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Helena Bertinelli, nicknamed The Huntress by Quentin Lance, is a former vigilante. She is the daughter of the late Frank Bertinelli, the fiancée of the late Michael Staton, and the ex-lover turned enemy of Oliver Queen. She was set on destroying her father's crime empire.
She tried to kill her father but Oliver intervened, and she was almost killed by her father with her own crossbow. Luckily Oliver managed to save her, and she left the city after realizing that Oliver wasn't on her side. She later returned to Starling City to kill her father, because he made a deal with the FBI and the justice department to avoid jail time, in exchange for him to testify against the East Coast family, and would go into a witness protection program.
She returned a second time, only to be stopped by Oliver, who was forced to let her go after she shot McKenna Hall.
She came back to Starling City for a final time when The Arrow arrested her father. She almost killed her father, only for him to be killed in the crossfire caused between vigilantes and a police officer. She was ultimately arrested by Officer Quentin and sent to prison.
Helena was once in love and happily engaged to her fiancé Michael Staton, wanting to turn her father into the FBI she began to collect evidence for them but once her father discovered this he mistook Michael being the one who was trying to turn him in and had him killed. In grief, Helena went to Sicily and wanting revenge, she eventually discovered the existence of La Morte Sussurrata, an organization of killers trained by the Hashshashins of Persia when they migrated to Italy. Helena began having sex with various members of the organization to earn their trust, ultimately learning to fight and kill from them. She decided to use her skills to take down her father's criminal empire by killing people his closest associates and ultimately her father himself.
Taking down her father
Helena shot down Paul Copani, a member of her father's mob, almost shooting Moira Queen, Oliver's mother, in the process. She later met Oliver during a meeting he set up with her father, Frank. Needing to attend to another meeting, Frank asked Helena to go to dinner consolidated. Although both were initially unwilling, they ended up enjoying the date to Russo's. After they separated, Nick Salvati went there to collect protection money. Before her father's crew could hurt anyone, she and Oliver, as the Hood, separately stepped in and fought them. When they confronted each other, Oliver managed to take off her helmet and see her face.
Later, Helena was at Michael's grave when Oliver dropped by. Both were picked up by Nick and Frank's men. Nick had found Helena's cross at Russo's and connected her to the Huntress. He talked about how they found out about Michael, and threatened to kill her the same way he killed Michael. Oliver stopped him and just then, Oliver and Helena freed themselves and fought Nick and his men, killing Nick and a few others. Helena realized that Oliver is the Starling City vigilante and that night, he dropped into her room. Both admitted that they like being able to tell each other the truth and Oliver slept with her.
After sleeping with Oliver, she left in the night and tried to shoot Zhishan to spark a conflict between the Triad and her father. Oliver intervened and got her to safety as Chien Na Wei and the bodyguards returned fire. Oliver offered to help take down her father, however she declined and said that she did not need his help. Oliver later visited her at her house and showed her Sara's grave and explained how he had hurt people with his actions. She recognized herself in his story and decided to let him help her in her crusade. Oliver tried to teach her that there was another way to take down her father without killing innocent people. He trained her in archery, which she considered impractical at first. He taught her that archery is about patience and discipline, though he ultimately decided a crossbow was more suitable for her. He also created a costume and mask to conceal her identity.
The two took down a drug warehouse of her father, without killing anyone. Helena saw her father who was angry because of the "loss" of his warehouse. Helena and Oliver went out in a restaurant, but ran into Laurel and Tommy, whom Oliver invited to eat with them, because the latter couple was still waiting. The three eventually brought up some memories, in which Helena realized Oliver and Laurel were together. Tommy and Laurel had a small argument, and eventually, things grew awkward and the group dispersed. Helena said that he still had feelings for Laurel, so she walked away angrily. Realizing Oliver was not truly on her side, she continued her original plan. She killed Zhishan and some other high-ranked members and told one survivor that Bertinelli sent his regards.
She watched from a distance as Chien Na Wei and a hitsquad attacked the mansion. Her father managed to escape, but she shot an arrow in his leg. He was shocked to realize that she wanted to kill him. She prepared to shoot him; however, Oliver disarmed her with another shot. She angrily attacked him and the two engaged in hand-to-hand combat. She managed to take him down and made an attempt to overpower him. She was unaware that her father grabbed her crossbow. Oliver tried to shield her; however, the arrow hit her in the chest and knocked her down. She later woke up in the Arrow cave and was angry that Oliver had saved her father from her. He tried to tell her that he tried to save her from herself and that killing her own father would destroy her. He said that her father was in custody and would be in jail soon. She indignantly replied that she will keep going after her father, then left.
