Arrow 1.08 – Vendetta – or NOT EVEN ONE SCENE?

I did not write an entry yet on 1.08 “Vendetta”, because Oliver and Thea didn’t share a single scene! They were never even in the same room at the same time! Not even a phone call! I thought the show had established some sort of unwritten rule that there would be at least one Oliver/Thea exchange in each episode, but apparently I was mistaken.

However, I know that there are a handful of you who do not watch this show and only read these entries, or only catch the show from time to time, so I am going to go over1.08 mostly for your benefit with no frills or visual aids, before moving on to the much more enjoyable 1.09. (Though I discuss some points about Oliver/Laurel, Oliver/Helena, and Tommy/Laurel in ways that reflect my Oliver/Thea outlook).

Click here for previous Arrow entries.

We left off 1.07 with Oliver and Helena Bertinelli about to get it on at her apartment. Well, apparently Helena’s favorite post-coital activity is murder. (But really, whose isn’t?) She slips out while Oliver is asleep, and is about to shoot China White’s lieutenant (of the Chinese gang the Triad), when Oliver arrives just in time to stop her. She is furious. It would seem a roll in the hay did nothing to temper their ideological differences, which is how it should be. Helena is trying to spark a war between the Triad and her father Frank Bertinelli’s mafia, with the hope that the Triad will then eliminate her father’s organization, taking everything from him. Oliver points out that while he does kill people when it’s necessary, it’s not his “opening move”, and he tries to show Helena that there’s another way to accomplish her goals, one that might not include as many accidents, like Helena almost shooting Moira in 1.07. (Though really, Oliver isn’t one to talk. He has killed plenty.)

They go out to dinner at Big Belly Burger (wow, Oliver has really taken a shining to that place), where he says that he is enjoying their second date. This sets off some alarms in Helena, who states that the sex was nice but she’s not “looking for anything”. Oliver isn’t offended, but he also points out that she doesn’t really have her life figured out. The way I see it, Oliver is not in love with Helena, but he’s perfectly willing to move forward with her. Which I think is perfect in the scheme of Laurel/Oliver/Thea.

Thea does have a brief appearance – she interrupts a conversation between Walter and Moira, in which Moira is reassuring him that she only lied to him to protect him, and he requests only truth between them from that point forward. Thea wants a ride to school – she doesn’t have a car, apparently, which I think is strange. But Walter likes their talks while they drive, which is super sweet.

When Oliver decides to open up, he really goes for it. He takes Helena to the cemetery and shows her Sarah Lance’s grave. He confirms what I had always assumed – that things were getting too serious with Laurel, and that had prompted him to cheat on her. You can see that he’s really ashamed of what a thoughtless and selfish person he was before the island.

He tells Helena that she’s on an island too. I do think there are a lot of similarities between Oliver and Helena (something I credit with why he’s so drawn to her), but I also think he’s sort of forcing her to fit into a symmetry with him. Maybe he just wants her to be the same because that’s what he thinks he needs – someone who is just like him.

Helena is afraid to let Oliver in because the loss of her fiancé Michael hurt her so deeply, but Oliver promises that he would never hurt her. Oliver should not be making that promise to anyone.

They have some sexy archery training time. Exactly what we’ve all imagined him doing with Thea. I can’t believe they wasted this moment on Helena. I mean, Oliver can only sexily teach a woman how to shoot a bow and arrow so many times before we’re rolling our eyes.

Oliver likes the bow and arrow because it requires “control” and “patience”. But I’m with Helena when she calls it “the least effective way to shoot people”. It’s only real benefit is that it’s quiet. And it looks cool. (Despite what Felicity thinks.)

John Diggle is given pause when he hears Helena’s full story, but ultimately it’s his firm belief that she’s no good for Oliver, that she’s a killer who won’t change, and that she’s a threat to them.

