thing,” Tommy adds, actually grabbing Oliver’s arm this time – which was a good idea. He takes a deep breath. Oh, Tommy. It’s OK. You can do it! “Mainly because I don’t want you to find this out from someone else – that someone else especially being Laurel – uh, we’re going to dinner. As in, a – uh, date.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (1)

Tommy is such a good friend. Laurel gave him so much crap about being a womanizer, but honestly, Tommy maintains the healthiest relationships on the show. In fact, Tommy and Thea seem like a really good match in an emotional needs way, though I find the actual personality dynamics of the other pairings to be more interesting.

Oliver, as always, is hard to read.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (3) Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (2) I think he’s a little displeased at first, but when he says to Tommy, “That’s good”, it sounds to me like he really, truly, and genuinely means that.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (4) GIF Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (5)

“Laurel deserves someone special, and so do you.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (6) GIF

Awwww. What a perfect thing to say. A hug for Oliver!

Tommy smiles: “Thanks, man.” Even though they had that conversation back at Big Belly Burger in 1.03, you can still see how relieved Tommy is to have cleared the air with Oliver.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (7)

Oliver begins to leave again, and Tommy says, “I’ll catch you later,”, but then Oliver doubles back and says, “Oh, and, uh, Tommy: if you hurt her I’ll snap your neck.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (8) And Tommy looks absolutely terrified for a minute, and disturbed.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (9)

“I’m just kidding,” Oliver says.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (10)

And Tommy laughs.Arrow - Muse of Fire - G - Oliver Quen Tommy Merlyn (11)

Tommy seems to be laughing for real. So I’d like to take the cue from him and say that Oliver really was just joking around. But the way Stephen delivered the line, and even delivered the “I’m just kidding” really makes me wonder. I don’t think Oliver would actually snap his neck, of course, even though we have seen him snap a neck before. (Unless this is some sort of horrible foreshadowing of Villain!Tommy.) But the whole exchange makes it seem like Oliver puts Laurel first. I’m not saying he should be on Tommy’s side even if Tommy breaks Laurel’s heart. Oliver is coming from  place where he remembers Tommy as a shameless one-nighter and he knows that Laurel has been through hell already. It makes sense that he would give Tommy a warning. But he’s friends with both of them and singling Tommy out. Well, I don’t like it.

Plus, oh, hey, Oliver: YOU’RE THE ONE THAT CHEATED ON LAUREL. And I doubt you gave her some fantastic speech about omelets and “more than fun”.

Anyway, enough on that.

Oliver has en easy in with Frank Bertinelli because he already wants the contract on Queen Consolidated’s building project. So Oliver goes over to the Bertinelli house and pretends that he’s there to talk about the contract.

As he follows Frank in to the next room, he looks up to the top of the stairs and sees a beautiful woman in a pretty dress. It’s our shooter!Arrow - Muse of Fire - H - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli Arrow - Muse of Fire - H - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli (1) Arrow - Muse of Fire - H - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli (2)

Oliver is definitely intrigued from the start even though there’s no real reason for him to be, so she is set up as a love interest from the start.

But does this remind you of anything? Because it reminds me of something.

We cut back to Queen Manor, where Thea is up in Moira’s bed with her watching TV. Thea’s frustration with Oliver is very poorly veiled.

“Don’t be too harsh on your brother,” Moira says.

“Why not?” Thea whines. “I mean, aren’t you getting sick of his lies.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen

Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (3)Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (4)“Thea, everyone has secrets,” Moira replies. It was the right thing for her to say, since we know she’s got a mountain of them herself. “We all have things that we want to keep to ourselves.”I have to wonder what it is they all think he’s really doing.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (5)

Moira saying that makes Thea look a little naïve. Thea can begrudgingly admit that Moira is right, but she’s still not satisfied. “I just don’t get him sometimes,” she says.

Moira pulls Thea into her arms. “I know.” She reminds Thea of what Oliver has been through and that he has changed.Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (1)

“So what? He gets a free pass?”Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (6)

Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (7)“No, not at all. But I think we need to stop judging him for the Oliver he was, and start Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (8)accepting him for the Oliver that he is.”

Wise words from Moira, and they seem to sink in.Arrow - Muse of Fire - I - Thea Moira Queen (9)

Moira getting closer to her children is really doing wonders.

Back at Bertinelli Manor, I’m finding Frank incredibly charming, even the second time around when I know that he is through and through a bad dude (and even though he has a very weird accent). He asks Oliver why he returned to Starling City when he could have settled anywhere in the world, especially given Starling City’s downturn.

“Because Starling City is my home,” Oliver answers. I love that. I talked a lot in the entry  on 1.01 about Oliver feeling a guardianship of Starling City the way Bruce Wayne feels one for Gotham. And I just love the idea so much.

Well, pretty young lady crashes the meeting. “No matter which way you go or turn you always end up at home,” she interrupts, first saying it in Italian, and then translating.

