Disclaimer: This recap may have some holes because the commercial breaks were a bit choppy during the East Coast airing.
Well, well, guess who’s found himself a new love interest? Up until tonight’s episode, I assumed Oliver was going to have only two leading ladies this season: Laurel and IT girl (hey, one can hope!). But how wrong I was. Turns out, there’s a third gal in the running for his heart. Meet Helena — the daughter of a dangerous mob boss, who, much like Arrow, is out for vengeance.
Though I’m usually a sucker for such romantic setups — two characters who initially dislike each other trade sob stories and end up bonding — it didn’t work for me here. After all, these kinds of setups are most gratifying when the characters come together after some slow simmering romantic tension. When everything happens in the course of an episode — as it did tonight — there’s no real build-up or payoff.
Before I write an entire essay on the do’s and don’ts of creating romantic tension though, let’s start from the beginning of the episode:
The last time we checked in on Oliver he was making an effort to bond with his mom over burgers at Starling City’s finest diner, but at the start of tonight’s episode he’s back to forgetting his family commitments. It’s not until he gets a call from Thea that he remembers he’s supposed to meet his mother for lunch.
While Oliver waits for his mother outside her office, a motorcyclist passes by and takes aim at Moira’s colleague. The colleague gets hit with a bullet, while Moira falls to the ground beside him.
Oliver rushes over to make sure she’s ok and then tries to chase down the motorcyclist on foot, but the driver manages to escape.
Later, we see the shooter put a big X on the photo of the man who was just shot. Then the shooter removes their helmet and we see that…gasp, it’s a girl! (Though, I’m guessing that didn’t really come as a shock to anyone).
At the hospital, Moira, who suffered a concussion from the fall, asks Oliver why he ran after the shooter. He claims he was trying to get the license plate number on the motorcycle, but Thea doesn’t buy his story.
Det. Lance shows up and informs Oliver that his mom wasn’t the shooter’s target. The shooter was after Moira’s colleague who apparently had ties to the mob.
Much to Dig’s dismay, this gives Oliver the brilliant idea to go undercover with the mob. Though first he has to convince Thea to forgo a night of clubbing to babysit their mother. Surprisingly, she relents but not before giving him some attitude. On his way out, he meets Tommy, who, after complimenting Thea on her dress (probably not the best move considering she recently confessed her love for him…), tells Oliver that he’s taking Laurel on a date.
You see Tommy showed up to Laurel’s apartment earlier with takeout and managed to convince her to go to dinner with him. To her credit, Laurel agreed to the date—and the takeout—without her usual snippy attitude (shocker!).
Oliver flinches slightly when he finds out about their date but he plays it off. He tells Tommy he’s totally fine with it and then “jokingly” threatens to break Tommy’s neck if he ever hurts Laurel. Ha ha?
NEXT: Oliver and Helena bond at dinner…