Last episode left Thea Queen bleeding out on the floor, a victim of Ra’s al Ghul. She’s not quite down for the count yet, and she drags her wounded body across the floor to try and reach the phone to call for help. She doesn’t make it far, but it doesn’t matter: Ollie enters and calls for her, stemming her bleeding until the ambulance arrives to bring her to the hospital.
She barely makes it after flatlining and being brought back. The doctor has grim news: Thea is in a coma, and Oliver needs to prepare for what’s next, which is Thea spending the rest of her days a vegetable on life support. As if it wasn’t depressing enough seeing Oliver cry, Malcolm Merlyn enters the ward and weeps over his daughter’s comatose body. Thanks for making me watch John Barrowman cry, CW.
Flashback time! Ollie and the Yamashiros are spying on General Shrieve at his base, where he’s combining Alpha and Omega into the bioweapon Alpha/Omega (natch). They load the weapon onto a truck and start driving it into the center of the city. Ollie, um, “borrows” a car to give chase.
Diggle and Felicity show up at the hospital to check in on Ollie and Thea, but a smoke signal rises up over the skyline; the League of Assassins is summoning Oliver. He goes to the rooftop where the smoke is rising from, and meets Maseo. Well, he decks Maseo, but that’s a kind of greeting, right? Maseo gets up off the ground and gives Ollie an offer: “Take your rightful place as heir to the Demon, and Ra’s al Ghul will bring your sister back.”
Seeing no other option, Ollie starts packing his bags to leave for Nanda Parbat (again), but Merlyn has his reservations. He explains that the waters of the Lazarus Pit change the people that go into them. Oliver doesn’t care, however, as he just wants to save Thea. Felicity offers to go along, and asks Ray if she can borrow the company jet. Ray opens up that he knows that Felicity is still in love with Oliver, and basically gives her the most beta sendoff possible.
They move Thea from her hospital room to the jet, where Merlyn continues protesting subjecting Thea to the Lazarus Pit. He’s seen the effects that it has on those who use it and he would rather lose Thea forever than see her changed. His pleas fall on deaf ears, however, and they take off for Nanda Parbat. Once in the air, Ollie opens up to Felicity about the time that he came back to Starling City and killed Thea’s dealer, and how no matter how hard he tried to protect Thea from harm, he’s failed.
Back in our Hong Kong flashback, Ollie manages to jump in the truck from his car and fight Shrieve’s men. He struggles with one soldier, who suddenly gets impaled by a sword through the truck’s canvas liner; Tatsu has lived up to her namesake and offered her katana as help. It’s all for naught, though: the Alpha/Omega weapon in the truck was nothing more than a decoy.
The team lands in Nanda Parbat, where pretty much the entire League of Assassins is in wait, led by Ra’s. “Welcome home, Al Sah-him,” he greets, before they are led inside to prepare Thea for a ritual to heal her. Maseo leads Diggle to his living quarters, where the two exchange words about the importance of fatherhood and Maseo confirms that Akio is dead…woof, these flashbacks are gonna get ugly soon, huh?
Thea is dunked in the Lazarus Pit and heals in record time…unfortunately, she is reduced to a feral version of herself, attacking everyone in sight. A member of the League dips a stamp in a mysterious powder and applies it to Thea’s neck, incapacitating her immediately. She wakes up in a bed, but she’s not 100% cured: she has partial amnesia, where she knows Malcolm is her father, but still thinks Ollie is dead. Yeah, it’s one of those piecemeal amnesia deals, I guess.
Felicity angrily confronts Ra’s about taking Oliver away from his family, and Ra’s explains himself to her. As a young man, a traveler came to his door and gave him an ultimatum: leave his family without saying goodbye, or watch as they were tortured and killed. Ra’s naturally took the former option, but the lack of closure haunts him to this day. He tells Felicity to take the closure that he is offering to say her goodbyes to Oliver.
