Come on, admit it.  When Oliver and Helena went into their steamy, needy, utterly desperate fit of passion at the end, how many of you were thinking, “Man, it must be forever since Oliver got laid.”  If it’s been since just before the boat accident, that girl is in for some really pent up release!

Sorry, I just had to get that out in the open first.  I absolutely loved “Muse of Fire” and the dilemmas raised over two people with double lives finding each other.  I know this type of fare isn’t for many coming to watch comic book hero action, but stories like this do have to be told once in a while.

Self professed comic book moron here went into this episode knowing nothing about The Huntress.  Heck, did they even call her that?  I’m finding that such ignorance in that comic lore is working to my advantage, because I’m not coming into these episodes with large expectations.  I figured she’d just be another foe for Oliver, but I like this better.

Oliver and Helena don’t come from identical circumstances, but their personal missions end up being eerily similar.  Each think the other is crossing a line.  Each think the other has the flawed mission.  Each cannot help but be mesmerized with each other’s secret identities and who the real person is underneath.  Probably because it’s like looking in a mirror.  The result is something explosive on screen, and suddenly I’m asking, “Laurel who?”

The previous six episodes have gone out of their way to show that Oliver Queen is a very lonely guy.  He’s lying to his family and getting tons of pressure about it.  John Diggle knows the truth, but he doesn’t yet understand the real Oliver either.  Or actually he does, and Oliver doesn’t like the lecturing and being told what to do.  So, when a very attractive girl comes along with her own set of deep scars and secrets, no wonder Oliver is sucked right in.  She’s very lonely too, grieving for a fiancée that her mob boss father killed.  Or he ordered the hit and evil Tahmoh Penikett was the enforcer.  She’s determined to take her father’s organization down, one kill at a time.

Once Oliver and Helena are forced to get to know each other through dinner, the attraction evolves pretty quickly.  Her line of questioning about the island strangely gets Oliver to open up just because she doesn’t ask questions like “What was it like?”  She hits a nerve, asking if there was anything he enjoyed about the island, like being away from it all.  “No pressure from the family, no being what everyone else expects you to be.  Was there ever a day when-”  “When I felt lost, when I felt free,” Oliver answers honestly.  You know you’re connecting with someone when you can finish their sentences!  “More than one, and those are the days I miss.”

Through their flirty conversation the entire evening, she figures out how much the island has defined him, something that others in Oliver’s life are clearly struggling with.  That mantra was again applied to us by a sledgehammer through Thea’s little whiny fit over having to care for their injured mother while Oliver tended to his “duties”.  Although, Moira is starting to understand, but only because she has her own secrets to bear.

This episode often went out of its way to show the grey areas, intentionally making it hard to tell the difference between Oliver and Helena’s quest.  Let’s take when she kills evil Tahmoh Penikett.  Sure, the bastard had it coming, but Oliver would have done it because the dude had killed before and he failed the city.  Helena did it because no one can know her secret so her quest to take down her father can continue.  Are either of them right here?  Both would be able to justify their actions, because the mission is ultimately the priority.  Their success will be for the greater good.  The motives are fuzzy, but in the end the result is the same, evil bad guy went down.

I found it interesting that Oliver’s attraction to Helena both fascinated him and scared him.  She was able to figure out he was The Hood pretty easily.  Not tough when they both show up at the same place to fight the bad guy so soon after parting.  His fear of trusting or letting anyone in is pretty easy for her to crack, even if he tried to differentiate what she does from what he does.  Her mission is based on revenge, his is based on justice.  “Sometimes justice comes from revenge,” she tells him.  She refuses to see the difference.  Oliver tries to keep that stand, but the fact that she sees through him breaks him down to his core vulnerability.  He needs desperately to reach out to someone and here she is.  Her need is desperate too.  Suddenly they’re both hot and heavy, because that desire to be understood is too overwhelming.  Okay, perhaps that was all borderline chick flick, but it worked for me.

Laurel and Tommy on the other hand, I’m still in the “Who cares!” territory.  Although, the reveal that Tommy’s dad, Mr. Melvin, is the John Barrowman bad guy that keeps pulling Moira’s strings is nice plot thickening.  I’m still not clear what this makes Tommy though.  Patsy was the name I was thinking.  Plus why now is Tommy getting cut off?  It must be related to “The Hood” trying to take down the syndicate I would think.  I’m not losing sleep over it, that’s for sure.  It’ll all play out eventually and there’s still hope that I could care.

I’m also pleased to see Detective Lance focus on something other than Oliver, despite this little warning visit under the guise of “making us even.”  Ugh, forced drama.  He knows his mob activity and it’s great to see the writers make this guy look competent.  Oh, and Walter is back.  Yay Walter.  Was he gone?

It seems all this mob drama is going to play out more next episode, which is good since a mob war really shouldn’t be rushed.  I like that Helena wasn’t all invincible and needs some help in her fighting and shooting skills.  Too many end up being a “natural” at this revenge thing.  She’s certainly found the right trainer!  Judging by the previews for next week, The Huntress gets a new outfit and a mask, so things are moving forward for her.  This week set up plenty of fascinating parallels and grey areas to play with, so the story possibilities for the next two episodes before the midwinter break can go many ways.  I’m anxious to see what comes next, so TPTB are still doing their job.

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