Helena questioned then killed her father's former lawyer. She returned to track down her father, who turned state to the F.B.I. She then extorted Oliver into helping her by threatening to injure Tommy when she sneaked into Verdant. Attacking the transport carrying her father, Helena was arrested by Detective Quentin. However, Oliver quickly broke in and freed her, then ordered her to leave the city. Ignoring him, she forced Felicity to track down her father's location. She invaded the safehouse and killed the US Marshals assigned to protect him. Before she could attack her father, Oliver intercepted. After a brief standoff, Oliver tried to shoot Helena, but she caught the arrow. Furious that he tried to kill her, she striked him. She disarmed him and temporarily overwhelmed him before Oliver could recover his bow. They were interrupted by McKenna who tried to arrest both of them, but was shot by Helena. Helena promptly fled the scene, not to be seen again.
Back in Starling
In "Birds of Prey", Helena returned to Starling after her father Frank was arrested. She broke into the courthouse where his trial was about to take place and attempted to kill him, only to get confronted by a SWAT team. She and her men engaged in a firefight and the SWAT team was forced to retreat. As her father had managed to escape she ordered her men to take everyone hostage. Helena negotiated with the police and threatened to kill hostages if they would not surrender her father to her. As she was about to kill the first hostage Laurel and Sara (in her guise as The Canary) came in and attempted to save the hostages. Helena faced off against The Canary. After a short fight Helena disarmed her and used her own baton against her to quickly take the advantage. After beating her with her own baton Helena nearly killed her by throwing her out of a window. Sara avoided falling to her death and Helena prepared to kill her with her crossbow. Oliver managed to save Sara while Helena recaptured Laurel. Helena then contacted the Arrow and proposed a trade: her father in exchange for Laurel. She escaped the courthouse, taking Laurel along with her.
When she and Team Arrow met to exchange hostages, she readied herself to kill her father, but was interrupted by the SWAT team commander, who came to kill all masked figures, including the Arrow. Helena got confronted again by the Canary who told her she had held back. They fought again, and this time, Helena got defeated. The Canary nearly killed her but Laurel told her to let her live. Helena was shocked when she noticed her father had been shot and killed by the SWAT commander. Shortly afterwards, she was arrested by the police, lamenting that she was not the one to kill her father, who had been accidentally shot by the police in the crossfire.
She was last seen in the police station speaking to Oliver, reflecting on her father and the end of her vendetta. She admitted that now that her father and fiance were both dead, she felt all alone, she seems to have regrets about what she had done. Oliver reassured her that she wasn't, just before she was taken away to jail.
Helping recover Felicity and Oliver
After Felicity Smoak was taken by the Renegades and Oliver had no backup, Roy had Lyla Michaels let Helena out of prison in order to provide backup. They arrived to find Oliver having overpowered Clinton Hogue. They peered in, surveying their enemies. Helena suggested that she just take them down with four bolts, but Oliver disagreed, not wishing to kill them. They decided to crash through the ceiling, and The Huntress took on Lyle Bolton. He was able to use his suit to electrocute everyone, and quickly caught Felicity and Helena. Given a choice between the two, Oliver Helena. As she walked away, Helena knocked down Bolton and took back Felicity. They exchanged forced pleasantries while the men tied the Renegades up. As they went to leave, Oliver admitted that he'd let Helena decide where she could go. Once they were in the helicopter, they began to take off, but were interrupted by Clinton Hogue, who attempted to kill Roy. However, he was knocked out of the plane towards the ground. Helena went back to the prison, believing that she knew what justice required. As Oliver left, she told him not to let Felicity get away.
It can be assumed Helena was once a kind, caring, and reasonable person, who tried to send her father to jail legally and discreetly, because she knows he thrives on other people's suffering. Her personality changed completely after finding out that her father murdered her fiancé Michael whom she deeply loved. Swearing to take her father's world apart and see him suffer, she turned unstable, vengeful, and volatile. She has no humane morals or remorse, meaning she is more than ready to hurt and kill people, even if innocent, if they get in her way of her exacting her revenge. She also readily manipulates and threatens innocent people if it means seeing her goal fulfilled, although she seems to not always want to as she begged Oliver not to "make her do something both of them would regret". Trying to justify her killings, she would even cite that her actions are for the sake of justice, despite them being done out of vengeance alone. However, she has shown she is still capable of love, as she still loves Michael years after his death, and simply does not want to be hurt again, such as when her and Oliver were dating, she only becomes angry when she realizes that he still loves Laurel. Helena also believes that she is obligated to fulfill her quest for vengeance as she claimed "Once you let the darkness inside, it never comes out".
After Frank is killed at the hands of a crazed police captain rather than her own, she gathers two feelings; first, regret that she wasn't the one who killed Frank; second, loneliness, because once he was dead, she believed that Frank and Michael are together now. Helena is also shown to be sympathetic and compassionate towards Oliver's cause as she hates being the daughter of a crime lord just as Oliver was the son of a billionaire businessman expected to take over the company. Despite knowing the truth about Oliver, Helena also seems to have residual romantic feelings for him as she has kept his secret from the police even after he attempted to kill her.
