‘Arrow’ 1×20 Photo Recap: “Home Invasion”
I think this is a good time to mention that I have signed up for an intro to archery class, which may prove to be a fatal exercise in misdirected fanaticism for all things Hunger Games, Hawkeye, and Green Arrow related. So wish me luck! (I’ll need it, given my track record with pointy objects.) I was hoping that watching Shado try to teach Oliver how to shoot would prepare me for my own lesson, but the two of them seemed to be practicing something other than archery…unless I’m doing it wrong. I didn’t think archery involved that much tongue. But I’m getting ahead of myself… This week’s episode of Arrow had a lot going on: breakups, man feelings, Whedon alumni, orphans, and two shirtless scenes. All in all, a fairly well rounded episode, though it could have used more Felicity Smoak, if you ask me. Let’s begin at the beginning…
Dig and Oliver were having some manly bonding time, because they had to do something masculine to counteract all the talking-about-their feelings that they did last episode. Also, it’s been a while since Dig took his shirt off, so it was about time for a good workout session.
As it turned out, Deadshot crashed some snooty gala (I’m assuming it was a gala based on the approximate level of formalwear I saw, but I’m really not sure what defines a “gala,” other than the type of apple…which are really tasty, by the way), where he artfully shot some rich old white guy, which, let’s be honest, there are plenty of in Starling City, so it could have been way worse. This gave Dig and Oliver a lead on their new partner project, Operation Avenge Diggle’s Brother and Take Down Deadshot. (They should probably come up with a better name for that, like maybe something shorter, but anyway…)
Except, OOPS. There was a second crisis this week, and it involved Oliver’s favorite thing in the whole world (aside from v-neck tees). Yup, I’m talking about Laurel. Yeah, no way that’s gonna complicate everything… Especially with Oliver’s renewed obsession with being “friends” with Laurel. Like he’s fooling anyone but himself with that nonsense.
Meanwhile, on Flashback Island, nothing much was going on other than Slade and Shado occasionally taking a break from their sweaty, lust-filled “training sessions” to rag on Oliver.
So yeah, same old, same old. Diggle went to go stalk talk to his ladyfriend Lyla, who was basically like, “BACK THE EFF OFF DEADSHOT,” to which Dig responded, “SHAN’T.” And that was that. Then Oliver went to pick up Laurel for their friend-lunch. (I can see the menu now… “Please enjoy an appetizer of awkward sexual tension, followed by the main course: sautéed emotional baggage, and lastly, your dessert this afternoon will be crème brulee with a side of crippling resentment.”) But instead he got to meet a very sweet, loving family who were clearly destined for misery, since no one on this show stays happy for very long.
Someone was about to shatter that seemingly perfect family…and that someone was none other than J. August Richards!
You may recognize him from Angel, and he was recently cast in Joss Whedon’s upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show. Or you may not recognize him at all and are instead very confused as to why I have interrupted this recap to give you a short bio of J. August Richards. Did you know he’s from Washington, D.C. and he has the same birthday as my mother? KNOWLEDGE! (You’re welcome.)
NOT COOL, J. August Richards. Why you gotta be like that? At least the little kid managed to get away. And we all know he’s totally going to end up becoming a superhero to avenge his parents’ deaths. I mean, that’s how it goes, right? It’s just an endless cycle of traumatized children growing up to become emotionally stunted adults who wear capes and beat up bad guys. This kid could be the next Batman. Way to plan ahead, show! Already planting the seeds for a spin-off. Just wait ten years and this kid could be the next vigilante. That is, if Laurel doesn’t smother him to death first… Seriously, hasn’t this poor kid been through enough? Now his parents are dead, and suddenly this woman he barely knows is all over him. I mean, did you see Laurel’s face when the social worker woman tried to take him to Child Protective Services? She was having none of it.
Back at the precinct, Detective Lance found someone waiting for him who had a shared interest in finding the vigilante…Roy Harper! (*Cue swooning*)
On his way out, Roy snatched one of the police radios so he could listen in when they got a tip on the Hood, who had become Roy’s new obsession since the vigilante saved his life.
