Well, that was better, but I’m still hanging with a few “WTF?” questions in my head. This season three of Arrow has proved to be particularly troubling for the Arrow writers as they plow through these middle set of episodes, stretching out a “Who killed Sara?” storyline that lost it’s freshness eons ago. The twists are stretching into borderline ridiculous, and none more this whole Ra’s Al Ghul business.
But first, I like to focus on the positive, so let’s go there. How adorable was overly exhausted Ray Palmer? I’m not a shipper, but put me on the Felicity and Ray train (dodges flying objects from Olicity fans). Their chemistry was so cute in this episode, and he does need a good woman to keep him safe from his reckless ways. Nothing like finally solving his technical problem of the flying suit after banging the adorkable blonde he’s been pursuing this season. I thought his little test flight while Felicity was sleeping was fun even if it was crazy stupid, and I honestly thought it would come across as cheesy. This guy is getting in so over his head and I’m very interested in seeing what adventures come out of this (not sure if it’s enough to warrant a whole spinoff though).
Second, Laurel is slowly winning me over in these set of episodes. Even she knows she’s in over her head putting on the Canary suit, but she keeps on fighting for reasons that are actually plausible. Honoring Sara’s memory is the driving force, but it’s also sparked that nobility inside of her that she’s always had. It’s what drove her to become a lawyer. Fighting injustice has always been her thing, and she’s determined to make this work. So more and more, the suit is actually fitting. It took Roy a while to get up to speed, so with time she’ll improve as well. Her contributions to the team for the most part are proving to be valuable and not overbearing and that’s the way I like my Laurel Lance. However, Laurel did piss me off this week for playing a part in the whole turning-Malcolm-over-to-Ra’s Al Ghul-thing with Thea. I get it’s revenge for her sister, but it seemed like a petty thing to do just when she’s trying to win us over.
I’m definitely on the fence about Thea. I get she’s hurting, but she just found out her brother is the freaking Arrow! She’s part of the cave gathering now, right in the heart of the action, she has some mad ninja skills, but instead of embracing a possible role on the team she just wants to complain about how she’s been wronged and act like a sore brat. Way to push the character growth guys. Laurel instantly forgave her, pinning the blame on the rightful source, but condemning anyone to a cruel death, especially your father, is a real cold hearted move. Plus, they have Nyssa in a cage. Wouldn’t it have been better for them to say, “Train us and we’ll give you Malcolm?” They really could use her mad skills right about now. Plus, she’s like the future heir to the League of Assassins throne. That’s a good ally, to have. Oh wait…
Since I’m getting started on my issues, Lyla, why oh why would you give permission to your soon to be husband, the father on your child, to accompany Oliver on what is essentially A SUICIDE MISSION? It’s not like they were going to Capital City to take out a villain, they were going an elusive fortress in a remote part of the world guarded heavily by the world’s best trained assassins. No, there’s nothing dangerous about that at all. They won’t get caught or worse.
Also, what has TPTB done to Malcolm Merlyn??? I know a lot of my attraction to the character is because John Barrowman is just too awesome, but I did not need to see Malcolm sniveling and pleading for his life in front of Ra’s Al Ghul. I get it, this is supposed to be comic book. Your heroes and villains are a bit more black and white. But Malcolm has been shown in the past to have redeeming qualities. You know, just when we couldn’t hate him more he does something that makes us realize that perhaps he’s just misunderstood. He seemed like he’d be a bit braver than he was. There was no redemption whatsoever in this episode. He was a jerk, was reduced to a pathetic wimp when he was captured, and you were more left wondering why they are even bothering with his character. They’re writing him all over the map and it’s been horribly frustrating to watch.
Oliver too has just been a big question mark ever since he returned to Starling City, and it’s exhausting trying to figure him out as well. He risked going to Nanda Parbat, not just him but new dad Diggle as well, just to save Malcolm? After the things he’s done? Oliver did confess to Diggle that he needed to go back because what Ra’s did to him was too hard to ignore. That…made no sense to me whatsoever. His logic that he didn’t want Thea to live with the regret of turning her Dad over to die seemed more acceptable to me. What happened to all that sword fighting training he was supposed to do with Malcolm to get ready for his next big showdown with Ra’s? We got about two minutes of that. We weren’t ready for the visit to Nanda Parbat. It was supposed to be awesomer than this. Oliver was clearly inferior in his sword fighting yet he was eager to go after Ra’s anyway?
Then yes, we got the biggest WTF? of them all. Ra’s wants Oliver Queen to be his successor?? It’s one thing to file that in the “I didn’t see that coming” category, but usually when those bombshells hit it’s because all of the random pieces suddenly come together for that big, “AHA!” moment. That was not a “AHA!” moment. That seemed completely out of left field. What about Nyssa? Isn’t she the heir? Why is she not the worthy successor? Does Sara have something to do with that? Was this twist there just for shock value because TPTB needed a cliffhanger before the break or is this actually going somewhere?
I really hope it does go somewhere, because I still believe Ra’s is the one that killed Sara. I don’t believe for an instant that Malcolm would do what he did to his daughter and he made it look like she killed Sara to set some plan in motion. I so want to believe, hope upon hope, that Ra’s and Malcolm are consorting together for some plan to get Oliver to be the next Ra’s Al Ghul or something. No, sorry, such an alliance doesn’t add up for that reason. Could it be you’re only destined to be the next Ra’s Al Ghul if you’re stabbed straight through the chest with a sword, tossed off a mountain and survived? Perhaps I’m not seeing the forest from the trees here and I totally missing things that are so obvious to everyone else. Plus why are those flashbacks so damned confusing. What happened to Maseo and Tatsu’s son? Why does Oliver have him now? What is A.R.G.U.S. up to and how did Maseo end up with the League?
Anyway, I know I needed the break to absorb all this, and hopefully you all do too. Arrow will be back in a little more than a week with more adventures, and I’m hoping by the end of the season it’ll all line up. In the meantime, we can blame it all on Malcolm. Yeah, that’s the ticket.