Yeah, um, at least “This is Your Sword” was better than last week? Yeah, that’s all I got.
After seeing this whole League of Assassins arc play out this season, it’s apparent that story has turned out to be far more ambitious than the time allotment given or perhaps just the skill level of the writing team. While the general idea may have looked exciting on paper, the storytelling has become disjointed and unfocused, going for frequent twists and surprises rather than letting this tale unfold naturally. I keep waiting for all this to make sense, and while this week was an improvement over last week’s “Al Sah-him,” it was still too sporadic for my liking.
Granted I’m probably preaching to the choir, but the advantage of telling a fluid story is than fans, whether casual or avid, will spend time debating the finer points of Oliver Queen’s personal struggles rather than nitpicking plot holes and overall comical errors. Instead of me telling you all what you already know, let’s just breakdown “This is Your Sword” and be done with it.
While one big question was answered, Oliver is working with Malcolm after all to take down The League from the inside, another big question was revealed. Did they actually think this through? For example, Oliver knew that part of the plan would have to eventually involve his team. With something this big, it would take more than two men who couldn’t have had a lot of time to work on a strategy to pull it all off. The trouble is, Oliver didn’t let his team in on it before doing all those reprehensible things to them in “Al Sah-him.” So Diggle took the kidnapping of his wife and leaving his infant daughter alone at the apartment a little personally. You think? If that wasn’t bad enough, now Oliver needs Malcolm to earn their loyalty? Oh man, this has failure written all over it.
I’m not sure why Tatsu coming into this convinced the team that Malcolm was on the level, but I’m giving it a pass because she is freaking awesome. I loved her pulling out the old family Katana and putting on her Japanese ninja warrior mask over the grey and red skin tight outfit (is that a requirement for all female heroes on this show?). She earned her stripes and while the confrontation with Maseo was an eye roller, it was beautifully choreographed and well acted by both. We all knew that Tatsu would prevail because dammit, she had the better outfit. Oh, and she’s the better fighter too. Maseo took the fatal blow of her sword with gratitude, for now he’s finally free of his burdens. He turned out to be the luckiest bastard of the day.
This week, instead of contemplating which Felicity was going to show up, we got one all over the map! First she’s given up on Oliver, but then she goes to Nanda Parbat with Malcolm pouting anyway, totally hating the plan. Then she swings back to awesome when she tries to foil the evil plot of releasing the virus with nothing but her trusty Surface tablet. Which totally fails but no worry, enter plan B. The A.T.O.M.! Gee, for a guy that she totally dumped just a few episodes ago, she’s certainly got him on a string. Isn’t he the confident, self assured multi-millionaire? He should be kicking her ass to the curb. Anyway, if you thought that the A.T.O.M. seemed out of place with this ragtag bunch, you’re right.
Moving along, Ray takes out the plane, which kind of damages his suit as well, but that ended up being the good news. Now our band of heroes, Diggle with his gun, Felicity with her crappy computer (she should have brought an iPad), Laurel with her weaker than average fighting skills but awesome leather suit, Tatsu with her mad Katana skills, Malcolm with his sword, bow and arrows, and the A.T.O.M. in a short circuited suit are no match for Al Sah-him, Ra’s Al Ghul and their looming stares! Yeah, I didn’t get it either.
What I really didn’t get was Ra’s wanting to know who tipped them off about the whole evil virus plan. Tatsu gave the most plausible explanation, it was Maseo! After all, he’s the bastard that brought the virus to Ra’s Al Ghul in the first place, a revelation that earlier took Oliver by surprise (while I was yawning). Ra’s didn’t believe them though, so Malcolm for a reason that I still can’t comprehend told him it was Oliver. Is that part of the half baked plan or was Malcolm turning on Oliver? I have no idea, but I’m very, very tired of this “Malcolm is a total mystery” crap. It’s a stupid attempt to make him ambiguous. Just let him play the good guy already so we can go back to wondering how the mystical city of Nanda Parbat is a puddle jump from Starling City.
Oh, then there’s Oliver (face palm). I’m not sure why he thought Diggle would understand the whole kidnapping thing. It had to be convincing to Ra’s. I agree, but convincing Ra’s meant that Digg’s reaction had to be genuine? Oliver’s failure to trust others puts him into messes like this and the boy ain’t learning. It is one of those character traits that often fails Oliver more than helps, like him lying to Thea numerous times to protect her. Good for Diggle telling Ollie in harsh words how crossing that line ruined everything between them. Ollie probably assumed Lyla and Diggle being the professional operatives they are could take being put in harm’s way. Ra’s Al Ghul must be seeing through this a mile away and Oliver talking to Digg alone in his cave couldn’t have helped. I still wish Digg had clocked him.
What also doesn’t help is taking time to be alone outside, especially before his friends travel to Nanda Parbat to save the day. No, that doesn’t raise suspicions at all! And judging by this week’s “Flash” episode, he used that time to take a quick trip to Capital City as well! That must be just over the mountains. If that’s the case, they should consider opening a resort there as weekend getaways for the residents, turning it into a mystical spa or something. “Will add years to your life.” Literally. Honestly, that idea is a lot more plausible than what we’ve seen so far.
Anyway, it all gets really goofy from there, something I call the wheels falling off the wagon. Oliver and Nyssa get married for reasons still unknown other than Ra’s is delusional, and now I wonder how does Nanda Parbat process divorces? Beheading? Their honeymoon is to go attack Starling City. Good times in the Al Ghul family! Not ones for romance, that’s for sure. Oh, and Oliver turns on his captive friends by releasing the virus in their prison cave! Felicity screams in betrayal! Everyone collapses! And we would think they’re all dead (yeah, because killing the whole cast is believable) except the promo monkeys show The Flash coming to save the day in the first frame of the preview. Spoiler alert!
This whole thing, the forced marriage, the virus, dead Thea, the flashbacks of no relevance, has been very painful to watch. Maybe because they’re all presented as random things that when put to together just doesn’t add up. I’m not a very avid reader of comics, but it doesn’t matter because this is TV. Most good TV hours don’t have this many short attention span twists thrown into it just to disguise a very flimsy plot. “Then Oliver faces the…Look squirrel!” These tactics are quite obvious.
So now it’s another season finale, another attack on Starling City. Go figure. I just don’t see how they can cleanly mop up this mess, but we’ll see. Grab the popcorn and we’ll meet again soon for words about the finale.