Now that Laurel had decided to play house with this poor kid, Tommy got the opportunity to give him the “So Your Parents Got Killed by a Psychopath” speech. Sometimes I really love Tommy, and this was one of those times.
*Let the record show that this quote was originally phrased differently in the book, and it was Dumbledore who said it. But Sirius Black’s movie version is much more quotable.
Siriusly though, Tommy handled this whole thing unbelievably well. He’s pretty much the best boyfriend ever. He was even a big enough man to be able to admit that they would be safer at Oliver’s with him there to protect them (and up the awkward quotient by, like, six decibels). Also, where did Tommy learn to be such a good dad? Because it sure as hell wasn’t from his dad. He must have watched a lot of The Cosby Show.
This adorable moment was interrupted by J. August Richards, who busted down the door and started shooting up all of Laurel’s home furnishings. What is this guy’s grudge against interior decorating? It’s not enough that he kills people; he has to destroy their beautiful living rooms too.
Just in case you forgot that Laurel is a f***ing badass… Her dad taught her how to shoot! But even so, she was in trouble before Oliver came crashing through the window.
Oliver truly is the king of dramatic entrances. Also, I think he did more damage to Laurel’s living room than J. August Richards did. And he didn’t even kill the guy, so…fail. On the plus side, Oliver and Tommy shared a meaningful glance after Oliver saved them. Almost as if to say, “I appreciate you, bro, even though our friendship is currently on hold while we both work out some stuff, and we might both be in love with the same girl.” Or maybe I was reading too much into it. I tend to do that.
Roy was about to have his second run-in with the police in one day, which I’m guessing isn’t a first for him. But still, he was pretty upset to find Detective Lance waiting for him instead of the Hood.
Womp womp. “A” for effort though, Roy. Besides, you could use a new hoodie, so maybe a shopping trip is just what you need.
Speaking of things not going according to plan, Dig got into trouble when Oliver decided to bail on his years-in-the-making quest for vengeance against the man who killed his brother. Oliver decided it was more important to stop Rasmus, the slimeball who tried to have Laurel killed, from fleeing the country. Ouch, Oliver. Ever heard of bros before hoes? Not that I condone that phrase, since it’s incredibly offensive and derogatory to women, but I stand by the sentiment. Much unlike the way Oliver stood by Diggle…which he, you know, didn’t. Unsurprisingly, this meant that things went rather poorly for Dig, who ended up in a very not-ideal situation with Deadshot…
But fortunately Deadshot didn’t kill Dig because, um, no one was paying him to? I guess? Whatever, don’t ask questions. Just watch the show, okay?
Dig was understandably upset with Oliver for not having his back and essentially choosing Laurel over him, which is a definite frowny-face in the Friend Handbook. (Though, I’m still not convinced that Dig and Oliver haven’t moved from the Friend Handbook to the Friends with Benefits Pamphlet.)
And on that note, the biggest twist of the episode had to be the unexpected development of “benefits” between Shado and Flashback-Oliver, who proved that the old, “teach me how to shoot a bow and arrow” ploy totally works as a seduction method.
WOW. Even with that awful flashback hair, Oliver’s got game! Granted, he’s got hella emotional issues too, but he’s got game. Or it could also be that there are only two eligible bachelors on the island who aren’t trying to kill Shado, so her options are pretty limited. In any case, TWIST! Of course Oliver pulled the “I’ve got a girl back home” card, but we all know he also didn’t want to cockblock Slade, who’s clearly infatuated with Shado.
Back in the present day, Roy Harper was handcuffed to a chair. (This may or may not be the opening line of a fanfic I’m currently in the process of writing…) Thea came to pick him up, which prompted Detective Lance to seize the opportunity to educate the two young miscreants on why the vigilante needs to be brought to justice.
Okay, first of all, I’m pretty sure it goes against police protocol to stick arrows (which are presumably evidence) into dead bodies in order to prove a point. It was like some really awkward episode of Scared Straight, except instead of trying to show them that a life of crime will get you killed, he just demonstrated how fighting crime (albeit illegally) will get other people killed. Probably criminals. Well, now I’ve succeeded in confusing myself, so let’s move on.
