'Arrow' Review: "Muse of Fire"

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The CW

Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its seventh outing of the series “Muse of Fire,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell)'s investigation of an attack that nearly claimed his mother's life leads him to mobster's daughter Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw), while the identity of John Barrowman's mysterious "well-dressed man" is revealed.

Last time’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Legacies” saw Oliver confronting a family of bank robbers (The Royal Flush Gang), while Tommy (Colin Donnell) threw a fundraiser hoping to save Laurel (Katie Cassidy)’s law firm from going under.  So, what does the seventh episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first six episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s seventh episode, “Muse of Fire!”

Oliver rides through the city on the way to pick up his mother for lunch, but when he arrives, another motorcycle driver sidles up, and shoots a business associate talking to Moira.  With Moira unharmed, Oliver runs after the assailant, but to no avail.  Later at the hospital, Thea chides her brother for leaving his mother wounded in the street, and keeping secrets the way he does.  Detective Lance arrives on the scene, informing Oliver of the dead man’s mob connections.

While Tommy Merlyn drops by Laurel’s apartment to fish for a date, Oliver trains relentlessly, resolving to find out why associates of mobbed construction head Frank Bertinelli have become targets.  Diggle questions why he doesn’t simply be there for his family instead, as we see across town that the motorcycling assailant isn’t a man at all, but a woman with targets of her own!

After shirking his responsibilities to take care of his mother to Thea, Oliver pays a visit to Frank Bertinelli looking to close a construction deal that his mother earlier vetoed.  Moira reminds her daughter to be more accepting of Oliver’s changed ways, while Oliver himself finds his meeting interrupted by a pressing engagement for Bertinelli.  Instead, Frank entreats Oliver to finish the business deal over dinner with his daughter Helena Bertinelli, our motorcycling gunman from earlier.

While Frank Bertinelli meets with China White (Kelly Hu) and her mafia associate to confirm they aren’t behind the attacks on his crew, Oliver and Helena sit down at a nearby restaurant.  The two admit to having judged one another prematurely, and Oliver confides that he did find some measure of peace on the island away from the drama of his family.  Meanwhile, Tommy shares a tender dinner with Laurel, only to find his credit card declined at the end of the meal.

Having continued their conversation past the restaurant’s closing, Helena explains to Oliver that the cross around her neck is a remnant of her deceased fiancée, her own crucible to endure, like Oliver.  As the two seem to bond, Diggle calls Oliver with urgent matters, cutting their flirtation short.

While John Barrowman’s mysterious character pays an imposing visit to Moira at home, Oliver learns from Diggle that Bertinelli’s enforcer Tom Salvati (Tahmoh Penikett) has begun shaking down the mobster’s employees to find who might be targeting them, and next on the list the owner of the very restaurant Oliver just left.  The men arrive, and begin intimidating the owner, before Oliver attacks in his Arrow guise.  A helmeted Helena enters the fray as well, fighting Oliver to a standstill before he breaks the helmet, and sees her true identity as she flees.

Later, Oliver stews at the revelation, insisting she must have some misguided reason for killing, while Diggle protests her to be no different from the other criminals Oliver hunts.  Meanwhile, Detective Lance spots Oliver and Helena dining in the restaurant security tape, and drops by the mansion the next morning to warn Oliver about getting to close to the mobster’s daughter.

Tommy pays an angry visit to his father, who explains (while disguised in a fencing uniform) that he cut his son off for being a lazy, incompetent embarrassment to the family.  As he removes his helmet, we see Tommy’s father to be none other than John Barrowman’s character, the Merlyn patriarch!  Elsewhere, Oliver finds Helena at her fiancee’s grave, hoping to understand how her hatred made her a killer, before Salvati pulls up in a van and kidnaps the both of them.

At an empty warehouse, Salvati explains how he found Helena’s identity by her cross necklace, as Helena fires back that she sought revenge after her father had her fiancée murdered.  Salvati admits to having done the deed himself, given Helena’s fiancée was gathering intelligence and speaking to the FBI, when Helena confesses that she herself was the one attempting to put her father behind bars.  She and Oliver both manage to break free of their restraints, and skillfully take down all the henchman, before Helena herself snaps Salvati’s neck, echoing Oliver’s earlier words that no one can know her secret.

While the police hope Frank Bertinelli will blame Arrow for the attacks, and Tommy sulks to Laurel about his father’s actions, Moira awakes to find Walter returned from his overseas business trip.  Thea apologizes to Oliver for her earlier rudeness, reinforcing that he should find someone to share his feelings with.

Taking Thea’s advice, Oliver appears to Helena Bertinelli, who by then had already figured him to be the Starling City vigilante.  While Oliver insists that her actions are rooted in revenge rather than justice, she protests his vendetta to be no more valid than hers.  Realizing them to be kindred spirits, Helena cries to no longer be alone in her hate, and the two share a passionate kiss.

Well that was certainly a game-changer, wasn't it?  Not only does Oliver have a new lady love and a fellow DC vigilante, but John Barrowman is revealed to be Merlyn's father!  Could that shed light on the identity of our mysterious "Dark Archer?"  Either way, "Muse of Fire" proves to be one of the best episodes yet, effortlessly weaving cool super-heroism into honest drama about the morality of revenge, and emotional distress.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its seventh episode?  What did you like about “Muse of Fire?” Join us next time for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Vendetta” on The CW!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGTTWv4Ylo

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