Sometimes even superheros need a break (and an ego boost, but we'll get to that later). When we last checked in on Arrow he was nursing his wounds in the hospital after being taken down by the Dark Archer. So what's he been up to since then? Well, here's what he hasn't been up to: crossing people off his list or uttering his infamous line, "You have failed this city." (The last one I'm thankful for). Instead, Oliver has been doing what I'm sure most of us did during our holiday breaks: Climbing up metal ladders and using tennis balls for target practice. He's also been spending more time with his family (okay, that we actually have in common) to help them through Walter's disappearance. His six-week hiatus from crime-fighting turned out to be both good and bad: Bad, because there were more crimes committed in his absence, and good because people actually realized that there were more crimes committed in his absence. In other words, the residents of Starling City might finally be starting to realize they not only need, but actually want, Arrow to stick around. The only problem is Arrow isn't sure he's up for the task anymore. His inability to defeat the Dark Archer hurt him not only physically, but also emotionally. His confidence is shot, and I've got to say it's pretty fascinating to watch. After all, we've all seen superheroes who think they can save the world, but a superhero who's crippled by his own insecurities? That's good TV.
Luckily for the residents of Starling City, it doesn't take much more than an old flame in distress to propel Arrow back into action again, which is especially good news because there's a new criminal on the loose and he's got a knack for setting off sparks. Let's dig in below:
Though there's a larger mythology at work on Arrow, the series is also surprisingly episodic thanks to the fact that nearly every episode marks the entry of a new villain. Tonight was no different. While we capped off the midseason finale with the Dark Archer, we pick up with Firefly, a former firefighter turned arsonist and murder.
The episode opens with Firefly dousing a fellow firefighter in turpentine. Shortly after, Det. Lance drops by Laurel's office to deliver some bad news to her co-worker, Jo. Her brother, a firefighter, was killed while on duty.
After comforting her friend, Laurel heads home to canoodle with Tommy. Apparently, the two have gotten quite close in the last six weeks, but not close enough for Laurel to agree to give Tommy his own drawer in her apartment. Their domestic squabble is interrupted when Jo drops by to talk to Laurel about her brother, who she's convinced was murdered. Though Laurel doesn't initially buy it, Jo hands her an incident report which says her brother's coat was covered in turpentine -- which wasn't available in the factory where he died. She also points out that her brother burned hotter than the fire in the factory. A bit strange, no?
After a little digging, Laurel discovers that Jo's brother wasn't the only firefighter to die amidst such unusual circumstances. She tries to convince her dad to look into the case, but he doesn't bite. While she's at the precinct, a cop drops by with Arrow's phone. Det. Lance says the phone is pretty much a dead end, but Laurel, ever resourceful gal that she is, decides to try her luck by calling up Starling City's very own vigilante.
NEXT: Arrow and Laurel team up...