Laurel was creepily watching Taylor sleep…because that’s not going to traumatize the kid even further or anything.
Oliver came to check on them and to offer his shoulder to cry on, since that’s what friends do…
But of course since this show is two parts action, one part melodrama, and one part thinly-veiled homoeroticism, Tommy had to see them hugging and correctly deduce from that that Oliver is still in love with Laurel.
Aside from the emotional s**tstorm that was brewing, a genuine catastrophe was about to unfold in the Queen house, courtesy of Mr. J. August Richards. Sucks to be the guy who opened the door for the seemingly innocent delivery boy…
Oliver told Laurel and Tommy to stay with Taylor and he would go investigate the kerfuffle. This was one of those times when I was really glad Tommy knows about Oliver’s, um, extracurricular activities, because otherwise it would have been this whole big thing about, “No Oliver, it’s too dangerous. Don’t go down there,” or, “I’ll go with you,” but Tommy was just like, “Yup. You got this, bro.”
Okay, so is it terrible that now I have “Poker Face” stuck in my head? Yes? Okay fine, I’m an awful person. But either way, good job, Oliver! And you didn’t even need your bow and arrows to take him down! And good call blaming it on poor dead Mr. Robbins. Too bad you tore apart your mother’s beautiful home in the process of taking this guy out.
At least now the broken, disheveled Queen house will accurately reflect the inner turmoil of its inhabitants. Things only got worse between Oliver and Tommy, who now realizes that Oliver loves Laurel and she sort of loves the vigilante (I would refer to this as “Spider-Man Syndrome,” but I’m not confident at all that Spider-Man and Mary Jane were the first example of this phenomenon in superhero lore). Tommy can’t live with himself knowing that if Laurel knew, she would choose Oliver over him. WOAH. That’s a truthquake if I’ve ever heard one. I don’t know whether to be impressed with Tommy or angry at him, but that’s a bold move, my friend.
This meant things were about to get ruhll unfortunate for Laurel, who was already having a rough day, what with having almost been killed the night before, and having to say goodbye to her fake son and all.
And her day certainly did not get better from there…
Gahhhh so many emotions!!! I can’t handle this! It kills me when characters do things that are actually good in the long run while hurting the people they love and lying about their semi-selfless reasons for doing it. Of course, this is a cornerstone of dramatic storytelling, but still…it hurts my soul. Tommy really has changed! And we all saw what a great family he and Laurel would make. But you can’t blame the guy for not wanting to be with a woman who would (most likely) leave him in a heartbeat if she knew the truth about her hooded savior—who also happens to be his best friend. Things are certainly complicated between just about errbody right now. Laurel and Tommy, Tommy and Oliver, Oliver and Diggle…
There is one couple who seems to be doing more or less awesome these days, and surprisingly, that would be Thea and Roy, who had a really adorable final scene together where Roy told her that he felt like he owed everything to the vigilante, and he couldn’t just go back to being a petty thief like he was before. (Hooray for personal growth!) Thea surprised me a little by being the epitome of the understanding and supportive girlfriend, telling him she would help him find the Hood, since it was obviously important to him. Honestly, these two are so cute together, I am dreading the day that one or both of them discovers that Oliver is the Hood, because that is just gonna f*** all their s**t up. Until then, they can enjoy the blissful innocence of a love unburdened by dark secrets (even if they’re someone else’s).
So I think the lessons we learned here today are as follows:
- Secrets will slowly and painfully destroy all of your relationships and the ones around you.
- Don’t try to be friends with your ex, especially if she’s dating your best friend.
- Don’t ever answer the door after dark, because it’s probably someone who’s trying to kill you. Or a Jehovah’s Witness.
- The fire poker is the most underrated weapon in your living room.
- If you make a move on Yao Fei’s daughter, he will find out and betray you to the sketchy soldier guys who run the island.
What else did you learn from this week’s Arrow? Were you as disappointed as I was in the lack of Olicity love? Or are you more concerned with the bromances that are in peril? Also, is it just me, or did Oliver’s flashback hair get slightly less horrible? Leave your thoughts in the comments section! And wish me luck at my archery lesson!
See the rest of my Arrow photo recaps here
*All images are property of The CW