Just when you think Oliver has managed to find a balance between his vigilante and “normal” sides of his life, someone comes along that threatens to blow it all to pieces. It’s the return of Helena Bertinelli, the ex-mob-daughter-turned-protégé of Oliver. Still filled with vengeance, she’s come back to pull Oliver into her twisted plans against her father.

The episode opens with Helena (aka The Huntress) at a strip club trying to find the whereabouts of her father. After questioning her father’s attorney, who tells her he knows nothing, Helena doles out some Huntress justice and takes off on her motorcycle.

Oliver seems to be in his happy place as he shows McKenna around the nightclub and asks her out. Things are looking good for the once marooned playboy as he begins to pull down the walls that kept him from connecting with other people. He’s actually smiling now and has decided to give the bad guys a break from his vigilante side.

Meanwhile, Diggle has been in the lair surfing the web when he finds a video of Oliver’s “psycho ex-girlfriend” questioning Gus. He’s still worried that she’ll drop a dime on their whole operation so Oliver (whose good mood has now been ruined with this news) tells Diggle to find out where she is why she’s back in town. All he had to do, however, was go home as Helena was there chatting it up girl style with Thea.

The two ex-lovers meet face to face with Oliver not happy that Helena has not given up her anger and is still after her father. Basically telling her to give it a rest, Helena tells him that she can’t because her father had cut a deal with the Feds and will be in Witness Protection in 2 days. She’s angry that he gets a second chance in life and wants the Hood to help her kill him. When Oliver refuses, she threatens that she’ll have to be more persuasive and won’t be above using his family to change his mind. Oliver’s day just got crappier.

Tommy is still angry that Oliver is really the Hood, mainly because he feels betrayed and now sees his best friend as a killer. This situation brings to mind the time he and Slade tried to stop Fryers from using a missile launcher and starting a war. At this point, the flashback portion bored me and felt like it was more used to time for the episode so I’m not really going to go into detail about it.

The club opening is a success and everyone is there to party, even Helena who manages to find Tommy and brings him downstairs to strong arm him (literally) as Oliver watches. Trading quips that sound like they came out of ‘The Art of War’ book, Oliver finally agrees unable to watch psycho bitch continue to torture his best friend.

Diggle is dying to give Oliver the ‘I told you so’ but instead questions his decision not to take Helena out Hood style when he had a chance. While often portrayed as harsh, Oliver has a soft spot for the girl because he gets her. He gets her need for revenge and still has hope he can temper her cold hearted ways.

It’s the night of the transfer and Helena and Oliver get to work. Helena’s father is in one of the two trucks that left the safe house so they each decide to follow one. Unfortunately, the one Oliver took was the decoy van. Lo and behold, so was the one Helena was following! She gets arrested by the police (oh look! McKenna gets to cuff her! ) as Oliver looks on.

Quentin is smiling like kid at a candy store as he questions Helena about the Hood’s real identity. Helena does tell them it’s Oliver but in such a manner that they think she’s talking about how lousy being in a relationship with him is. She warns McKenna to end the lovey dovey feelings with the playboy and even manages to throw a dig at Quentin regarding his daughters. She finally tells them what they want to know. The name of the vigilante is… the Hood. Nice play, Helena, nice play. Good thing too, as the Hood chooses that moment to break Helena out of custody.

Helena thanks him and asks Oliver why he can’t admit that he still has feelings for her. He shots her down and gives her a plane ticket to Rome and a warning to get out of his city. Helena’s heart is broken and in her eyes you can see the pain his rejection caused. Um… excuse me? But you manhandled his best friend, threatened his family, blackmail him to kill your father. What does she expect?

So now that Oliver is feeling like crap, he heads over to McKenna’s apartment who manages to say the right things and gives Oliver some sexual healing. While he’s getting therapy, Felicity calls and warns him that she thinks his “psycho ex-girlfriend” had something to do with a local sport store robbery. As she turns, the Huntress is there and makes Felicity hack into the FBI data base for her father’s location. Oliver finally gets to Felicity’s office where she is tied up. He is fed up with Helena’s antics and heads to stop her and do what he should have done in the first place with her.

So now comes the comical gun vs high powered cross bow scene where an FBI agent assigned to protect the witness can’t seem to shoot at a target halfway up the stairs from a location at the bottom of the steps. Before Helena can get to her dad, the Hood comes in and goes after her. Frank gets away as the two archers have a face to face standoff. Oliver apologizes before he shoots an arrow, but the girl’s got some skills and catches it before it hits her in the heart.

Oliver is in trouble now! Hurt and angry that he would even consider killing her, she figures to get rid of some of that hostility and goes after him. Unfortunately, McKenna interrupts the fight and Helena takes this opportunity to shoot at the lieutenant who goes down and runs off.

For someone who is an expert at archery, she can’t do much with a gun as the bullet only shattered McKenna’s femur but at least she’s alive. Healing and rehab will take a year and she tells Oliver that she moving to live with her sister as it’s near the best PT facility in the country. Oliver is willing to do the long distance romance thing but McKenna thinks it’s best that they don’t. At this point, I’m screaming, “Are you kidding me? You saw those abs!” The time with the man under the sheets must not have been that impressive for her to keep him around. Oliver gallantly lets her go. Oh. Plu-leeze.

Throughout all this drama, Laurel is dealing with some of her own as she finally arranges her father and mother to meet. When Dinah tells Quentin that she thinks Sara may still be alive, he angrily refuses to believe it despite the photographic evidence Dinah shows him. Ultimately, Laurel convinces him to at least conduct a search for her sister just in case despite his fear of having to relive the moment of hearing about Sara’s death.

Speaking of sisters, Thea is totally hung up on Roy who happens to feel the same despite the I’m-a-bad-boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks-and-you’re-the-rich-girl-this-will-never-work attitude. She even gets him a job as a valet at Oliver’s club. In return, he doesn’t show up for work (he doesn’t like feeling like a charity case) but does same her life from some thugs and getting stabbed in the process. While in the ER, Thea takes this opportunity to kiss Roy as a means to distract him as the doctor inserts a needle into him. You go girl!

In the end, Oliver heads to the nightclub to mope when Tommy comes in and apologizes for being a jerk as he finally realizes the sacrifices Oliver makes by keeping his secret. Looks like their friendship is on the mend… that is, until Tommy finds out that his father, the Dark Archer, and his best friend, the Hood, are mortal enemies.

If ‘Arrow’ has shown us anything, it’s that superheroes make sacrifices and the toughest one is letting go. Whether it’s letting go of having a normal life, letting go of grudges, letting go of the hope that someone you cared about can change or letting go for a chance of happiness, the life of doing what is right is sought with hard decisions and loneliness. Oliver said it best when he told Tommy, “I was wrong to think I could have it both ways. That I could do what I do and still have a normal life. With anyone.”

Out of the past 16 shows, this one was definitely a filler. With only 6 more episodes to go, I’m hoping that the story will begin to pick up once again as we head to the season 1 finale.

What did you think of this week’s ‘Arrow’?