This week’s episode of Arrow picked up six weeks after Walter’s kidnapping and Oliver’s devastating encounter with the Dark Archer. While the shirtless opening scenes confirmed that Ollie was back in prime physical condition, “Burned” dealt with some of the more serious psychological damage that Ollie was coping with after his loss to Malcolm Merlyn.
In many ways, Ollie had previously been operating as if he were invincible. His battle against the Dark Archer was a massive wake up call to reevaluate his purpose in Starling City as the hooded vigilante as well as the suffering his family would endure if something happened to him again.
The villain-of-the-week was Garfield Lynns, a former firefighter with a vengeance who was methodically taking out the firefighters he had worked with years before during the Nodell Tower fire. Compared to a lot of Ollie’s previous foes, Garfield wasn’t the most intimidating threat but in Ollie’s emotionally stunted state, he wasn’t able to handle him as quickly as he might have before. It wasn’t until Garfield brought the flames to Oliver’s turf, that he was able to finally snap out of his hooded haze. While Garfield wasn’t a very developed villain, it still seemed odd to watch Ollie offer Garfield help, only to stand by moments later and watch as Garfield set himself on fire for a slow suicide. I would have expected Ollie to heroically rush Garfield out of the building to get treatment and serve time.
Ollie’s resistance to the hood somewhat stunted the episode. While I enjoyed Dig pushing Ollie to get back in the game (and Dig’s own set of workout scenes) Ollie without the hood meant that we were not getting a whole lot of action. We needed to give Ollie time to grapple with his identity, so we got a fair amount of slow drama and chit chat.
Although I’m not normally a fan of the drama between Laurel and her dad, I really enjoyed their scenes tonight. Laurel stole evidence from her father and then lied about where the vigilante’s phone went. Considering that the apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree, I probably should have expected that Detective Lance would pull a similar stunt and hide the fact that he installed a tap on the phone he decided to leave with her for her safety. He probably won’t be able to track Ollie’s location, but what he’ll learn from the conversations on that phone tap might change his attitude a little towards the mysterious vigilante.
Ollie’s flashbacks on the island gave us a little hint at some of the developments to come. After defeating the man who had been hunting him, Ollie took his clothes and discovered a map and keys in his vest pockets. There’s no question that those items will become quite significant as the story of Ollie’s time on the island progresses.
This episode of Arrow was a little bit slow at times, but with Ollie ready to go “hunting” again, I’m really looking forward to what will hopefully be an intense, action packed remainder of the season.