I’m still unsure why this is called ‘Muse of Fire’, though it may have something to do with Dan Simmons’ book of the same name. Though since that involves a dystopian future where humans are an endangered species, I doubt it.
Oliver is still not really earning points when it comes to his behavior on the homefront. I mean, I know he’s trying to be the Oliver he was before the island, but this was definitely the start of his bad choices. Abandoning his mother to go after the man who shot her was both noble and stupid, for many reasons on both fronts. He’s trying to be both The Hood and Old Oliver, and it just isn’t working for him.
Enter Helena. Now, my issues here are two-fold: (again) Oliver’s blatant stupidity and (*sigh*) how they chose to portray Helena.
This is where they introduce the idea that Oliver has bad judgement when it comes to women. Now, this gets revisited (a lot) later in the show, to the point where it’s a hallmark of his character, which is fine, in a way, because it’s something they chose to incorporate from the comic book Oliver. I just have issue with the fact that he can’t tell she’s a little unhinged with his island-honed instincts. Really, Oliver? All that being said, it’s good that they brought in one of his weaknesses with this episode. It makes him more human.
And now we have Helena. Sigh. It’s pretty sad when I have to say that I preferred the version on the aborted Birds of Prey show (aired 2002-2003) to the one they gave us here. I don’t know if it was the writing, or how the actress chose to portray her, but I just didn’t like her at all. I have nothing against Jessica De Gouw, she was just very… stiff, in this role. I was looking for them to show at least something of the comic book Huntress here, and all I really got was the costume in the next episode. To their credit (writers and actress), this character got better.
I’m being pretty hard on Oliver, I know. I think we’re meant to be in this situation. Diggle pretty much says what we’re thinking. They may have a lot in common, but that’s the problem. While they bond over the fact that their family names come with expectations, they also let themselves get very dark, and their relationship feeds that. Which is why they like each other, but it’s not a good thing.
Now that I think about it, if we want to talk about really toxic relationships, this one fits the bill perfectly. As much as Oliver and Laurel don’t bring out the best in each other, Oliver and Helena are actually worse. They feed each other’s demons. Which was probably the point, but I was still Team Merlance. So, I think I can see why they did this episode.
China White was actually a great part of this episode, if only because she reminds us that this is, after all, supposed to be a crime drama, not a drama that has crime as a backdrop. Her interactions with Frank Bertinelli tie her in nicely, and Kelly Hu does a good job with the material given. I’d love more delicious female villains like this in Season 5.
To visit the homefront again: Moira comes to accept the son she got back isn’t the one who left, and urges Thea to do the same. It was a great bonding moment for these ladies, and one of the reasons I stuck around early in Season 1. I don’t always have a perfect relationship with my mother, either, and reflecting back on my teenage years (heck, moments even now in my adulthood), these teaching moments made me warm and fuzzy.
As a direct counterpoint: Tommy gets cut off by Malcolm. While not terribly surprising, the frostiness between these two is glacial. This scene gives me a chance to really feel bad for poor Tommy. Malcolm may be frustrated with Tommy over his lack of responsibility, but it’s not as if he’s perfect, either. He completely abandoned his son after his wife’s death, and never really came back. If we’re going to talk about taking responsibility, buddy, you might want to look in a mirror.
That being said, both Susanna Thompson and John Barrowman did an excellent job this episode. Love both of them.
Lance didn’t have much to do this episode, but this wasn’t really about him, so he probably did was he was supposed to do. Paul Blackthorne still pretty much kills it for me.
Oh, and about fathers: Frank’s reaction to finding out his own daughter was selling him out. Nicely done. This was a part of the episode with Helena I actually enjoyed. LOL Frank is arrested, and now both Oliver and Helena know about each other.
Oh, and they sleep together. Quel surprise. Oliver slept with almost everyone this season. I’m going to take a minute to thank Stephen Amell for stopping this trend. Not before Season 2, but… oh, well.
To end this post on a happy note, Tommy and Laurel wind up at her apartment, she comforts and feeds him, and they wind up on good footing.
Walter comes home after leaving to clear his head, he and Moira reunite, and Oliver watches from afar. Probably showing him seeing a relationship that’s working despite problems, and hopefully thinking he wants the same. Which is positive.
Oh, and no flashbacks. Not saying this was a positive, or a negative. Just nothing to comment on, here.