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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Arrow Season 03 Episode 4: The Magician

October 30th, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

Tonight, Arrow celebrated its 50th episode. An important feat for many shows, as some don’t even come close to reaching this milestone. And it was unclear at first whether Arrow would make it this far. Thankfully, it did, and to celebrate the show did a fantastic episode that focused on both Oliver and one Nyssa al Ghul.

Things picked up literally right after last weeks episode, as Nyssa arrived to find Sara, or to hear that she was dead. This was a great scene in and of itself, as Ollie didn’t even need to say that Sara was dead for Nyssa to realize it. Of course, after she dropped the line, “was she killed by an arrow?” you knew who she thought was behind it. Malcolm Merlyn.

Many have wondered whether Malcolm did in fact do the deed. In fact my own father thought so when he saw Sara die. Yet as the chase for him began, and the twists and turns came, you kind of had to wonder if he didn’t. John Barrowman put on a powerful performance tonight, especially during his scene with Oliver on the streets of Starling. It was fun hearing him talk about how “these were my streets long before you laid claim to them.” And his explanation for him not killing Sara was in fact logical. If he did kill her, he would more heat on him than ever before. Why would he want that?

An interesting side plot that came about via the chase for the “truth” about Merlyn was that almost everyone wanted him dead. Not because he may or may not have killed Sara, but because of everything else he had done. Even Diggle said, “the world is better off without him in it.” Yet Ollie of all people didn’t want to kill him. To hold to his vow and make sure he was The Arrow and not The Hood. That’s important, especially for this season as he’s really striving to be different than what he was, no matter what the cost.

One dynamic that was fun to watch was Laurel and Nyssa. Both wanted (and still want) revenge for Sara, and though they didn’t get along at first, they slowly bonded in their desire for revenge. So much so that Laurel all but gave Nyssa permission (not that she needed it) to kill Malcolm at all costs.

Of course we can’t talk about this episode without chatting about the three-way dance that happened between Ollie, Merlyn, and Nyssa. It was fun to watch, especially as they all kept trying to one up each other to get the win. Malcolm beat Nyssa, then Ollie blindsided Malcolm. Great stuff. I just wish it was a little longer…

It will be fun to see what happens now with this story. It’s all but clear that Malcolm didn’t kill Sara, not that Nyssa cares. What I wasn’t expecting was his speech about how Ra’s might have had her killed. It’s an interesting thought, mainly if you believe what Malcolm said about Ra’s not liking Sara coming back the second time. There are many questions, and with a proclamation of war (FROM RA’S AL GHUL HIMSELF!!!!!), we may get them sooner than we think.

Which of course leaves us with Thea. It’s nice to see her land on her feet (albeit with some help…) and try to get back to her life. I also like that Roy is back with her, as a friend though. Truthfully though it’s going to be interesting to see how long Thea can keep her knowledge about Malcolm a secret from Ollie, who already suspects something is up.

The flashbacks were simple, yet confusing in some aspects. As Ollie was forced to kill a man for apparently no reason other than he was a terrorist. Only to find out that it was Fyers handler from season 1 on the island. This would’ve been awesome, especially when Ollie found out that Waller ordered the attack on Ferris Flight 637. However, the reveal that she was just trying to kill China White was confusing. Why would she risk so much to take down her? I hope we find out the answer soon.

Finally, a wish I have. It’s heartbreaking to watch Detective Lance nowadays as he still doesn’t know about Sara’s death. That phone call scene was perfect, and it relayed both how happy he was to have Sara back in his life, and how sad he was that Sara was gone again with the League. Someone please tell him!

In the end, “The Magician”, (which apparently was Malcolm’s name in the League, nice touch) was a excellent 50th episode that pushed the storylines of the season forward in interesting ways. The mystery of Sara’s death is still brimming with potential, and now that the Demon is coming to Starling, things are about to heat up.

Oh, and if one of your friends watches this episode before viewing the rest of the series, and they ask, “What did I miss?” You can answer, “A LOT!!!!”

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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