Wow, she’s a match made in Heaven for Oliver with her language skills. They hit us right over the head with that idea.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - H - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli (3)Arrow - Muse of Fire - H - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli (4)Oliver is taken aback. Impressed. He makes no secret of the fact that he’s fascinated by her. It’s a divergence from his typically unreadable face.

Frank introduces his daughter, Helena. She was about to leave, but Frank was called into a mobster meeting, so he forces Oliver to go out to dinner with Helena to discuss the contract.

Neither Helena nor Oliver are thrilled with this.Arrow - Muse of Fire - H - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli (5)

Helena doesn’t think much of Oliver, she calls him “the rich man’s Lindsey Lohan” behind his back, and of course Oliver is trying to get to the bottom of this shooter business and doesn’t want to be wined and dined by the daughter. Oliver tries to get out of it, but Frank doesn’t really let him, especially not if Oliver wants to keep up his cover. Of course when Oliver finally agrees, he’s looking at Helena as though he  might actually enjoy it.

No, we don’t enjoy yet another girl distracting Oliver from Thea, but, from a character standpoint and not a ship standpoint, I am really enjoying seeing another side of Oliver. This isn’t the way he looks at Thea, or at Laurel, or at Felicity – it’s new and different.

Frank has gone to meet with China White and the Triad.Arrow - Muse of Fire - J Triad China White Kelly Hu I was glad to see them again after their brief appearance in 1.02. He thinks they’re responsible for the hits, though we know it’s actually Helena who has been taking out his men. Quentin was monitoring the meeting, and the “other families” are mentioned, which means we may be looking at a pretty serious mafia situation in Starling City that will hopefully come up in another episode. He also knows that if Bertinelli blames the Triad for trying to take down his operation, things are going to go to hell in a handbasket.Arrow - Muse of Fire - J (1) - Quentin Lance Paul Blackthorne

Well, we catch up with Helena and Oliver at the restaurant. I was truly scared that it was going to end up being the same restaurant where Tommy and Laurel were having dinner (even though in a city of that size such a coincidence would be pretty hard to swallow), but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

I don’t want to jot down Oliver and Helena’s conversation word for word, and yet I feel like almost all of it is relevant in some way. Essentially, she talks about how, because they belong to certain families, there are certain expectations for them, and others will view them with certain prejudices. Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (1)

Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (2)Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (3)Then she just dives right in and asks him if there is anything on the island that he misses.

And he admits to her that there is.  Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (4) Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (5)Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (7) Already he’s had a more honest conversation with Helena than anyone else that we’ve seen. And it’s pretty clear after he answers that they both understand that longing for freedom.

We don’t get to see the majority of Tommy and Laurel’s date. Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF (1) Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF (2) Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF (3)

But we do hear Tommy tell her that he wishes they had just met, and that “all of this was just beginning, and there wasn’t so much of me I’d wish you’d forget”.Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF (4) I hope we finally get to a point in this relationship where it isn’t just Tommy repeatedly pouring his heart out in painfully articulate ways. Well, last episode she said she owes him a dance. In this one she says that if he keeps saying nice things she’ll let him choose the restaurant. Wow, she really thinks she’s something special, doesn’t she? Why doesn’t she just auction off her used napkin from dinner? But at least this means she’s considering a second date.Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF (5)

But the happiness is not to last: Tommy’s credit card was declined and confiscated.

OH NO!

Not good.Arrow - Muse Of Fire - K - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance Date GIF (6)

When we move back to Helena and Oliver, their accidental date is going really well. Oliver is actually talking about things that are true. He’s sharing with her his frustrations and challenges. He tells that when people ask him what he missed most, he gives the answers that people expect. Helena asks why he can’t just tell the truth.

I KNOW, RIGHT?

“I don’t know how truthful I can be,” Oliver replies. Like that’s a satisfying answer.

Helena sees that he has “been through a crucible” and it changed him. She  knows what that is like.Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (8)

Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (9)Oliver is visibly disappointed to learn that her fiancé had given her the necklace that she’s wearing, but she informs him that said fiancé is dead.Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (10)

Dinner is interrupted by a call from Diggle, and Oliver has to go. Equal opportunity abandoner, Oliver Queen. He confesses to Helena that he hadn’t wanted to go out with her, but that he’s glad he did.   Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (11) Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (12) Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (13) Arrow - Muse of Fire - L - Oliver Queen Helena Bertinelli GIF (14)

Back at Queen Manor, Moira is paid a visit by the Well-Dressed Man. He says that Thea let him in, which is our first clue that he’s not just some shadowy, unknown figure. Not sure why their first two meetings were clandestine car meetings, but now that she’s visited him in his office, he’s visiting her at home.

On another note, shouldn’t Thea be with Moira and not wandering around downstairs?

