FULL EPISODE SPOILERS FOLLOW
So you can thank the final-season-arc trailer of The Flash for ruining this episode of Arrow. The whole point was wondering if Oliver was going to actually end up joining the League, but the Flash just went ahead and told us that he does. Now it'll be interesting to see how Oliver winds up on The Flash seeing as how Ra's has him on such a tight leash, but it's sad to see that mystery ruined.
It would have been such a cool moment, too. Not that it wasn't already pretty nifty seeing Oliver suit up but this time as Al-Sahim instead of his typical Arrow attire. Oh yeah, from now on its only appropriate to call him Al-Sahim, so that is what he shall be referred to until further notice, aka probably the season finale.
The episode wasn't a bad one but just didn't hit all the right notes. The acting was on point throughout the episode, I'll say that, and even the flashbacks managed to excite, particularly with a stellar action sequence in the form of a chase/ battle. The beginning of the episode was especially good and their near escape from the League was also harrowing.
However, it was the Olicity moments that really just made me think "bleh" as it was happening. The dialogue was cheesy, the setting was cheesy (mood lighting from candles, seriously?) and I just didn't buy into any of it. I didn't feel that "oh, yes, FINALLY" moment that we were supposed. Instead all I could think was, "Well, how's Thea doing? Is she still, you know, freaking crazy?" If the episode focused more on her and Oliver's dealing with her changing and how he believes that, ultimately, leaving her would save him then we would have a pretty good character driven episode.
But nope. Instead Oliver and Felicity decided to do it because they'll never see each other again or something like that, and instead partake in pretty lame romantic lines and none of it felt right. I especially don't like the fact that Felicity bounced right from being with Ray in the beginning to the episode, to just flat out dumping him after Ray noticed one little moment between them, and then boom she's with Oliver. You could say it's a spur of the moment thing but I have the feeling that should Oliver escape then he'll be with Felicity and as fun as that is I still don't buy into their relationship and really did enjoy seeing Ray and Felicity much more than Oliver and Felicity. Not that Oliver needs to be alone all the time but he needs someone to console him more than he needs a romantic partner.
He needs more Diggle. We all need more Diggle.
It carried on throughout the episode, too, up til the very end when they had to say their goodbyes and they were crying and, again, all I could think was "bleh." I felt more emotional when Oliver said goodbye to Thea and Dig. Maybe it's just me (seems like I am the only one that doesn't approve of Oliver and Felicity).
Another piece of this episode that stood out was Malcolm Merlyn. Despite his saying that he was a man trying to protect his daughter, there was a total sense of selfishness in his attitude. That he had his daughter, his freedom. He no longer had to die, no longer had to be subject under Ra's or the League anymore. It's always fun when Malcolm hangs around and this episode was no different, showcasing his sinister attitude even if he thinks it's right for everyone else.
And while I did bag on the Olicity stuff I do think Felicity had some pretty rockin' moments in the episode. On her own she confronted Ra's al Ghul (and lived!), that was pretty sweet. She almost singlehandedly coordinated the escape from Nanda Parbat, that was also pretty awesome. Had there been little to no Olicity nor her breaking up with Ray because he just now realized she has the hots for Oliver, she would have had one heck of an episode.
However, the fact that Thea was dead, then crazy, then had her memory altered, then was suddenly back to normal wasn't nearly as interesting or impactful as it should have been. I was all for fully introducing the Lazarus Pit into Arrow lore officially (even got it's name dropped, too) and wanted to see more of Oliver trying to handle the different Thea he was given and seeing him come to grips with the altered person she was. The material with her begin dead? Great. If they could have replicated that to the different Thea, that too would have been great.
Once again Ra's continued to be the mastermind behind everything. I realized prior to the episode that we're never given much of a clear reason behind why Ra's is so vehemently pursuing Oliver besides "the fulfillment of destiny." It might be cliche, but wouldn't it make sense of Ra's were, like, dying? He does mention that age will catch up to him, but, I mean, there's still a ton of time for that. Plus, Oliver is still very young and has not yet reached his full potential as a warrior, maybe, I don't know. It is very clear that Oliver constantly plays into the Demon Head's hands because Ra's is very perceptive about every situation he enters, and it is even more clear that Ra's is going to start screwing with Oliver's head even more. As far as this universe is concerned, Ra's is the closest thing to the devil these people will get, and all season long we've seen nothing but that. This episode highlighted that well enough.
Maseo also had a pretty stellar week, mostly in the present, though. We learned that Akio is indeed dead--presumably killed by the virus or Shrieve--and died as Maseo was too late to save him, and it has affected him a lot. His scene with Diggle was really cool, seeing two of Oliver's best buddies talk it out in the halls of Nanda Parbat, and him letting Ra's know that he helped Team Arrow escape was even nailbiting. I don't wanna see him go, Maseo is awesome!
Just a quick aside: who the heck was that other woman? And, Ra's apparently has a son, not another daughter. Uh...what? I mean, yeah, he has a son, but they really just kicked Talia out of this continuity like that? Did the higher ups at DC/ Warner Bros. really not want her in Arrow lore at all? That's not cool. TDKR was a while ago, we can reintroduce her.
As far as the flashbacks go they were pretty fun. I've given up on wanting to see the big epic that was last season's flashbacks and I'm still enjoying what we're getting. Seeing Oliver, Tatsu, and Maseo work together is pretty darn fun and watching them fight together is even more fun. Like I mentioned before, the big fight scene of the episode was well done and highlighted how far Oliver is as a fighter, as well as how good Tatsu is with her katana. It also leaves off on a pretty nice cliffhanger as the Alpha-Omega formula has been spilled...but I can't imagine it doing much damage since it wasn't given a catalyst to be bigger, like expected?
Overall, this was a good episode of Arrow. Sure some things could have been done different to really make us feel for Oliver heading over to hang with the League for a while and The Flash trailers did ruin the ending for us, but still, some solid acting and cool flashback moments, as well as crafty Ra's being crafty, helped guide the episode out of simply being mediocre for Arrow standards.
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