Arrow: Home Invasion Season 1 Episode 20 Review

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Folks, we’re at a point where this show outdoes itself every week.

Home Invasion lived up to its title. Three times in fact. The mysterious assassin Mr. Blank is ordered to kill a family, but the young boy manages to escape his home. Without a true home or family, Laurel decides to take care of him for the time being. Even Tommy manages to offer the kid some sweet, tender advice.

But then, barely 20 minutes into the hour, Mr. Blank finds his target and breaks into Laurel’s apartment. Laurel, to my surprise, whips out a shotgun and starts shooting at the guy! She may be a lawyer, but she knows how to serve her own brand of justice. Just like Oliver, who popped in as Arrow seconds later, but failed to capture the assassin.

So, with Tommy aware of Oliver’s side gig, suggest they move the boy to the Queen mansion. Here we got some hints of Oliver and Laurel’s past relationship. Moira was the perfect perspective to have Laurel feeling all nostalgic.

Of course, Mr. Blank finds the boy once again. I will say the villain was one of the weaker ones in recent memory. He was boring, had cliche lines, and that palm thing was ridiculous. But his invasion of the mansion was incredibly well done. Oliver, fighting out of costume, in his own home no less, was just terrific. Stephen Amell improves every episode, this being his best yet. On top of that, the ruthless kill of Mr. Blank reminded me of what Detective Lance told Roy Harper, but more on that later.

This story wrapped with perhaps the two best acted scenes on the show yet. Tommy recognizes that Oliver still loves Laurel. But in true superhero fashion, Oliver says his feelings don’t matter, because of what he does, he can never be with her. Tommy even acknowledges that if Laurel found out who Oliver was, she would choose him (Oliver, Tommy, and Laurel are the new Peter, Harry, and Mary Jane).

So Tommy breaks up with her. Laurel doesn’t understand. Could the writers be setting up that choice for her by the end of the season?

The most important subplot of the week was Diggle’s hunt for Deadshot. Diggle having a nemesis is great fun, especially since it’s such a relatively well known DC villain (by which I mean I fought him as Batman in Batman: Arkham Asylum).

Their brief fight carried a solid amount of weight. But Diggle leaving at the end was pretty unexpected. As Felicity pointed out earlier in the episode, it was either Mr. Blank or Deadshot. Obviously, Oliver chose the former. With three episodes left, if any plot gets wrapped up by the end of the season, I expect it to be this one.

Now onto Roy Harper, Arrow’s new admirer. His hunt for the vigilante gets him in trouble with Detective Lance, who then shows him one of the Oliver’s victims. I must say, it was powerful to see the end result, as Lance put it “a number not a name”. This played well into Mr. Blank’s unapologetic murder at Oliver’s hands during the climax.

Sadly, the island storyline has slowed to a halt after being fairly interesting for quite some time. Oliver learning to shoot a bow is pretty cool, but the possible romantic connection with Shado seems unnecessary. Especially since five years later things with Laurel are just starting to heat back up.

The gang’s capture at the end felt pretty “been there, done that”. But Yao Fei did say that Oliver’s time on the island had come to an end. Based on the whole five year thing I doubt that will actually be true, but one can hope right? This show is much better when it isn’t jumping around everywhere, particularly the island.

But seriously, despite the couple of hiccups, Arrow is keeps kicking its own butt in terms of quality. The drama between Oliver, Tommy, and Laurel is rich. Diggle’s vendetta complicating Oliver’s exploits is riveting. If the show maintains this quality for the rest of the season, next season, and beyond, Arrow could be the best live-action superhero TV show ever. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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