The Arrow Round Table took a short hiatus, but we've returned to chat about "The Huntress Returns," which seems like an appropriate time to make a reappearance, no? Joining me at the table are TV Fanatic staff writers Kat Brooks, Nick McHatton, Carla Day and someone new to TV Fanatic, Henry (Hank) Otero. Hank has his own entertainment blog, Hank09.com, and you can find him under Henry A Otero with a very active following on Google+, where he manages over a dozen TV related G+ pages. Welcome, Hank!
Readers, things are heating up on Arrow and there was a lot to talk about with the return of Helena. Let's get down to business! Please join in with your own answers in the comments section.
Speedy/Speedy: Thea is not giving up on Roy. How soon before they both know Oliver's identity?
Hank: I'm hoping Thea never learns that Oliver is "the Hood". She simply can't handle it or at least the Thea we've met so far can't handle it. If Tommy knowing is too close for comfort, imagine Thea? Roy, on the other hand, is going to have to earn Oliver's trust and respect before any revelations are made. Oliver has chosen his allies well, so far. Dig has military training and talks sense into Oliver when he gets a little too crazy (his very own Jiminy Cricket). Felicity is a freakin' genius and her hacking skills are invaluable.
Aside from his cool parkour moves, Roy doesn't come across as a natural fit. He needs serious training and he's got a whole lot of growing up to do. In the comics, Roy was an orphan and Green Arrow becomes his legal guardian. On the show, Roy has mentioned his mother but we haven't seen her. This last episode, he demonstrated a fear of needles. I'm thinkin' we will soon find out his mother's dead (Vertigo OD?) and Oliver becomes like a big brother to Roy. Possibly even taking him on as his "ward". Roy would have a brand new lease on life, a family and someone to guide him. That's why Colton Haynes is now a Season 2 regular, there's so much story to tell with that character.
Kate: Hopefully, like their names, not too quickly. I do enjoy their dynamic and look forward to seeing more, especially how Roy will play more into the story.
Nick: At the rate Arrow is going with Ollie telling his secret all of Starling City will know before the season is out. As a viewer, I'm not ready for Thea to know. In fact, I would rather Ollie's entire family be out of the loop since it sets up a push/pull with Ollie and his family. But, getting back to Thea, I'm with Henry on this one: I don't think Thea is in the right emotional state to fully grasp or handle Oliver's Hood identity.
I think Roy is, surprisingly, a good influence on her because he takes Thea out of her palatial bubble; Thea is still very much involved in her family's own bubble. It took Ollie being stranded on a remote island to break his own bubble, and Thea needs that same kind of shell shock. Roy, on the other hand, has the same kind of grit and personality that Dig or Ollie has, but he doesn't have the same training or emotional/moral maturity that Digg and Ollie have. We'll have to see how it all shakes out.
Carla: Roy will have a relationship with Arrow before he finds out about Oliver. And, I think both will happen before Thea finds out. I don't think she'll find out for a few seasons unless something big happens to change her character. After seeing Roy's kick ass moves protecting Thea in the alley, he's already on his way to be a protector. He just needs a mentor.
Carissa: Hank and Nick are making a lot of sense. I do believe Roy is on his own, and we know he was in the system due to Vertigo because that's what attracted Thea to him in the first place. I thought it was in relation to his mother, but I need a refresher to be certain. I like the dynamic between Thea and Roy because they come from such different places and it's what attracts them to each other. They seem to feel a need to look out for one another, but from completely different sides of the fence. I agree that Roy will know before Thea, but that will put quite a strain onto their relationship. Tommy is already feeling how difficult it is to hide such a huge revelation from the person you love, and I don't wish it on someone who has so few people in his life like Roy.
Did you enjoy the Huntress' return, and what are your thoughts on her relationship with Oliver?
Hank: In short, "no." I think the Huntress' storylines have probably been the biggest letdowns for me this season. That might have something to do with Jessica De Gouw's performance as Helena/Huntress. While she "looks" the part, she just doesn't "sell" it for me. I think the relationship was rushed, the writers took more time with Ollie/McKenna (but look how that turned out). Helena's revenge against her father is totally played out.
At the end of "Vendetta," you still had the sense Helena could be redeemed. In this episode, the writers have made Helena so unsympathetic and vicious it's going to be tough for Oliver to be understanding of her when she returns (hopefully not until Season 3 or 4). I will say, De Gouw was better this time around, though I definitely prefer her as The Huntress. The action sequences (as always) were killer!
Kate: I think I'll always enjoy how she is kind of Oliver's weakness or was. Unlike Arrow, she kills with no remorse and the fact that they have this completely different view on justice is why I enjoy their push and pull.
