From the moment we heard that Ra’s al Ghul was in the Arrowverse, we wondered if we would meet him. When we were told he would be the main threat in season 03, we wondered what the end game would be. Then came the offer, Ra’s offered Ollie the chance to lead the League. Naturally, he refused, but things got worse in a hurry, and things soon turned to the inevitable conclusion that Ollie would soon become the Demon’s Head.
“The Fallen” was very much the “endgame” for that thread, as Ollie had to sacrifice his life and freedom to save the only family he had left: Thea.
I was very worried at the becoming that Thea actually would alright enough to live without the Lazarus Pit to save her, thankfully, she was comatose. Which made it all the more believable that Ollie would put her in the pit in exchange for his service to Ra’s.
This episode was very much the slow burn that we expect from a show like Arrow. Everything that happened from start to finish was to solidify the fact that Ollie would be the next Heir to the Demon. But that didn’t mean that nothing would happen in between, there were many good characters moments, including some from pairings you wouldn’t expect.
The big one here was obviously Maseo and Diggle, as John called out Maseo for what he was doing, and what he was going to do. This conversation actually put the League in an interesting light, as well as revealed that Akio is indeed dead as many suspected. Hearing Maseo talk about Akio, and lash out at John was very powerful. He is easily one of the best additions to the Arrow series.
Then there was the chat between Felicity and Ra’s, one I’m sure no one saw coming. And yet, it was epic. Not just because Felicity gave Ra’s a tongue lashing, but Ra’s was able to calm tell how he himself became the Heir to the Demon. It was definitely not what I was expecting. In fact, it was actually a call out to Batman Begins, and how the whole “is Ra’s al Ghul mortal?” question was asked as Ducard became the Demon’s Head. While Ra’s is still clearly a villain, you did get to see his softer side in this conversation, and understand how even his unmercifulness was leagues ahead of what his predecessor did for him.
And of course, there was Felicity and Oliver. Ok, I’m just going to say it, I didn’t like this. But not for the reasons you think. I didn’t like the Olicity moment because of what I saw a few episodes back in Flash in “All Star Team Up”. In that episode you saw a Felicity and Ray who were very much in love. And yet when we got back to Arrow, they’re on the rocks? Really? How did that happen?
So then when she broke up with Ray to “help” Oliver, and then subsequently sleep with him…it felt really hollow. Arrow has honestly always been guilty of forcing really bad moments with characters who were “in love” with one another. Laurel and Ollie, Sara and Ollie, and now Ollie and Felicity. The only real relationships I’ve like in Arrow is John and Lyla, and Roy and Thea…which can’t happen anymore…so yeah John and Lyla!
I will give props to the writers for having Felicity drug Ollie to try and save him. Then ordering (epically) Merlyn to get them out of Nanda Parbat, that was good stuff. As was the action sequence to follow. This episode honestly didn’t need much action, as it had plenty of story and scenery to make up for that, but this quick and brutal fight was well worth it.
But in the end, Ollie knew what had to be done, and at the cost of letting his friends go, he became the Heir. The process for both this and Thea’s resurrection was actually really cool to watch. As we got to see the culture of Nanda Parbat, and by extension the League, in full form. From the priestess, to the process to becoming in the League, to the unified prayers, etc. It was good to show that this was not just a random group of assassins, but a mythology and religion all its own.
If there was a curious omission that was later swept under the rug, it was the lack of Laurel. Did no one tell her that Thea was stabbed? Anyone? Hello? Wouldn’t her input be just as valuable as the others?
The flashbacks kicked into high gear, as the pursuit for the Alpha-Omega took a violent turn, as Ollie, Maseo, and Tatsu’s attempt to stop the bioweapon was literally shattered. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
In the end, “The Fallen” did a great job of building up Ollie to becoming the Heir to the Demon, and showing that he truly had no choice. I don’t know what the remaining few episodes will show, but it will be fun to watch.