After last week’s presumed murder of Thea Queen, our group rush back to Nanda Parbat to heal, make deals and lay their hearts on the line. Whilst Felicity and the team fight to find another option, Oliver makes a final deal with Ra’s al Ghul to save his sister’s life.
This was definitely one of the best episodes of season three, and not just because a certain couple finally got it on. It had bags of tension and a handful of well-acted and dynamic scenes between various characters.
One of my favourites in particular goes to Felicity and Ra’s al Ghul. Felicity went in guns blazing, and Ra’s seemed to admire this. She expresses her dislike of leaving Oliver behind and Ra’s responds by retelling a tale of his own loved one, who he was forced to leave behind. He then invites Felicity to speak to Oliver and express her feelings before it’s too late to do so. There was something incredibly unique about this scene. Ra’s respected Felicity and, in return, I felt newfound respect for Ra’s. It also helped us to see a different, human side to him, and we’re once again reminded of the moral greyness within Arrow. All these characters have make questionable decisions at some point, but their intentions are often reasonable.
Arriving at Nanda Parbat, the group rush Thea to the Lazarus Pit and Oliver quickly makes the deal to stay behind and become the heir in exchange for his sister’s survival. Big brother mode activated, Oliver stands by and watches as Thea is brought back to life, or healed…it isn’t entirely clear. There’s a serious amount of tension as the Queen sibling is lowered into the eerie Pit, but it’s quickly broken when Thea leaps from the waters like a vampire. She even growls. No joke.
After that weird display of revival, Thea is taken to bed to rest, but not before it’s revealed that she doesn’t remember much. Not even Oliver, or Moira’s death. Oh, but she does remember Merlyn and proclaims her love for her father before taking a nap. Oliver’s heartbroken face is sad enough, but there was something even worse about Thea’s memory loss. Oliver’s sacrifice has been for nothing if Thea doesn’t recover.
Oliver is given a little happiness in the form of Felicity’s romantic confession. For anyone who was wondering, Felicity and Ray did call it quits before the team left for Nanda Parbat, which I was grateful for. Oliver’s cheating policies were pretty awful during season one, so it was great to see the pair have a clean slate rather than build their first time around betrayal.
What caught me by surprise was Felicity’s honesty, and Oliver’s memorised reaction. The back-and-forth couple have been driving me nuts this season, so when the time came for the two to finally hook up, it was beautifully set up. There was no hesitation or uncertainty, just a good old romantic confession. I was also pleased that the series omitted the usual compulsory love song in exchange for a simple, gentle instrumental score. It suited the pair, setting a loving and sweet mood.
In the short flashbacks this week we see Maseo, Tatsu and Oliver fight off more bad guys to retrieve the virus. However, it looks like Hong Kong is going to become a war ground pretty soon, as Oliver accidently releases the virus at the end of the last flashback scene. It’s pretty heart-breaking because in the present, we find out from a regretful Maseo that Akio died somewhere around this time. We’ll find out the details in the next few episodes, but Maseo’s broken expression confirmed his loss without a shadow of doubt. However, a little good does come from it, as Maseo decides to aid Felicity and the team’s last minute plan to flee and escape from Nanda Parbat.
A protective Felicity drugs Oliver and they half-carry, half-drag the Queen siblings down secret tunnels and passages until they come to a sudden obstacle. A bunch of assassins hunt them down and are about to wreak hell when Oliver wakes up and uses his newfound authority to make the assassins stand down. He actually thanks Felicity for trying, but refuses to go back on his deal.
Saying goodbye to his loved ones seems to be a recurring feature in Oliver’s life, but it doesn’t get any easier to watch. His goodbyes to Diggle, Thea and Felicity are quietly hopeful, but underlined with a certain finality. It’s clear that Oliver doesn’t think he’ll return, and he says as much, bidding his friends best wishes in the future.
The final cliff-hanger shows Oliver sacrificing his identity and officially becoming the heir, aka Al Sah-Him. He gets branded and made-over with a snazzy, dark archer outfit, scarf and all.