Nick: I didn't like her before, and I still don't like her now. She picks and chooses her own form justice, and instead of looking out for the greater good she's laser focused on making sure her petty vendetta is satisfied. Ollie deserves someone who doesn't use her friends and family against him just to satisfy her own personal goals. I hope we never see her again.
Carla: Not really. Even though I didn't like her as a character, her return in this episode was integral to the story. Oliver realized his own physical limits when he faced off with the Dark Archer. With Helena's return he realized the precarious nature of his secret and the danger to those that he loves.
At this point, their relationship is entirely adversarial. While they both are out for revenge/vengeance, they have different views on how to achieve their goals. Oliver may think he is righteous in his actions, he really isn't that different from Helena. And, if someone close to him was killed, he would react in the same way that she did.
Carissa: I didn't like her when we met her and I don't like her now. She's a spoiled brat and never took what Oliver tried to teach her to heart. He wasted his time on her. I didn't understand why he thought he could teach her to be something she's not. She's cold hearted. Her father killing her fiance saved that man a life of misery. Yes, I said it. Can you imagine being married to her? I seriously doubt she was anything other than a brat before her fiance was killed, or else she would have been able to understand true justice and not kill just to serve her own purpose. My hope is that upon her return she meets her own demise.
Were you surprised neither Det. Lance nor McKenna believed Helena when she told them The Hood's identity?
Hank: That reveal was way more interesting in the 30-second promo than how it played out in the episode. I don't think Quentin or McKenna believe Oliver capable or tough enough to be "the Hood". They both remember the pre-island, spoiled rich kid, so it was easy to accept that Helena was just messing around by dropping the name Oliver Queen.
Kate: I was incredibly shocked when she said, "Oliver Queen!" I'm glad she finished it with making a dig at McKenna. Since they didn't believe him that means Oliver is doing it right.
Nick: No, because Diggle helped Oliver cover up his identity a few episodes back, so, for now, the police have nothing that can link The Vigilante and Oliver together.
Carla: The promos were very misleading. Helena didn't actually name Oliver as "The Hood." She said his name, but followed that up with bitter ex-girlfriend talk. I don't think Lance or McKenna thought she was naming him as the vigilante, but instead was trying to pull on their emotional ties to Oliver as a distraction.
Carissa: It was my favorite Helena moment. I've actually used that tactic to not tell a lie before. You tell the truth and then follow it up with some wise-ass remark that catches people off guard so they don't take you seriously. You're not lying, they've been told the truth and didn't act on it. Their bad!
McKenna is heading to Coast City (to visit the Green Lantern?) for rehab. Should Oliver take a break from love, and if so, focus on... what?
Hank: I have a feeling Oliver will visit McKenna in Coast City, just to switch it up. There's a big world outside Starling City, after all. Personally, I liked the Ollie/McKenna relationship but I can understand people getting bored of her. Aside from being the latest love interest for Oliver, the writers never gave McKenna much to do. She turned out to be a very poorly developed character. Janina Gavankar always did her best with what she had to work with though, completely the opposite of Jessica De Gouw. Gavankar came across as natural and had great chemistry with Stephen Amell. I've read many times about the amazing chemistry between De Gouw and Amell, but sorry guys... I just don't see it. Oliver shouldn't take a break from love but he should definitely steer clear of Felicity. We need Emily Bett Rickards on the show and Ollie's track record speaks for itself.
Kate: I'm not so sure that he should take a break from love because I ship Felicity and Oliver right now and so I hope the story developed Felicity more and maybe start adding some tension. I'd also like Oliver to stop letting people find out that he's Arrow!!!
Nick: I think seeing the Huntress' tear through McKenna will cause Ollie to separate himself from love and focus on rebuilding his friendship with Tommy and taking care of more names on the list. With McKenna out of the picture it also gives time for Oliver and Laurel to have more chemistry together.
Carla: Oliver should focus on keeping Diggle in line regarding Dead Shot, looking for Walter, and preventing the Undertaking from enacting their plan to decimate the Glades. His mother may also need some protection after her plan to kill Malcolm failed. Though, I expect Frank will take the fall for that. Plus, he still has a bazillion names on the list.
Carissa: When McKenna was first introduced I was really excited. She had so much potential, but when they made her a love interest and partnered her up with Det. Lance, she fizzled. I was really hoping she'd be more of an Arrow devotee rather than want to be on the vigilante task force. Oh well. Maybe she'll have a change of heart while she's recuperating. Oliver needs to stop exposing himself and get down to business. The Dark Archer plot was dropped. That has to be picked up with Tommy's knowledge of Oliver, especially since Moira tried to kill Malcolm. Remember when he told her they had a mole? He might know more than we think he does. Let's see Oliver be the Arrow for a while.
What are your thoughts on Dinah's "clues" about Sarah's surviving the wreck?
