Arrow Season 3 Episode 21 – TV Review
Do you people not own guns!?
TL;DR Oliver gets brainwashed by Ra’s in five seconds flat, and the Super Friends have to stop him from killing Nyssa; Nyssa ends up getting forced into marrying Oliver after all that; everyone is still generally bummed about Oliver taking Ra’s’ offer; Omega is unleashed on Hong Kong in the flashbacks.
Say what you will about the Chinese government, but they know how to keep a lid on a bio-terrorism attack.
So Oliver is fucking guzzling the League of Assassins Kool-Aid (without realising it), and Ra’s sends him to Starling to execute Nyssa to eliminate her as a rival for the succession. Nyssa wants to face her fate to spare Laurel from danger, but Laurel harasses the Super Friends into taking a stand. When they become an obstacle, Oliver abducts Lyla and holds her hostage to draw Nyssa out again. The Super Friends, plus Lyla and Thea, manage to scrap their way to a victory against Oliver, Maseo, and the League goons, but Nyssa gets carted off to Nanda Parbat. But there’s good news: she won’t be executed. Ra’s is instead forcing her to marry Oliver. Admit it, Nyssa: even as a lesbian, Oliver’s not the worst arranged husband you could ask for. Ra’s also tasks Oliver with committing genocide against Starling City, btw. And in the Hong Kong flashbacks, people start dying in the streets from Omega. The gang took their vaccinations, but even so, Maseo and Tatsu’s son starts showing symptoms of the virus.
Because vaccines only fail when the drama factor is high.
So yeah, Oliver’s descent into supervillainy is alarmingly rapid. Arrows tries to wave it off with some bullshit about how the League’s brainwashing is subtle and insidious. But I don’t think he’d go from sacrificing himself to save his friends to willingly trying to murder Diggle.
Especially when Ra’s isn’t around to make sure he does. What’s to stop Oliver from just killing the League goons, convincing Maseo not to say anything, and waltzing away?
And then killing Ra’s when he returns to Nanda Parbat?
I think it’d work.
Why I hate this episode:
The episode starts out with a silly fake-out killing of Diggle. Oliver hallucinates that Diggle is still in Nanda Parbat, and Ra’s orders him to execute him. Which he does. Naturally, it turns out it’s just some nobody. Come on, Arrow. You could be classier than that.
Thea still hasn’t shown any hint of complications from her Lazarus pit resurrection. All that fretting seems kind of silly now.
Ra’s forcing Nyssa to marry Oliver is a pretty dick move. I don’t think Ra’s is legitimately homophobic. He just obviously doesn’t give a shit about his daughter. Well, he gives enough of a shit to let her live, but not enough to not saddle her with a life of misery. It’s a mixed bag.
It’s also another consecutive example of Ra’s backpedalling on death sentences. He let Maseo off last week on an insane technicality, and now he’s preferencing his daughter just because. Maybe Ra’s doesn’t care about a mutiny because he’s on his way out?
Oh, and Ra’s reveals that Nyssa had also stolen something from him: a sample of Omega. Which Oliver will apparently need to use in order to kill everyone in Starling City. Because home town genocide was part of the fine print of becoming the next Ra’s. It’s like Arrow realised that they hadn’t satisfyingly built up a city-wide threat to Starling City for the finale, and pulled some Omega out of a magician’s hat. Or an assassin’s sword hilt, in this case.
But it’s not all bad:
Maybe some swift genocide is what the gullible citizens of Starling City deserve?
And I’m glad that Nyssa gets to live, despite the awkward, forced heterosexuality. The Super Friends already have a guaranteed inside man for when they mount their next offensive on the League.
Oliver might be an easy mark for brainwashing, but his douchebaggery is a refreshing change of pace. I was getting mildly fatigued with all his brooding altruism. The best part is when he has Lyla tied up, and she bitches at him for it, including the fact that he was the only person who helped fill the void in Diggle’s life since his brother died, and now he’s being a dick. Indeed.
Lyla gets some points for her part of the battle plan against Oliver and his goons. Oliver releases her in exchange for Nyssa, but then Felicity discreetly hands Lyla two pistols and Lyla kicks off the melee. That’s what happens when you try to treat ARGUS agents like damsels in distress.
Laurel finally gets some decent screentime this episode, as she pals around with Nyssa for a bit before revealing that Oliver has accepted Ra’s’ offer. Laurel is the main advocate for facing off against Oliver to save Nyssa, and also proves herself useful in battle. Nyssa’s lessons must be paying off.
She gets a chance to use that new scream device that Cisco made for her a couple of episodes ago on The Flash. It’s surprisingly cool.
Ray is allowing the Super Friends to operate out of his office building for now. How magnanimous of him.
Thea puts an arrow through Oliver’s arm to stop him from killing Diggle during the hostage handover melee. She makes it look good. For Thea’s standards, anyway.
Malcolm gets the best line of the episode with his response to Thea’s moaning about how Oliver is a killer now: “What did you think he would be doing in the League of Assassins?” Duh.
In the Hong Kong flashbacks, Shrieve’s men hand out doses of Omega on the streets while claiming they’re a cure for it. I lol’d.
The flashback gang, naturally, blow up the truck they’re operating from. It’s flashy.
Nyssa and Oliver’s rooftop fight scene is brilliant.
Ra’s tells Oliver about a man named Damien. He was conscripted into the League at the same time Ra’s was. Ra’s hesitated in killing him when he was ordered to, and Damien subsequently escaped the League, while taking a band of loyalists and some Lazarus water with him. Damien apparently now runs a separate branch of the League that is responsible for a couple of events we’ve seen in the series. Cool.
Thea is relieved to find out Roy is actually alive. Aww.
Oh, and I can’t believe how patient we have to be to get some Laurel time. But it was worth the wait.