'Arrow' Review: "Vendetta"

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The CW

Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its eighth outing of the series “Vendetta,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) attempts to channel Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw)'s grief into a less revenge-fueled style of justice, while Walter continues his investigation of Moira, and Tommy's financial woes put he, Laurel, Oliver and Helena in an awkward position.

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Muse of Fire” saw Oliver’s investigation of an attack that nearly claimed his mother’s life leading him to mobster’s daughter Helena Bertinelli, while the identity of John Barrowman’s mysterious “well-dressed man” was revealed as Tommy's father Malcolm Merlyn.  So, what does the eighth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first seven episodes?

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

Following their little “sparring session,” Oliver watches as Helena slips out of bed, and rides her bike downtown.  Helena spies China White and the Yakuza head from a distance, and nearly gets a shot at them before Oliver interrupts.  The Chinese flee, guns blazing, while Oliver urges Helena to let him show her another way of getting back at her father.  Later, the two share coffee at Big Belly Burger, joking about it being their second date, while Oliver sternly assures her that there are ways of getting justice that don’t put innocent lives at risk.  Uninterested in his methods or a relationship, Helena walks away.

During training, Diggle confronts Oliver about his disappearance, and the connection with Nick Salvati’s death.  Oliver confirms his involvement, once again attempting to justify that Helena isn’t simply a murderer, and can be saved under his guidance,  Back at the mansion, Walter still gives Moira the cold shoulder, but relents hoping they can be honest about her research into her husband’s death going forward.

Helena watches as her father comforts Nick’s widow, before Oliver arrives at the house looking for Helena.  Attempting to show her his other way, he takes her to Sara Lance’s grave, explaining how the island changed him from a self-obsessed force of destruction to someone better.  Moved, Helena still isn’t sure she can let Oliver in after how she’d been hurt in the past.

Some time later, Oliver attempts to teach Helena the art of using a bow over guns, impressing her with his skills, but the playful mood, and explanation of Oliver’s quest is interrupted by a dour Diggle.  The former bodyguard again presses that Oliver isn’t thinking clearly with his pursuit of Helena, storming out in the process.  Meanwhile across town, Tommy Merlyn entreats Laurel for a fancier-than-he-can-afford dinner, to which she suggests that he get a job with Oliver helping to put together his nightclub.

Felicity Smoak enters Walter’s office, explaining that her further Tempest research revealed another entity to have been tracking Moira’s money movements, the only remnants of which are the mysterious symbol we know to belong to one Malcolm Merlyn.  Walter treats her investigation as unauthorized and threatens her job, but stares at the symbol curiously in her absence.

Meeting with Oliver once more, Helena agrees to go out on assignment with him on the caveat that she compromise her preference for guns with a mini-crossbow!  Donning a black and purple costume, she and Oliver bust up a local drug operation, Helena remarking how good it made her feel to enact justice with Oliver without killing.  The next day, Helena observes her father despondent over the drug bust, and quietly smirks on her involvement.

While Walter digs around the mansion and finds a notebook with the same mysterious symbol, Tommy and Laurel have trouble getting a table on their date.  Oliver and Helena unexpectedly find them at the same restaurant, and Helena offers to share their table, not realizing how connected the four are.  The meal goes harmlessly enough until Tommy reveals that he hadn’t yet asked Oliver for a job, and Helena pieces together how Oliver and Laurel were once together.  Breaking apart, Tommy scolds Laurel for always running to Oliver for help, while Helena ditches Oliver for manipulating her with someone he clearly still loves.

Later, Tommy manages to make a half-decent apology to Laurel, while Oliver apologizes to Diggle realizing that he can’t change Helena after all.  Elsewhere, Helena coldly interrupts a number of Triad gangsters playing cards, gunning them down and leaving one to report that Frank Bertinelli was behind the attack.  Oliver finds the scene, and tells Diggle to prepare for the coming war.

While Walter commissions Felicity to investigate the mysterious notebook, China White and her crew stealthily infiltrate Frank Bertinelli’s mansion, taking down guards left and right.  Oliver intervenes to save Frank himself, but in the man’s effort to escape Helena reveals herself and fires a crossbow into her father’s leg.  Oliver stops her from dealing the final blow and the two square off, before Frank accidentally fires a crossbow bolt into his own daughter.  As the police arrive, Oliver carries a wounded Helena away.

When Helena recuperates, Oliver assures her that she has her justice in that her father will be sent to prison for life, though she scoffs at the notion she should feel grateful, and coldly denies any further feelings for him.  Oliver takes his heartache to Big Belly Burger, where Diggle comforts him that he opened his heart for once, and still got a few bad people off the streets along the way.

Felicity shows Walter that the mysterious notebook contains a list of names when viewed under a special UV filter, while Tommy arrives at the mansion looking to apologize to Oliver.  He confesses that his father cut him off, but declines Oliver’s generosity in lieu of a job, also questioning the relationship with Helena.  Oliver admits they’ve since fallen out, but suspects he’ll see her again, as Helena rides out of Starling City on her motorcycle.

We don't need to tell you how much we've been enjoying the inaugural season of 'Arrow' but "Vendetta" should be enough to show anyone why the series is worth a look.  Not only did we get to see two DC superheroes team up on screen in a manner evocative of the Christopher Nolan Batman films, but also got some honest and charming emotional drama thrown into the mix.  Not all of the performances or logic of "Vendetta" fire on all cylinders, but the show continues accomplishing what no superhero TV series has before by keeping both its characters and action grounded.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its eighth episode?  What did you like about “Vendetta?” Join us next time for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of mid-season finale “Year's End” on The CW!

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