In theory, this was a game-changing hour of Arrow. But something’s terribly off this year.
I don’t know why I feel so disconnected from the proceedings, but everything leading up to Ollie finally assuming the mantle of Ra’s Al Ghul felt extremely anticlimactic. The development simply didn’t feel earned or satisfying, and that’s an enormous problem when your season’s entire arc hinges on such a twist. That’s not to say this wasn’t a hell of an entertaining hour, but it’s a far cry from the impeccable narrative that drove season two’s Slade arc.
Although I’m far from an “Olicity” shipper, I must admit that their union was pulled off quite nicely. I liked the idea of them finally doing it in Nanda Parbat, although the fact that Ra’s basically pimped them out was somewhat laughable and forced. I seriously doubt this coupling will ever truly work, but The Fallen at least allowed Felicity to remind us what a formidable character she could be. Instead of being whiny and annoying (like she has been all season), Emily Rickards got to have some fun bossing around everyone in sight while successfully pulling one over on Ollie and knocking him out with that “crazy priest lady powder”. Awesomeness.
And let’s all take a moment and praise Stephen Amell for his gut-wrenching performance this week. From finding Thea’s fallen body and sobbing in the hospital room, to finally giving in to Ra’s demands and bidding each of his friends goodbye, Amell had a lot to work with and he pulled off the entire spectrum of emotions in a stellar manner. He surely has come a long way as a performer. Kudos buddy.
As for Thea, it was promising when she hopped out of the Lazarus Pit like a wild beast and attacked Ollie, but the only ramifications of her near-death experience by hour’s end seemed to consist of mild amnesia and general soreness. Here’s hoping the writers run with this storyline and give the character a complete transformation that makes her a worthy part of the show. Three years in and she’s still the weakest link; I feel that’s all about to change.
Finally we were subjected to more useless flashbacks as Ollie, Maseo and Tatsu tried to prevent General Shriever’s biological attack (and ultimately failed to do so as that pesky vial broke in slow-motion). Thankfully we at least got some crazy action including a gripping car chase and some Tatsu katana-slicing. Otherwise, I’ve lost faith in this season’s flashbacks truly amounting to anything substantial. Take me back to the island!
Bits & Arrows
– Absolutely brutal teaser with a dying Thea trying to reach for her phone as a horrified Ollie arrives.
– Oliver punching Maseo – super cool.
– Ray and Felicity’s breakup was painfully convenient. Oh well, at least he gave her the jet.
– Loved Malcolm referencing S.T.A.R. labs.
– Poignant scene with Felicity and Ollie on the plane as she learns of his previous visit to Starling.
– Terrifying sight with the whole League waiting before the fortress as Ollie arrives carrying Thea with his Team in tow. I still don’t get why Laurel wasn’t involved after being so close to Thea in the past. Apparently her goodbye with Ollie in the airport was cut for time.
– Diggle berating Maseo and calling the League a bunch of cowards was incredible wasn’t it?
– Game of Thrones reference! (“You know nothing”).
– As an Arab, I have to say that Arabic in that ritual wasn’t very accurate.
– Thea thinking Moira was still alive broke my heart. I miss Moira.
– I feel like there’s still much more we don’t know about Ra’s backstory and the supposed family he left behind. Will Talia Al Ghul ever make an appearance on this show? Maybe she’s the crazy priest lady? A guy can dream.
– I really liked Ollie taking off Felicity’s glasses before they consummated their relationship. And the music was spot-on.
– Felicity taking out a League assassin was priceless! The almost-escape sequence was super.
– Interesting to note: Ra’s forgiving Maseo. Our big bad this year really isn’t so bad after all.
– Great final moment with Ollie’s getting burned (with the same symbol from this year’s title sequence), and then the reveal of him in League-garb. Totally chilling. Those eyes might give me nightmares.
Felicity: Well, even if a magic hot tub were not crazy talk, we’re not going to let you go and join the League of psychotic murderers, even if it is to save Thea.
Oliver: I’d prefer that we didn’t do our usual “please don’t go” dance.
Malcolm: Having said that, I would rather lose her forever than–than subject her to the pit.
Oliver: Get on the plane, Malcolm.
Felicity: Thanks for letting me be here for you.
Oliver: You’re welcome. I didn’t have much of a choice, though, did I?
Felicity: No. I wanted to make you think you had grown a little as a person.
Diggle: League of Assassins. You’re feared for your bravery and power. Well, all I see are a bunch of weak men running from their lives, trying to escape. That’s not powerful, Maseo. Or brave. That’s cowardly.
Felicity: (After they have sex) So…that happened.
Felicity: (to Malcolm) I have seen enough movies to know that the scary fortress always has a secret exit. You were Ra’s right hand stooge for years. If there is anyone that knows the way out of this hellhole, it’s you, so don’t even try to play games with me.
Oliver: John, you’re the best man I’ve ever known. And whatever happens, you’re my brother.
Felicity: We’re always saying good-bye to each other. You’d think I’d be good at it by now.
Ra’s: Embrace the pain, for it is your soul finally being unburdened.
While it was kind of a letdown, The Fallen still had enough material to make for an entertaining episode. I just wish it was more impressive.