"... the man in the hood has been a positive force in this city so where has he been for the past six weeks?"

After about a month away from fighting crime, Arrow finally returned to The CW last night with "Burned." The events of "Year's End" are not far from Oliver's mind, however, as the scars, yes even more scars, continue to heal and haunt him after his run in with the 'Archer' aka Malcolm Merlyn. That's right, the 'Hood' isn't the only masked man working in Starling City's shadows and now that there's another colored character sporting a bow and quiver maybe the all important TV news will finally dub him Green Arrow? Wishful thinking and probably a question better answered in another installment because this episode is all about fear, flashbacks and fiery revenge. Oliver needed something to force him our of his self-imposed hiatus, well, besides the network schedule, so cue Firefly and a cry for help from Laurel. You know what they say, you play with matches, you get...

”Back at fighting weight, looks like. Last i checked there were more than a few names to cross off in this book.”

“Burned” didn’t skip a beat before throwing us right into the action, well, besides the much needed ‘previously on’ segment (like I said, it’s been a while since we visited Starling City) and the cold-open introduced us to this week’s, uh, hot villain. Garfield hates Mondays! Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. At this point, the only thing that’s clear is that this former freighter is out for vengeance and the scene is pretty intense as the antagonist watches (and us through his reflective mask) his victim burned to death in the already burning building. You think if you were out for blood, you’d want to make more of a statement and not be so concerned with making the murders look like on the job accidents. Eventually he does make a big statement but that’s only because Ollie and Tommy stupidly provided him with irresistible bait. I keep skipping ahead. While the unknown pyro-centric villain is toasting firemen, Oliver is back in the club’s basement trying to work out is demons.

"Hello? I need your help."

Not only do we get flashbacks to his time on the island, almost always welcome in my book, but also see how he keeps replaying the ass-kicking at the hands of the Black Archer over and over in his mind. Dig does his best to try and break the spell (I like how his character is kind of whatever Oliver needs him to be, pushing him when he's timid or reigning him in when he's crossed a line) but at this point it's no use, our hero is way to wrapped up in his own head. I mean, double flashbacks! The brief snippet of island life shows Ollie and his mentor get ambushed by Deathstroke and the mysterious mercenaries with only the former able to make an escape. While Ollie is scared to act, we catch up with Laurel and Jo only to find out that the fireman who died was the annoying and up-till-now irrelevant (and soon to be irrelevant again) co-worker's brother. Bring on the tears and the 'this is personal' aspect of the case for Laurel.

"He took whatever is in your heart that lets you jump off buildings and take down bad guys."

The last thread winding though "Burned" has to do with Walter's disappearance, which takes the form of a grieving (and secretly guilt-ridden) wife and her kids trying desperately to get her out of the house. Luckily, a job as CEO of Queen Industries has opened up. Of course she doesn't initially want it since moping around a mansion is awesome but once Thea delivers the zinger of the night (you know, I'm your mom or something like that) it finally puts a fire under her butt and get's her into her kidnapped husband's job. Since Thea is doing most of the emotional heavy lifting at home, that frees up Ollie to be wishy-washy about handling this latest case, which officially becomes an investigation once Jo drops by Laurel's with some interesting information. Why don't the police want to investigate? Well, Backdraft taught us that firemen have their own cops which means there is only one way to handle things in Laurel's eyes. Fortunately for her, she discovered the existence of the Bat-phone... Arrow-phone... aPhone a few seconds ago and can place a direct call to the vigilante for help.

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