Moira is not pleased to see the Well-Dressed Man. He’s in the mood for speechifying, so be begins by saying, “We used to be friends. I still remember that time. You, me, ………. …………………… …………… …………. and Robert.” There’s a pause before he says “and Robert” (though probably not as long of a pause as I have led you to believe), which makes me wonder how much “you and me” there was going on.Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - John Barrowman, Moira Queen Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - John Barrowman, Moira Queen (1)

Essentially, the Well-Dressed Man is worried that Moira’s brush with death has her reconsidering her “conviction” and her part in “Starling City’s future”, like Robert did. Moira assures him that nothing has changed. And he leaves, satisfied that he has seen that in her eyes.Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - John Barrowman, Moira Queen (3) Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - John Barrowman, Moira Queen (2)

She’s frightened of him. And I have to agree that the way he strolled right in to her room and then right back out again like a ghost was very menacing.

Oliver is annoyed with Dig for interrupting his date. But the police aren’t the only ones monitoring Frank Bertinelli – Dig has been following his movements, and it turns out that Frank’s right hand man and enforcer, Nick Salvati, is out collecting “protection money”.

Oliver is even more annoyed now: “Diggle, I’m trying to figure out who took a shot at my mother, not take on all of organized crime.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen LOL. Diggle is getting ambitious. I’m not sure if Oliver would have done anything, except that the next victim is the owner of the restaurant he and Helena were having dinner at, and Oliver is still right outside, and last we saw, Helena was still inside at their table.Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (1)

Nick Salvati is played by Tahmoh Penikett, and I did not enjoy seeing him play such a jerkface.Tahmoh Penikett

Diggle teases Oliver for being out at dinner with “Bertinelli’s daughter”. Even though Oliver says that he didn’t have a choice, Diggle has seen Helena’s picture and doesn’t think it was much of a “sacrifice”.

Well, Oliver arrives, in full Hood gear, just in time to stop Salvati from hurting the restaurant owner (Mr. Russo), but Helena is back as well in her motorcycle outfit from the beginning of the episode. Of course Oliver goes after her because she shot at his mother. But you can imagine his surprise when he pulls off the helmet and sees Helena underneath it.Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (2) She flees, leaving Oliver dazed and confused. Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (3)

He returns to the lair where he tries to figure things out with Diggle. He doesn’t understand why she’s targeting her own family. “And here I thought you had parental issues,” Diggle jokes. LOL. Good one, Dig. Oliver isn’t in the mood for jokes, which clues Diggle in to the fact that Oliver might be “falling for this girl”: “Because I know you can’t be that crazy,” he says, hoping it’s not true. LOL. He’s on a roll.

Diggle points out that Helena shot at Moira and has killed four other men in cold blood.

“She has to have reasons for what she’s doing,” Oliver argues. LOL. Oliver’s hypocrisy/crush is showing. EVERYONE HAS REASONS FOR WHAT THEY DO.

Diggle’s not gonna let that fly either: “Reasons? Since when do you care about the bad guys’ reasons? Oh, she is the bad guy, Oliver. She’s the killer. And whatever’s going on in your head – you better get it straight, man.”

Oliver knows that he’s right, you can see that on his face clearly enough.Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (4)

But in the end all he says is, “I know what I’m doing.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (5)

Diggle is amused/disappointed. “Now I know how your family feels when you lie to them.”Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (6) - John Diggle Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (7) - John Diggle

BURN.

Oliver just can’t help lying. Of course he lies to himself all the time, too. Equal opportunity liar, Oliver Queen. In fact, I’m not even quite sure that he realizes he’s making all of these exceptions because of how he feels about Helena.

When reviewing footage of the restaurant before the incident, Quentin sees that Oliver was there having dinner with Helena. He actually goes to Queen Manor and warns Oliver that he would be better off staying away from her and her family, because he feels like he owes him one after the false arrest. Of course, he isn’t very nice when he says it.Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (8) Arrow - Muse of Fire - M - Oliver Queen (9)

This reminds me of Moira declining to give Bertinelli the contract in the first place. Despite being involved with the shenanigans that got her involved with The List, I wonder if she’s trying to run a nice, clean business.

Well, now for probably the most exciting scene of the episode. Bird’s eye view of a giant house we’ve never seen before.Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn Now we cut to two people fencing, and Tommy walks up in a huff: “Can I talk to you?” he demands angrily. “Dad!”Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (1)

Well “Dad” is more interested in fencing. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little occupied at the moment.” Well, I know John Barrowman’s voice well enough to recognize it right away.Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (2)

THE WELL-DRESSED MAN IS TOMMY’S DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG OMG  OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!

I could not have been more excited.

Not only are we learning more about Tommy’s life, but his father turns out to be a huge reveal!

First of all: holy crap what a handsome family.

John Barrowman is actually only 15 years older than Colin Donnell, but Tommy is three years younger than Colin, and if we just age Mr. Merlyn up by a coupe of years it’s plausible.

Second: It seems inevitable that Tommy would have a family member on The List, but his Dad is the actual head cheese that has Moira quivering in her fashionable lace nightie. I’m so excited that Tommy’s connection to the Queens is being reinforced through this development. He’s being drawn more towards the middle of the show, rather than circling the outskirts as an underused regular. I feel like there’s this new-found equality.

