Let’s start with that ending, because I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, it’s an admittedly ambitious turn to have Ra’s Al Ghul basically offer Oliver the keys to his kingdom. With Ollie gradually losing control of Team Arrow, it certainly feels like a viable option for him to accept this bizarre offer. But I wonder, does Arrow have the guts to make its protagonist the season’s Big Bad? That storyline could essentially make the entire season worthwhile as the gang struggles to make their leader sane again. However, I seriously doubt the writers will take this risky route.
On the other hand, Ra’s offer highlights a noticeable flaw this year: our villain just isn’t menacing enough. Slade literally made me fear for our characters’ lives at every turn last year, but Ra’s hasn’t been afforded the slightest development (oh look, he’s immortal). Hopefully that will change as the year progresses, because the villain’s legacy is too iconic for this to end up being an underwhelming season.
On another note, can we please make Nyssa Al Ghul a regular already? I absolutely adore Katrina Law, and her dynamic with Laurel is brimming with potential. Watching them bond over Sara’s “laugh” was extremely moving, and I for one can not wait for Nyssa to become Laurel’s trainer (hopefully). Speaking of Laurel, I loved how mature her reaction was to finding out that Thea murdered Sara. She didn’t hold Ollie’s sister accountable, and simply focused on punishing the man responsible. This behaviour wonderfully coincided with the team standing up to Ollie and his methods (capturing Nyssa and committing to saving Malcolm).
Nana Parbat also proved to be a surprisingly effective episode for Diggle. Although the character hasn’t always been my favourite, he’s been relegated to the sidelines over the past year. Thus it was refreshing to see his brotherly dynamic with Oliver resurface as the ex-bodyguard asked Mr. Queen to be his best man. In addition, Diggle helped Ollie reach the conclusion that the reason he had returned to Parbat was because he couldn’t handle the fact that Ra’s beat him in battle. Fascinating stuff.
Finally, Ray and Felicity’s romantic journey has been an absolute flop in my opinion. Both Emily and Brandon deserve better, and I just didn’t find myself rooting for the two to finally get together. And Ray’s much-hyped Atom suit? I can’t say it doesn’t feel like a cheap Iron Man rip-off. Sorry.
Bits & Arrows
– Great little teaser with Oliver, Thea and Malcolm having the triple fight in the Arrow cave.
– Roy and Thea bonding over murdering-under-the-influence was pretty preposterous wasn’t it? I swear, this show sometimes.
– One of my favourite scenes of the hour: Laurel telling Ollie about Sara’s smile (a very relatable feeling), and his lying to her yet AGAIN. I love how she cornered him and wondered how she “ever” loved him. It’s seriously the strongest scene these two had in years.
– Brilliant scene with Laurel attacking Malcolm and stumbling like a buffoon. Then he makes fun of her “stick” and she takes out a gun only for Nyssa and her ninjas to arrive. Spectacular moment. Can we have a Nyssa/Laurel spin-off?
– So Oliver basically kicked Laurel out of the Arrow Cave? Not cool.
– Ambitious of the show to include a helicopter sequence. Felt like a blockbuster.
– Really powerful moment with Ollie telling Thea that he feels responsible for both of their parents’ deaths.
– How great is Lyla supporting Diggle and giving him the jet? That’s what real relationships are made of.
– Awesome visual with Ollie picking up the flame arrow and shooting it back.
– The flashbacks continued to be useless. I was sure the Yamansiro’s kid would get shot this week but now he’s with Oliver. That can’t be good.
– I love that Nyssa sits in the “box” with crossed legs looking all zen-like.
– When did Ollie tag Merlyn again? I can’t seem to remember.
– I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the action scenes lately feels off. Both of Nyssa’s fights this week (one with Malcolm and one with Ollie), as well as Ollie/Diggle storming the fortress, were great in theory, but suffered from clunky editing and a lack of clarity. That’s a real pity.
– Really loved Diggle and Ollie bonding in chains.
– Insightful scene with Roy taking Thea to see the family of the cop he killed. However, her wondering if the “real” her is a killer made me wonder if I can handle her repeating the same story beats over and over again.
– So basically, Felicity can bang the inspiration out of you?
– Obviously little Queen won’t die, but it will be interesting to see how she gets out of her predicament now that she offered herself up to Nyssa. Will Laurel intervene? Hmm.
Laurel: I can’t remember Sara’s smile. It’s weird, isn’t it? I mean, I know Sara used to smile and–and laugh, but when I close my eyes and I try and picture it, all I see is the way that I found her. You know, sometimes, the only thing that keeps me going is the thought of one day finding her killer.
Oliver: We will. I promise.
Laurel: How do you do that?
Oliver: Do what?
Laurel: Lie. Right to my face.
Laurel: You know, it’s hard to remember a time… When I was actually in love with you.
Malcolm: Oliver mentioned you were having some identity issues, though he didn’t mention about your delusions of grandeur. (Laurel tries to attack him). Now you’re just embarrassing yourself. Your sister’s teacher was my teacher. Did you think you could really dispatch me with a stick?
Oliver: I told you Merlyn was off limits.
Laurel: I know. And then I realized that I didn’t really give a damn.
Nyssa: (to Oliver) I will gladly tell you where to find my home… Because you will die there.
Diggle: That was before we put Ra’s Al Ghul’s daughter in a box.
Laurel: Taking prisoners now. Isn’t that crossing a line?
Felicity: Actually, Oliver has an entire prison on Lian Yu. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.
Oliver: (to Diggle) You’re unusually quiet.
Felicity: I highly recommend option two, because this whole situation has gone from endearingly eccentric to creepily not ok.
Felicity: After your dinner and a shower, I am taking you straight to bed. Putting you. [Whispering] Why do I do that?
Oliver: I couldn’t live like that, couldn’t live knowing that, there was someone out there who beat me.
Diggle: Yeah, that makes sense.
Oliver: No. It’s egotistical and insane.
Diggle: So is putting on a mask and jumping off of rooftops, Oliver. To do that, you have to be in a certain mindset. Every soldier on the battlefield, man, has to believe he’s coming home. Otherwise, he’s paralyzed. Ra’s got in your head.
Felicity: You’re very attractive. (Looks at the paintings) I mean, they’re.
Diggle: I don’t want to go out like Butch and Sundance, so what’s the plan?
Oliver: Shoot straighter than they do.
Nyssa: I am the prisoner, yet you look the more tortured.
Laurel: Having Merlyn to hate, it’s… It’s like a piece of Sara that I can still hold on to, but once he’s gone… So is another part of her.
Nyssa: She would want to be avenged.
Laurel: Can you remember the sound of Sara’s laugh?
Nyssa: When Sara was first brought before my father, the moment he weighed her apprenticeship or her execution, she bore witness to a demonstration of his power, one that inspired terror in all who had come before, but Sara… Laughed. It was so innocent, so genuine. That was the moment I fell in love with her, I think. All I knew, all I craved was to hear her laugh once more.
Laurel: Thank you.
Diggle: (to Oliver) I always assumed if I ever got married again that Andy would be by my side. When I lost my brother… I never thought I’d get another one.
Not the greatest of episodes, but Nanda Parbat set up some intriguing possibilities for the show’s return.