Hank: I think Sarah Lance surviving that shipwreck was just a plot device to bring Dinah Lance into the show. Will it turn out that Sarah is alive and reappears as "Black Canary"? Now that would be an interesting twist! I know Ollie and Laurel are meant to be together and married in the comics yada yada but I'm completely indifferent to Laurel Lance at this point. Nothing against Katie Cassidy I think she's fantastic but like McKenna, Laurel has been pretty poorly developed. The writers have done a great job not just with the show overall but with so many of its characters. I guess, in order to tell Oliver's story, something (or someone's) got to give right?
Kate: I feel like I expected this to come back into play, that Sarah would be alive. Is it her? Maybe. But here's the bigger point, why should I care? I want to be shown why it matters if she's alive.
Nick: I like the opportunity it presents about potentially heading back to the island in the present rather than just flashbacks, but, aside from that, I don't like the idea of opening up old wounds. Sarah not surviving the crash put had many emotional consequences for the core characters, and the plot has moved forward based on that beginning point. It almost feels like the show is rewriting its past if Sarah does turn out to be alive.
Carla: I'm disappointed in this storyline. As Nick said, Sarah's death had huge emotional ramifications for Lance, Laurel, and Oliver. If she is alive, that would remove or discount what those close to her have been through going forward. Though, she could be alive, return, and be one of the best things that happens to the show too.
Carissa: It feels like they're trying to make a point of some sort with it, but I don't know what it is. To bring Dinah back? They could have used Laurel's kidnapping to do that. What mother wouldn't rush home after learning her daughter was kidnapped? I mean, she's out searching the earth for a dead girl instead of caring for a living one? So, that doesn't seem right. Is it to push the agenda of Black Canary? Dinah doesn't seem to be showing signs that she's been living the life like she did in the comics, so she's not preparing to pass on the baton. It seems there are many other stories the Lance family could have had other than searching for the dead daughter.
How many is too many people knowing Oliver's identity? Given the topic, what was your response to the Tommy/Oliver discussion about it?
Hank: There are already too many people knowing Oliver's secret. Sure Diggle and Felicity are an asset but Helena has proven to be a threat, going so far as to name-drop him during her interrogation. At some point, Roy will learn Oliver's identity, so there's that. Tommy's reaction to finding out Oliver is the vigilante was great. He wasn't upset by the fact that Oliver kept this insane secret from him, but he could not rationalize how his best friend became a cold-blooded killer. In this last conversation, Tommy completely flip-flops and tells Oliver "I just couldn't understand how you could keep such a huge secret from me." Come on writers, some of us are actually paying attention.
If Tommy's now totally fine with the fact that Oliver has killed people, that tension between the two has just been thrown out the window, no? I will say, I think the emotional stuff between Ollie and Tommy has really showcased Stephen Amell's acting chops. Many people complained early on that he was wooden and not a great lead. I tend to think those were acting choices, the way Amell played Oliver in the Pilot. I mean, the guy's been going through hell on a deserted island for five years. Do you think he's going to return to civilization undamaged? I also love Colin Donnell and I hope the writers give him some material to really sink his teeth into next season.
Kate: I think the right amount of people knew before Tommy. It also gives us tension as an audience like, "is he going to slip to his father..." Honestly, I don't like Tommy knowing because I'm not the biggest fan of his character. I was thrilled when Felicity joined the team and now I'm just waiting for Tommy to slip.
Nick: I think we have enough reveals for now, and I would prefer that Oliver not tell anyone else for a few more seasons; but that'll never happen. I did like the immediacy of danger that Tommy was in the minute he found out about Ollie's secret; and the burden of having to process and reevaluate who his best friend actually is having on Tommy (and his relationship Laurel) also. Their discussion about Oliver's secret life is probably the starting point of a much greater series of talks, and Tommy will probably flip flip from acceptance to disappointment as he learns more about what Oliver does and doesn't do.
Carla: The reveals need to be slow in coming and carefully plotted. With Helena, Diggle, Felicity and now Tommy in the know, it's important to play those out before others find out. Plus, Malcolm probably knows. Once too many people are aware, it will take away some of the suspense and tension.
I liked Tommy and Oliver's discussion. Tommy has just begun to accept Oliver as Arrow and there's still much work to come on their relationship.
Carissa: I think we're reaching a saturation point. But, I also think Roy and Laurel will know if they become the characters they are expected to based on the comics. I think Malcolm knows, or at least theorizes, that it's his son's best friend. That's why he was going to let him in on the secret. That's also what makes the conversations Tommy and Oliver are having now so interesting, because when Tommy learns about his father, his world is going be spinning like a top. I really look forward to that. It would make a fantastic season finale, for the three of them to be together. The Dark Archer, Tommy and The Hood, in a room, none of them knowing exactly who knows what about whom.
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.