Arrow's 50th episode, The Magician, was brilliant to say the least. Not only did it contain one of the greatest fight scenes we've seen yet, a beautifully acted and scripted face off between Malcolm and Oliver, and an incredible performance from Katrina Law as Nyssa al Ghul, it offered us our first awesome look at Matt Nable's Ra's al Ghul.
Just as a fun little extra because it was amazing, here's that Oliver VS Nyssa VS Merlyn three way archer and sword fight- it was pretty awesome. Sorry for the fairly low quality and subtitles, if a better video comes up it'll go in.
Now, down to the topic.
A handy tip: if you're here to complain he's not Liam Neeson, either read this, or leave. I'm quite convinced Nable will be excellent, and to judge him not just from 20 seconds but on the basis of him not being Neeson is, and I don't say this lightly, incredibly stupid. Here's what he looks like:
First we see Nanda Parbat, the home of the League of Assassins, which has been name dropped time and time again. The fortress seems to extend deep into the cliff side, a lovely little home for these guys.
We first hear - and see - Ra's himself when Nyssa (his daughter, for those who don't watch or know the lore) comes into the room to inform him Merlyn is still alive.
The moment I heard his voice I was sold. Somewhat oriental with the occasional Australian twang acting almost Asian alongside the fairly British voice, and a tad - but not overtly - menacing. I think it'll change as we go along, too. This was Nable's first scene, and he had to face taking on the role of an extremely popular villain for the first time since since Liam Neeson in a custom built set. I can only imagine that that must be slightly unnerving.
We see two Assassins standing guard while Ra's bathes. To an ordinary fan, this may seem insignificant, but to anyone who knows their League of Assassins lore, Ra's in a pool means something a whole lot more significant. Could we be seeing Ra's in his Lazarus Pit, which he bathes in for eternal life and youth? Perhaps. We don't know for certain, but it's certainly a grand bath. It's worth noting in the comics there's more than just one Lazarus Pit, too.
"But Sara," Nyssa argues, in continuation of the quotes.
"Was never truly one of us. What of Queen?"
"He has sworn to protect Merlyn at any cost."
We then get to meet the man himself! Worn face, greying hair on the sides, and absolutely perfect clothes (seriously, the attention to detail is incredible, but we know that from the season trailer, don't we?). Does he have his classic facial hair or haircut? No, not presently but we know that Arrow has set up a lot of villains to become their iconic and well known versions of themselves. The same may be done here. I'm happy either way. That face is clearly hardened and menacing, but it's not psychotic or 100% evil. It's just the face Ra's needs.
In terms of the aforementioned voice, I believe it will be based quite heavily off the Arkham City one (my personal favourite.)
Also a good little intro for non comic fans to the Lazarus Pit:
I'm quite certain we'll see Matt Nable figure out his portrayal and turn it into something incredible, perhaps even definitive, as Manu Bennett's Slade Wilson has pretty much become among comic fans. Alongside Katrina Law playing Nyssa, it'll be amazing to see how his story unfolds. Did he kill Sara? Nyssa seems in denial, but it seems likely. Will the Lazarus Pit come into play? I'm guessing at some point that it will. Finally, when will he try and take down Merlyn...and in extension, Oliver Queen? The potential for a team up there between the two archenemies makes it seem highly likely, which would be absolutely worthy of chills, particularly after the brilliantly scripted and acted face-off in the city tonight before their actual fight. That moment with the bow on Malcolm may have been one of the most tense in the series to date.
There's a lot to wonder about, but a lot more to be excited for! While I hate to hype myself up for things in fear of disappointment, I might just allow it, as [Arrow](series:720988) hasn't let us down yet!
Edit: Here's the full scene.
If you want to know more, new details about Ra's' role this season, have a lookie here.