Disclaimer: 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.)
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. 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.)
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.)
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. 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.
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.
Awwwwwwww. Someone has vengeance on his mind.
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?” 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.
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.)
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.”
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?
“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.
“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?”
I love how patient he is with her. And he understands all of her reluctance.
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.”
“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. “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.
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.
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.
“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.
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”.
Thea 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.
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.
It is a nice dress, though. I’m not crazy about the necklace, but gold is good color on Willa.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Awwww. What a perfect thing to say. A hug for Oliver!
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.” And Tommy looks absolutely terrified for a minute, and disturbed.
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.
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.
“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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
And he admits to her that there is. 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.
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”. 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.
But the happiness is not to last: Tommy’s credit card was declined and confiscated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.” 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.
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. She flees, leaving Oliver dazed and confused.
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 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.
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. Now we cut to two people fencing, and Tommy walks up in a huff: “Can I talk to you?” he demands angrily. “Dad!”
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.
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.
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.
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. “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.
“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.
So, I have to say that this is probably my favorite Tommy/Laurel scene ever, because she really comes through for him. “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.) She takes his hand. “In fact, you are going to be great – Merlyn money or not.”
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.
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.
Are you ready for flirty times? Thea wants to apologize, and apparently apologies for her involve a lot of fluttering eyelashes and adoring smiles: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.