Arrow 1.07 “Muse Of Fire” REVIEW

Episode 1.07
Writers: Geoff Johns and Marc Guggenheim
Director: David Grossman

THE ONE WHERE: When Moira is wounded in a hit-and-run shooting, Oliver follows a trail of vengeance that leads to the beautiful but ruthless daughter of a local crime lord…

THE VERDICT: Comic book writer Geoff Johns contributes to the teleplay of an episode that ports yet another icon of the DC Universe into the Arrow mythos. For now it’s an exceptionally grounded version of the flamboyant Huntress – motorcycle leathers and crash helmet in place of the Bat-winged cape and thigh-boots of the four-colour incarnation – but Australian actress Jessica De Gouw makes an impressive debut, capturing the character’s mix of femme fatale allure and vendetta-minded ruthlessness. It certainly helps that she has credible chemistry with Stephen Amell (they’re particularly good in the dinner scene) and it’s easy to imagine the show successfully mining a Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle style relationship in upcoming episodes. Helena’s clearly being set up as a dark mirror for Oliver, reflecting his own ongoing moral arc – he seems shocked by her murder of the mob man, an irony given his own callous killings of crims in earlier stories. At the same time there’s an unsettling ambiguity in the way Oliver warns Tommy that he’ll snap his neck if he hurts Laurel. He says he’s kidding, but just for a moment it seems chillingly plausible. Elsewhere the reveal that John Barrowman’s playing Tommy’s father is a cool,  genuinely surprising beat, adding another layer of intrigue to the show’s world. A few quibbles – wouldn’t Moira’s apparent gunning down have made for a stronger pre-titles hook? And what’s with the sudden abundance of watery ballads chugging away in the background like the drippiest days of Smallville? It’s as if the showmakers aren’t trusting their actors to sell the emotion.

TRIVIA: There are at least two distinct versions of the Huntress in DC mythology. The first – and most famous – is Helena Wayne, the daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle and a resident of parallel world Earth 2. We first encounter her in DC Super Stars 1 in 1977. The second Huntress is Helena Bertinelli, daughter of a Gotham City mafia boss and the version of the character we encounter here. She debuted in Huntress 1 in 1989.

DID YOU SPOT?: The title is taken from the works of Shakespeare, Star Trek style. “O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention” is the opening line of Henry V – and even better in the original Klingon.

DID YOU SPOT 2: Helena’s fiance Michael has the surname Staton, a tip of the cowl to comic book writer Joe Staton, creator of the Huntress – in both of her incarnations.

BEST LINES:
Thea: “I’m sorry if I was a bitch to you earlier.”
Oliver: “There were a few times. Could you be more specific?”

Read all our Arrow reviews.

Arrow airs in the UK on Sky1