Third: I should have realized right when the Well-Dressed Man began to make a speech that he was the father of the great speech-giver Tommy Merlyn. But can Daddy Merlyn throw a good party? It seems like he can, at the very least, throw a good yacht-sinking. Tommy’s going to need a good speech when it comes out that his Dad killed Oliver’s dad and Laurel’s sister.

Fourth: What if Daddy Merlyn and Moira had an affair, and Thea and Oliver are both actually Merlyn progeny, and then we can have an awesome incest OT3. It’s like all of my fantasies at once. It’s so beautiful I’m almost crying.

Fifth: I was getting a Harry Osborn vibe from Tommy in 1.01 and wow, we just made a huge, gigantic leap towards that. I want better for Tommy than that, but we’ll see.

I love the way Tommy is yelling at his father, like a petulant child.

Tommy reports that he has just been to see the accountant, and that all of his accounts are frozen, his credit cards were cancelled, etc.Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (3) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (4) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (5) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (6)

Daddy Merlyn says that he pays “Sandy” well, and if he says it’s so, then it’s so.Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (7).Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (8)Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (9)  WHAT AN ASSHOLE.

Poor Tommy:Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (10) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (11) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (12) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (13) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (14) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (15) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (16) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (17) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (18)Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (20)Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (21)    Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (22) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (23)Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (19) Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (24)

YOU DID NOT JUST SAY THAT ABOUT MY TOMMY!

Daddy Merlyn is not delivering this news in a gentle way. Although he never does explain “why now?”.

This guy is so…how can he…but that’s my…did he really just…NO!

How can you treat your own son like that? I can understand cutting him off, trying to teach him a lesson. But he doesn’t seem to love him at all.

I’M SO SAD RIGHT NOW. MY POOR TOMMY. NOT JUST LOSING ALL OF HIS MONEY, BUT HAVING THIS GUY FOR A FATHER?

We’ve got another character with parental issues, apparently.

I’m not going to lie: guys with daddy issues are actually my favorite thing. Though I like it when the daddys in question are a little greyer than this. Daddy Merlyn was spit forth from the bowels of hell. He’s all black.

Tommy glares at him in a way that makes me scared. ACTUAL SERIAL KILLER TOMMY MERLYN.Arrow - Muse of Fire - N = John Barrowman, Tommy Merlyn (25)

Do not come between Tommy and his money.

Or is Tommy more upset that his father is EVIL, and not about the money as much?

I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOMMY MERLYN? Where is she? What was she like? Please tell me she loved him and mollycoddled him.

And what about Merlyn siblings, eh? I could totally get behind Tommy having some femme fatale sister, her father’s daughter. I think I’d for once prefer it if he didn’t have a brother, though.

So, my first thought was: bring on evil Tommy. I want him to kill is father and take all of his money. Or better yet, fake his father’s death, and keep his father chained up in the basement, and then just occasionally go down there and say mean things to him. Yeah, that’s damn satisfying. Of course I don’t mean that, though.

It’s hilarious that I was complaining for 1.06 about them vilifying Robert a little bit in that way that shows have a tendency to do of vilifying the dead fathers, and then we meet Daddy Merlyn, who is doing circles around those other guys. And Frank Bertinelli.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (1) Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (2) Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (3)Well, Oliver goes to see Helen while she’s visiting her dead fiance’s grave. She says that when you love someone as deeply as she loved him, and that person gets taken away, the love doesn’t just go away, it just gets replaced. In her case, with hate.

After she and Oliver are kidnapped by Nick Salvati, it comes out that she had been informing the FBI about the father’s activities, though Nick and Frank thought that her fiancé Michael had done it, and had him killed for it. So now she’s getting her revenge.Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (5) Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (4)“My father is a monster. He doesn’t care who he hurts to keep his money and power, and I wanted it to stop,” Helena says. And as Oliver listens to her say that, you can see how much of a connection he feels, how he sees this as something they have in common. She and Oliver get themselves untied, and Helena kills Nick Salvati. She snaps his neck, and then says, “No one can know my secret,” in a direct and very painfully obvious and intentional parallel with what Oliver did and said in 1.01.Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (6) Arrow - Muse of Fire - O - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (7)

Tommy shows up at Laurel’s, almost in tears. Or maybe he’s done crying, because his eyes are red. Poor little thing.Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance

“You OK?” she asks.Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (1)

“I spoke to my dad today,” he informs her.

“I bet that was fun,” she deduces. Apparently it’s well know that Tommy and his father are not on excellent terms. And probably that his father is Satan’s right hand.

