Arrow Episode 10 - Burned (2013): TV Recap
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Coming back from the mid-season break, this episode opens on a disturbing scene. Danny the firefighter is in a burning building and sees another figure dressed in protective gear. He asks him for help with a hotspot, but as he walks over, though, he begins spraying turpentine all over Danny, and we are treated to a gruesome death by fire. Welcome back, everyone!
Back in the arrowcave, Oliver is having a crisis of confidence. A typical training montage is intercut with scenes from his recent beating by Merlyn, showing what Ollie is really thinking about. When he tries to pin a single tennis ball to the wall with an arrow, he misses badly. Walter, having been kidnapped in the previous episode, has been missing for six weeks, and not even Oliver’s bratva contacts within the Russian mafia can turn up any leads for him. Diggle tries to convince Ollie to get back in action, but Oliver refuses, saying his family needs him now. Unfortunately, he’s not doing all that much to help, as his mother is still depressed and staying in bed all day.
At Laurel’s law office, Joanna receives some bad news. Danny the firefighter, who was killed on duty, was her brother. Later, Joanna stops by Laurel’s apartment to tell her that Danny’s death was no accident. Laurel recalls her own struggles with her sister Sarah’s death, and all the research she did because she didn’t want to believe it was an accident (which it wasn’t, but Laurel doesn’t know that). But this isn’t the same thing: Joanna has evidence! The coroner’s report showed that Danny’s turnout coat was doused with turpentine, despite there being none in the burning factory. Plus, his turnout’s supposed to withstand temperatures up to 500°F, but the fire didn’t exceed 250°F, so how did her brother burn hotter than the fire that supposedly killed him?
Okay, I’m not a science guy, but Joanna doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about here. Firstly, Joanna’s question doesn’t make any sense. Her brother didn’t burn hotter than the fire that killed him; he burned hotter than the surrounding fire in the building. And we’ve already established an explanation for that: it makes complete sense for a fire fueled by a fire accelerant like turpentine to burn hotter than a non-accelerated fire. Secondly, where did she get those temperatures? I thought 250°F sounded pretty low, so I took five seconds to look it up on the Internet and discovered that typical house fires burn somewhere between 1000 and 1400°F. How could the writers make sure to use industry language like “turnout coat” but not provide a reasonable temperature estimate?
Based on Joanna’s completely ridiculous science, Laurel asks her father to investigate. Apparently another firefighter died in the same mysterious way last week. Detective Lance doesn’t see firefighters dying in fires as a matter for police investigation, though. An SCU tech interrupts their conversation to deliver the phone Lance received from the vigilante. Although Oliver warned him he wouldn’t be able to trace him using the phone, Detective Lance couldn’t help checking. No prints and no traceable technology, as expected, but he does conveniently leave the phone on his desk so Laurel can steal it and call in the vigilante. When her father realizes the phone is missing, Laurel lies to him and says the vigilante took it back.
Once Laurel gives Ollie the details on the case, Oliver asks Diggle to look into it, but also tells him to send any tips to the police. He’s still not ready to put his work clothes back on. Later, when Diggle gets word of another fire blazing, he tells Oliver that his gear is in the car, but Oliver is hesitant. Diggle urges him to take action, though. “They need the man in the hood.” Dragging his feet, Oliver arrives on the scene just in time to see Firefly knock another firefighter over a railing and to his death. During the ensuing scuffle, Firefly escapes, but not before Oliver notices a distinctive tattoo on the villain’s hand.
As the vigilante, Oliver calls Laurel and tells her about the firefly tattoo on his hand, which links him to Engine Company 15. What should she do with this information? Whatever she’d have done before she met the vigilante, according to Oliver. It seems like he’s tapping out on this case. His defeat at the hands of Merlyn and his failure to capture Firefly on the first try have him depressed and unsure of his abilities.
