Arrow tries to change Helena; Tommy takes Laurel out to a fancy restaurant where they run into Oliver and Helena

By Nuzhat Naoreen
Updated December 06, 2012 at 07:46 AM EST


S1 E8
  • TV Show

Ok, I know I didn’t really understand Helena’s appeal last week but I’ve got to admit, she really turned it around for me tonight. It’s as if I needed her and Oliver to settle into each other and, in this episode, they did. Not only did their chemistry feel a lot more organic, but their emotional attachment made more sense too. That being said, I still think she’s about five kinds of crazy, but hey, she’s also fun and flirty. A little more of the latter and I could really get behind this pairing. Let’s get started below:

The episode opens with both Oliver and Helena entangled in bed. It seems as if their steamy hook-up tired them out…well, sort of. Helena manages to pull herself away from Oliver’s perfectly toned pecs to embark on another secret mission.

Her plan? Kill the leader of the Triad. Helena wants the mob organization to think her father was behind the hit, in hopes that they’ll retaliate and ruin him for good. Before she can take her shot though, Arrow intervenes. He tries to convince her that what she’s doing isn’t justice. “And what you do is?” she counters. Arrow says he wants to show her what he does, so he takes her to…wait for it, Big Belly Burger! Because how better to stop someone from killing people out of revenge than with a trip to Starling City’s finest dining establishment?

“I haven’t been on a second date in awhile,” Oliver tells Helena, who immediately lets him know that they are not on a second date. “We slept together and it was really nice and I needed it but I’m not looking for anything,” she says. To his credit, Oliver doesn’t seem to be fazed. Like at all. Instead, he sarcastically points out that she’s got “everything figured out.” His high and mighty tone doesn’t sit well with Helena and she reminds him that she saw Arrow kill people. “I only kill people when it’s absolutely necessary,” he says. “It’s not my opening move.” He tells Helena he can show her a way to take down her father’s organization without putting innocent people at risk but she’s not exactly interested. “Thank you,” she says. “For the coffee…and the sex.”

So, what’s a guy to do after he’s rejected twice at Big Belly Burger? Work out his aggression obviously. Oliver heads back to his hideout where he does some crazy upside down push-ups, while Diggle gives him the third-degree about his relationship with Helena. Oliver reveals that Helena knows his true identity and Dig is hardly happy about it. He tells Oliver that Helena is not who he thinks she is, but Oliver continues to defend her and says he’s determined to save her and to stop her from doing anything reckless. Dig, who is once again the voice of reason, cautions that some people can’t be changed and the situation is bound to end up badly. “I got to try,” says Oliver, while hoisting himself up a steel ladder with a bar (I could watch an entire hour of him performing these crazy exercise routines).

Meanwhile, at the mansion, Moira tries to reach out to her husband, Walter. She’s worried because they haven’t really spoken since he discovered she had the yacht salvaged and that her ex was murdered. She tells him she wasn’t lying to hurt him but to keep him safe. Walter seems convinced and says he’d like them to be honest with each other moving forward (yeah, good luck with that one).

NEXT: Arrow teaches Helena archery…

At her home, Helena watches as her father, Frank, comforts a woman who is mourning the loss of one of his murdered colleagues, Nick. Helena tells the woman that she’s sorry for her loss and that Nick was like a brother to her. After the woman leaves, Frank angrily promises to punish whoever killed Nick. Helena seems to smirk at his comment. It’s evident she was the one who killed Nick. Diggle was so right about her.

Not that Oliver cares of course. It’s not long before Oliver shows up to to Helena’s house. Once again, Helena tries to push him away but Oliver convinces her to come with him to Laurel’s sister’s grave site. He opens up to her about how he blames himself for the death. They hold hands and Oliver tells Helena that she’s on an island too (so deep!). Helena says she wants to let Oliver in but Michael was the last man she opened up to and she’s not willing to go through it again. (Wait, so her sharing her life story with Oliver during dinner in the last episode wasn’t opening up?). Instead of walking away after rejection number three, Oliver resolutely tells Helena that he would never hurt her.

As if to prove his point, Oliver takes Helena to his hideaway, where he attempts to teach her how to use a bow & arrow (spoiler alert: she sucks). Eventually, they take a break from the lessons and have some fun as Helena throws things into the air and Oliver shoots them down. Ok, so it’s not exactly conventional flirting but it’s totally working for me.

Oliver shows Helena his father’s list but before they can really bond over shared enemies, Dig shows up. Helena tries to be nice to him, but Diggle is quick to shut her down.

“She knows my name. That’s lovely,” Dig tells Oliver after Helena leaves. Oliver responds by telling Dig that he can trust her, to which he retorts, “Except I don’t.” Again, smart man. Dig tells Oliver that he’s only trying to fix Helena because he’s lonely. The ever so stubborn Oliver remains unfazed by Dig’s lecture.

