As the search for justice and vengeance once again become muddled, this week takes Malcolm Merlyn back to the League of Assassins to face punishment. As Oliver and Diggle rush to save his life, back in Starling City things heat up between Ray and Felicity, and Roy and Thea deal with their guilt.
Despite this episode having some incredibly powerful moments, it also felt a little all over the place. There were heartfelt talks followed by heated arguments and then the usual epic fight sequences to attempt to move the story along.
The basic gist of this week’s Arrow was to address the difference between vengeance and justice. This time it’s Thea’s turn. After considering whether it’s fair that Ra’s al Ghul is targeting the Queen siblings because of Merlyn’s actions, Thea turns to a darker path and summons the League to kidnap and kill her father. This then leads to Oliver and Diggle rushing off to Nanda Parbat to rescue Merlyn and ‘save’ Thea’s soul. Or something to that degree. I was too busy eye-rolling.
The Hong Kong flashbacks are kept to a minimum and follow Oliver’s short-lived attempt at coming home. After being discharged by the general, Oliver is advised to follow Tatsu, Maseo and their son back to Japan; then he will be allowed to return to Starling City. However, an ambush awaits them at the docks, and Oliver and their son, Akio, are separated from the anguished couple. I only assume that somewhere between then and now, Akio is kidnapped or killed, which places the unamendable strain on Tatsu and Maseo’s marriage.
Whilst everyone is quick to get on Oliver’s case about rescuing Merlyn, Nyssa and Laurel share a heart-warming scene over Sara, in which Nyssa reveals one of her first memories of her loved one with a grieving Laurel (who has only recently found out about Thea’s involvement). I hope in the future that we can see more of these two, who have shared the same grief and are struggling with justice and fighting for the ones they love. Perhaps Nyssa and Laurel can start their own League?
Speaking of bonding, Roy shows Thea how he deals with killing the cop. By anonymously giving the family gifts and money, Roy attempts to help Thea deal with her guilt over Sara’s death, but also the newfound guilt of giving up Merlyn to the League. By the end, Thea confronts Nyssa in the cell and lets her go free. With a sword. Knowing that she killed the woman Nyssa loved. Anyone see that ending well?
The only sub-plot that doesn’t involve crying and angst is the Ray/Felicity one. After Ray goes missing, Felicity turns up at his door and is shocked by how distracted her friend is. Their scenes are extremely funny and warm in an episode that needed some lighter moments. After Felicity locks him out of his own server, Ray agrees to tidy up before getting back to work. Now, whether or not these two are a temporary romance or not, there’s no denying that they’re a sweet couple. As Felicity continues to grapple with her feelings for Oliver, it seems that Ray offers the escape she desperately needs.
I doubt anyone was surprised when they ended in bed together, though we’re given little time to process it, because Ray suddenly has an epiphany. He marches out of bed, does some tech-y work and voila, one ATOM suit to go! The final scenes we have in Starling are of Ray, aka the Atom, flying around the city whilst Felicity sleeps, totally unaware that her new beau is undergoing self-superhero training.
We’re left with an ending that sparks even more waves of shock, as Ra’s al Ghul has a special invitation for Oliver. He wants Oliver to become the ‘next’ Ra’s al Ghul, and take over the League of Assassins. Who saw that one coming?