Since Oliver’s death, Season 3 has been an inconsistent ride for our favorite hooded archer. There’s been some exceptional episodes, but surprisingly there’s been enough to suggest that ‘Arrow’s’ spot as the crown jewel of the comic book TV shows was in serious jeopardy. After tonight’s episode, one of the best of the entire series, it’s safe to say it’s not time to start fiddling with the rankings just yet. Honestly ‘This Is Your Sword’ with a cliffhanger ending so expertly done it could easily have served as the season finale, which now places added pressure on next week’s show to deliver a conclusion fitting on the last two episodes.
As Team Arrow comes to grips with their leader’s betrayal, Ra’s al Ghul is busy planning a wedding. While Oliver is fairly ambivalent about the deal (he clearly is dead inside seeing as how as far as arranged marriages go, Nyssa is pretty much winning the lottery), Nyssa wants no part of it and stashes a knife. Not sure exactly what goes on in League of Assassin weddings, but I’d like to think knives to the neck don’t replace the exchanging of rings. Oliver bails on the rehearsal dinner to go out on a stroll along the mountainside only to get ambushed by Malcolm Merlyn?!??!
Oliver and Malcolm have been running a long con trying to destroy the League from within, but Ra’s decree that Oliver has to wipe out Starling City with the Alpha Omega bio weapon has sped up their timetable.
Recognizing the two can’t do it alone, Oliver tells Malcolm to get the band back together and he’s got someone to help convince them. Maseo finds Oliver and asks why he hasn’t questioned him about delivering the Alpha Omega to Ra’s. Maseo explains he wanted revenge against Shrieve even before Akio died and took it from his delivery truck. Maseo giving the weapon to a man who administers his own sense of justice makes sense especially since Maseo knows Ra’s will do whatever must be done to create a better world.
Malcolm summons Team Arrow, who appropriately are very ticked that he would call them together for anything. Malcolm seems to be ecstatic to have another opportunity to troll Team Arrow with the news that Oliver is undercover and collaborated with him. Although to be fair, Malcolm is right that they’re terrible liars.
They aren’t sure if they can still trust Oliver and definitely don’t trust Malcolm so Oliver’s secret ally — Tatsu — arrives to warn them of the dangers if they don’t stop the Alpha Omega. Felicity isn’t up for the road trip until Tatsu tells her she gave up on her husband when he joined the League and regrets not fighting to bring him back. It may have been a long and bumpy ride, but everything is starting to come together nicely. Team Arrow should be in line for some free flights as they’ve earned some serious frequent flier miles jetting back and forth from Nanda Parbat.
While not nearly as serious as the events going on in Nanda Parbat, Thea tracks down Roy working at a garage. I know it’s only been a few episodes, but I’d missed Colton Haynes and this little diversion provided some necessary closure for the my favorite romantic pairing. Roy knows Thea well enough to know she’s not just here to see him and give him his Arsenal gear back and she explains everything that’s gone down with Oliver and the League. And finally paying off a plot thread that’s been speculated ever since season 1, Thea gets a Dear John letter from Roy with a line saying he always thought red was more her color anyway. If you looked close enough in the tease for next week’s episode you’ll spot Thea (or at least Thea’s arm) in her costumed identity as Speedy.
In a gloriously welcome change, Team Arrow battles the League in broad daylight.
Sticking to the cover of darkness makes sense for the show, but the switch to lighter hours helped allow this excellently choreographed and shot action sequence stand out. Bonus: Tatsu is dressed in her comic book Katana attire and she is slicing up LOA members with her katana. Malcolm gets the best moments during the battle though as he saves Laurel, who says she wouldn’t have done the same for him, and Felicity who thought she took down an assassin by flinging her laptop at his throat. Katana squares off with Maseo and she reluctantly kills him. With his dying words, Maseo thanks her for releasing him from his prison. Yes, that scene choked me up a bit and no, I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Poor Maseo. You had a feeling he wasn’t gonna survive the season as the guy was battling far too many demons (not Demon’s Head) and coming face to face with the man who knew him in his previous life when all he cared about was his wife and son had essentially broken him again. But the Lazarus Pit is right there… Yes, it would be a cop out, but through the rough patches of the season, the past and present interactions with Oliver and Maseo always held up their end of the episodes.
Despite their best efforts, the jet carrying Alpha Omega speeds off, but fortunately Felicity thought ahead and Ray flies in and knocks it out of the sky. Victory: Team Arrow! Not so fast as Ra’s, Oliver and a legion of LOA, emerge and order them to surrender. Out of Ra’s watchful eye, Oliver asks Team Arrow to trust him. Diggle finds it much harder after Oliver kidnapped Lyla and left their daughter alone. Kinda with Digs on that one Oliver.
Malcolm tries to screw up the plan by telling Ra’s that Oliver is playing him. On one hand, it’s great to see Malcolm remain a villain at heart even at the expense of the others, but this seems like a prime fake-out opportunity for Oliver and Malcolm to really mess with Ra’s.
In the flashback, Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu try and find a cure for Akio. Oliver seems to realize Akio is a goner, but goes to help his friend. They fight their way through Shrieve’s men and bring the cure back to Tatsu, but it’s too late — Akio is dead as Shrieve reveals there is no cure for the Alpha Omega. That was a subtle bit of foreshadowing that would prove important later. This was a brutal episode for Maseo fans! Before Oliver can kill him, Shrieve’s men target Oliver. Time for Shrieve to tie up all his loose ends…
Back in the Nanda Parbat prison, Oliver arrives with Ra’s … and a vial (uh-oh). Since Katana has already been inoculated, Ra’s has her removed. The others are chained down as Ra’s smashes the vial and seals their cell shut. As Team Arrow starts to succumb to the fumes, Oliver gets married. Nyssa objects with her knife, but Oliver catches it and thankfully everyone else is able to hold their peace as the only others who may are dying down below.
Now that was an impressive cliffhanger! I’m starting to wish the show runners or CW would be a bit more secretive with the teasers for the next episode so we can speculate how they’ll get out of this one alive. With how unpredictable Oliver has been since becoming Al Sah-Him, it’s almost a shame CW teased his involvement in ‘The Flash’ season finale since we know his own issues have to be resolved in time to help out Barry. The challenges of a shared universe. I’m very curious and excited about what’s in store for the season finale. What did you think?