The secret of Oliver's hidden identity is taking a toll on he and everyone - and it started to show during "The Huntress Returns."
Helena was a bit of a pain before she turned Huntress, but after tonight I'm fairly certain Oliver regrets his decision to take her under his wing. His teachings obviously didn't stick, as she's still unable to see right from wrong and tends to use every bit of training she has had for her own purpose, no matter who gets caught in the cross hairs.
Helena returned to town when she learned her father, Frank Bertinelli, made a deal to enter witness protection. He'd get a new identity and would be able to live happily every after. She wasn't going to have any of that... and I can't blame her. But as far as I'm concerned, if she couldn't do it on her own, then she was out of luck.
Instead, she decided to take the one man who showed her that she could survive in an ugly world and use skills to get what she needed without hurting others to do just that. She turned Oliver's world upside down in her desperation to get him to assist her in her plan to find her father.
It was kind of funny that the big deal going down, a two-van parade with one hiding her father so nobody would know in which he actually rode, was a sting operation to get the vigilante "The Hood" and the newly named "Huntress." Even funnier was that when face to face with Det. Lance and Oliver's girlfriend, she gave him up. By adding a few extra sentences of a personal nature behind the reveal of Oliver as the vigilante, they didn't believe her.
Oliver saved her again and added even more regret to a very long list. Not only had she already tied down Felicty for information on what turned out to be the sting operation, but McKenna was eventually shot; not by arrow either, by Helena and a gun, fracturing her femur and sending her off the force and out of Starling City for at least a year. She'll be moving to Coast City (If I heard that right, then maybe she'll run into the Green Lantern. She does like the "green" boys) to live with her sister since they have the best rehab around.
The only positive thing I can say about the Huntress is ya gotta give Helena credit for being a well-dressed badass. She never shows up to the party in her Huntress attire without full makeup. If I were going out hunting, I wouldn't give too poops whether I had lipstick and eyeliner on. I'd slap on some Carmex and call it good.
Also during the hour, Ollie's nightclub, Verdant, opened to quite the fanfare. It's also where Helena took her first victim, or leverage, in her attempt to get Oliver to help her. She hurt Tommy pretty good. At first I thought it would anger Tommy to find himself in such a position, but instead he realized just how horrible it must be for Oliver to be covering such a large piece of himself from those he loves.
Tommy was having a hard enough time keeping things quiet in front of Laurel, as she wondered why his hand was wrapped and knew he was lying to her. She was having issues of her own with her mother about Sarah and her father angry that he was even being asked to look into the charade.
As it turned out, Dinah didn't come with a lot of clues about Sarah's survival. Only a photo someone took of a girl on an island near where the boat went down and a few other clues we have yet to hear about. I was kind of hoping Dinah had been out there kicking up the stones herself, but instead she came home to Det. Lance to get him to do the hard work. That doesn't seem like a very first generation Black Canary thing to do, does it?
My questions about the photo were: what exactly did Oliver see of Sarah's disappearance from the boat? He made it to an island, so was she in good enough shape to have done the same? If she was out there and apparently well dressed and being photographed by tourists, why didn't she ask for help? Does she have amnesia and is living happily on that island? If that's the case, and Dinah somehow tracked down the one tourist who happened to take her photo, did she go to that island, and if so, where did the amnesiac go?
Aaack! Soo many questions. The one thing I don't want is for Sarah to be Black Canary. After Laurel's ass-kicking scenes, I have my mind made up for her character to be the one, and I refuse to accept a substitute. Plus, I like Katie Cassidy and she needs to be doing more than moping around. She's much more fun when in action.
Finally, Thea reached out to Roy Harper, got him a job at Verdant and he didn't show. But when she was attacked in his alley, he was there in a jiff! Aha! Speedy! I loved how he was running off the walls and all that fun cartoon stuff people do. He managed to get himself stabbed, but that also got him kissed by Thea. I'd call that a win.
I really enjoyed watching the people around Oliver who did and didn't know his secret be shattered in different ways because of it. I think that's going to be the most interesting part of the story to play out as the season ends; how he handles so many knowing, how to protect them and how to keep others from finding out without them getting hurt as well.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.