“Home Invasion” – Arrow

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 1.18.14 PMY’know, we’re not sure we care for these island flashbacks much. At first they were fun – seeing Oliver before he was, like, not a spoiled, entitled asshole – and they’re a clever way to give ‘The Hood’ an origin story without totally commandeering a few episodes, but they’re becoming far too convoluted and pointless to warrant the screen time. The sole purpose of them now, it seems, is to give Oliver an excuse to gaze into the middle distance while we learn something slight about his character. This week’s vignette? He passed up an island affair with Jao Fei’s daughter, Shado, because he was determined to make it back to Laurel and show her how much she means to him. Like we needed another reminder that he’s in love with her…

Our boredom may be set to disappear with next week’s episode. In a fleeting moment in the final flashback scene, Fyres discovered Oliver, Shado and Slade’s formerly aeronautical hideaway and, in a parting shot, tells Ollie that his time on the island has come to a close. Are we about to see what Oliver got up to when he escaped the island the first time? That is the only potential story arc that could maintain our interest in the incessant flashbacks.

Off the island, matters fared slightly better (with regards to viewer appreciation, at least). The big story of the week, as indicated by the flashbacks’ focus, was Laurel and Oliver. This was explored through a number of other relationships, each of which hit stumbling blocks due to the central pair’s inability to escape from each other’s orbits. As Laurel’s life was put in peril again, Oliver and Tommy were each faced with choices.

Tommy’s first. Oliver’s secret has been weighing on Tommy since he found it out and this episode both compounded his jealousy and gave him reason to think that he’s getting in the way of something. With Laurel in danger, and hiding out in the Queen’s house, Tommy was forced to confront his fears, and he came to the realization that he can’t compete with Oliver (even though Oliver has taken himself out of the competition). We couldn’t help feeling sorry for Tommy as he walked away from Laurel for the last time, but we were also intrigued by the possibilities that this breakup presents for Oliver and Laurel. Will we be seeing her uncovering Oliver’s secret before the end of the season? Will that be the catalyst for a rekindling of their relationship?

The other major stumbling block came about as a result of Oliver’s poor decision making. A major strand of this episode’s plot revolved around the continuing Deadshot arc. In “Home Invasion”, Oliver had a chance to take out Floyd Lawton, but passed it up to save Laurel again. We don’t blame Dig for being a bit miffed. Choosing between Lawton and the man behind the attacks on Laurel shouldn’t even have been a tough decision – one was fleeing the country, and could easily have been stopped by the Starling City PD, the other was a killer for hire who works so far under the radar that he may never surface again. We know what we would have picked. Oliver picked wrong. So, no, we don’t blame Diggle for being angry. But we were surprised to see him up and quit. We don’t see that lasting but, right now, we’re not quite sure how Oliver can earn Dig’s trust again.

The most interesting arc for us was also the one that got the least screen time – Roy Harper’s search for ‘The Hood’. He spent his very few onscreen moments this episode trying to track down the vigilante who saved his life, clearly with a view to joining him. As the episode closed, Thea vowed to help him find the vigilante. Not only will this make for some interesting scenes as Thea unknowingly tracks her brother, but we foresee an early replacement for Diggle at Oliver’s right hand (even if just temporarily). This could, potentially paint Harper as the ‘Robin’ type, and Diggle as ‘Alfred’. With just three episodes remaining in the current season, we certainly won’t have to wait long to find out. – K

Quoteworthy: “I don’t know how to be with Laurel knowing the entire time that if she ever found out who you really are she would choose you.” – Tommy

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