As Stephen Amell said before the show aired…”Huh.”
Yeah, that pretty much describes the ending of “Nanda Parbat” in a nutshell. And oh what a nutshell it was. Tonally, this episode had a LOT of similarities to the midseason finale “The Cliff”. From the slow-burn approach, to the numerous twists and revelations, and beyond. And just like ‘The Cliff”, “Nanda Parbat” had two big jaw droppers.
Confession may be good for the soul, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t painless to everyone around you. This episode was tied to Thea’s secret of “killing” Sara. By the end of the episode, nearly every single person who has been kept in the dark knew about it. One of the key ones being Laurel.
I loved how Laurel handled this. She couldn’t went into denial, or lashed out at Thea, or just stormed out of the room. Instead, she took it on the chin, admitted it to herself, then told the real truth, it was Malcolm Merlyn’s fault. You may think of that as a cop out, but it honestly is the truth no matter how you look at it. Thea may have been the archer, but Merlyn pointed the bow at Sara, knowing all the ripples it would cause.
This reveal alone cause numerous great scenes, many I’ll talk about soon. But the one I want to highlight is Roy and Thea. Roy knew, and his reveal that he knew, AND the revealing to her that he killed a cop cause of Mirakuru was great. For Roy, it’s something he can’t let go, and he’s trying to make up for what he did, knowing he’ll be able to make up for what he did. I’m glad they’re developing Roy and Thea as friends before possibly having them hook up again, that gets lost a lot in shows like Arrow.
Another standout for this episode was Malcolm. From the epic sparring match with Ollie and Thea, to him taking down Laurel with ease, we again got to see what makes him such a great threat…but…we also got to see a side we’ve never really seen before. His confrontation with Ra’s allowed us to see the fear he had for the Demon’s Head. Since we’ve known him, Malcolm hasn’t truly ever shown fear. But he was PETRIFIED of Ra’s, and what he knew was coming. He even offered to become his “horsemen” again to show his loyalty to the League. Hearing him beg for his life was both satisfying (as many have wanted him to pay for his crimes) and horrifying (as you wondered what they were going to do to him to make him so scared).
The standouts though for me were Dig and Nyssa. The former had numerous great moments. Some of soft reflection, some of bonding with Lyla and seeking advice. And that endgame asking of Ollie to be his best man was great. Dig has been kind of contained all season, but when he gets to shine, he shines big.
Then there’s Nyssa. You might think her epicness was simply in helping capture Malcolm, or taking on Ollie. But no, her scenes with Ollie and Laurel were quite nice. Especially the one with Laurel. I loved how Laurel’s story of “I can’t remember Sara’a smile or laugh” tied into the story of how Nyssa first met Sara. It was a simple story, but it’s honestly I hope we get to see down the line if possible. Then, the ending scene with Thea and her telling Nyssa the truth? Chills.
Ollie was actually rather contained in this episode. Much like in “The Cliff”, he was relegated to reacting to all that was happening around him, and once again bracing himself for a duel with Ra’s. And while certain beats were the same, I did like how he admitted that his first fight with Ra’s never left his mind. He wanted to fight Ra’s again and beat him because he doesn’t like that there is someone out there who CAN beat him. I love how he noted that it was “egotistical”, only for Dig to remedy that by saying that all soldiers need to believe they’ll come alive.
Before I get to the ending, I need to talk about the other two parts of the story. First, Felicity and Ray. I think it’s sad to say that the most joy I got from the scenes with them was the opening one of Ray with a beard. Maybe it’s because I like to think of Ray Palmer as a scientist more than a businessman. One who would work all nighters for multiple days to get something made. That just made my day. And yes, the Atom suit was awesome, and I can’t wait to see it in action. The rest….eh…
Ok, I’m not pro-Olicity or anti-Raylicity (I think that’s the camps…), I’m just calling it like it is. I did like how Felicity tried to save Palmer from himself by forcing him to sleep, and eat, and relax before trying to complete the suit. That’s what friends do. And her charm, as always, was funny and spot-on. But them sleeping together? Yeah…I know it was set up, as was her being with Oliver, but something about it felt off. Oh, and Ray thinking of the solution to the Atom suit after having “the moment” with Felicity? Yeah…
The flashbacks were both compelling and confusing. On one hand, seeing Tatsu and Maseo (and son) be so close to home, only for agents of Waller to try and take them out was great stuff. And truly setting up the “tragedy” that’ll force Maseo into the League. I’m still betting on the son getting killed. But if he’s with Oliver, how does that affect him? Secondly, I don’t understand (if it is true) why Waller wants them dead. If Schrieve is Waller’s superior…how can she defy him without consequences? I’m hoping there’s another twist, like its actually China White’s people trying to kill them.
Ok, the final scene. Ollie and Dig’s assault on Nanda Parbat itself was cool. A great mix of hand to hand combat and gunplay, only for them to be captured cause Ra’s knew they’d come for Merlyn. Again, like “The Cliff” the slow burn was painful, as you wanted to see the duel. But then…Ra’s lowered his sword…AND OFFERED OLLIE THE CHANCE TO BE THE NEXT RA’S AL GHUL!!!!!
Yes, I am aware this seems like a Batman ploy. Because in the comics, that’s what Ra’s always wants Batman to do (you know, besides die), is to be with Talia and run the League of Assassins. Batman says no, repeatedly, hence the feud. But with Ollie…the answer may not be so clear. His decision will not be based on what his parents wanted (as he promised to save the city, he didn’t say how he would go about it, like in Season 1). I’m not saying he WILL become Ra’s heir, but it might be more tempting than we think…
In the end, a few nitpicks aside, “Nanda Parbat” delved deep into what this season has been about, and offered new relationship pushes, and twists in the story to make it clear that when Arrow returns (DANG BREAKS!!!), we’ll be there with bells on.