Tommy’s back at the CNRI to see Laurel. He likes to visit her at work, I guess. He wants to take her to dinner, and Laurel has to remind him that he can’t afford these expensive places anymore. Laurel tells Tommy that he should ask Oliver for a job. I also thought it would be perfect for Tommy to work at the nightclub! Laurel even tells him that he would be good at it, even though it’s not what she likes most about him.

Felicity hasn’t stopped digging at Queen Consolidated, and figures out that another “entity” has been tracking Moira’s activities, but they’re so good that all she managed to figure out about them was the symbol that we’ve seen pop up from time to time. Walter shuts her down, quite rudely, although I’m glad to see he’s back on team Moira. However, he’s seen the symbol before, so back at Queen Manor, he does a search of Moira’s possessions and finds a notebook. He puts Felicity back on the case, and she is able to figure out the heat-induced ink, revealing The List. Uh-oh.

Oliver takes Helena out as his sidekick – he gives her a crossbow, and has even designed a little outfit for her. “Does it come in purple?” she asks, which I thought might have been a nod to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, not that they own that phrase.

They catch a drug dealer in the act of dealing (he’s on The List), and then call the police – a whole bunch of criminals are arrested, and all of the drugs are confiscated. Helena likes it, and she looks like she wouldn’t mind another tumble with Oliver, either.

They go out to dinner, and this time it is at the same restaurant as Tommy and Laurel. Tommy cannot afford to bribe the hostess and Laurel is starving, so it becomes a double date.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Tommy does not look happy to see Oliver. Naturally, Laurel doesn’t respond well to Helena either. Both men put their hands on their dates’ backs possessively/calmingly – it’s hilarious. Helena is the one who invites Tommy and Laurel to join them. Of course, she doesn’t know about the complicated backstory. Both Oliver and Tommy protest, but Laurel is, apparently, VERY VERY hungry.

Actually, the dinner goes pretty well at first. Oliver shares an anecdote of Tommy filling the pool at his house with beer. He recalls that Tommy’s father (ooh, Tommy’s father!) was so furious that Oliver thought he was going to drown Tommy in that beer-filled pool. SCARY MR. MERLYN. Though it’s easier to understand why Mr. Merlyn might cut Tommy off if he was always up to antics like that.

Laurel brings up the nightclub, but Tommy hasn’t talked to Oliver yet, and it makes Tommy very uncomfortable. Oliver laughs at the idea of Tommy working for him, because he didn’t think that Tommy wanted “any responsibility at all”. It becomes pretty clear at this point that Tommy hasn’t told Oliver that his father cut him off.

Oliver and Laurel are friendly and warm at the dinner, and I don’t know, maybe we’re supposed to see this as romantic, but honestly, I just saw it as them being surprisingly easy friends, talking about the good times without it being awkward. It only gets to be awkward when Helena figures out that they are exes. Tommy’s actually the one that storms off, however – a combination of Oliver and Laurel’s history and his own fears of inadequacy where responsibility are concerned finally getting to be too much.

Laurel chases after him right away – good on her! Tommy doesn’t like that Laurel always runs to Oliver for help, he says that it’s always going to be “Oliver and Laurel”, and he’s noticed how bothered Laurel is by Helena. Tommy says, “I do not want to be Oliver’s charity case, OK? To every day be reminded that I can’t give you everything he could? You know, losing a fortune is going to be easier than losing you, so why don’t we just stop now?”

Even when he’s fighting with her he says the sweetest things! I think he’s totally overreacting, but after how hard he was chasing Laurel, I think it was his turn to air some grievances.

Helena also freaks out, with even less reason. She sees this as Oliver hurting her. Um, you were the one who invited them to join you! She figures out that Laurel was the serious girlfriend he had referred to earlier at the cemetery. She calls Laurel “the love of [his] life”, even though Oliver never used that phrase. I don’t like it being used at all, but I think it just a really upset Helena trying to build her own case of being righteously indignant. And you know, I also have to think that Helena’s fears of opening up to someone are much more about her father betraying her than about losing her fiancé. “I saw the way you looked at her – that kind of love doesn’t die,” Helena says. She really needs to shut up. And of course he loves her still, they’ve been friends forever! But he’s not in love with her, which is what Oliver tells her.

