—Okay, this one was done several months after the two-parter introducing Huntress, thus there was plenty of time to course-correct what they had done. So, did they? Ha. Ha ha ha.
-We start off with Helena going undercover at a strip club to kill a guy, natch. It’d be churlish to criticize Arrow for a little female nudity when, let’s be honest, the only way they could be more obvious with the scenes where Stephen Amell exercises with his shirt off is if they played Careless Whisper on a loop and put Vaseline on the lens like when Captain Kirk sees a pretty girl. But with the rest of the episode’s treatment of Helena, it just comes off as insulting. “I am the token bad girl! I’m just supposed to act psycho and be sexy!”
-As it turns out, Helena’s father, Sir Not Appearing In This Episode, pretty much got off the hook entirely with the legal system by ratting out his compatriots. So you’d think Helena could solve her whole problem by going to some mob guy and saying “hey, help me kill this rat” instead of having to threaten Ollie into helping her, but whatever. You’d also think the fact that Ollie’s pretentious drivel about Bertinelli facing ‘REAL JUSTICE’ having been proven a hundred percent wrong would affect his attitude towards Helena in some way. Nooope.
-Yes, this episode doubles down on the Psycho Helena stuff, making her almost totally unsympathetic and quite possibly a cop-killer. I’m not at all sure why you would take a popular heroine, one of the leads (in fact) of Birds of Prey, DC’s premier book for women, and turn her into an out-and-out villain when you could use any other villainess for the same thing. It’s like DC making a big to-do about Dick Grayson showing up in The Dark Knight Rises, then it turns out they’re just using the name for an alcoholic bum character. What’s the point?
-Not actual dialogue.
Ollie: So, Helena, with decades of comic book history to your name and two distinct incarnations, both of which have incredibly interesting backstories, what are you going to get up to in this, your return episode?
Helena: I thought I’d do some cliched bunny-boiler antics, you know, a little Fatal Attraction, a little Basic Instinct. I KNOW YOU LOVE ME, OLLIE! THAT’S A PRIORITY TO ME NOW FOR SOME REASON EVEN THOUGH I HAVE EVERY REASON TO HATE YOUR GUTS!
Ollie: Well, I guess you’d better kill something super-cute so we lose all sympathy for you as a person.
Helena: On it. *takes off Felicity’s glasses, boils them*
-Let’s review. On the one side, we have Mr. Bertinelli, who has killed countless people and the law has refused to punish him, which is Ollie’s whole deal. On the other side, we have Helena, who is completely obsessed with killing him, but you know, her heart’s in the right place or whatever. Previously, we had Ollie stop Helena from killing him supposedly for her own psychological benefit. HERE, HE’S WILLING TO KILL HELENA TO STOP HER FROM KILLING HER FATHER. Seriously, what the fuck is Ollie’s problem? And this is after Helena has protected Ollie’s secret identity. What exact reasoning does Ollie have not to let Helena get her revenge and then hope she fucks off? If she keeps killing people after that, yeah, sure, take her out then. But why would you want to continue antagonizing this woman instead of just letting her have this one?
-In case you think I’m harping on this too much, in, like, the very next episode, Deadshot, Diggle’s arch-enemy, shows up with government agency ARGUS hot on his tail. Ollie straight-up asks Diggle if he wants Deadshot arrested. Diggle says no, and from there on out, the plan is pretty much them murdering Deadshot because he killed Diggle’s brother. This is the exact same situation Helena was in, wanting to get revenge for her fiance’s murder, but for some reason, in Helena episodes Ollie is a moral authority with the highest regard for the sanctity of life, and whenever she’s not around, he has to really think about not killing a catatonic mental patient (no, seriously).
-Also—this is just a bit odd—in the Nu52, Helena is Bruce Wayne’s daughter from an alternate dimension. The show, obviously enough, uses the Helena Bertinelli incarnation, and cast her with a woman so pale, her next appearance was in a vampire show. Later, DC also introduced a Helena Bertinelli in their comics, but instead of looking like the character’s portrayal in the popular TV show where she’s a recurring guest, she’s African-American or something? I mean, okay, but shouldn’t this sync up a little? But then, we are talking about the company that spent approximately fifty years taking break-out character Chloe Sullivan from their Superman TV show and putting her in a Superman comic book…