While not nearly as steeped in WTH moments as last night’s ‘The Flash,’ the spring kickoff for ‘Arrow” had its share of intriguing moments and a crazy final scene sure to have some major repercussions for our hooded hero.
When last we left Oliver, he was at Ra’s al Ghul’s lair getting the full Emperor Palpatine pitch on the virtues of taking up the mantle as the new Ra’s al Ghul. In the show version, the character is more like The Dread Pirate Roberts with many men holding the title over the centuries. I’ll just pretend Liam Neeson’s version is simply awaiting his turn at the title then. Ra’s makes a compelling point: under Oliver’s leadership, the League could do more than save Starling City — it could save the world. And if Oliver isn’t sold on the whole killing folks anymore, he can order the League to ixnay the assassinations. Hopefully he keeps the name though as the League of Assassins is so much cooler than the League of Knock ‘Em Out Ninjas.
Ra’s shows Oliver the show version of the Lazarus Pit, which he describes as the healing water from the Fountain of Youth that’s allowed him to age much slower than a normal man. And if Oliver refuses, Ra’s assures him it’s all good and offers to let him, Diggle and Merlyn leave and those pesky blood oaths are canceled. Oliver considers the offer — possibly to consider Ra’s angle since there’s no way this sweet deal couldn’t have a catch — before telling Diggle and Merlyn they’re going home.
Back home, things are going a bit … haywire. Thea released Nyssa from her cell and confessed to being the one who actually killed Sara. Now she wants Nyssa to kill her to avenge Sara. Even Nyssa realizes Thea is not in a good place and says Sara was avenged with Merlyn’s death. Before Nyssa leaves, Laurel and Roy come in and try to get her back in the cell. In a bit of a shock for longtime viewers, Roy actually wins the fight as he outmaneuvers Nyssa and shoots her with a tranquilizer.
Team Arrow is happy to see Oliver back, but they’ve got a ton of questions. Why is Merlyn still alive? Why is Merlyn staying at Thea’s while he recuperates? How did he avoid getting a sword through the chest? Why did Oliver let Nyssa leave? And oh yeah, why is Merlyn still alive? Oliver doesn’t have a ton of answers though and wants to go on a mission. Felicity finds a crime in progress as a gang led by Michael Amar aka Murmur has broken into a warehouse. Murmur was falsely jailed after cops beat a confession out of him. Now, he’s sewn his lips together so he can never again be forced to speak.
Murmur is a Flash villain in the comics, but makes more sense in the shows as an Arrow opponent since he’s more of a psychotic killer and not a super-powered menace. To get some more info on his mysterious opponent, Arrow drops some of Mumur’s men at the police station for Lance. Arrow’s close ally isn’t in the mood to play appreciative police official as he’s ticked that Arrow lied about Sara. Team Arrow is rightfully feeling the repercussions from their lie. It’s a welcome misstep to show that while these guys can handle any villain, they’re still human and don’t always make the best decisions.
Nyssa returns to Ra’s and is stunned to hear she’s being passed over as heir for an outsider blaming Ra’s disapproval of her relationship with Sara. Ra’s didn’t care about the relationship, but it made Nyssa weak and he’s fine if she leaves now. Oliver comes to Palmer’s office to get some help from Felicity, but walks in on her getting cozy with Ray. Hopefully every scene with Oliver and Felicity doesn’t get bogged down with that “But you’re so perfect for each other just get together already!!!” vibe that was prevalent for much of their interaction tonight. Oliver had his time to get with Felicity, let’s not make it a thing every episode.
Oliver tells Diggle about Ra’s offer and admits to feeling like his mission has only made a dent, not a difference. While Diggle fails to fully get through to him, Felicity is a bit more successful telling Oliver when they thought he was dead they all had to consider their reason for fighting crime. Now, she suggests, it’s his turn. The writers didn’t just use Oliver’s death as a shock ratings ploy, but a defining moment for all of Team Arrow who matured and refocused during his absence.
Laurel comes to Thea, who appreciate the visit, but would much rather put a knife through Daddy’s neck. He’s happy Thea learned his teachings well. Even battered and nearly incapable of defending himself, Merlyn still remains the show’s perfect evil bastard. Oliver visits and Thea admits she’s losing it and hasn’t killed Merlyn because she doesn’t want to disappoint their mother. I kinda feel like Moira would understand. Merlyn tells Oliver of a prophecy that he who survives Ra’s blade will become Ra’s al Ghul and warns him that Ra’s was not making an offer, but a command.
Laurel comes to Lance’s office to ask if they can fast forward to them getting back to normal, but he’s unsure if he can ever forgive her. Murmur doesn’t present a major challenge to Team Arrow, but his quest for revenge against the Starling City PD provides a backdrop for one of the show’s cleaner staged fight scenes as Team Arrow and Nyssa stop Murmur and his men from killing the force. Nyssa offers to help Laurel with her training. It’s so odd how the show has completely ignored Ted Grant since the fight with Brick and Laurel’s lack of compassion if he died during that battle.
The Hong Kong flashback doesn’t offer a lot this week. Oliver is still trying to keep Akio safe while he tries to reunite him with his parents Maseo and Tatsu, but while they go through a crowded market he runs into Shado (???). #SomeoneTellSlade
In the current day, Maseo warns Oliver that while he will always be grateful to him for everything he did for his family, Oliver will suffer for not accepting Ra’s offer. Thea comes to Roy’s place in need of relief after the drama with Merlyn leading to them kissing. ‘Arrow’s’ true power couple has reunited! This has been long coming and their relationship is now so much more interesting than when they were fulfilling the obligatory teen CW romance.
Murmur may be captured, but his gang is still on the loose … until Arrow invades their base and kills all but one. Behind the hood is not Oliver Queen though, but Ra’s who tells the surviving gang member to tell everyone what he’s seen. Operation: Destroy Arrow has begun. This smear campaign seems a bit beneath Ra’s attention, but it’ll be interesting to see how far he’ll go to discredit Arrow throughout Starling.
You’re rarely gonna find an uneventful episode of ‘Arrow’ and this one moved some season long plot threads forward in a very interesting direction. It’s not the season’s best, but certainly a key one as the momentum gets underway for the season finale.