Arrow, Season 1, Episode 7: “Muse of Fire”
Directed by David Grossman
Written by Geoff Johns and Marc Guggenheim
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on The CW
Arrow lets loose another promising episode with its seventh outing of the series, this time directed by David Grossman with story by Andrew Kriesberg and teleplay by Geoff Johns and Marc Gugenheim. Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) investigates an attack that nearly claimed his mother’s life and in doing so, he crosses paths with Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw). Tommy and Dinah’s romance continues to blossom and later the identity of John Barrowman’s mysterious character is revealed.
“Muse of Fire” is tightly plotted with multiple story arcs interweaving and continues to re-enforce the main theme of the series: But the highlight of the episode came with the much anticipated introduction of The Huntress.
The Huntress here is somewhat different than in the comic. In those pages, Helena Rosa Bertinelli, only becomes The Huntress after she witnesses the murder of her entire family at the age of 19. Huntress has always been a bit unpredictable in nature and unstable. Her mission was always to exact revenge for the murder of her mob-related family at the hands of the mafia. On Arrow, Helena’s operating in a similar manner, only instead she is targeting her own family to exact revenge for the death of her fiance. It’s a much appreciated modification that keeps the character true to the source material. I always say that when adapting a comic book to a new medium, writers should take liberty in making some minor adjustments.
These two characters don’t necessarily have much history in the comics. Huntress is actually Gotham born and has had more of a ongoing relationship with Batman than with Green Arrow. Thankfully the various adjustments to Helena’s origin make her a fitting counterpart to Ollie as it will force him to confront his murderous actions while cleaning up Starling City. As Diggle pointed out, Helena is a killer but how is she any different than Ollie? Helena snaps the neck of a man only seconds after Oliver does the same to someone else. Now Oliver must balance her extreme behaviour and his attraction to her, while keeping his already murky morals in check. The two have a lot in common but there is a key difference in their personal missions: Helena wants revenge and Oliver wants justice. It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship plays out in the upcoming weeks.
As far as the performance went, Jessica De Gouw was better than other supporting players on the show, particularly during her character’s dinner date with Ollie. Stephen Amell and Jessica De Gouw have a bit more chemistry with one another than Amell and Katie Cassidy had in previous semi-romantic moments. Although De Gouw struggled to find some footing during the final scene, their interactions show much promise.
“Muse of Fire” is also notable as the first episode to not feature any flashbacks. While the flashbacks have steadily become more interesting over the course of the season, it’s nice to know that the writers are using it only when necessary, and don’t feel the need to shoehorn it in every week. Even better, was the complete absence of the poorly written narration that has plagued the series thus far. I’ve been fretting about Oliver’s inner voice since the pilot and I’m glad to see that problem has finally been resolved.
Finally this episode sheds some light on the nature of John Barrowman’s character, but the most intriguing aspect of the reveal is how it impacts Tommy’s character arc. When Tommy first appeared in the pilot, many assumed he would later become the assassin from the comics. With the father demonstrating his fencing skills, it becomes very clear who the substantial villain of the series will be. Mr. Merlyn already positioned himself as the predominate threat facing Ollie, but now it becomes clear just how much of a hold he has on his family – specifically Moira who is clearly a reluctant participant in his grand scheme.
Unlike previous comic-book-to-tv-shows, the moral implications are never clear-cut for any of the characters – And that is perhaps the main reason why I keep watching. How refreshing is it to know that we won’t have a moral lesson at the end of each episode?
Kelly Hu’s China White returned briefly, and still in need of a make-over. What is up with that horrible wig?
Tommy’s relationship with his dad will certainly mirror the Lex and Lionel relationship from Smallville.
Dig serves up the best line once again: “You’re supposed to be undercover, not speed dating.”
The action scenes were a bit of a mixed bag but the dialogue was greatly improved. I’d take better writing over better action any day.
– Ricky D