Oliver has accepted his destiny; he will become the new Ra’s al Ghul. His training begins in a montage (although there’s no anthemic rock song), with a mantra: “Oliver Queen is alive only in the past; he is forgotten.” His training continues, grueling, before Ra’s gives Oliver his new title: Wareeth al Ghul, Heir to the Demon.
He has one final test before him: a bound Diggle is brought before him, who returned to Nanda Parbat to free Oliver. Ra’s hands Ollie a sword to wipe out the remnants of his old life, and Oliver demands that Diggle be cut free. Oliver will not kill an unarmed man. The two men fight, and Oliver drives his sword through Diggle’s heart, killing him…
…or not. The corpse is revealed to be nothing more than a stranger. Ra’s reveals that Ollie has been exposed to a hallucinogenic herb over the past three weeks, and that his mind showed him what it wanted him to see. He commands Oliver to follow him to a site where “only the dead reside” so that they can continue his training.
We then flash back to Hong Kong, where the emergency broadcast system comes over the car radio, warning the people of the city of the chemical attack. Innocent civilians stumble around, collapsing with blood pouring from their mouths. Yeesh.
Ra’s brings Ollie to a mysterious ruin, where Ra’s tells Oliver a story about when he was ascending to become the Demon’s Head. He tells about another man who was his rival that Ra’s failed to kill, and that man has been a thorn in Ra’s’ side ever since. Is it just me, or does the formatting for “Ra’s’” look weird? Is it Ra’s’s? Oh dear.
Ra’s tells him this story for a reason: he warns Ollie that in order to ascend to his title, he must eliminate all rivals…of which there is only one. Uh oh…
We then cut to Black Canary beating the hell out of a criminal when he pulls a knife and slashes at her. Suddenly, a pair of bolos ensnares the crook and Nyssa enters, helping Laurel with her training in Oliver’s absence.
The two of them take some down time, where they discuss fried food, black and white milkshakes…oh, and the fact that Oliver ran off to Nanda Parbat to take the mantle that was supposed to be Nyssa’s. Awkward!
Flashing back again, Ollie and the Yamashiros spy some of Shrieve’s men administering injections to civilians, which they immediately postulate must be more of the Alpha/Omega that must be getting directly injecting into those that weren’t affected by the aerosolized version of the weapon. Well, they’re nothing if not thorough! A gunfight erupts, and Ollie takes the truck so that they can destroy the injectable version of Alpha/Omega. Wait, they’re going to blow up the liquid version of the weapon…wouldn’t that potentially drive more of the stuff airborne?
We then go to Nyssa’s secret hideout, where she’s sharpening her scimitar in preparation for Oliver’s return. She tells Laurel that Oliver will come to kill her in order to cement his spot as Ra’s al Ghul. With TV-perfect timing, Ollie, Maseo, and a bunch of Assassins zipline onto a roof to hunt down Nyssa. It’s on!
Nyssa and Laurel show up at the team’s new HQ at Palmer Technologies where Felicity is having a hard time believing that Oliver would become a killer (again) so easily. Nyssa explains that Ra’s al Ghul would have essentially brainwashed Oliver to make him fall in line with the League of Assassins. Seeing no other option, Nyssa says that she will turn herself over to Oliver, which the rest of the team sees no real problem with, except for Laurel. She says that Nyssa is a good person, and reminds the team “Last time I checked, protecting good people, that is what we do.” Nyssa leaves to face her destiny, but Laurel sneaks a tracker onto her to follow her movements.
Back in the past, Oliver throws a convenient detonator into the truck with the Alpha/Omega hypos and blows it the hell up. Sure Ollie, rain hot medical sharps and fiery wreckage all over the town. Great work! Satisfied with the carnage, Ollie and the Yamashiros depart to retrieve Akio.
While Laurel and Diggle stake out the city for Ollie to make his move on Nyssa, Thea visits Felicity at Palmer Tech. Thea offers to help the team in Oliver’s absence, which Felicity resists, finally confessing that Oliver might be in town to kill Nyssa. Thea insists that if she talks to Oliver, she may be able to get through to him.
