Aww Tommy, you’re killing me!  You and your self-destructive tendencies.  I get that self esteem issues probably comes with the territory when you’re a rich kid growing up with an absent father and dead mother, but so far he’s two for two in the “Throwing the precious things in your life away” category.  And Oliver is to blame for both times.  Sounds like something that happens to a good man before he becomes a villain, no?

I liked “Home Invasion” and didn’t mind the imploding of the relationships in Oliver’s life, even if it was totally unfair.  After all, the mishaps were each based on no win situations.  There was also this bit about a couple of cool assassins ruining people’s day, but they proved to be the catalyst needed to throw a season’s worth of relationship building into the bit bucket (Felicity would get that reference).  Oliver really hasn’t built a lot of confidence in those close to him, has he?  It’s like watching a deck of cards fall.

Let’s start with the junior Merlyn, just because I think Colin Donnell is finally easing into this role and delivering caliber performances every week he should have been doing from day one.  Sure, his character is still inconsistently written, but his actions aren’t inconsistent at least with the prior episode, “Unfinished Business.”  In that episode if you recall (a few weeks is a long time) he put himself in hot water at the club for bribing an official so he wouldn’t inspect the Arrow cave.  He was able to cover Oliver’s tracks nicely when Detective Lance came a snooping, but Tommy realized pretty quickly he couldn’t stomach doing this for Oliver all of the time.  So he left the club and took a job with the senior Merlyn, aka the evil bastard that’s going to inflict terrible harm on the city (we think).  Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

So, in logical fashion, this week he does the exact same thing with his relationship with Laurel.  In fairness though, Tommy was put in an awful spot.  Mr. Blank, cool evil assassin of the week, did some bullet hole redecorating of Laurel’s place while Tommy, the young boy they were trying to protect, and Laurel were all in it.  But Oliver saved the day, right?  No, Oliver saved the day as The Hood, and Laurel went all dreamy-eyed again.  That does tend to fire up insecurities in the boyfriend standing right next to her.

They could have been put in witness protection, but Tommy, knowing Oliver’s secret, knew they were safer at the Queen mansion.  It was the right move, putting their safety above his own hangups, even if it put him in the most emotionally vulnerable spot possible.  All he had to do was match Laurel’s hot flashes for The Hood and the lingering affection that Oliver and Laurel still share while together, and he knew his future with Laurel was doomed.  Sure, Oliver did protect them and killed Mr. Blank with his mad fighting skills, just as Tommy anticipated, but he knew that if Laurel ever figured out Oliver’s identity, he’d end up sad and alone.  So he chooses to end up…sad and alone?  He breaks things off with Laurel, assigning blame to himself in the process.  Darn right!

As you can imagine, this also implodes the epic Ollie/Tommy BFF mantra.  Oliver insisted to Tommy he and Laurel had no future together, even if it was extremely obvious he’s still in love with her, but Tommy wasn’t stupid.  You can’t fight what the heart wants, and Laurel’s heart is with a dude that shoots arrows.  The dude who shoots arrows’ heart is with Laurel, even if he doesn’t want it to be.  Nuff said.  Tommy is the odd sap out.

Just to add to the whole love triangle drama, the island flashbacks paralleled the same predicament five years earlier.  Shado and Oliver had some really hot chemistry with that bow and arrow, and there was the steamy kiss, but Oliver backed away.  He was too in love with Laurel, even though he knew she’d never forgive him for what he did with Sarah.  Somehow though, that ended in a betrayal of the trio by Yao Fei to Fryers’ men, but I assume that’s another story for the upcoming episodes.

Laurel even ruined the other epic bromance, and she has no clue she did it!  The chick can’t win.  Deadshot was in town killing people, so A.R.G.U.S. set a trap.  Diggle watched, and hoped that The Hood would swoop in and help him take the guy out.  Unfortunately, Oliver had to hood up to catch the bastard that was trying to kill the young boy Laurel and Tommy were trying to protect, so he had to miss his date with Diggle.  Oliver succeeded at catching his evil bastard, but Diggle ended up getting smashed in the face and Deadshot got away.  He’s lucky that Deadshot only kills people that he’s paid to kill, otherwise Diggle would be on a slab right now.  So yeah, Digg took it personally.

I’m not sure I like that Felicity took Diggle’s side on this.  I mean, think about it, if you’re given the choice to protect a seven year old kid from tragic death or help Digg with a personal vendetta against a bad man, it’s kind of a no-brainer don’t you think?  I thought Diggle was supposed to be the voice of reason.  No, he accuses Oliver of putting Laurel first (???) and storms off.  To me, that’s the show forcing some tension.  I can only hope Diggle comes back the next week and realizes he was flipping wrong on this one.  That would make him the better man.

There was also some subplot I think with Roy Harper and Thea, in which they decided to try and find the hood together, but I was a little too crushed by the imploding bromances at this point to notice.  Hee, Thea’s in for a surprise, don’t you think?

Looking at the scorecard here, everyone hates Oliver.  All he did was try and save people.  Sucks to be him.  That really did add to the depressing nature of the episode, even though I thought “Home Invasion” created a good setup for the final three episodes of the season.  Building tension is usually a step in the right direction, even if there wasn’t much comic book action as a result. That’s coming later, I’m sure.

Other Notes

Anyone like how we got to see Oliver fight Mr. Blank in the mansion as Oliver, and not the dude in the hood?  I thought it was really badass.  Naturally, the dude had to die. More scenes like this please.

Moira was playing instigator for team Oliver and Laurel, don’t you think?  She’s the only one that saw potential in that scenario.  The things she doesn’t know…

I missed John Barrowman this week.  I’m really hoping Malcolm is in the last three episodes.  I know next week he’s getting an awesome flashback showcase.  Can’t wait!

I’m still waiting for Roy Harper to get uh, I don’t know, a personality.  Hey, it took 16 episodes before Tommy got one, so I just got to be patient.

Until next week!

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