Arrow Season 1 Review “Vendetta”

Arrow Episode 8 Vendetta (6)

I had high hopes for what Ollie’s time with Helena would bring, but this week’s episode of Arrow, “Vendetta” didn’t exactly deliver what I expected. Most of us already knew that Helena was going to become “The Huntress,” but her transition to villainy seemed to happen rather abruptly. One bad dinner date turned out to be the very last straw for Helena and she hurled herself into a future of vengeance and rage.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Helena on Arrow, but I still think that it would have been more satisfactory to really let us see Ollie’s progress and training with Helena backfire slowly as he became closer to her over the course of a few more episodes. His devastation over Helena might have had a stronger impact if he had worked with her for a few cases and built up trust in her and a hope for her redemption only to have her disappoint him when he least expected it. Ollie was so quick to let her in on all his secrets and yet so quick to give up on his belief that she could be redeemed.

What I really wanted to see was Ollie becoming closer to Helena and finally seeing the hypocrisy in having no qualms about killing off henchmen by the dozen while telling Helena that killing the leader of the Triad wasn’t a righteous path for her. Ollie only seems to be concerned about “justice” for the criminals at the top of the food chain while all the other peons can get an arrow to the chest or a broken neck without a guilty conscience. His short time with Helena didn’t provide an opportunity for that kind of self reflection and it’s a little disappointing that his character doesn’t seem to be moving in that direction yet.

While Ollie and Helena were getting mixed up in a mob war, Walter Steele was getting lured back into the troubling mystery behind Moira Queen’s investments in boat salvaging. Felicity Smoak’s neurotic need to solve problems lead her to uncover a familiar image – the same logo that was on Malcolm Merlyn and Robert Queen’s notebooks. Walter found Moira’s notebook with the same logo stashed away in their home and his curiosity got the better of him. Despite having threatened Felicity for “snooping,” he turned to her for help in investigating the mysterious notebook and the logo therein. Being the adorable genius she is, it was only a matter of time before Felicity was able to figure out that special UV glasses would reveal the hidden text written on the pages of those notebooks. Walter gave her the warning about the last person that got mixed up in this business, but I’d like to believe that Felicity has what it takes to outsmart Malcolm Merlyn.

We know where Ollie’s notebook came from, but now that we know that at least two other notebooks exist with the same properties, I’m very curious to find out if all the names in the books are identical. If so, why do they all have the same list of names and what exactly qualifies someone to get on that hit list? From earlier conversations between Moira and Malcolm, we know that the people that Ollie has targeted thus far have all appeared in their notebooks. Might there be variations on the names on those lists? What was the purpose of those notebooks in the first place?

Recent episodes of Arrow have been leaning towards more of the soap opera material and less towards the superhero action scenes. The soap opera stuff is fine in small doses but it can be a little dull when pouty looks and melodramatic relationship issues take over the pacing of an episode. Maybe it’s just me, but I miss the flashbacks of Ollie on the island and I miss the bad-guy-of-the-week set up where the driving force of an episode was centered on Ollie investigating and tracking down one of his targets. I even miss Detective Lance’s irritating quest to catch the hooded vigilante. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve spent enough time getting to know everyone’s private lives for a while and now I’m ready for Arrow to do a little less talking and a little more butt-kicking.