Well wasn’t that just perfect.
I had a feeling that the heir to the demon would be an intriguing character, but I had absolutely no idea Nyssa Al Ghul would be this phenomenal. Everything from her majestic accent to the gorgeous attire was on point. And Katrina Law? Well I’ve never seen Spartacus but she’s a downright revelation. Not only is she gorgeous, but she imbues the character with an equal dose of menace and poise. I genuinely want her to join the cast full-time, and I shudder at the thought of having to wait until the end of the season for her return appearance. This episode a prime example of inspired guest-casting elevating an episode to perfection.
One reason this episode worked so effectively is because it introduced a layered history between Sara and Nyssa. Had the latter just been a random assassin, the stakes wouldn’t have felt nearly as monumental. However, I genuinely bought Nyssa and Sara’s relationship, as well as the former’s betrayal after having nursed Sara back to health. There’s a goldmine of material here that’s just ripe for future flashbacks, and I do hope the writers don’t waste the opportunity.
Heir To The Demon was also an outstanding showcase for Katie Cassidy. Laurel continued to get put through the ringer, and that was punctuated by a powerful final outburst directed towards Sara who got blamed for everything wrong in the elder sibling’s life. In addition, the episode’s final scene is bound to have enormous ramifications as Sara officially proclaimed her return home and proceeded to get busy with Mr. Queen. It’s not going to be easy for Laurel to come to terms with the fact that these two still decided to hook up after the trio’s history. Still, I’m really rooting for her to rise out of the darkness as a hero.
Heir is especially stunning because in addition to all the above, it also takes the time to shed some compelling light on Felicity. After discovering Thea’s true paternity, she confronts Moira – giving Susanna Thompson the splendid chance to dip into her dark side again (much like she did in the show’s debut year). Mama Queen’s threat with Felicity potentially losing Oliver if she were to break the news to him was pretty genius. And then the writers went on ahead and let Felicity reveal the bombshell instead of dragging it out until God knows when. Simply put, it was an immensely satisfying turn of events that definitely subverted my expectations.
This hour is also home to a particularly monumental development: Oliver confronting his mother after discovering Thea’s paternity, and severing his relationship with her (at least on a personal level). It’s fascinating how sympathetic Moira still manages to be despite this entire debacle, and I believe that’s a testament to how vividly drawn and layered these characters are. People can dismiss Arrow as being nothing more than a comic-book show, but I think the show is truly capable of producing great television. And this hour is marvelous proof of that.
Bits & Arrows
– The teaser was just epic with Nyssa being flagged as an A.R.G.U.S. security alert at the airport as she resorts to kicking all kinds of ass while brilliantly using her surroundings. And the cherry on top? She casually picks up her suitcase and struts away. Other awesome touches: her winking at the little boy, and that hat.
– Badass moment: Sara doing the Salmon Ladder pushups. Woah!
– Great callback to Sara’s entrance with Nyssa’s Cirque du Soleil entrance.
– So Nyssa poisoned Laurel to draw out Sara; that’s pretty cool.
– Fantastic set piece: Arrow and the Canary chasing Nyssa’s van. Everything from Ollie’s bike deflecting the arrows, to Canary’s sonic weapon and her painful howl after seeing her mom on board was excellent.
– The Lance family flashbacks were a welcome change of pace. I especially liked seeing Laurel catch the shipwreck on TV.
– There’s a great subtle moment with Sara coming out to her dad, and his being accepting of her choice (knowing how much she’d suffered).
– How badass is Quentin delivering the knockout blow as Sara and Ollie struggle to take down the League’s assassin?
– I was very touched by Felicity crying and revealing to Ollie that her father had abandoned her family. It’s brilliantly done culminating with Ollie’s speech as he decides to stand by his mother before ominously whispering that he “knows”.
– I do wonder if we’ll get to meet Ra’s Al Ghul this year. I have a feeling his introduction won’t occur before season three.
– Epic action moment: Nyssa flipping back onto the table and grabbing her bow.
– I really wish Oliver and Nyssa’s fighter was longer and that she won the battle. However, I guess it was necessary to have her on the losing end so Sara could stop Ollie from taking her life (and thus get released from The League’s grasp in the process).
– One of the single best sequences this show’s ever done: a broken-down Moira visiting Laurel and Quentin and revealing that Sara was on the boat. The music, the powerhouse performances… it’s simply mesmerizing. And I love that even though Sara is alive, the scene still manages to be so gut-wrenching and powerful. Gold stars.
– Loved Laurel hurling her drink at her sister. Wow.
– So Slade is going to “take care” of the Moira issue. I’m sort of terrified.
Sara: I wasn’t trying to be a bitch.
Laurel: The title of your autobiography.
Blood: So which is it? The woman strong enough to lead this city, or the one too weak-willed to save it?
Moira: The one who should not be underestimated.
Lance: You know you never did tell me how you joined up with The Arrow in the first place. How did you two meet?
Sara: Vigilante club.
Moira: I haven’t been this nervous since my wedding day. Both of them.
Oliver: You were crying.
Sara: I was happy to discover I still could.
Silhouette – Ellie Goulding & Active Child
Simply incredible. An Arrow masterpiece.