Tommy tells her that his father cut him off completely – eviction, repossession, the whole thing. He’s got nothing.Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (2) Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (3) Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (4)

So, I have to say that this is probably my favorite Tommy/Laurel scene ever, because she really comes through for him.Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (5) “You are going to be fine, Tommy,” she assures him with 100% confidence. (But she’s probably thinking that she should have accepted that trip to Coast City when it was offered.)Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (6) She takes his hand. “In fact, you are going to be great – Merlyn money or not.”  Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (7) Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (8) Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (9)

And then she intertwines their fingers! And oh my god, look at the way he’s looking at their hands. *crying*Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (10)

And then she offers him some of her leftover pizza. And it ends with them smiling at each other like they’re going to kiss, ONLY THEY DON’T KISS. WHAT THE ACTUAL F—K.Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (11) Arrow - Muse of Fire - P - Tommy Merlyn Laurel Lance (12)

Seriously, I need to see these two trying to eat each others’ faces off.

In more thoughts on Tommy: I’m not worried about my baby. I’m hoping that he can get a job working for Oliver on his nightclub, but even if not, we already knew he had a solid future in party-planning.

Returning to Queen Manor: WALTER IS BACK! Yay. He and Moira have a warm reconciliation, and he tells her that he returned because he missed her.Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (1)

Oliver watches the whole interaction creepily through an ajar door. OK, not exactly creepily. I guess he was going in to talk to his mother, but Walter got there first. I hope Oliver has softened towards Walter. I’m sort of surprised they had him show Walter so much animosity in three first two episodes, because Walter has been shown to be just an all-around fantastic guy.Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (2)

“Is she OK?” Thea asks, approaching. She smiles when Oliver tells her that Walter is home. I love how supportive she is of that marriage.Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (3)

Are you ready for flirty times?Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (8) Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (9) Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (10) Thea wants to apologize, and apparently apologies for her involve a lot of fluttering eyelashes and adoring smiles:Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (4) Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (5)  Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (6)Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (7)Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (11)Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (12)Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (13) Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (14)Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (15) You can see that Moira’s talk got through to her. And you can see that as much as she wants to be the one that Oliver opens up to, it’s more important to her that he’s happy, so she tells him just to open up to someone.

I loved when she told her that she really sort was a bitch at the hospital. Well, she really sort of was. But I think that shows that he realizes that she’s getting older. I mean, he wouldn’t have called his 12 year old sister a bitch.

And of course we got a kiss on the cheek, which was very nice. Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (16) Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (17)

Did you see her little smile after she did it?Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (18)

I feel like Thea is the one making all of the sacrifices. Oliver never tried to apologize to her. He never initiated a conversation of reconciliation, even if he couldn’t tell her any sort of truth that would satisfy her. Yes, I think Thea could be a little bit more understanding, but all she’s asking for is to be closer to him. She’s just trying so hard, and bless her for it.

Well, he watches her walk away for a second, and then immediately begins thinking about Helena. Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (19)

Naturally, the next scene is him arriving at her place.

Though, if you ask me, the way he turns back to look at Thea and then gets a thoughtful look on his face, it seems like he’s basically decided to sublimate his Thea cravings with a little dash of Helena.Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (20) Arrow - Muse of Fire - Q - Queencest Oliver Thea Queen (21)

As for Thea, she really needs to stop driving her men into other women’s arms.  In 1.02 she tells Oliver to let someone in – so he goes to Laurel’s. In 1.04 she gives him advice on how to Laurel, and it works. In. 1.06 she gives Tommy advice on how to get Laurel, and it works. And now in 1.07 she tells Oliver, again, that he needs to confide in someone – so he goes to Helena’s.

MY POOR BABY THEA.

Helena knows that he’s the vigilante, because she saw him fight, and because she saw it in his eyes. The island changed him in ways that only she could understand. This is all very John Blake/Bruce Wayne, don’t you think? Oliver outright tells her that what she’s doing is wrong, that her vengeance isn’t really justice. Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena BertinelliArrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (1)

She wonders why his vendetta is more valid than hers. “We’re the same, you and I.” He again protests that they’re not the same, but I don’t think he really believes it.

Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (2) Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (3) Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (4) Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (5)

She’s crying and he asks her why. (I actually really liked that part.) She says that she has been alone in her hate for so long, and it feels so good to tell the truth.

Oliver finishes her sentence, and then they kiss.  Arrow - Muse of Fire - R - Oliver Queen, Helena Bertinelli (7)

It could have been a lot hotter, let me tell you. I’ll admit that I did want them to kiss once they had reached that point. But I have also been saying since 1.01 that Oliver really needs to get laid. I don’t dislike Helena, but I also don’t particularly like her. When I first imagined the Huntress, I was hoping for a bit more antagonistic tension. I wanted her to legitimately be a bad guy. Oh well.

So, I am going to tell you about why you shouldn’t hate this Helena storyline.

1) She’s not Laurel. Remember how Oliver missed Laurel the most and couldn’t stop thinking about Laurel on the island and sat around looking at Laurel’s picture? Yeah, well that guy is totally into Helena right now. This means that Laurel is not his epic one and only. (Not that we ever believed that.) Narratively speaking, they can’t sell that true love story anymore, no matter how endgame Oliver/Laurel is.

