All together now….
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The League of Assassins gets impatient waiting for Sara’s killer to be brought to justice. So they threaten to start killing Starling City residents if Oliver doesn’t get the job done in 48 hours. This does, in fact, prove motivating, as suddenly they make all sorts of progress on ID’ing the culprit.
The trail leads to Malcolm Merlyn, who apparently secretly returned to Starling the day before Sara was killed… with Thea. Thea claims no knowledge of this happening.
Meryin then shows Oliver a video that shows Thea killing Sara under the influence of some hypnotic plant that makes a person susceptible to mind control with no memory of it. Merlyn wants Oliver to protect Thea by telling Ra’s al Ghul that he (Oliver) killed Sara, so that Oliver can challenge Ra’s in ‘trial by combat’. If Oliver can kill Ra’s, it will clear Malcolm of his problems with the League.
Meanwhile, in Unnecessary B Plot Land, Laurel tells Thea and then her own mom about Sara being dead. She vows to her mom to avenge Sara.
Felicity and Ray are suffering from a raging case of the Awkwards after his unexpected kiss on their not-date. She gets him to open up about having lost the woman he loved to a Mirakuru rage monster. To help protect people from this sort of terrible thing happening, he’s devising a super-suit called A.T.O.M. He asks Felicity to help him.
In our last diversion from the main events, the flashback scenes show Ollie and Maseo on the trail of China White. She manages to get to Maseo’s home, though, and kidnaps Tatsu. We learn in the modern-day story that this does not end well, and in fact results in Maseo joining the League.
Now, back to where we were… Oliver (whose picture I put above just because Stephen Amell works really hard to be in this kind of shape and deserves his moment!) meets Ra’s for a duel on a snowy mountaintop. Oliver is clearly outgunned by the more experienced Ra’s, but he gives it a good go. Until Ra’s gets the better of him. Then Ra’s puts a sword through Oliver before kicking his body off the cliff.
What Hit the Target
Seriously, what the heck just happened?!? Arrow has never been a show that shies away from killing major characters, but this was truly the most shocking move of all! I’m still not over it, but I’m definitely impressed by the nerve this show has. What do you think will happen next? (Keep this in mind: Stephen Amell commented on Facebook after the show: “Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character. We’re going to prove that to you.” How intriguing!!)
Despite having some big shoes to fill, Matt Nable’s Ra’s al Ghul is really pretty good. He’s got awesome dialogue and is pretty darn scary. His words during the fight scene were particularly well-written and delivered, and he’s a meaty villain for Team Arrow to have around. I hope we see him for a long time to come (under the right circumstances, of course!)
He loves her, he really does! Oh, we all knew that already, but it’s good to have it said aloud. Now if that guy could just get over his belief that ‘guys like us don’t get the girl’.
I’m really excited to see Ray’s superhero arc get into swing. He’s been in the planning stages too long, and it’s time to really use the character. I really want to see this enthusiastic, optimistic, and naturally charming guy get out to fight crime on the mean streets of Starling City!
What Missed the Mark
Oh, c’mon, marketing department. You don’t follow up on such an amazingly shocking moment like that by showing a teaser that makes it appear that there’s hope for Oliver. The point of ending where the episode did was that people would actually believe the unthinkable might have happened (at least until January) and we lost our title character. This was a promo FAIL!
While Thea herself has improved as a character this year, her taste in an odd wardrobe has not. What was she wearing while alone at home trimming the tree? Sparkly gold balloon pants…doesn’t everyone? Why, wardrobe department? Just why?
Speaking of the ladies… Laurel’s part of the story was just kind of ‘meh’. She didn’t tie in to the important plot in any way, leaving her out in the weeds during this pivotal episode. Telling Thea about Sara was kind of out-of-the-blue, and no one was clambering to witness her tell her mother about Sara’s death. Her story fails to advance at all in this episode, unfortunately.
So, Sara was killed as just a part of Malcolm’s plan to get the League off his back? And it’s revealed midway through the episode via video on a cellphone? That’s pretty anti-climactic.
The Final Tally
What a great week it’s been to be a comic book TV show fan! Both Marvel and DC shows had great winter finales, full of character bits, great action, and shocking surprises. Arrow, of course, wins the week with its shocking ending. In other news, Sara’s murder gets resolved, Ray’s storyline gets movement toward his superheroic destiny and Olicity fans will be happy. So, a little something for everyone! Now, the interminable wait until January.
And of course, the Quote of the Week comes from an Oliver who has no idea how strange life is going to get…:
“Mind control. That’s a thing?”