Helena also exhibited an overconfidence, arrogance and condescending attitude towards those who confront her; she openly taunted Sara Lance, as the Canary, during their first duel where Helena merged victorious. When she squared off against the Canary once again, Helena quickly reminded her of her defeat the last time they fought. However, she finds out the hard way, that the reason why she was able to best Sara in their first confrontation, was because the latter was holding back, Helena's arrogant and overconfident traits can easily lead to her downfall.
After the death of her father, Helena finally realizes that Oliver was right; killing her father would not change anything, and would not make the pain of him killing her fiancé go away. She seems to be beset by guilt and remorse for her immoral actions and seems to seek redemption. However, she maintains her isolation attitude, at least for the time being.
- Peak of human physical condition: Helena is in top physical condition, with her physical strength being noteworthy as she was able break her father's right-hand man Nick Salvati's neck with her bare hands and break a block a concrete with a single kick. She also has impressive reflexes allowing her catch an arrow that Oliver shot at her, a move that she states she practiced a lot.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Helena is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, able to easily beat multiple thugs and shown to an unpredictable fighter to more skilled opponents such as Oliver Queen and Sara Lance. During her bouts with Oliver, she was able to successfully disarm him on both occasions but not enough to actually best him. Helena was able to beat Sara in single combat, but it is later revealed that Sara was holding back which allowed her to defeat Helena in their second encounter. As a fighter, Helena seems to favor grappling moves and has used a variety of them during her fights.
- Expert manipulator: Helena has been shown to willing to go to great lengths to achieve her goals, willing to use sex, threats, and even physical violence to get what she wants and force others to help her. She is also intuitive, as she was able to repeatedly anticipate her enemies plans and deceive them with misdirection.
- Skilled markswoman: Helena is shown to be proficient with various types of firearms, but her skills are noted to be rudimentary at first. Although still willing to use guns and not being trained enough to use a recurve bow, she began to show favoritism to hand-held crossbow. She has later demonstrated highly proficient use of one that she could take out a team of armed US Marshalls with a single crossbow.
- Skilled stick fighter: When fighting against Sara, Helena was able to quickly disarm her and use her own baton against her to quickly take advantage of her in their fight.
- Bilingual: Helena is capable of fluently speaking English and Italian.
- Crossbow: Helena uses a Cobra 80lb Self Cocking crossbow as The Huntress, to achieve her goals of vengeance against her father, and will kill anyone who gets in her way, it was later taken from her after she was arrested by Quentin and McKenna. It is unknown if it was designed by Oliver.
- High-powered crossbow: a High-powered crossbow served as Helena's replacement crossbow after her customized crossbow was taken from her by Quentin Lance and McKenna Hall. She stole this crossbow from a sporting good store, however she lost it when she was disarmed by Oliver after attempting to kill a US Marshal. It is unknown whether or not she recovered this particular crossbow after Oliver let Helena go in order to save McKenna. If she did recover this crossbow, it most definitely would no longer be in her possession now that she is incarcerated.
- The Huntress suit: Helena wears a suit as her villainous alter-ego The Huntress, to achieve her goals of vengeance against her father and stay anonymous, despite her identity eventually being uncovered. It is unknown if it was designed by Oliver, it is also unknown what materials it is made from. The suit of Helena's is no longer in her possession, now that she is incarcerated.
- "Brotherhood" (mentioned)
- "Flash vs. Arrow" (mentioned)
Arrow: Season 2.5
Behind the scenes
- The Helena Bertinelli of the DC comics is the third Huntress, created to replace the second, Helena Wayne, daughter of the golden age Batman and Catwoman, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths negated the character. In the DC comics, Helena Bertinelli became the Huntress to avenge the death of her family at the hands of the mafia at the age of 19 (later retconned to 8). While excessively violent, she was in fact a hero, not the murderer and villain portrayed in the shared multiverse. In the animated series Justice League Unlimited, Huntress had been fired from the JL during the episode Double Date for nearly killing crime lord Steven Madragora.
- The original Huntress was a golden age villain named Paula Brooks. She was later retconned as being named Tigress and the original golden age Tigress retconned as being her mother. Her daughter, Artemis Crock, is the third Tigress. Much as Helena Bertinelli was rewritten as a villain for Arrow, the third Tigress was rewritten as a hero for the animated series Young Justice, using the codename "Artemis" until she went undercover as "Tigress".
- In "The Huntress Returns", the stripper costume that Helena wears at the start of the episode are reminiscent of her DC comic book costume, including a purple leotard with a white cross over her chest, exposed legs and thigh-high boots, and long gloves.
- Helena Bertinelli appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham as a playable character through the Arrow DLC pack.
- According with producer Marc Guggenheim on his Tumblr account, the Huntress was initially planned for return in an episode of the third season, but the plot of the episode was rejected later by many reasons. However, Guggenheim mentioned that he has a "kick-ass idea for a Helena story" for an episode of the fourth season, but like in the previous season, Helena didn't return. However, he stated that during a timegap between "Birds of Prey" and "The Calm", Bertinelli escaped from prison.