The break is over and with it brings the return of ‘Arrow!’ If you recall, in the last episode, Walter was kidnapped and Arrow got a beat down from the Dark Archer who was able to get two arrows into his back before getting away. ‘Burned’ picks up 6 weeks after that incident and Oliver’s confidence is shaken. Too bad he needs to get over that as a new baddie is introduced in this episode! It’s none other than DC villain Firefly!

(Just a warning, since this is a recap there will be spoilers involved!)

The episode opens with a deadly fire but the swift firefighters of Starling City are there trying to put it out. Well, not all of them as one firefighter decides to douse another with flammable liquid causing him to go up in flames. We find out later that the crispy firefighter was Jo’s brother.

Meanwhile, Oliver is on the road to recovery and back on his exercise regime (yes sans shirt ladies and gents) but the events from the night of his encounter with the Dark Archer continue to haunt him. It’s gotten into his head and his agility with the bow is lacking. Diggle and Oliver have lost hope that Walter is still alive as there has been no contact or proof of life since his disappearance. But that’s not what Diggle is really there for. He knows that Oliver needs to get back on the proverbial vigilante horse, but when he tries to tempt him to pick someone from the book to go after, Oliver passes using his family as an excuse.

At Laurel’s apartment, Jo comes buy and tells her that she thinks her brother was murdered as turpentine was found on his turncoat and he burned hotter than the fire around him. Laurel tries to get her dad to help with investigating Jo’s claims but he tells her he can’t. When Laurel sees that the phone Arrow had given her father on his desk, she decides that if her detective father won’t help her, then the Man in the Hood can. She steals the phone and calls Arrow.

How can Oliver resist? Well, he can’t. So he visits Laurel at her apartment and she gives him Danny’s file to look through.

So now, ladies, we get more shirtless action but this time from Diggle as he’s working out with a Wing Chung dummy. (Are you lovin’ the show more now?) Oliver tells Diggle if he finds anything, he should give it to the police which surprises Diggle as he once again tries to get him to don the hood but meets resistance.

Diggle comes through and finds the connection that leads to Danny’s killer. Unfortunately he’s at another fire and they need to get there before another firefighter is killed. Arrow arrives but not in time for another casualty. He goes mano-a-mono with Firefly but his lack of confidence gets him beat and Firefly gets away.

At this point you want to start smacking Oliver to snap out of it as he indulges in self-pity remembering a time when he felt scared while on the island. He calls Laurel and tells her all the info he knows about Firefly and tells her to do with the information what she would have done before she met him.

Diggle is fed up (and at this point we are too) and challenges Oliver (okay, more like gives him a kick in the butt) telling him he needs to get control of the fear that is keeping him from becoming Arrow again and to decide if he still wants to be a vigilante or a night club owner.  (Gotta love that Diggle!)

Fate seems to be telling Oliver something as during his talk with Laurel about her relationship with Tommy, she confides in him about her fear to take that next step. With great wisdom she tells Oliver that it is their fears that control them not the other way around. (Wow… deep)

So whether it was Diggle’s hard dressing down or Laurel’s soft encouragement, something snaps inside Oliver and he pushes himself to get involved as the Man in the Hood once again.

Oliver finally confides in Diggle about what was holding him back. He wasn’t afraid of death. He was afraid of what would happen to the people he cared about – about losing those he had let get close to him (though, he neglected to mention Diggle on that list). Diggle tells him that the people he let in should make him stronger. He can stare down death with something to live for or not and tells him something to live for is better.

With the male-bonding now over, Oliver speculates. What if the firefighter from the station that the murderer is suspected to come from, didn’t die in the fire as the Fire Chief had said? Could Garfield Lynns still be alive?

Let’s find out! What better time to question the Fire Chief than at a benefit for the Fireman’s Relief Fund at his club? The Fire Chief tells them that the fire that Lynns supposedly died in was out of control and he had ordered his men to get out of the building. Lynns wouldn’t leave and begged the Fire Chief to send the unit back in but he wouldn’t do it. He tells Oliver and Laurel he basically let Lynns die in that fire. Oliver tells him that Lynns is not dead and he’s the one killing the men in his unit.

The Fire Chief is incredulous but not as incredulous as he was when he saw Lynns come up from behind and start a fire in the club.

As everyone tries to get out of the building, Lynns tells Laurel and Oliver to run as he sprays turpentine on the Fire Chief. Laurel runs toward an exit while Oliver heads to his secret lair downstairs to change into Arrow. (Okay, admit it. How many of you were cheering at this point?)

Lynns tells the Fire Chief about how he was pulled out of that fire they left him in and that he’s there for revenge. As he’s about to set the Chief on fire, Arrow takes his bow and knocks the lighter away in midair. He tells the Fire Chief to run and as he faces off with Firefly. Lynns tells him he’s not afraid to die. Arrow tells him he knows that he’s not afraid to die… he’s afraid to live. He offers Lynns a way out of the building and get some help, but Lynns tells him thanks but no thanks and sets himself on fire and dies.

Later, the tides seem to turn with the public’s opinion of the Man in the Hood. Newscasters are now calling him a hero and Jo thinks he’s a guardian angel. She hands Laurel her brother’s badge to give to the Hooded Vigilante. Even Quentin seems to be coming around as he allows Laurel to keep the “Arrow phone” as a means for her to continue to communicate with him.

Or did he? Quentin actually bugged the phone so that the next time Laurel contacts Arrow, the call can be traced. (Like the tech said, “Using your daughter? That’s stone cold.”)

But all that matters in the end is that Oliver got his groove back. With a spark that we haven’t seen before, he tells Diggle it’s time to go hunting!

This was a great episode to watch after the hiatus and while the story of the hero being kicked down and needing a reason to go on has been done over and over numerous times, it still doesn’t get old. Finally the audience gets to root for the hero instead of watching him do his “thang”.

A new fire has been lit in Oliver and this episode brings new life to the series. I can’t help but continue to feel a Batman vibe, however, with Diggle playing the Alfred role (although I don’t recall Alfred having a six pack like Diggle’s!) The resolution of the Firefly storyline seemed as though it was wrapped up way too quickly. He commits suicide? The man just killed several people and when offered to get him some mental help, he says no thank you and walks into the fire. And Arrow just stands and watch? Anyone else have a problem with this?

Other than that, I enjoyed this episode. How about you? What did you think of the return of Arrow’s mojo and the introduction (and demise) of Firefly?