“Arrow” – Muse of Fire episode review 1

Oliver and Helena bond over an unexpected dinner together

★★★★½

Thankfully, with “Muse of Fire,” Arrow deviated from its typical formula of hunting down yet another bad guy off of dad’s list and instead focused on the introduction of a new character named Helena Bertinelli. Helena’s appearance is significant because for the first time since Oliver got back from the island, he can actually relate to somebody. Like Ollie, Helena uses an alter ego (Huntress) to fight bad guys and avenge her fiancé’s death, who was killed by her own mob family. “Muse of Fire” was chock full of important events and crucial character developments that broke the mold of previous episodes and really brought Arrow to new heights.

“Muse of Fire” starts off with a bang, when Moira Queen narrowly escapes being gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Though it’s later determined that Moira was never the shooter’s target, Oliver is determined to hold the criminal accountable for his or her crimes. He immediately launches into an investigation of the shooting, rather than spending time with his recovering mother (who suffered a minor concussion during the incident). Both Diggle and Thea rebuke Oliver for his apparent carelessness, but he is determined to find the killer and bring them to justice. It appeared that the show was about to follow its usual path, with Oliver conveniently discovering that the culprit was coincidentally connected to another name on his father’s list.

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But in an excellent change from the typical course of the show, the drive-by gunner doesn’t turn out to be someone from Robert’s list. Oliver finds out that the victim had ties to the Starling City mafia and pays a visit to the Don, Frank Bertinelli. He uses business talk to disguise his actual motives for meeting with Bertinelli, but when Frank has to secretly meet with the Triad to discuss his henchmen being killed off, Oliver is forced to dine with his daughter Helena instead. Though neither of them really want to have dinner together, they end up bonding over being alone and misunderstood and they dine until the restaurant closes. But it’s not long before Oliver discovers Helena’s alter ego.

The mob descends on the restaurant that Oliver and Helena just left, threatening to break the owner’s fingers if he doesn’t pay double what he owes them.  When Arrow makes an appearance to save the day, so does Helena Bertinelli (disguised as the Huntress), and together they make quick work of the Mafia thugs. Once the bad guys are all down for the count, Arrow and Huntress start fighting one another, which leads to the Huntress’ helmet being knocked off to reveal her true identity. Later, Oliver visits Helena at her house and she makes it clear that she recognized him as well. With the secrecy gone, they chose to act on the bond they formed over dinner and share a passionate kiss.

Not only did “Arrow” steer clear of the repetitive format that the show had started to follow week in and week out, but it also introduced a new character that will undoubtedly have a huge impact on Oliver. Helena Bertinelli is a fantastic addition to the show because not only is she a new potential love interest for Oliver, but the similarity between the Huntress and Arrow poses lots of interesting questions. They both are trying to bring down some of the city’s worst criminals, but for slightly different reasons: him to cleanse the city and her to avenge her fiancé’s death. Now that the romance between them has clearly been established, this difference could drastically affect their personal relationship. Can they be together when Oliver so strongly disagrees with the motive behind her vigilantism? Will Oliver try to straighten Helena out? Maybe if Oliver helps Helena get her vengeance, they could then join forces and fight Starling City’s nastiest criminals side-by-side. The possibilities are endless with the appearance of the Huntress, so I hope Arrow takes its time with this new character and explores all of the intricacies she can bring to the show.

The intro of the Huntress would have been enough to make a great episode, but “Muse of Fire” didn’t stop there. While Oliver was busy tussling with Helena, Tommy had his own problems to deal with. When he and Laurel go on a dinner date together, his credit card is declined when he tries to pay for the meal.  Come to find out, Tommy’s dad has completely cut him off from his funds. When Tommy goes to complain to his father, he turns out to be… the Well Dressed Man (as credited on IMDB) who is always pestering Moira Queen!  This big reveal that Tommy’s dad happens to be the lead villain on the show could lead to so many story-lines  The main thing that springs to mind is the relationship between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn in Spiderman. Oliver will eventually discover Well Dressed Man’s secret, and when he does, it could be disastrous for his friendship with Tommy. When Tommy finds out, will he be persuaded to side with his father, or with Oliver? With this revelation and with the appearance of the Huntress, “Muse of Fire” hit fans with two new bombshells that will continue to shape the story for many episodes to come.

Lastly, a lesser event, but still noteworthy, was Walter’s return.  There’s an excellent opportunity here for the writers to add even more complexity to the show.  Sure, Walter claimed that his trip was for business, and it seemed like he was blowing off some steam, but what really happened while he was gone?  Was his trip as innocent as he’d like everybody to believe?  Let’s hope his absence won’t be something that the writers of Arrow pass over.

There’s no question that “Muse of Fire” was one of the best Arrow episodes yet.  It broke away from the usual format of tracking down a bad guy from Robert’s list, it introduced a complex new character, it contained a killer reveal about Well Dressed Man, and Walter returned from his trip abroad.  So many events with serious repercussions were packed into an exciting hour of television. “Muse of Fire” set Arrow up for some intriguing episodes to come, and this reviewer can’t wait to find out what happens next.