2) Oliver is basically just kissing himself. He sees Helena as being exactly like him. They’re only connecting because of this one huge thing that they have in common. Being able to tell the truth is a relief for him. He’s just embracing that freedom. It’s not even really about her.

3) Helena is a lot like a future!Thea. She looks a lot like Thea. We’ve already noted that Oliver seems to have a type – but the resemblance between Helena and Thea is pretty strong. Then remember how Oliver sees her at the top of the stairs? Plus Helena is another vigilante. And if all of this Speedy business ever leads anywhere, then Thea may end up at his side as a vigilante as well. And Robert gave Oliver the mission, but it’s Thea’s legacy as much Oliver’s, in the end. Her father was murdered. She has a vendetta, too, she just doesn’t know it.

So, yeah, I’m really not feeling all that bad about his new love interest.

And I just don’t mean that she threatens our endgame desires, because honestly, I doubt that, without knowing more. But it’ll be so much easier to, say, go back and rewatch this episode, keeping all of that in mind.

Well, thanks for reading! I’m sorry that I had behind. I hope to have 1.08 up days before 1.09, and then of course that’s the last episode before a short holiday hiatus.

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13 Responses to Arrow – 1.07 – Muse of Fire, or This Is Actually A Good Thing And Let Me Tell You Why

  1. redbanker says:

    YAY!!! You’ve made my day. I don’t know if you’ve watched last night’s episode yet, so I won’t spoil anything, but son of a bitch!!! Anyway perfect as always, I just woke up and seeing this alert for a new post in my email put a smile on my face. Have a good one.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      No, I haven’t watched it yet. I don’t know what your “son of a bitch!” refers to, but it’s got me a little nervous. At least there’s one more episode before the Christmas break, hopefully it’ll leave us all feeling really good about Oliver/Thea.

      Thanks for your kind words!!! I really appreciate you commenting regularly.

  2. redbanker says:

    Oh and thanks for your thoughts about my grandmother, she’s hanging in there. She can’t walk so she had to go to an assisted living center for rehab, but other then that she’s doing well. And yes I got my paper done thanks. Oh and here are some authors I liked who have written Miles/Charlie stories on ff.net. Sadly after the last episode the Miles/Bass shippers have been going crazy. LOL
    Steph-Schell, SoraStarkiller, DronesHappyAsWeAre, Wilwarren, supersdude, adalantee, and Harpiebird
    Just cause I like to share.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      I’m glad to hear that your grandmother is doing all right, and that you got your paper done.

      Thanks for those recommendations. Yes, I can see why the other shippers are having a field day. But the episode came out so much more in favor of Miles and Charlie that it’s not even funny.

  3. redbanker says:

    So I’m assuming you’ve watched the latest episode of Arrow and get what I meant when I said son of a bitch. At least I hope you’ve watched it since the new episode is only two days away. LOL

    • Shipcestuous says:

      I have watched it. Are you referring to what was in the preview for the new episode? I didn’t actually see the promo, but I saw a gifset that included something that might inspire an Oliver/Thea shipper to say “son of a bitch”, LOL. Or are you referring to the fact that Oliver and Thea didn’t have a single scene together in all of 1.08? For obvious reasons, I won’t be writing about 1.08. Cause…there’s nothing to write about it. I didn’t enjoy the bulk of the episode, but found myself pretty happy with how it ended.

      • redbanker says:

        I was referring to the fact that they didn’t have a single damn scene together!! I mean WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!! Yeah I saw the extended promo for this week but it also has possibilities if Ollie’s the one who catches them, can you say “jealous rage”

        • Shipcestuous says:

          It was so ironic that they didn’t have a scene together, since I had just mentioned that so far it had been an unwritten rule that Oliver and Thea had at least one conversation per episode. But at least Thea wasn’t in the episode at all, rather than her having this whole independent life that Oliver isn’t really a part of. Still, rude!

          I don’t dare get my hopes up that it’s Oliver who catches her. But I really do hope so!

  4. redbanker says:

    OMG!!! have you watched this weeks episode yet? SQUEEEEEE!!! So much to talk about and so much Oliver/Thea goodness, totally makes up for last week.

  5. anonymous says:

    “It’s Thea! She’s reclined on the couch at home, looking pretty inviting if you know what I mean, so I wish he could see her. (School uniforms have become so sexualized in pop culture that I really can’t look at Thea wearing hers without thinking that she had might as well be wearing lingerie. I guess I might feel differently if I had gone to a school where the students wore uniforms.)”

    Well, there definitely the sexualization in pop culture. But there’s also Thea being Thea and the flirty way she acts when she’s around Oliver. I guess she does it when she’s talking to him on the phone, too.

    “Of course, acting offended and shifting blame onto the other party is one of the most celebrated ways to distract from and get away with a lie, so I find it hard to believe that he’s actually hurt and not just manipulating her. Bad Oliver! Bad puppy!”