We don’t have time to test that theory, as Nyssa is cornered by Oliver on the rooftop where Sara was killed. Ollie tells her that he’s going to bring her back to Nanda Parbat, and the two of them exchange blows. Oliver has Nyssa pinned with a scimitar to her throat when a sonic scream rings through the air. It looks like Black Canary is finally using that “Canary Cry” collar that Cisco rigged up for her and…okay, I’m not gonna lie, watching Laurel stand there agape while a piercing squeal rings through the air is pretty goddamn hilarious. Knowing he’s outnumbered, Ollie retreats by leaping off of the rooftop.
Nyssa goes back to her abandoned warehouse hideout to clean her wounds, where Laurel is insistent that she shouldn’t give up. Nyssa thanks her for her kindness over the past few weeks, but tells Laurel “I am the daughter of the Demon; happiness is not something that was ever meant for me.”
Oliver returns to his own hideout, where he admits to Maseo and the League that he has failed to bring Nyssa in. He then theorizes that they’ll have to draw Nyssa out of hiding if they hope to bring her back to Nanda Parbat.
Felicity and Diggle go back to Diggle’s apartment, where they find something wrong. Diggle’s daughter Sara is crying, and Diggle’s wife Lyla is nowhere to be found. Oliver calls Diggle on his cell phone and tells Diggle that if he wants Lyla back, he’ll have to bring Nyssa to him. Diggle’s all too eager to turn Nyssa over to get his wife back, and he goes to Nyssa in order to convince her to give herself up to Ollie. Laurel’s still resistant to the idea, however. You got a better plan, Laurel?
She must, as the four of them meet up with Oliver to do the hostage exchange. Felicity tries to reason with Oliver, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. Lyla’s sent over to the team as Nyssa is sent over to Oliver, but all isn’t as it seems. Lyla pulls a couple of pistols that Felicity has been holding, and a fight breaks out. Oliver stabs Diggle and is about to finish him off when an arrow impales his wrist. Thea stands on a nearby scaffolding with a bow, warning “get away from him or the next one goes in your eye.” While Diggle is saved, Nyssa gets dragged off by the League.
The team regroups at Palmer Tech, where Felicity tearfully asks if there’s any hope of Ollie coming back. Diggle gives them a bittersweet truth: “There’s only one thing left of him now. Us.”
Nyssa is brought back to Nanda Parbat, where Ra’s confiscates her sword and reveals a strange cylinder hidden in the hilt. Ra’s then instructs Oliver to kill Nyssa, but then stops him at the last minute, telling him that killing her is unnecessary as he’s already broken her. Ra’s then decides that Oliver and Nyssa will marry, declaring that Nyssa will “become the Bride of the Demon.” Again, this show really wishes it was Batman right now, as Ra’s al Ghul tried to do the same thing to the Dark Knight in the comics, marrying Bruce Wayne off to his daughter Talia al Ghul. Jeez, guess Ra’s really wants an empty nest, huh?
One final flashback, and Ollie and the Yamashiros steal a truck to escape Hong Kong with little Akio in tow, but Akio starts bleeding from his mouth…guess the little guy got exposed to Alpha/Omega.
Finally, Ra’s and Oliver talk about the final step in his ascension to the Head of the Demon is the erasure of his former life, and this his former home. He hands Oliver the vial he swiped from Nyssa’s scimitar: it’s Alpha/Omega, and he has to unleash it on Starling City.
While it’s taken its sweet time to get there, Arrow’s back on track. Sure, there are only two episodes left in the season for Oliver to (presumably) renege on the Ra’s al Ghul deal and save Starling City…again. I understand that stakes need to stay high at the tail end of these seasons, but it’s really getting absurd that Starling City gets ruined every damn season. Seriously, what the hell does insurance cost in this town?
The introduction of Thea as a possible vigilante is an interesting wrinkle…maybe they’ll use her as an Artemis analogue? It also could fill in the sidekick vacancy with Roy Harper presumably off the show.
Catch new episodes of Arrow Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW