Merlyn is back in Starling, much to Oliver’s surprise. It seems like, this time, he’s brought a lot of unwanted attention with him.
After getting the drop on Roy and Oliver in the Arrow Cave (I’ve just decided to keep calling it that), Nyssa al Ghul learns from Oliver that Sara had been killed. After taking a little bit of time to grieve, Nyssa interjects herself into the hunt for Sara’s killer. She offers Oliver and his team some more insight into what Sara was doing back in Starling City. It turns out that Oliver’s mother had reported to the league that Merlyn was still alive. Merlyn had been released from the League of Assassins under the condition that he still abide by their code of conduct. The Undertaking violated that code and so they wanted him dead but they believed Oliver had already accomplished that. Sara had come back to find out if he was, in fact still alive.
Nyssa is certain that Merlyn is the one who killed Sara, and she is out for blood. They find Merlyn hiding in his old sensei’s home and Nyssa attacks him. Merlyn manages to evade her and smoke bombs his way out of the room. Oliver tags him with an arrow, but he does get away. When they get back to the cave, Laurel (still sporting her face injuries) is incensed to find out that Oliver had a shot at Merlyn and didn’t take him down. Oliver isn’t ready to brand Merlyn as Sara’s killer, but he does say that he’s a lead. With Felicity in Central City, that leaves Diggle to track Merlyn while Roy guards Thea. Nyssa goes after Laurel to calm her down, but Laurel confides in Nyssa that she wants her to take Merlyn down if Oliver won’t.
Merlyn’s aware of what’s going on and takes the initiative to have a meeting with Oliver. They meet in a public square where he tells Oliver that it makes no sense for him to kill Sara. With Ra’s already after him, killing the love of his daughter’s life would be “illogical”. He tells Oliver that he came back for Thea. After saving Thea from the Mirakuru soldier, he realized that she needed him to protect her while Oliver’s out being the Arrow. However, he tells her that he’s kept his distance from Thea. Later, Oliver tells Thea about Merlyn, but lies about how he got the information. Thea also tells Oliver the partial truth about what happened the night of the siege and pretends to be surprised that Merlyn is alive. Oliver’s still concerned about the way that Thea’s been behaving but he continues to not be able to figure out what’s different/wrong with her.
When Oliver tells Nyssa about Merlyn and his oath that he didn’t kill Thea, she doesn’t believe it. She is, however, interested to find out that Merlyn had a daughter and that she’s Oliver’s sister. She storms out of the cave and Oliver tries to go after her, but Diggle stops him. Diggle urges Oliver to consider letting Nyssa do the dirty work and just take Merlyn out since there’s no reason she can’t do it. Oliver lets her go, but Nyssa ends up attacking Roy and Thea outside of the club and abducting Thea to bait Merlyn out of hiding. Instead, she gets Merlyn and the Arrow both showing up to rescue Thea. After they have an archer 3-way, Nyssa ends up pinned to a container and Merlyn at Oliver’s mercy. Nyssa pleads for Merlyn’s death but Merlyn insists that he’s innocent of Sara’s blood. He proposes that Ra’s was the one who murdered the “degenerate” that would corrupt his daughter. Oliver believes Merlyn but he’s not willing to let him go for everything else he’s done. However, Merlyn points out one truth to Oliver: the only way to stop him is to kill him. As a member of the League, Merlyn would be able to escape any prison, but Oliver’s not willing to break his vows and kill again.
Nyssa refuses to accept Oliver’s decision and tells him he is a fool, but Oliver insists that he will continue to do what is right and find Sara’s real killer. Oliver tells her that he will protect Merlyn as long as he is in his city. Nyssa tells Oliver that this means going to war with the League. Oliver assures Laurel that he believes Merlyn and that he’ll keep looking. Laurel heads back to the boxing gym where she has one last meeting with Nyssa. Nyssa tells her that she does think she’s worthy to try to follow in her sister’s footsteps after seeing her in action the last few days. Oliver and Roy also go to check up on Thea after her latest kidnapping. Thea’s doing fine but calls her dad who also reassures her that Nyssa won’t do her anymore harm. Nyssa is back with the League and reports everything that’s happened to her father. He promises her that Merlyn will pay for his crimes but not for the death of Sara Lance because he never truly considered her one of them to begin with. He also confirms that, if Oliver protects Merlyn, he will be at war with the League of Assassins.
The Island / Hong Kong / Flashback
Back in Hong Kong, Oliver and Mateo are tasked to take out another target. Oliver is bothered by the fact that he doesn’t know why he’s killing the man. He resents being a weapon that Waller can just point indiscriminately at people. When he gets a chance, he looks up some information on a thumb drive that he got off their target and tells Mateo that he wants to meet with Waller. He tells him that he just needs to tell her that it’s about Ferris air flight 637 and that she’ll understand. That was the plane that Oliver saved from being shot down when he was on the island. When Oliver gets his meeting he tells Waller that he figured out that their target knew that Waller was behind shooting down that plane. Waller informs Oliver that she wasn’t aiming for the plane, but one person on that plane: Chien Na Wei aka China White. She shows Oliver a picture so we can see that it’s the same woman that the Arrow tangled with in season 1 when he was dealing with the Triads.
- My father may be the demon, but yours is the devil
I know that I should’ve already figured out that Merlyn’s moniker, The Magician, would’ve been assigned to him by the League because that’s where Sara became the Canary. Still it was an awesome line from Nyssa and I really liked the part of the episode where she started talking about Merlyn as an assassin. To be compared to Ra’s in such a way, he must really be a bad man.
- Thea lies to Oliver
After all of her complaining about Oliver and everyone else, it’s nice to see Thea lose the moral high ground and start having secrets of her own. Now it feels like everyone is playing on the same field. I have to admit that I don’t completely understand why Thea is lying to Oliver about Merlyn though. She still doesn’t know he’s the Arrow, but maybe it’s just because she knows Merlyn is a wanted man. I was also hoping we were gonna see Thea throw down when she stepped in between Roy and Nyssa, but it looks like she’s not quite ready to let that cat out of the bag either.
- Archer beat down
I’ve probably mentioned this before but there do seem to be an awful lot of archers in this show, especially considering that they keep mentioning how rare a skill high level archery is. Still, the fight scenes between Merlyn, Oliver and Nyssa where really well done in this episode.
As fun as it was to have Felicity on a Flash episode, she was missed during this episode. With all the angry archer’s running around it would’ve been nice to have her there to break up all the testosterone and angst flying around in the episode. I really didn’t love how Nyssa reacted to this whole thing. It’s already pretty clear that Merlyn isn’t the one who killed Sara. First of all, he was on Corto Maltese when it happened, unless the show did some weird time jump they didn’t tell us about or he was running out on Thea. Second, Sara didn’t treat the person who shot her as an adversary, which means that it probably wasn’t the guy she was hunting. I’m still not even 100% sold on the idea that Ra’s was the one who killed her, just because that character rarely gets his hands dirty. My bet is on either the Huntress or yet another arrow wielding character that we’ve yet to meet. Still, I know that I can’t expect Nyssa to know that, I just expected more from her than the bull-headed reaction that she had. I get that she’s mad at Merlyn, but she didn’t even pretend to actually do any detective work to find the killer. In the end, it really seems like this episode did more to prevent Oliver from finding Sara’s killer than it did to help.