This week’s episode of Arrow wasn’t your run-of-the-mill ‘villain of the week’ adventure, especially since
Oliver Queen Al Sah Him was that villain. It was Team Arrow vs the Arrow on this week’s episode and between stunning action, revelations and character developments, this was quite possibly the greatest episode all Season. So let’s take a closer look at this week’s episode and look ahead at not only what’s coming in the final two episodes of this season, but also next season as well.
Al Sah Him Rises – “My Name Was Oliver Queen”:
Regardless of what Team Arrow might have initially though, tonight’s episode of Arrow went to great lengths to establish one thing before anything else: Oliver Queen is no more. The Oliver we see tonight isn’t the Oliver we know and love, nor is he pretending. He has been completely brainwashed by the League into becoming “Al Sah Him”, and the first step they took to achieve this was the iconic intro.
My name was Oliver Queen. For 3 years I worked to save my city, but to save my sister I had to become someone else. Something else.
No words about ‘5 years on a hellish island” or “saving his city”. In fact, this episode would end with the revelation that he would soon destroy his city. Though if this wasn’t enough, we saw in the opening fight scene how Oliver when faced with a Diggle hallucination had no problem killing him. This was no act and made us realize before anyone else just how ill prepared Team Arrow would be for their first interaction with him.
As the episode progressed we not only saw more instances of how he was willing to kill former friends, but also how many lines he’d cross to get what he wanted. Al Sah Him has no time for the ‘respect of battle’ or innocent bystanders, and he’ll even kidnap the wife of a man he once called brother. Then again, considering the episode began with him killing his conscience – represented by Diggle – are you really surprised? Though one has to wonder if even his lack of conscience can make him go through with the final step to becoming Demon’s Head.
Past & Present Meet – The True Purpose Of The Alpha & Omega Flashbacks:
It seems like this Season’s Flashbacks have spanned quite a few adventures. Sure they all take place during Oliver’s time in Hong Kong, but it seems like we’ve been waiting three quarters of a season to find out what happened to Maseo’s son. Well tonight we learned that Maseo’s son’s fate was just a distraction away from the true purpose – The Alpha & Omega.
Sure an all powerful biological weapon is bad news, but seeing it come back feels like mirakuru all over again. Though this time it is Oliver that will be doing the killing. The flashbacks of the first half of this season were to establish Oliver and Maseo’s connection – thus resulting in how Maseo risked everything to save Oliver. The flashback focus of the second half of this season was all about the Alpha and Omega, which Ras now plans to have Olvier unleash on Starling City – but will he.
The answer is obviously no; and we know this because of the flashback focus. We’ve focused so much on Maseo, Tatsu and Oliver’s fight to prevent the Alpha and Omega from being released, that you just know this will help Oliver snap out of it. Maseo is sure to join the fight as well since this is the return of the weapon that killed his son and made him join the League in the first place. Looking at this half seasons flashbacks once again through the lense of this new revelation gives us so much clarity. Although, it isn’t the only ‘theme’ of this half season as one more old question arises: What is Team Arrow without Oliver?
Moving On Without / In Spite Of Oliver – Season 3.2’s Theme:
Just like with this season’s flashbacks having different purposes and tie ins to the present, so too do each half of this season have an overarching theme. The first half of season 3 dealt with the repercussions of Sarah’s murder, but the second halfs main sustained theme has been what is Team Arrow without Oliver. They had to deal with this in the early episodes, but that was because they thought he was dead. Now they know he is out there, and even worse, he’s actively fighting against them now.
Whether it’s dealing with the new Oliver situation or protecting Nyssa, there isn’t much consensus in the team. In fact, the promo for next episode even appears to show them differing about advice they get from Malcolm. Though in the end they will have to push on and fight Oliver without Oliver. They are all that is left of his soul. To quote The Dark Knight, he’s “lived long enough to see himself become the villain” and Team Arrow is the only thing left of his soul.