    But it might not be that he’s actually trying to manipulate her, but that he is actually hurt that she doesn’t believe him even though we know he’s lying. He wants her to believe him. No, he NEEDS her to believe him. He doesn’t want her to know what he’s really doing and thinks that she might be ultimately be disgusted/ashamed of him if she ever found out. She has said at least one statement that was positive about the vigilante in a episode 2. However, in episode 5, she did state she knew that he couldn’t be the vigilante. But to me, it’s more likely that it was Thea telling Oliver what he wanted to hear and not what she really believed. So, it’s not like she’s given him a clear statement that says, “I’ll accept you for being the vigilante. All you have to do is just tell me.”

    “‘I’m not trying to process it emotionally,’ Oliver responds. And there you have it. A summary of Oliver Queen.”

    I was thinking about this. Based on this episode and the next, maybe Oliver is refusing to process it emotionally because he knows what will happen. He’s so fueled by rage that he if he actually emotionally processed what happened to his mom, the ensuing battle would become a bloodbath and innocent people might get caught in the middle.

    “I think he’s a little displeased at first, but when he says to Tommy, ‘That’s good’, it sounds to me like he really, truly, and genuinely means that.”

    I think Oliver felt the remnants of his romantic feelings for Laurel. The last dying embers, as it were. But he also understands that was in the past.

    “But does this remind you of anything? Because it reminds me of something.”

    I completely missed that. Yes. Helena isn’t the one you really want, dude. We see it. You just need to see it too.

    Ooh. That’s also something he’s refusing to process emotionally. On some level he knows it, but if he allowed himself to process it emotionally, he have to deal with those feelings. Right now, he can’t.

    “Fourth: What if Daddy Merlyn and Moira had an affair, and Thea and Oliver are both actually Merlyn progeny, and then we can have an awesome incest OT3. It’s like all of my fantasies at once. It’s so beautiful I’m almost crying.”

    I hadn’t thought of that. Very interesting. That would be fantastic.

    “Fifth: I was getting a Harry Osborn vibe from Tommy in 1.01 and wow, we just made a huge, gigantic leap towards that. I want better for Tommy than that, but we’ll see.”

    If hid dad gets killed by the vigilante, he might go Harry Osborn for a little bit before realizing that his father wasn’t just some garden variety asshole and more pure concentrated evil…with garden variety asshole on the side.

    “So, my first thought was: bring on evil Tommy. I want him to kill is father and take all of his money. Or better yet, fake his father’s death, and keep his father chained up in the basement, and then just occasionally go down there and say mean things to him. Yeah, that’s damn satisfying. Of course I don’t mean that, though.”

    Or after Tommy learns about what kind of scumbag his father really is, he does the whole faked death and basement thing. Except, he has stock ticker installed so that Daddy Merlyn can see it. And Daddy Merlyn can see has Merlyn Global’s stock plummets faster and faster as Tommy purposely destorys his fathers company. He could also play terrible music on repeat. And sometimes when Daddy Merlyn is asleep, Tommy could come in and start banging cymbals together. I think this would count as what TVTropes calls Cool and Unusual Punishment.

    “She takes his hand. ‘In fact, you are going to be great – Merlyn money or not.'”

    THIS. Tommy has let his dad’s money define him and, on some level, he has started to believe that he can’t exist without it. But Laurel believes he’s going to well on his own.

    “Though, if you ask me, the way he turns back to look at Thea and then gets a thoughtful look on his face, it seems like he’s basically decided to sublimate his Thea cravings with a little dash of Helena.”

    This reminds me of something similar that happened on an episode of “Harper’s Island”.

    “3) Helena is a lot like a future!Thea. She looks a lot like Thea. We’ve already noted that Oliver seems to have a type – but the resemblance between Helena and Thea is pretty strong. Then remember how Oliver sees her at the top of the stairs? Plus Helena is another vigilante. And if all of this Speedy business ever leads anywhere, then Thea may end up at his side as a vigilante as well. And Robert gave Oliver the mission, but it’s Thea’s legacy as much Oliver’s, in the end. Her father was murdered. She has a vendetta, too, she just doesn’t know it.”

    YES. All of this. And this brings me back to “Smallville” and Clark/Chloe and what should have been. Clark wants a partner/lover. He tries it with others and it doesn’t work. Finally, he realizes that Chloe (aka Lois Lane) is the one he’s been searching for the whole time. It’s just that he’s been so thick headed/scared for so long to actually attempt it before he finally gets over the issues that blinded to the truth in the first place.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      But it might not be that he’s actually trying to manipulate her, but that he is actually hurt that she doesn’t believe him even though we know he’s lying. He wants her to believe him. No, he NEEDS her to believe him.

      I think his knee-jerk response is always to protect his secret, so I do think, on at least some level, that he was probably manipulating her a little bit. Just like the lie he told about the hozen. But I agree that there’s wiggle room here – even though he knows he’s lying, and we know he’s lying, he could still be legitimately hurt that she doesn’t believe him. I find it hard to believe that such a skilled and practiced liar as Oliver would be able to take much offense at someone not believing one of his lies, but I suppose he’s always felt like Thea, the adoring younger sister, would believe whatever he had to say. And now she isn’t.