Felicity goes to Oliver and…well, it all gets pretty intense, culminating in her finally confessing that she loves him and the two of them engaging in one of the longest pre-coital scenes I’ve ever seen on network television. Seriously, just when you think that camera’s gonna cut away, it just changes angles. We’re panning to some candles aaaaand…just kidding, more sex! I was waiting for a shot of a train entering a tunnel at any moment.
Hong Kong time! Ollie and the Yamashiros are trying to find the bioweapon, which one of the remaining soldiers gladly gives up when Tatsu threatens his jimmies with her katana. Apparently Shrieve’s men are going to release the Alpha/Omega in the street market because of its population density (and because the CW is gonna get their money’s worth out of that set). The trio makes it to the market, where they see one of the stir-fry vendors about to open the vial of Alpha/Omega.
We cut to a post-coital Felicity and Ollie (I use the phrase “post-coital” a lot in these recaps, huh?), who are discussing what just happened. They drink some wine that Felicity found, which makes Ollie collapse; Felicity stole some of the powder that they used to disable Thea and drugged Ollie’s wine. Normally the roofies come before the sex…
She calls Merlyn and Diggle into the room to help get Ollie out of the fortress. Merlyn resists, stating that the League will kill them if they’re caught (why the hell is Malcolm Merlyn consistently the voice of reason recently?), but he relents and tells them about a secret exit through “the catacombs,” because all ominous buildings have catacombs.
They fight their way out, even getting some help from a repentant Maseo (apparently Diggle got through to him earlier), but they’re cornered by the League. Ollie wakes up from his stupor to command the League to drop their weapons, as he is Heir to the Demon. If you listen hard enough, you can hear the writers wishing that this was a Batman show. Ollie escorts the team outside and says his goodbyes.
Thea wakes up in her apartment and asks Merlyn where Oliver is. Merlyn explains that Ollie has joined the League of Assassins in order to protect his loved ones. He also tells Thea that he wants to stay in Starling City and right the wrongs he has committed, which Thea isn’t too happy about. I guess being drugged and forced to kill someone as a pawn in a game with a group of assassins raises a few trust issues.
Ra’s is furious that Oliver’s friends killed several League members, but Oliver reminds Ra’s that he now has his new heir to the mantle. Maseo confesses that he betrayed the League by helping Oliver’s friends and offers his life to Ra’s as penance. Ra’s spares him, explaining that it was Maseo’s old, pre-assassin life seeping through that led to his weakness. He then warns Ollie that this weakness will not stand, telling him that “Oliver Queen must be extinguished from memory.”
One last flashback in Hong Kong, and Ollie sees one of Shrieve’s men opening the vial of Alpha/Omega. He fights the goon to try and wrestle the bioweapon from his hands, but the struggle ends with the vial shattering, releasing the chemical into the air…
Finally, we see Ollie undergoing his initiation into the League. He is branded by Ra’s (who already had an arrowhead-shaped branding iron made up and everything) and given a new uniform. Oliver Queen is gone, and only Al Sah-him remains.
I’m getting a little sick of the inconsistency of these Arrow episodes. They somehow manage to feel both too long and too short at the same time, with character motivations either happening too quickly (Maseo turning on the League) or taking goddamn forever before happening really abruptly (Felicity/Ollie/Ray love triangle, Ollie joining the League). I hate having to keep comparing this to season 2, but the pacing on that was perfect, whereas this season feels like an old car with dirty injectors, stopping and starting and taking its sweet (and arrhythmic) time to get to its destination.
But it feels like we’re finally limping toward the finish line and things are starting to happen. Unfortunately, that only gives a couple of episodes for this whole Ra’s al Ghul deal to get resolved, and I’m not sure it can properly wrap itself up in that short of a time.
However, the flashback sequences are getting really hairy. The idea of a full-scale terrorist attack on Hong Kong (for the second time this season) mixed with cloak-and-dagger treachery is a lot of fun…even more fun than the main story most of the time.
Catch new episodes of Arrow Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW and all the latest reviews here at BagoGames.