Diggle tries to give Oliver a little pep talk, incredulous that he’d leave Laurel alone to fight an arson-murderer, and then sneak-attacks him to see if he’s really okay. Oliver fends off the assault, proving that he’s fine physically, but it looks like his fight with the other archer has affected him mentally and emotionally. Does Oliver really want to be a vigilante, or is he just going to be a nightclub owner?
After speaking to the fire chief, Oliver and Laurel learn that Engine Company 15 was disbanded years ago, and the firefighters went to different departments. Now, they are being targeted for death by fire, with three killed in the past six weeks. The only one not in danger is Garfield Lynns, who died in the Nodell Tower collapse, caused by a gas line explosion that brought down a building constructed using substandard materials. In light of this new information, Oliver decides he does want to be a vigilante, and decides to get back on the case.
Though Oliver has been near death many times, he had never feared it before because he had nothing to lose. Now that he’s been back, he began thinking of all the people he’s let into his life. Diggle thinks Oliver has it backwards, though. Having something to live for gives you much more of an edge than having nothing to lose. Oliver wonders if Garfield really died in the Nodell Tower collapse, or if he was just presumed dead.
At a firefighters benefit thrown at Oliver’s club, Ollie corners the fire chief to interrogate him about the Nodell Tower collapse. The fire was burning so out of control, the fire chief ordered his men out, despite Garfield urging him to send them back in. The chief wouldn’t do it, and left Garfield to die.
Proving Oliver’s suspicions correct, Garfield arrives at the party throwing firebombs. As Oliver escapes to the basement to change clothes, Firefly sprays the chief down with turpentine. Garfield explains that he survived the fire and was listed as a John Doe in the burn unit. Garfield blames the chief for pulling the men from the fire instead of continuing to try to save the building, and for leaving him to die. Now he plans to leave the chief as alone as he left Garfield (though I don’t think this explains why he’s killing the other firemen from Engine Company 15). As Garfield is about to throw a lighter at the turpentine-soaked fire chief, Oliver shows up to shoot it out of the air. Looks like his confidence in his aim is back! Instead of fighting Firefly, Oliver offers to get him help. “Thanks,” he says, “but I’m already burned.” He walks into the fire and is engulfed in flames.
Oliver smiles when he hears a TV news reporter wonder if, after the events of the previous night, the vigilante isn’t really a hero. Moira, convinced by Thea’s pleas to get out of her bedroom, is ready to assume Walter’s position at the office.
Joanna is taking a leave of absence to help her mother deal with Danny’s death, but wonders if Laurel can get Danny’s badge to the vigilante as a thank you. (A thank you for what exactly? He didn’t have anything to do with her brother’s death and couldn’t bring her brother’s killer to justice.) Detective Lance comes into the office and tells Laurel that because of the way things turned out, maybe it’s a good thing she got the hood involved. He knows she didn’t really give the phone back to the vigilante, and takes it back from her. After fiddling with it for a second, he appears to rethink this, and gives it back to Laurel. Though he doesn’t like this guy’s methods, he can’t argue with the fact that he puts himself between danger and his daughter. Could this phone be the Arrow version of Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch?
Ah, but the truth comes out. A cut to Lance’s next conversation with the SCU tech reveals that he planted a transmitter in the speaker, so the next time Laurel talks to the vigilante, they’ll be able to hear the whole conversation. Of course Detective Lance’s seeming altruism was too good to be true.
The flashback sequences this episode show Oliver being pursued by one of Edward Fyers’s men. Instead of running, Oliver hides behind a tree and leaps out to attack his pursuer. They both tumble down a hill, leaving the pursuer dead after hitting a rock. Oliver puts on the man’s clothes, presumably to infiltrate the camp and rescue his captured friend. These sequences were fairly weak compared to previous episodes, but the upcoming rescue attempt should be more exciting.
With Oliver’s confidence restored, he resumes his shirtless workout routines and thanks Diggle for getting him back in the saddle. “What’s next, more training?” Diggle asks. “No,” says Oliver. “We go hunting.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern on CW. Burned originally aired 1/16/13.