Tommy shows up at Laurel’s office and tells her he’s got a reservation at a hot new restaurant. (Side note: Is it me, or did she look annoyed as soon as she heard his voice?). Laurel points out that the place is ridiculously expensive, which could be a problem since Tommy doesn’t have a job. Tommy says that everyone seems to have their life together, even Oliver, who is now working on a nightclub. The comment inspires Laurel to put on her “thinky face,” which to me, just looks like her regular annoyed face. Laurel, it turns out, has the perfect solution for Tommy’s financial woes: He should ask Oliver for a job. She’s convinced Oliver will think it’s a great idea.

At Queen Corp., IT girl (yay she’s back!), meets with Walter to give him an update on the money Moira had mysteriously withdrawn from the company. Walter, who has decided to trust his wife, cuts her off and says it was all a misunderstanding and that everything has been resolved but IT girl holds her ground (again, love her). She tells him that she wasn’t the only one who tracked the money Moira withdrew from the company, it turns out another entity also tracked the money. “Whoever it is they’re good. NSA good,” she tells him, before adding, “But as you know. I’m good too.” Turns out IT girl was able to find an image tied to the other entity. It’s the same circular pattern we’ve seen in earlier episodes. IT girl asks Walter whether the image means something to him. He tells her it doesn’t and then says he’ll suspend her if she ever looks into his wife’s fiances again.

NEXT: Arrow and Helena takedown a drug dealer…

Meanwhile, Oliver meets with Helena and tells her that he wants to go after a drug dealer, Anthony Venza. Anthony is one of the men on Oliver’s father’s list, who, as it just so happens, has ties to Helena’s father as well. Oliver tells her that they’ll go after Anthony together, but on his terms. Since she hasn’t yet mastered her archery skills, Oliver presents her with a bow & arrow that’s modeled like a gun (or, as recap readers have pointed out, a crossbow…a futuristic one that is), and then shows her a costume he’s devised for her.

Once their outfitted, Arrow and Helena ambush Anthony at his drug warehouse. “Anthony Venza,” declares Oliver, prompting Helena to cut-in, “You have failed this city.” You know, this would have actually been a cool scene, especially because Helena showed up in costume for the first time, but the tag-line totally killed it for me. The delivery was just SO corny. Can’t they come up with a new saying? Or better yet, just not have one?

Helena corners Anthony, who later gets hauled away by the cops. Arrow tells Helena that millions of dollars worth of drugs were just confiscated because of them, and her father will definitely suffer financially as a result. She tells him that his brand of justice feels good and they share a kiss.

Afterward, Helena heads home, where her dad is watching a news report about the drug confiscation. The report says that Starling City’s vigilante was spotted leaving the scene with a companion, possibly a woman. Helena pretends to comfort her dad, all the while hiding her delight about his downfall.

At the Queen mansion, Walter secretly examines the symbol discovered by IT girl. After Moira leaves him to attend a board meeting, Walter starts going through her belongings. Eventually,he discovers a box with a notebook imprinted with the symbol but otherwise full of empty pages. It’s exactly like the notebook Oliver’s dad gave him. So much for trust!

It’s date-night for Laurel and Tommy but things aren’t exactly going according to plan. Laurel is peeved because she and Tommy have been waiting 20 minutes for a table at the restaurant where they had made reservations. I’d call her high-maintenance, but I guess this would annoy anyone. Tommy tries to bribe the hostess but realizes he doesn’t have any money. Lucky for him, he won’t need it. Oliver shows up at the same restaurant with Helena. The two couples make awkward small-talk, and when the hostess tells Oliver his table is ready, Helena invites Laurel and Tommy to join them. Neither Oliver nor Tommy think it’s a good idea but Laurel accepts right away. Let the double date commence!

NEXT: A disastrous double date…

During dinner Laurel realizes that Tommy hasn’t yet asked Oliver for a job at his nightclub. Of course, this annoys her (though, I’m not sure why), and she decides to ask Oliver on his behalf. Over-bearing girlfriend much? Oliver seems surprised because he didn’t think Tommy wanted any responsibilities, and Laurel reminds him that he always wanted to go into business with his bestfriend. “Don’t you remember when we went to Aspen and you wanted to open a ski-lodge?” she asks Oliver. “The only thing I remember from Aspen was your father being furious we shared a room with one bed.” This elicits a big smile from Laurel, and a lot of jealousy from Helena. “So you two were together and now you’re dating his bestfriend?” Helena asks, clearly uncomfortable. “Yeah, we’re just prying for a reality show aren’t we?” Tommy says. Oliver says it’d be fun to work with Tommy, who is clearly upset about how the entire situation played out. Tommy ditches dinner and Laurel follows him to find out why he’s so angry. Tommy doesn’t understand why Laurel brought up the job to Oliver (neither do I!). She says she was only trying to help but Tommy accuses her of trying to get Oliver, her go-to white knight, to ride into the rescue. Tommy says it’s obvious it’s always going to be Laurel and Oliver, and then tells her he’s done with their relationship. Of course, it’s a short-lived break-up. Tommy heads to Laurel’s apartment later to apologize and tells her he’s scared because he has nothing to bring to the table. She says she never cared about his bank account and then apologizes for pushing him to work with Oliver. After she tells him that she’ll be there for him to lean on, Oliver asks if they’re now boyfriend and girlfriend, and Laurel warns him not to ruin the moment.