I really think that if Oliver and Laurel were the loves of each others’ lives, then they would have been awkward at that dinner, not laughing and getting along so well. I think the fact that they were both happy with new people is what finally freed them up to get along.

Tommy shows up later at Laurel’s to say he’s sorry. This is what I keep saying – he maintains such healthy relationships. He’s back there to see her that same night to make a formal apology. He confesses to her that he’s scared. I just love him so much. He’s opening right up to her, telling her everything. In a way that shows how much he loves her. He feels like he doesn’t deserve her, because he’s never had any responsibility, and she’s a kickass lawyer with a cause. He says, “And now I have nothing to bring to whatever this is.” Poor babe.

And Laurel is a dear, because she apologizes for pushing him too hard about the job with Oliver, and she reassures him that billionaire was his least attractive quality. (Sure it was. Whatever, Laurel.)

AND THEN THEY KISSED! Finally.

Oliver tells Diggle that Diggle was right. Suddenly he now believes that Helena cannot be stopped from “going over the edge”. Whatever. I didn’t see that, but OK. It’s not like I really care – I’m not rooting for Oliver and Helena. But this is just lame. He was really getting through to her for a while. This was just a setback.

Helena manages to start a war between Frank and the Triad, but Oliver intervenes just as she is about to shoot her father. She wants to know why Oliver would save a monster like him, but Oliver tells her that he was saving her. He gives the laptop of evidence that Helena had been collecting (the laptop that got her fiancé killed) to the police, and Frank is arrested. This only forces Helena to admit that she’s after revenge, not justice. She takes off, warning Oliver to stay out of her way if he wants his secret to remain secret. He tells her that everything he did was because he cared about her, and she says, “Too bad I don’t feel the same way”. Except she’s lying. She does care about him. She’s just hardened and jaded and gun shy.

Diggle and Carly finally had a scene again! He put his hand on her hand, and she totally reacted to it!

Diggle tells Oliver, “I don’t think love is about saving or changing a person. I think it’s about finding the person that is already the right fit.” O wise Diggle, teach Oliver your ways. And then Diggle looks over at Carly!!!!! Yeah, that’s happening.

“One day you will,” Diggle reassures him. But then Oliver says that he thinks he already burned or rather “napalmed” that particular bridge. So I’m shaking my head. Because obviously he means Laurel. Like they were ever the right fit. I just don’t buy that. Especially since when Diggle first walked over, Oliver was talking about how much he was hurting right then. And even Diggle agrees with me, because he tells Oliver that when he meets the right person, he’ll “be ready for her”. Clearly Diggle isn’t an Oliver/Laurel shipper right now. He’s just not considering Thea for obvious reasons.

Well, it’s squee time, because Oliver and Tommy have a final scene together. Tommy takes all of the blame for the uncomfortable dinner upon himself. He finally tells Oliver what his father did. Oliver can’t believe it. He demands to know why Tommy didn’t say anything. (As in, aren’t we friends? Why didn’t you tell me?!!) And we can all guess why – shame, jealousy, and several other emotions Tommy isn’t “used to feeling”. Oliver actually says, “My trust fund is your trust fund.” WOW. Can your trust fund be my trust fund too? But Tommy rejects the easy solution, and asks in earnest for a job. Of course Oliver gives it to him, but not without playing with him a little: “you’re probably the right guy for the job”. And Tommy wants dental.

AND THEN THEY HUG!

Jfldjakdjflakjdfa

And Tommy can tell that Oliver is upset. Oliver tells him that he and Helena “had a falling about”, but he’s sure that he’ll be seeing her again.

So, lots of Oliver/Laurel unpleasantness, but more than enough Tommy/Laurel goodness and Oliver/Tommy goodness to make up for it. And of course, for those of you that have seen 1.09, it’s goodness through and through.