      Based on this episode and the next, maybe Oliver is refusing to process it emotionally because he knows what will happen. He’s so fueled by rage that he if he actually emotionally processed what happened to his mom, the ensuing battle would become a bloodbath and innocent people might get caught in the middle.

      That could be very true. Maybe Oliver doesn’t want to open himself up emotionally because he’s afraid of what he’ll become if he does.

      I love your “cool and unusual punishment” ideas. Especially the cymbals, LOL.

      Tommy has let his dad’s money define him and, on some level, he has started to believe that he can’t exist without it.

      So true. Tommy, so far, has the healthiest relationships with the people in his life (except his father, but that’s not his fault), knows who he loves and is working to earn that relationship with her, and is on a path to self-discovery and understanding. I find it hilarious that he’s the one that many (with reason) expect to turn bad. Something is really, really, really going to have to screw him up, because right now that is not the path he’s on.

      I’d love to see Oliver testing out partnerships with other people – John Diggle, Helena, even Laurel, etc. – only for them to not be quite right, until he realizes that Thea is the right one. If only.

      • anonymous says:

        “I find it hard to believe that such a skilled and practiced liar as Oliver would be able to take much offense at someone not believing one of his lies, but I suppose he’s always felt like Thea, the adoring younger sister, would believe whatever he had to say. And now she isn’t.”

        Yes. You’re paying for your lies, Oliver. Just tell the truth. You’ll LOVE the payment. 😉

        “That could be very true. Maybe Oliver doesn’t want to open himself up emotionally because he’s afraid of what he’ll become if he does.”

        And also a good reason why he went with Helena first. He’s fueled completely by different emotions when it comes to Thea. And he has to come to grips with that before anything happens. If that happens, he could royally screw it up.

        “I love your ‘cool and unusual punishment’ ideas. Especially the cymbals, LOL.”

        The cymbals just came to me and I thought, “I would totally love to see that.”

        “So true. Tommy, so far, has the healthiest relationships with the people in his life (except his father, but that’s not his fault), knows who he loves and is working to earn that relationship with her, and is on a path to self-discovery and understanding. I find it hilarious that he’s the one that many (with reason) expect to turn bad. Something is really, really, really going to have to screw him up, because right now that is not the path he’s on.”

        And I think this is the time to bring up “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. I wasn’t going to bring it up until I’d actually completed reading the novel (I’ve started the last third), but I think what I’ve read gives me enough to go on with the subject matter I’m going to cover.

        In the scene there minor parallels and major differences between a scene from that novel and the scene where Daddy Merlyn cuts off Tommy. In AS, Hank Rearden finally cuts off his brother Philip because he’s a moocher. While the description is superficially similar to the episode, there are two big differences that are important.

        The first is that Hank Rearden is an ethical capitalist. He makes money by making the metal his customers want and by not screwing people over. Based on the fact that Daddy Merlyn is obviously not an ethical capitalist because he’s part of the group whose names are listed on the journal and has already done some evil stuff, Ayn Rand would have used him as a villain.

        The second is that Hank Rearden seems to have no real love for his brother at this point in the novel. This seems like a similarity, but it’s not. Philip isn’t just a moocher. He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It’s implied that he has ZERO skills except asking for Hank for money. And he manahes to be an elitist (and still a moocher) even though he keeps professing to try to help those less fortunate during a time of “national emergency”, by saying that he would have problems “maintaining a certain social position” and then basically asking for more money…right after Hank has just cut him off. When we first meet Tommy, it kind of looks like he might be someone like Philip. But we quickly learn that he’s not. He has a lot more depth than that. And he’s far better person than he thinks he is.

        And this brings us to what Ayn Rand called the “sanction of the victim”. One short definition is: “Evil requires the sanction of the victim.” Some have misinterpreted this something similar to the “just-world phenomenon” or that’s it about blaming the victim. It’s actually not. The idea is that evil only exists when good tolerates its existence. And in the novel, Rand illustrates a version of “sanction of the victim” that shows it to far more insidious than simply blaming the victim. In AS, the protagonists (the ethical capitalists) are vilified for making profits by the villains (some who are unethical capitalists who make money based on who they know rather than producing anything of value…while still professing to hate profit). They intitially take this abuse because on some level they have bought in to the idea that profit is evil even though they know both that the idea itself is wrong and so is the treatment they’re receiving. In this episode, we see that Tommy has given his dad “sanction”. His dad has created an environment in which Tommy has come to believe that he’s worthless and only worth anything if he has the Merlyn money. But Laurel reminds him that this is BS.

        • Shipcestuous says:

          That’s so true about Tommy and his father’s money. He truly believes his father’s money is the only worth that he has. I’m so glad he has Laurel, because Oliver is obviously not in a position to be the friend that Tommy needs right now.

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