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REVIEW: Arrow 1×20 “Home Invasion”

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Written by Scott Swartz

For people wondering how you come back from a hiatus, Arrow just showed you with a fantastic episode. “Home Invasion” managed to have most of the characters have not only a solid storyline, but also significant development over the course of the episode. This is not to say that the episode did not have rocky points or lacked in some areas, but by the end of the hour, I felt the episode had done a successful job of altering the relationships of Oliver and his friends. While certain aspects of the episode have been done before, “Home Invasion” managed to pull Oliver’s attention and need to help his friends in so many different directions that we knew in the end some of the relationships would be fractured. So let’s dive into it and as always SPOILER ALERT.

There were a lot of standout performances from the cast this week. David Ramsey’s Diggle’s confrontation with Deadshot and Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper talk with Detective Lance about The Hood were both very strong. However, it was clear that Colin Donnell’s performance as Tommy Merlyn was the best of the night. His hesitance to trust Oliver even when Laurel’s and his life were in so much danger was played with the right mixture of cautiousness and depressed resolution. Tommy clearly wanted to be Laurel’s savior, whether it was in how he interacted with the orphaned boy, or how he was the one to suggest that Oliver’s place was the safest location in the city. Tommy knew in the end he was no match for J. August Richards’ Mr. Blank and that Oliver would have to save them in the end. Of course, Tommy’s decision to break up with Laurel in the end felt like another nail in the coffin for what was once a great friendship between Tommy and Oliver. This makes me a little sad as Ollie clearly wants to keep his best friend, but Tommy really wants nothing to do with him.

Speaking of fractured relationships, while I understand Diggle’s absolute desire to take down Deadshot, he knew that Ollie was going to choose to help Laurel over him in the end. I think that is what pisses him off the most as Oliver said at the end of “Unfinished Business” that Deadshot was now a priority and for a second Diggle believed him. Diggle believed that Team Arrow was going to take down the more dangerous of the two threats and help him get his revenge. But that was never going to happen, Ollie was never going to have Felicity call the police and stop Rasmus from fleeing and that seems to be flawed. Oliver has time and time again proved that he needs to take matters into his own hands and that he does not trust anyone else but himself to do it. Diggle was in the right to stop helping Ollie, but I know cooler heads will prevail in the end.

Meanwhile Roy and Thea can’t leave well enough alone and have now decided to hunt down The Hood and help them on his vigilante crusade. This is a very dangerous path and I have a strong feeling one of them is either going to get hurt or not make it out alive from The Undertaking. Neither of them has any real training and there is also the fact are both crazy reckless. I will say one thing for this pairing: their closing scene and the talk with Detective Lance were both standouts from a very strong episode.

If I had to pick a weak spot from this week it would clearly be the island subplot that really did not move things forward at all. I really wanted Ollie to shoot something out of Slade’s hand with an arrow by the end of the episode but instead we were left with an interesting shift in the status quo. Yao Fei leading Fryers’ men to capture the island team was going to happen sooner or later, but I am just hoping that it does not cause too much of an acceleration in Ollie’s development. Pacing is key as they have been showing us, but if Ollie somehow manages to become a badass in the span of a couple minutes then all that pacing is lost. Let it be known I will never complain about Manu Bennett getting screen time as Slade is still one of the top characters on any TV show currently airing and Shado is coming along nicely.

Overall, it was a very strong episode that will certainly have ramifications as we head toward the end of the season. Be advised there are no more breaks so the action will keep ramping up until the end of the season.

 

Extra Thoughts

–       The scene where Moria gives the orphaned boy “the good cookies” was a nice touch. Sometimes you forget she can be a caring parent.

–       Similarly Tommy’s moment of explaining how he got over his mothers death was awesome. That orphan was great for all the feel moments.

–       They did not say what Tommy’s job title while working for Malcolm is. I have a feeling it will be important come The Undertaking.

– “Don’t worry, Felicity, they don’t send blondes there .” “I dye it, actually … I keep your secret!” Loving Felicity.

 

Final Grade: B+

 

+Tommy’s scenes were all fantastic.

+ The action was all easy to follow.

+ Roy and Thea together

 

– Island stuff felt unnecessary

– Mr. Blank was too fun a villain to be killed off so easily.

About the author

Scott Swartz