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4 Responses to Arrow 1.08 – Vendetta – or NOT EVEN ONE SCENE?

  1. redbanker says:

    I can’t wait for you episode 9 recap because as you put it “it’s goodness through and through” I haven’t rewatched episode 8 since it first aired because there was like no damn point. Glad to read anything you write as always. Hope you’re having a good holiday.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      I know, I really didn’t want to rewatch 1.08 either, but I feel like I have a much firmer grip on everything when I’ve seen it twice. I don’t even like to write my recaps until I’ve seen the episode at least twice, but I wrote this one while watching 1.08 for the second time.

      I’m looking forward to writing about 1.09. It’ll take forever because there’s so much good stuff!!!

      Thanks! And happy holidays to you as well!

  2. anonymous says:

    “The way I see it, Oliver is not in love with Helena, but he’s perfectly willing to move forward with her. Which I think is perfect in the scheme of Laurel/Oliver/Thea.”

    And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Oliver wants to try with someone who is looks like an older version of Thea.

    “Thea wants a ride to school – she doesn’t have a car, apparently, which I think is strange. But Walter likes their talks while they drive, which is super sweet.”

    I wonder if she started to talked about Oliver in the “I have a friend way” way.

    “They have some sexy archery training time. Exactly what we’ve all imagined him doing with Thea. I can’t believe they wasted this moment on Helena. I mean, Oliver can only sexily teach a woman how to shoot a bow and arrow so many times before we’re rolling our eyes.”

    Well, the series has already used clothes fondling between Thea and Oliver, Laurel and Oliver, and Laurel and Tommy to illustrate the fantastic chemistry of Oliver/Thea and Laurel/Tommy and the nonexistent chemistry of Oliver/Laurel. So, if the series has a lot of “sexy archey training”, it will get tiring. But a few sprinkled here and there to illustrate why Oliver/Thea should be canon in comparison to other potential ships that have Oliver and Thea shipped with other people would definitely not be out of the question. Of course, I still believe that slight subtext should be saved for Oliver and Thea by having Oliver talk about “tension”, “release” and “shaft”. It has to be saved for them.

    And I’m covering why the series might have chosen Helena to be the first later in the post.

    “He puts Felicity back on the case, and she is able to figure out the heat-induced ink, revealing The List. Uh-oh.”

    Felicity must never stop being awesome and awesomely funny. Her whole foot in mouth “It needs to be dark in here for me to do this” bit was hysterical.

    “Oliver takes Helena out as his sidekick – he gives her a crossbow, and has even designed a little outfit for her. ‘Does it come in purple?’ she asks, which I thought might have been a nod to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, not that they own that phrase.”

    Oh, definitely. But it’s also a reference to the fact that the Huntress’ trademark weapon was a crossbow and she traditionally wears purple. Of course, after checking Wikipedia to try confirm this, I was reminded of a couple things (and found out a couple more):

    Bronze Age: Helena Wayne (daughter of Batman and Catwoman from Earth-Two, which was used to explain the Golden Age stories).

    Post-Crisis: Helena Bertinelli (from a Mafia family and her family was killed when she was young).

    The New 52: Helena Wayne (from Earth-Two, but who has been masquerading as the long deceased Helena Bertinelli).

    But it seems interesting to note that the writers seems to be taking a note from “Smallville” (when it was good) by taking the pieces they need for their interpretation. The Post-Crisis Huntress gets exiled from Gotham “by Batman, who finds her to be too violent and out of control.” And “in the Post Flashpoint Earth-2 continuity, Helena Wayne was the original Robin to her father’s Batman identity and a more ruthless character than previously seen.” So, it looks like the series took the Helena Bertinelli version of the Huntress, modified her origin a bit, and then made her “Robin” to Oliver’s “Batman” for a couple of episodes. And helped to explain why their Huntress might used crossbows.