The Daughter Of The Demon’s Fate:
While Oliver was busy loosing his humanity the past few weeks, it seems as though Nyssa has been finding more and more of hers. I absolutely love how strong a character Nyssa is and her standing up to her father was one of my favorite things this episode. Though Ras in his new goal to prove to us he can be the evilest villain yet then decided to force Nyssa to marry Al Sah Him. Strange to be sure and it certainly won’t happen, but I think one thing we can all agree on is that Nyssa does deserve happiness.
Regardless of what Diggle and Felicity think, Nyssa is a good guy… girl, and I for one love her dynamic with Laurel. Again, some could start trying to ‘ship’ these two together, but in all honestly they are spectacular friends who have helped fill a void in each other’s life. Nyssa is giving Laurel that confident calm and ferocity and Laurel is giving Nyssa a love for the simple pleasures in life. In a sense, each are giving the other what Sarah didn’t live long enough to do.
Damien Darhk & His HIVE Of Agents – Future Foes:
While Ras was explaining to Oliver why it was essential for him to kill any challengers to the title of Demon’s Head, he name dropped a very important item – well two actually. During Ras time with the previous ‘Demons Head’, there was another who strived to achive the title of successor, a man by the name of Damien Darhk. Ras hesitated and never kill him, which lead to Damien taking a faction of the League along with him as well as some water from the Lazarus Pit. This is of course what spurs Ras to make sure the power transfer to Oliver goes smoother than his own. Though it’s not just Ras who will be plagued by this man.
Ras quickly mentioned Damien’s “Hive of Agents”, which is a direct allusion to his ties with the villainous HIVE – aka the people who wanted Diggle’s brother killed. HIVE will certainly be a major Season 4 villain and Damien will certainly be at the forefront of that battle. He’s treacherous, highly skilled, brilliant and has a water from the Lazarus Pit to cure any injury. Looks like this season won’t be the last we’ll see of centuries old villains.
Rapid Fire – Easter Eggs, Quotes & More:
- Were they chanting ‘Ras Al Ghul’ at the beginning? That’s how you know someone is evil and badass. When people chant your name in religious hymn. Remember Sephiroth?
- “Don’t hesitate or else things will come back to haunt you”. Hmm will Ras idea to go with marriage instead of death come back to haunt him
- Seriously, can Diggle get a costume… I mean “identity concealment” soon?
- “This isn’t my first day” Laurel’s response when Felicity is shocked that she put a tracker on Nyssa.
- “Do you even remember Sarah or has my father already obliterated her from your memory” – a really great point from Nyssa considering both her and Oliver loved Sarah and Ras detested her for corrupting his daughter with love
- Canary Cry in action! Nice!
- “You are a warrior Thea, long before I trained you. … now what do you need from me?” I love helpful Malcolm.
- Wait, Oliver kidnapped Layla. Wow dude, not cool
- “How could the man who stood up at my wedding do this? …You know, when John’s brother died a part of him died too. … I tried my hardest to help him but no one could fill that void until you. You gave him hope and purpose again!” – Layla trying to snap Oliver out of it.
- OMG, Thea finally suited up as Speedy! And the costume – though horribly lit – does look pretty spot on
- To be fair, one could argue that Oliver is pretending to be brainwashed and he knew that first Diggle was a fake. But he still kidnapped Layla and was threatening to kill. If this is all an act, he just betrayed A LOT of his friends trust.
Looking Ahead – Malcolm’s Plan, Katana’s Costume & Roy’s Return:
Thus far Malcolm has been pretty on top of League procedures, so it can be assumed that he’ll also know about Ras’s plan to destroy Starling. In the clip for next week we can see Laurel, Malcolm and even Katana (in full costume) fighting for their lives. Meanwhile we also have shots of Thea and Roy back together. Does this mean that Arsenal will return as well to the fight?
The team will need all the help they can get for going up against the League. With only 2 episodes left, it’ll be interesting to see how they wrap this all up so quickly. For all we know, Damien Darhk might make an appearance himself and turn Ras gaze from Oliver to his old foe. Will this season end with Ras dead or the League and Team Arrow working together to stop HIVE? We’ll know it two weeks.