The apologies don’t end there though. Oliver tells Helena he’s sorry for the weirdness at dinner but she’s not having it. “I’m sorry. Sorry I ever listened to you!” she says. Oliver is obviously confused — and who can blame him? His worst offense was sharing a memory about Aspen. After all, it was Helena who invited Laurel to dinner, a fact I wish he had reminded her of as she accused him of “making” her have dinner with his ex. She tells Oliver that he’s still in love with Laurel and then leaves in a huff. Talk about over-reacting.

A depressed Oliver calls Dig and tells him that he should have listened to what he had to say about Helena. Oliver tells Dig that his double-life has kept him away from his loved ones, and when he met Helena he thought that maybe, just maybe, the universe owed him one. And now all I want to do is give Oliver a hug. He says that Helena’s meltdown after dinner made him realize that he can’t stop her from going over the edge. In fact, she’s already over the edge. (I love that Oliver could get over Helena nearly shooting his mother but one freak-out about his ex and he’s ready to write her off. Typical).

NEXT: Helena makes a move on the Triad…

While we’re on the subject of Helena’s craziness…Helena decides to take down the Triad leader again. This time she storms in on him with guns blazing. She kills the leader, but not before he leaves her with some haunting words of wisdom: “When you seek vengeance, dig two graves — one for your enemy and one for yourself.” Too bad Helena doesn’t speak Chinese! Before leaving the crime scene, she tells one of the victims that her father, Frank, sends his regards.

Arrow shows up later to take a look at the crime scene and tells Dig a war has started. And has it ever.

China White wastes no time invading Frank’s home for retribution. She and her men kill all his bodygaurds. Frank grabs a laptop from his safe and attempts to make a run for it, but China White grabs him. She’s about to put a knife in his back when Arrow stops her. Arrow tells Frank to run, but he only gets so far before Helena takes him down with an arrow. She says she wants payback for her fiance Michael, but just as she’s about to shoot him again, Arrow knocks the weapon out of her hands. (He’s on quite a roll it seems). While Arrow and Helena spar, Frank grabs the weapon and shoots Helena. (Someone should have listened to the Chinese man!). Arrow carries her to his lair where she recovers surprisingly quickly. He tells her that her father is going to jail but she’s worried because the cops don’t have any evidence on him. Except they do! Turns out Frank’s laptop had more than enough information to incriminate him. Arrow tells her that this is justice, but Helena doesn’t seem to be pleased. “I guess you were right. I’m more interested in revenge,” she says. How sassy. She asks him to stay away and he tells her that everything he’s done, he’s done because he cares about her. “Too bad I can’t say the same,” she says.

Back at Queen Corp., Walter calls IT girl into his office (her name is Felicity by the way!). She assumes she’s about to get fired, but instead Walter gives her a new assignment. He wants her to find out everything she can about Moira’s notebook. He warns her that he had asked Queen Corp’s head of security to look into a similar subject matter and he died the next day under questionable circumstances. IT girl, err Felicity, is not deterred though. “I hate mysteries. They bug me. They need to be solved,” she says. Felicity for the win!

It doesn’t take Felicity long to make progress on Walter’s assignment. She shows up to Walter’s office (Best line: After Walter asks what she’s doing, she responds, “It needs to be dark in here for me to do this…if I had had more time to think of that sentence it wouldn’t have sounded so dirty.”) and hands him the notebook along with a pair of special glasses. Like Oliver, Walter can now see all the names listed in the notebook.

Still burning from his latest rejection, Oliver drowns his sorrows in cheese fries at—where else? Big Belly Burger. Dig shows up—thanks to his sister-in-law who gave him a heads up (she’s so going to be his love interest soon)—and tries to make Oliver feel better. He tells him that if you’re trying to change someone—as he was attempting to do with Helena—it’s probably not true love.

Back at the mansion, Tommy stops by to apologize to Oliver for the dinner fiasco and then tells him he’s been cut-off by his dad. Oliver offers to share his trust-fund, but Tommy declines. Instead, he asks for a job and tells him he’s trying to change—presumably for Laurel. Hmm, what was it again that Dig said about changing for love? Oliver offers him a general manager position and the two hug it out. Girls come and go, but the bromance is clearly still intact! After figuring out the employment situation, Tommy asks Oliver if everything is ok and Oliver says that he and Helena had a falling out. “But I have a feeling I’ll be seeing her again,” says Oliver, as the camera pans to a shot of Helena riding away in her motorcycle. I hope so!

Episode Recaps

I’d have to say this was my most favorite episodes to date. It managed to incorporate action, angst, mythology and romance, as well as nearly every major character (except for Thea, but no complaints there). How about you? Did you enjoy the episode? Do you hope to see Helena again soon?


Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
  • TV Show
  • 8
  • TV-14
stream service