‘Arrow’ Review: “The Huntress Returns”
‘Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its seventeenth outing of the series “The Huntress Returns,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) reluctantly cooperates with a returning Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw) to track down her father, while Tommy wrestles with Oliver's secret and Thea attempts to get Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) to leave his life of crime with a job at Oliver's club.
Last month’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Dead to Rights” saw Oliver attempting to protect Malcolm Merlyn when a returning Deadshot (Michael Rowe) targeted him for assassination, while Tommy.reluctantly reconnected with his father, and even Laurel learned a shocking secret from her absentee mother (Alex Kingston). So, what does the seventeenth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring? Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 16 episodes?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “The Huntress Returns!”
At a seedy strip club, a woman in a familiarly-skimpy DC outfit invites a lawyer to the VIP room for a private dance. Once inside, she reveals herself as Helena Bertinelli and demands her father’s lawyer tell her where witness protection is moving him, though the man insists he knows nothing. Cold as ever, Helena pumps two arrows into his chest from her mini-crossbow and departs on her motorcycle.
Elsewhere, Oliver shows McKenna (Janina Gavankar) around the empty location his club will imminently open in, as Laurel meets with her father at Big Belly Burger. Quentin starts to apologize for his prior actions, but the appearance of Dinah interrupts him. Quentin fumes at his ex-wife for descending out of nowhere, and putting forth the absurd suggestion their daughter Sarah might be alive, even with her apparent photographic evidence and theories.
Over in The Glades, Thea and her friend bump into Roy Harper once more, bantering a bit before Thea suggests he look for a job at Oliver’s new club. Back at the lair, Oliver learns from Diggle that Helena has resurfaced in town, and urges his partner to track her down. No need it seems, as Oliver returns home to find Helena making smalltalk with Thea!
The pair catch up for a moment, before Helena reveals that she needs his help in order to find her father, whom witness protection will soon move beyond her reach. Oliver balks at the thought of helping, but the pair are quickly interrupted by Oliver’s mother, and table the matter for now.
Later that night before the club opening, Oliver urges Diggle to step up security around his family, before finally getting a moment to talk things out with a stony-silent Tommy. Believing him a killer, Tommy disregards any excuse he might offer for his vigilante persona. The exchange sends Oliver into our first flashback of the night, of Oliver and Slade (newly-minted series regular Manu Bennett) scouting the "Scylla Monster" missile launcher, and plotting how best to take down the soldiers and destroy it.
Back in the present, Quentin agrees to at least consider Dinah’s evidence that their daughter survived, while Oliver opens up his club with Steve Aoki DJing. Laurel shows up to find a distracted Tommy, who soon runs into Helena on his way out of the club. Shortly thereafter, Oliver receives a note from Diggle to come downstairs, but instead finds Helena holding Tommy hostage. Helena threatens to break his arm if Oliver doesn’t help her, to which Oliver has no choice but to comply.
Oliver insist he has no choice to Diggle, who reminds him that his feelings for the girl are obviously clouded. Felicity appears, but Oliver sends her away from Helena, before explaining that Helena’s father will soon be moved using one van and another decoy car, forcing them to split up. Back in the past, a masked Oliver brings a captive Slade to the missile launcher's guards, before Slade reveals his weapons and shoots them all down.
In the present, Tommy attempts to apologize to Laurel for his behavior of late, but finds himself unable to explain what transpired between he and Oliver. Meanwhile, having learned he never showed up for the job opportunity, Thea pays a visit to Roy’s house. Roy denies having any interest in the job and sends her away, but quickly returns once two thieves threaten to attack Thea. Roy acrobatically takes them both down, but sustains a stab wound in the process. Later in the ER during his treatment, Thea takes Roy’s mind off his fear of needles by kissing him
Oliver and Helena take off on separate motorcycles after each van, but Oliver quickly finds his to be the decoy. When he races back to find Helena, he finds the police taking her into custody, her van having been a setup by Quentin and McKenna. Later in an interrogation room, Quentin playfully refers to Helena as a “Huntress” and demands the vigilante’s identity, but Helena slyly responds to McKenna that Oliver will soon use her as he has everyone else. A building smoke alarm goes off, forcing Quentin and McKenna to evacuate, during which Oliver sneaks in with a gas mask, and escorts Helena out under cover of smoke.
Outside the station, Oliver offers Helena a ticket to Rome and urges her to leave the city, knowing she has no means of locating her father. Meanwhile back in the past, Oliver and Slade plant the charges on the missile launcher, but Oliver comes up with a better plan to steal the weapon’s circuit board instead to use as leverage. In the present, Oliver and McKenna make up at her apartment, causing Oliver to miss a call from Felicity that a local store has been robbed of a high-powered crossbow. And wouldn’t you know who’s right behind her as she leaves the message?
Oliver and Diggle race to the IT department to find Felicity tied up, as she explains she was forced to hack the FBI database and give up Frank Bertinelli’s safe-house. Oliver resolves to do what he should have done in the first place, as we see Helena effortlessly taking out the safe-house’s guards with her crossbow. Just as she prepares to take out the final guard, Oliver stops her at the last moment, allowing her father time to escape and flee from the house.
Oliver finally stops Helena outside the home, firing a killing shot that Helena manages to catch in the nick of time. Realizing that Oliver planned to kill her, Helena attacks, before McKenna arrives on the scene and orders them both to stand down. Helena manages to hit McKenna with a shotgun blast and make her escape, as Oliver sees McKenna bleeding on the ground.
Back at the police station, Quentin finally agrees to meet with Dina, while Oliver pays a visit to McKenna in the hospital. In need of at least a year of rehab to walk again, McKenna announces her plan to move to Coast City for recovery, which will understandably end their relationship. Later at the club, Tommy offers his condolences to Oliver, and admits he didn’t know how hard the secrecy must be on his friend. Oliver replies that his own happiness isn’t important, before lapsing into a memory of calling Fyers, and demanding a way off the island in exchange for the microchip.
To be honest, we weren't expecting an episode of the same caliber as "Dead to Rights," though "The Huntress Returns" might have benefit from a bit more gravity to the character's appearance. Noticeably utilizing a stunt actor as Frank Bertinelli also seems to cement that Helena Bertinelli had little relevant reason to appear again so soon, serving largely as a device to get Oliver and Tommy talking again, as well as offer a convenient exit for Janina Gavankar's McKenna Hall. The action and drama prove solid overall, with some particularly good fight scenes between Oliver and Helena, as well as Roy Harper and the thieves, but ultimately "The Huntress Returns" feels like something of a missed opportunity. If anything, we suspect that 'Arrow' producers were anxious to get in another appearance for Jessica De Gouw before her role in NBC's upcoming drama 'Dracula' made the scheduling too difficult.
What say you? Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its seventeenth episode? What did you like about “The Huntress Returns?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Salvation” on The CW!