    I just hope that when she comes back, Vic Sage (The Question) follows her. They were interesting in “Justice League Unlimited”. In the episode “Double Date”, Green Arrow and Black Canary try to protect a mafia don while Huntress wants to kill him. And the Question helps her…kind of. They become an interesting couple. And even if they aren’t an established couple, I just want to see Vic. Of course, it would definitely help if they can make a version of The Question that adheres to the more realistic take the series is pursuing while still finding a way to do his mask that doesn’t automatically make people think “They’re stealing from ‘Watchmen’!” Even if that kind of response would be funny and so ironic.

    “Even when he’s fighting with her he says the sweetest things! I think he’s totally overreacting, but after how hard he was chasing Laurel, I think it was his turn to air some grievances.”

    The pressure got to him. And Laurel didn’t argue because she realized that Tommy definitely had a right to feel the way he did.

    “Helena also freaks out, with even less reason. She sees this as Oliver hurting her. Um, you were the one who invited them to join you! She figures out that Laurel was the serious girlfriend he had referred to earlier at the cemetery. She calls Laurel ‘the love of [his] life’, even though Oliver never used that phrase. I don’t like it being used at all, but I think it just a really upset Helena trying to build her own case of being righteously indignant. And you know, I also have to think that Helena’s fears of opening up to someone are much more about her father betraying her than about losing her fiancé.”

    And I think part of it comes down to the fact–as you noted earlier–that Oliver saw a reflection of himself in Helena. But he was so blinded by his loneliness that it didn’t occur to him that the reflection can include the BAD parts. When things get a bit more serious between the two of them, she acts like he did before his five years on the island and found a way to torpedo it. And then she tried to blame him for the destruction of their possible relationship.

    “And Laurel is a dear, because she apologizes for pushing him too hard about the job with Oliver, and she reassures him that billionaire was his least attractive quality. (Sure it was. Whatever, Laurel.)”

    Laurel understands that she was a bit pushy. And I think Tommy being a billionaire became his least attractive quality because it allowed him to be as irresponsible as he wanted without thinking about the long-term consequences. Until his daddy took the T-bird away.

    “AND THEN THEY KISSED! Finally.”

    YAY! And it was something we wanted to see happen. Not like the (ugh) Oliver/Laurel kiss.

    “‘One day you will,’ Diggle reassures him. But then Oliver says that he thinks he already burned or rather ‘napalmed’ that particular bridge. So I’m shaking my head. Because obviously he means Laurel. Like they were ever the right fit. I just don’t buy that. Especially since when Diggle first walked over, Oliver was talking about how much he was hurting right then. And even Diggle agrees with me, because he tells Oliver that when he meets the right person, he’ll ‘be ready for her’. Clearly Diggle isn’t an Oliver/Laurel shipper right now. He’s just not considering Thea for obvious reasons.”

    I actually thought he was talking about Helena. Because they keep talking about Helena and I didn’t notice anything to suggest that he might be talking about Laurel. However, I’m glad that Diggle doesn’t seem to be suggesting that Oliver might have some deep unrequited feelings for Laurel as he he did in “Damaged” when he talks about the “version of the truth” that he thought Oliver was telling Laurel.

    “But Tommy rejects the easy solution, and asks in earnest for a job.”

    And everything Daddy Merlyn said or implied about Tommy is disproved.

    “And of course, for those of you that have seen 1.09, it’s goodness through and through.”

    Oh yes.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      Thanks for that info about Helena from the comics! Very helpful.

      That’s an interesting idea about Oliver “torpedoing” his relationship with Helena the same way he ruined his relationship with Laurel back in the day. That could very well be true. Very insightful.

      Hmmm, I felt pretty certain that Oliver was referring to Laurel, but it’s so much better if he’s referring to Helena, because that just shows how much he has moved on from Laurel. Either way, John Diggle, like us, doesn’t seem to think either girl is the right fit for Oliver.

      Oh, Tommy. I can’t wait to see him prove himself.

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