Like anybody else who saw the fall finale of [Arrow](series:720988), I cringed the entire way through. I mean, seriously, it was like watching a slow-moving train wreck. We all saw it coming; Oliver might be skilled, but he's not Batman. There is no reality where Oliver would have taken Ra's in that fight... the first time at least.
Now, hear me out. The Lazarus Pits, although never directly confirmed, have been very, very heavily hinted at and referenced throughout the show as of late. Ra's Al Ghul even stated himself that it had been over 60 years since he had been challenged, yet he didn't look a day over 40. So he's either a virgin-warrior monk, or the Lazarus Pits are very obviously at his disposal. Take a minute to let the sarcasm sink in. Okay, you good? K. Good.
So how would Oliver not know about them?
He's clearly seen and been through far more than he initially lead on. Perfect example, he wasn't even on the island the entire time; who knows where else he's been besides Hong Kong. So I very highly doubt that somebody as world-weary as Oliver Queen, who's lost several people very close to him I might add, would have not even the slightest inkling that the Lazarus Pits might exist.
There is definitely something going on behind the scenes here.
Why would Oliver, a man who preaches discipline and strategy as the two most important assets to take into a fight, ignore his own teachings? Why would Oliver fight Ra's so impulsively and without the slightest amount of forethought?
Unless he intended to lose.
Think about that for a minute; it's the only scenario that makes any actual sense. What if Oliver actually knew that he was no match for Ra's?
Maybe the plan wasn't to challenge Ra's and win, but to challenge him and lose. This would actually explain why Oliver fought so stupidly - to get the upper hand. Nobody (in the Arrow-verse) has ever challenged Ra's Al Ghul and actually lived to talk about it - the way the man fights is a complete unknown.
Would it not make sense if Oliver had prior knowledge of the Lazarus Pits and intended to be brought to them? More than that, Oliver's demonstration of blind skill in the fight marginally impressed Ra's, who for whatever reason did not go for the kill shot. He could have stabbed Oliver through the heart; lobbed his head off; dismembered him - you get the picture. So why didn't he? He's taken thousands of lives since the age of 11, how hard would it have really been to finish Oliver off?
Something obviously doesn't add up here. Yes, Oliver needs to live for the show to continue; but if the Lazarus Pits exist, why not write it so that Ra's makes certain Oliver is 100% dead, and then just have team Arrow show up in the nick of time to revive him?
Maybe he was challenging Oliver.
Ra's replaces evil with death; maybe he was offering Oliver a chance at rebirth. Bear with me here. Yes, it would be out of character for Ra's, but out of the realm of possibility - no. Ra's values a skilled ally, but moreover, it would be a complete waste to send Oliver directly to death. What if he left Oliver the chance to pry himself free from the clutches of death - what if it was an open ended sentence?
If Oliver can prove himself worthy of life, he shall have it; but if not, he will die.
This logic doesn't ring too far from the mind of Ra's Al Ghul. If Oliver dies, he dies - but if he lives, Ra's potentially gains a powerful new addition to the League of Assassins.
But if Oliver refuses to join, Ra's can just kill him again (he's cocky like that) - so there is definitely no downside for Ra's here.
So, from what I've gathered at least, Oliver's plan all along was to lose. This would explain why he fought so differently - he didn't want Ra's to study his technique while he studied Ra's'. This, coupled with the confidence of being revived in the Lazarus Pits, offers Oliver a phenomenal advantage in a longer, more drawn out battle of strategy and wits against Ra's. This seems more to Oliver's character than brashly taking on Ra's Al Ghul without any real plan.
Much like Batman, Oliver Queen almost ALWAYS has a plan - and maybe that's exactly what Ra's Al Ghul sees in him.
But hey, that's just me.
Let me know what YOU think about this.