Episode 1.10 “Burned” pits Oliver Queen against the Firefly, who burns a fireman alive in the opening scene.
Oliver is training, but visibly displeased. He and Diggle chat, and Ollie flashes back to the island, and another time when he was at a disadvantage.
Joanna’s brother was a firefighter, and apparently the one killed by the arsonist.
Moira Queen is withdrawing from the world. She saved Walter’s life by having him kidnapped, but all the things she’s doing to protect her family are taking a toll.
Thea and Oliver talk over take out, and he’s in the position of being the one that’s not missing. Thea shares a nice anecdote about Walter and Moira. Apparently he was the one who pulled her through when Oliver and his father went missing. A newscaster wonders where the Hood is – crime has gone down since he was active, but it’s been six weeks, and nobody has seen him. Thea seems to have some idea of what’s going on with her brother, given her significant look after she comments how ‘everybody’ is disappearing.
Meanwhile, Joanna gets into the investigation of her brother’s dead, and what do you know, there’s something hinky going on. She brings it to Laurel, her BFF, and somebody not directly involved in the case, who, when presented with turpentine and ignition points that don’t match up, takes it on.
Handing Sergeant Lance a cell phone that’s a direct line to the vigilante in front of Laurel when she’s just asked for police help and not gotten it is an invitation for that phone to vanish. Laurel calls the Hood, and Oliver’s ‘wtf?’ double take is hilarious to see. The Hood goes to see Laurel, but then passes the case off to Dig. This does not go unnoticed.
Tommy is taking to managing Oliver’s club like no metaphor relating to fire. He proposes having a fundraiser at the club to benefit the firefighters and their families.
Oliver: “Who are you? Where’s my friend Tommy Merlyn?” As in, the guy who rented out a football stadium so he could play ‘strip football with models.” Tommy notes that the old him needed a “swift kick in his lazy ass.”
The Chief Operating Officer wants Moira to take Walter’s place in the company and reassure stockholders and the board that everything is alright. Moira refuses to let Oliver or Thea talk her into it, and storms out.
Oliver is pushed by Dig to do something, to help people because they need the man in the hood. The confrontation with Firefly doesn’t go well, but he gives the information to Laurel via ‘the Hood’ phone. Back in the warehouse, Dig asks: “So Laurel’s on her own against a murderer who burns people alive?”
Oliver: “I can’t right every wrong in this city.”
Dig: “No, I get that, Oliver. But maybe you’re not back to 100% like you thought.”
Oliver: “Maybe I’m not.”
Which is refreshing to hear because most of the time, the hero refuses to admit that he’s bleeding out until his trusty guardian and butler is scolding him while a mansion burns down around them. There follows an exchange that wouldn’t happen with anybody Diggle. Oliver refuses to admit he has a problem.
Dig: “You didn’t have to Oliver, but this guy, the OTHER archer? He got in your head, he took something from you.”
Diggle gets in the last word by asking Ollie to let him know if he wants to be a vigilante or a nightclub owner. More heroes needs a John Diggle to give them a stern talking to and occasionally kick their asses.
Unknowingly, Laurel gets to work with the Hood. Only, he’s being Oliver at the time, and they get nowhere with the fire chief. So she calls the Hood, and he tells her he’ll take care of it.
Then it’s Thea’s turn to try and get through to Moira. Here, Thea is the grownup, finally saying that she’s been the mother in this relationship.
Ollie and Dig talk about his issues with death. On the island, facing death wasn’t scary, because he had nothing to lose. That’s changed, and it’s a sign that he’s moving further toward being a hero, rather than a vigilante.
Oh, and then Oliver sorts out who the arsonist is, good man.
The firefighters benefit is going well, until the arsonist shows up. Typical. After the big reveal, the fire chief, Laurel, and Tommy are trapped in the burning building, while Oliver slips away to change. After all, this is his home base. The arsonist is of course, the fireman who was left in a burning building by his chief, who lost his nerve. Here, the parallel with Oliver is obvious, but the audience knows that unlike the chief, or the arsonist, Oliver has his head together again.
In a dramatic move, the Hood shoots the lighter out of the arsonist’s hand. They have a brief standoff, and the arsonist tells Oliver the truth.
“I’m not afraid to die.”
“No, you’re afraid to live.”
Oliver tries to get the arsonist out of the fire, but he truly can’t let himself live, and burns himself alive.
Later, Oliver and Thea watch the news, and the consensus is, that without the Hood’s intervention, many lives would have been lost, and that he’s not a vigilante, because his actions were heroic. Oliver is pleased and puffed up. Thea notices. Give this girl a storyline that isn’t drugs-related, she deserves it. Moira swoops in, looking professional, and declares she’s stepping up, the kids are warily pleased.
Meanwhile, Joanna is going to look after her mom for awhile, and wants Laurel to get her brother’s badge to the Hood. Yet another person won over by him.
“Maybe it’s a good thing you got the Hood involved.” – this from Sergeant Lance, who makes apologetic overtures, then lets Laurel take back ‘the Hood’ phone. This is a ruse to plant a transmitter, and as the tech says, using your own daughter for bait is ‘stone cold.’
Oliver and Dig are back at the warehouse, and Oliver is again working out, but with much more zing in his bow.
Dig: “So what’s next, more training?”
Ollie smiles and holds up the book. “No, we go hunting.”
It was interesting to see Moira being called on her poor parenting, by the daughter who’s been running wild for years. Thea did also pick up on how fast Moira snapped to being efficient – there’s a word for that, actually a whole diagnosis for it. This storyline isn’t resolved.
During the arson investigation, Oliver and Laurel have a ‘commitment conversation,’ about Tommy, which involves drawers. Sounds like Tommy wants to cement the relationship, and Laurel is ‘an all or nothing’ sort of person. More issues loom for the happy couple.
A nice return to Starling City, and one that deals with Oliver’s loss of confidence, and also sets up future storylines. It’s not the first time that Oliver will have to get up after being defeated, but now he knows that having people to care about gives him an edge.