After last weeks incredibly powerful episode, one that ended with Ollie truly becoming the Heir to the Demon, it was going to be interesting to see just what would happen next. Thankfully, the results were not only shocking, but very compelling.
Immediately, we found out that not only had Ollie been with the League for three weeks (an important amount of time when you think about it), but he had truly become what Ra’s wanted him to be. A loyal solider, a true heir, and not Oliver Queen. Though it may have been a little suspect that Ollie would have been corrupted so “quickly”, we musn’t forget a few things. First, Ra’s noted how Ollie was drugged in a way so that he could complete certain challenges. Who is to say that they didn’t use others to make him more willing to bend his code and accept their own? After all, something similar was used on Thea a few episodes back.
Also, this is the League of Assassins, a group who has prided itself on lasting for centuries, they know how to bring new recruits to their line of thinking. It worked on Maseo, and we know he is strong. So why not Ollie?
That “ritual” involving him killing “Diggle” was very powerful, as it showed that Ollie truly was one of them. You knew it was a fakeout somehow (especially if you saw some of the previews), but it was no less jarring when he stuck the sword in him. This of course would lead to the big conflict of the episode, Ollie was sent to bring Nyssa back home.
We knew that she had to get back into the picture soon, and this episode not only made a compelling reason to do so, it also showed that Nyssa wasn’t the same person we met in Season 2. She had become more friendly, even kinder, especially with Laurel. It was great to see Laurel do her best to protect Nyssa throughout, even with the rest of Team Arrow not exactly on board with how she saw things.
It was fun to see both Felicity and Diggle in denial mode when Nyssa and Laurel brought news that Ollie was going to kill Nyssa. On one hand, you knew they were both still heartbroken that Ollie had left them, but on the other hand…as Merlyn would note to Thea…what did they really expect him to do in the League? Be a nice guy?
The fight scenes throughout the episode were easily some of the best of the season. From Nyssa vs. Ollie, to a reshuffled Team Arrow vs. the League, it was all great. The latter of which may have just been the biggest team fight in Arrow history. And it was great every part of the way.
What really sold it all was Stephen Amell’s performance as Al Sah-Him. No, not Ollie, Al Sah-Him. The blank expression, the use of only a few words to express his thoughts, the intensity, it was all great. Oh, and him removing the arrow he got shot with without a single emotion or cry of pain? Boss.
Truly though, what made this episode so fun wasn’t just the true arrival of Al Sah-Him, but what his arrival did for everyone. Seeing Diggle almost go to the edge because of the kidnapping of Lyla, Felicity and Thea near the point of full-on depression because they failed to stop Ollie from leaving, Laurel trying to both honor Ollie and save Nyssa at the same time, it was all great.
An unexpected joy though was yet another history lesson on Ra’s al Ghul. This time around, we found out that not only was ordered to wipe out his homeland (something I’ll get to soon), but that he wasn’t alone once upon a time. He had a brother in arms also fighting to become the Demons Head. Damian Dahrk. For the record, he IS a DC character, though like some others on this show and Flash, the backstory has been altered a bit.
However, seeing that Dahrk has been around for a while, and most likely is the head of HIVE was very interesting, and hopefully something that will play out soon.
The flashbacks were short, fast, but poignant, as the Alpha-Omega virus was already causing havoc in Hong Kong. Ollie, Tatsu, and Maseo’s attempt to stop it from spreading further, all the while trying to save Akio was very nice. As was the twist that Akio was somehow infected, no doubt leading to the death that will send Maseo to the League. BUT, the real twist was that the virus was still alive, and in Ra’s hands. Which he then gave to Al Sah-Him to destroy Starling City with!!! *cue dramatic music*
Oh, and yes, he did just order Nyssa to marry Al Sah-Him. BUT!!!!…before you go all “they’re pulling a Batman again!”, there are some differences that need to be noted. First off, Talia loved Bruce, and he loved her back (after a while). It was clear right off that Al Sah-Him and Nyssa have absolutely no feelings for each other. Nyssa even welcomed death rather than marry him. Furthermore, this was clearly Ra’s way of saving his daughter and protecting his legacy, rather that wanting Talia and Bruce to lead the League to have a grander one. It’s subtle in some ways, but the differences are there.
A few notes before wrapping up:
– CANARY CRY!!! THANK YOU CISCO!!!!
– Thea suiting up for the first time? Love it!
– Also, Thea knows that Roy is alive! Reunion time!
In the end, “Al Sah-Him” was a status quo shattering episode that not only lived up to the promise of delivering a new dynamic to the series, but did so in a way that showed that consequences are still very dire in this world. We only have two episodes left, this is going to be good.