FULL EPISODE SPOILERS FOLLOW
Yet another solid entry into the annals of the CW's Arrow. It wasn't "fantastic" or have any mind-bending moments, but in many ways it felt like the series returning to its strengths. Great action. Great acting. Great character interaction. And a fun looking villain!
Yeah, Murmur was kind of pointless to the story but did what most villains on Arrow normally do and serve the purpose of Oliver realizing what an idiot he was in the first half of the episode and becoming better for it. In that, there were many other one-off villains who could have filled the role, but like I said, he looked cool. That's what matters, right?
The episode starts off immediately where it ended last time and just continues from there. Love it when a show does that. The story just flows, as its meant to. There isn't an awkward beat or a forced throw-away line explaining how much time has passed between episodes. Instantly, we are back to the Oliver and Ra's discussion as well as seeing the aftermath of Thea and Nyssa.
I'd say the weakest part of the episode was the flashbacks. I mean, it was fun getting to see Oliver bond with Maseo's kid. It's something that we know has been happening in the shadows throughout the season and finally comes through here. Best part? "...Shado?"
Can't be. No way. Won't believe it. What if it's Emiko from the future? o.0
What I enjoyed most from the episode were the characters. This was a very character-driven episode, and it was done in a great way. I've been on the record for not being the biggest Felicity fan, but this episode had her back to her fun, charming ways as well as being insightful and actually helpful for Oliver rather than just pointing out how hopeless he is. Diggle was also pretty great, getting to serve as Daddy Diggle for a little bit.
Laurel has come forward as a very strong character this season, unafraid to confront anyone physically and through dialogue. She threw a punch at Nyssa for crying out loud! But her scene with her father (whose character fluctuated with me for a bit before I realized he was pretty right to be mad at the Arrow and Laurel) showed the strength of her character, as did her acceptance of Nyssa as not only someone to be a potential teacher, but maybe even as a friend. Nyssa also showed some growing traits, having learned the devastating truth that her father no longer wanted her for an heir because she showed weakness with Sara, then came back to help Laurel.
I do wonder if Nyssa will be something like Malcolm Merlyn, who fights for only one person and could care less about everyone else. I mean, at least she has a heart unlike her father.
Speaking of, I am really digging Matt Nable as Ra's al Ghul. He's not Liam Neeson, he's not the comic version, he's not the animated version. He is making his own role, which is what he should be doing. This is a guy that we can tell is seasoned as a commander. People respect him as well as the title of Ra's al Ghul. He might be monotone and not show much emotion, but you have to remember that this a man who has been alive for a very long time. Not much is going to affect him. When Nyssa came storming and he said, "You might not watch your tongue, so watch your tone" I totally thought he was going to beat the heck out of her without flinching. Nable is really able to capture the essence of what it means to be the very best at what he does. Arguably, Ra's is the most dangerous man alive. I'd kill to see him fight Mirakuru Deathstroke. It'd be sweet.
The Queen kids also went through little mini-crucibles and came out of it in different ways. Willa Holland continues to prove that Thea is a broken woman through her astounding performance. None of her dialogue felt forced, everything just flowed naturally from her mannerisms to her dialogue to her actions. It's difficult to compare Thea to any character, and that's a good thing. I would say she's like Laurel, but Thea is grieving in different ways. She's unlike Oliver in that she goes straight to the problem rather than sits around for a little to figure things out. Her stating she has a problem and has nowhere to go to Roy at the end shows character growth for her. She is aware of her situation, at least, and thus has a foundation to fix herself.
Oliver was at first pretty annoying as he kept questioning, "What have I done for the city?"
Well: First you saved over hundreds of lives by stopping one earthquake machine, you stopped a gang of kidnappers from killing the mayor, you stopped the earthquake machine again, you stalled Brother Blood from unleashing an army of Mirakuru soldiers, you inspired [The Flash](series:1068303) in Central City who in turn will inspire Firestorm, you stopped Slade Wilson from destroying the city, you prevented Komodo from finishing off his targets, you proved Ted Grant was an innocent man, and there are countless others who are alive because of him and his actions that we have not seen/ are in the digital comic I don't read.
So yeah, him realizing that he fights because of the people of the city was sort of an obvious one, but I'm glad that he did in fact realize that Oliver Queen is not a demon, he is a hero. And has been since the island. There is indeed more than one way to justice: you can punch evil in the face, or kick evil in the face. Usually, he punches it.
It was another great moment between Oliver and Felicity when he told her that no, he wouldn't be Ra's. The connection, the bond rather, was very strong between them in that moment. Only to be interrupted by Ray--who will probably be a character I will not like coming up--of course, but hey, such is life.
The material in Nanda Parbat wasn't particularly strong, thus the episode started a little slow. All we learned was that Ra's really, really wants Oliver as his successor, that a Lazarus Pit has been in fact (it's confirmed, okay guys? For real this time!) keeping Ra's alive, and that Maseo is probably Ra's best friend there since he follows him around all the time. Oh and there are randomly people sword-fighting all over the place, how fun!
But at least Ra's ended the episode strong. And in a bit of an ironic way. At the beginning, he wanted the [Arrow](series:720988) to become the Demon's Head. At the end of the episode, though, the Demon's Head was the Arrow...sort of. Funny how things work. So yeah, Ra's killing all but one person definitely shows that he is not going to be messing around with Oliver anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if he spills the beans to the cops about his identity. He's that kind of guy.
A slow start but some fun times afterward are basically what sums up this episode. Great acting and character bits kept this from being a run-of-the-mill episode and it also sets up many interesting dynamics, such as the rekindled Roy-Thea relationship (one of them is so dead), the new Nyssa-Laurel partnership, and the fact that Lance has broken up with the Arrow. Kinda sucks.
At least next week Diggle gets married and the Suicide Squad returns. That's always fun times!
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