Tonight’s episode had some great moments specifically that killer last scene, but too much felt far too familiar in a season where the underlining theme may as well be ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye.’
Things start off great with Oliver coming home to find a gravely wounded Thea bleeding out. While the doctors try their best, she’s essentially a vegetable and one doctor suggests Oliver authorize them to pull the plug. As Oliver grieves his last surviving family member, the familiar purple haze from the League of Assassins lights up the skyline. Maseo reveals that Thea can be saved if Oliver accepts Ra’s al Ghul’s offer to become his heir.
Merlyn is completely against the idea and actually name drops the Lazarus Pit (the comic book name for Ra’s pools of restoration and resurrection) as he warns Oliver that while Thea could return to life she’ll be changed. Oliver isn’t worried about the side effects and will take his chances with Ra’s ‘magic hot tub’ as Felicity describes it. And to avoid the awkward goodbyes, she and Diggle are coming with them.
But first, for the moment we all knew was coming eventually, Felicity comes by to borrow Ray’s jet and he tells her he knows she loves Oliver. She apologizes saying she doesn’t want to hurt him and that’s that. I get that Ray is nearly an obnoxiously happy-go-lucky nice guy, but he took the break-up remarkably well. Like Elena in ‘Fast & Furious 6‘ level of understanding. Poor Ray. Hopefully he’ll meet a non-psychotic version of Jean Loring in the spin-off.
The League is waiting on Oliver in full force in a great visual as Ra’s greets him. As Team Arrow gets comfortable in their temporary quarters while Thea gets prepped for her dip in the pit, Maseo has a brief, but engaging conversation with Diggle. In a quiet moment between Oliver’s former closest ally and his current brother-in-arms, Maseo confirms what we’ve expected — Akio is dead and Maseo’s last words to him were a lie as he told him everything would be alright. Whether in flashbacks or current day, Maseo has been a great addition to the ‘Arrow’ mythos and it appears we’re coming up on the fateful flashback to explain what irrevocably shattered his life.
We seemingly get a step closer this week in the Hong Kong flashback as Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu pursue Shrieve to stop him from unleashing the Alpha Omega. Storyline wise it was about the same as it’s been all season, but there was some nice action sequences culminating in a crowded street fight where Oliver gets in a fight with one of Shrieve’s men and the vial containing Alpha Omega shatters.
In the current day with a fun scene reminiscent of ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,’ Thea gets dunked into the Lazarus Pit and comes out crazy, attacking Oliver and anyone else in sight. She’s got partial amnesia and remembers Merlyn is her dad, but not that Oliver is her brother or that Moira is dead.
Felicity is tired of all the League’s crap and confronts Ra’s saying there’s no way she’s letting him take Oliver going so far as to say they’ve got friends and they will go to war to bring Oliver back. Which of course led me to think of this… NSFW clip from ‘Scarface.’
Matt Nable’s portrayal of Ra’s has just been kinda there for me, but in this excellent scene he tells Felicity how his perfect life with a loving wife and children (Talia?) was ripped from him without a chance for a farewell so he advises her to say her goodbyes and confess her love to Oliver.
Felicity takes Ra’s advice and Oliver doesn’t even bother asking about Ray (Super Friends before …. oh never mind) before dipping into every romance movie since 1980 by taking off Felicity’s glasses (now you’re really beautiful) and carrying her to bed. The only thing missing was the cheesy saxophone music to accompany the slow motion and go full Cinemax. After hooking up, Felicity drugs so they can escape Ra’s clutches. I’m confused though. Isn’t she supposed to roofie him before she sleeps with him??
Merlyn thinks Felicity’s plan is crazy, but she lays into him like she did Ra’s and says TV has taught her that every scary fortress has a secret exit and Merlyn figures the catacombs are worth a shot. Thankfully more than one League assassin is around and the gang try to fight their way out. Maseo helps, but soon Team Arrow is cornered. Oliver wakes up and tells the League to back off as he’ll return to Ra’s after seeing his friends off.
Oliver hugs it out with Diggle telling him he’s the best man Oliver knows and is his brother. For Felicity, Oliver just wants her to live a happy life. Remember Ray, you’re better than being the rebound guy … again. This scene would be far more meaningful if it didn’t feel like the fifth or sixth time Oliver wasn’t dramatically saying goodbye to Team Arrow this season.
Back at Starling, Thea’s memory is returned (hopefully the side effects are yet to come) and Merlyn promises to be a better father. What is it this week with all the great bad guys showing a softer side? Maseo confesses his involvement in aiding Team Arrow, but Ra’s chalks it up to some remnants of Maseo, not his League of Assassin right-hand Al-Sarab, who he will need in preparing Oliver for his transformation.
As shirtless Stephen Amell scenes = money + ratings for CW, Oliver gets an arrowhead shaped brand on his back. Ra’s informs his troops that Oliver will become his heir, but for now he’s simply The Arrow as the episode ends with a nice payoff of Oliver suiting up in his new ninja-like League approved Arrow costume.
In the context of an entire season, this episode will play out stronger, but on its own, ‘The Fallen’ felt too derivative of other episodes and got interesting just as it was wrapping up. The Arrow’s next journey should set the stage for a stronger follow-up next week though.