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Arrow: Al Sah-Him – Season 3 Episode 21

It’s been three weeks since Oliver took up the roll of Ra’s al Ghul’s heir, he now returns to Starling City on a mission.

Recap

Oliver has been undergoing intense physical and psychological conditioning at the hands of Ra’s. They’ve also been exposing him to mind-altering drugs, in order to perform a test on Oliver. They bring him a man to kill, who he sees as Diggle. Oliver kills Diggle before Ra’s reveals to him that the man he saw was someone else and that the vision was the result of an herb they’d been slipping to him. With that test out of the way, Ra’s tells Oliver was his next task will be. Because Ra’s had failed to kill a rival to his claim as the Head of the Demon (a man named Damian Darhk), he wants Oliver to not make the same mistake. To that end, he sends him back to Starling to kill Nyssa.  Arrow-s3e21-diggle-stabbed

Nyssa has been in Starling training Laurel to be a better crime fighter. Laurel, in turn, has been showing Nyssa what it can be like to be a normal person (well, semi-normal). When Laurel tells Nyssa that Oliver accepted her father’s offer, Nyssa realizes what it means for her. She knows that Oliver will come to kill her. Laurel decides to go to Diggle and Felicity for help dealing with Oliver. None of them are willing to believe that he would be able to go so far as to kill Nyssa. Felicity and Diggle are also not wild about the idea of helping the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul but Laurel convinces them that it’s the right thing to do. They realize how wrong they are when they finally see him action. Coming face-to-face with Al Sah-Him leaves little doubt in their minds that the League had manage to wipe away the Oliver they knew. That’s made even more apparent when Oliver kidnaps Lyla in order to get them to bring Nyssa to him.

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Diggle is super-pissed when Lyla is kidnapped. He heads to Nyssa’s hideout to demand that Nyssa exchange herself for Lyla. Nyssa wants no part of letting someone else be killed for her, so she’s happy to go along. Once again, Laurel talks them out of this plan but, with Lyla kidnapped, they have little choice but to head out and face Oliver. They hatch a plan involving hiding an arsenal on Felicity and start a shootout with the League and Oliver. The League members end up capturing Nyssa and Oliver takes Diggle down. Before he can try to kill Diggle, his arm is run through with an Arrow. Everyone is surprised to see that Thea is the one who shot her brother. In order to find out what was happening, Thea had reached out to Merlyn. Presumably, he was the one who told Thea where to find Oliver and decked her out in her very own hood. Upon returning to Nanda Parbat, Oliver and Nyssa are both surprised to find out that Ra’s doesn’t want Oliver to kill Nyssa, but to marry her. He also reveals that Nyssa was hiding the Alpha Omega bio-weapon. Ra’s wants Oliver to use it to destroy Starling City as his final right of passage, one that the former Ra’s al Ghuls have performed.

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With Oliver gone, the team is forced to believe that Oliver is beyond saving but they view themselves as what’s left of the old Oliver. With Oliver gone and things looking bleak, Felicity decides that it’s time to give Thea a way to move on from everything that’s happening. She finally tells Thea about Roy and gives her a message that can help her find Roy to start a new life with him. While Thea has good news, the rest of the former team is left in deep mourning for their losses. Laurel has lost Nyssa and Oliver, Diggle has lost another brother and Felicity has lost the man she loves.

The Island / Hong Kong / Flashback

After the Alpha Omega vile breaks in the middle of Hong Kong, Oliver Tatsu and Maseo find Shrieve’s men distributing the virus in the middle of town. They attack the distribution van and blow it up but Tatsu is more concerned about getting back to their son. When they finally get back to him, they realize that he’s been infected.

Favorite Moments

  1. Thea shoots her brother
    That was a bit of a surprise moment. We all knew Thea was going to don a hood at some point, I just didn’t expect it to be now. The best part of the entire moment was that glare that Oliver gave her when he realized who shot him.
  2. What is a “Black and White” milkshake?
    I agree with Laurel. It is nice to see Nyssa in that “fish out of water” situation.
  3. “Identity Concealment”
    The conversation with the remnants of Team Arrow was really somber, but I love the idea of Diggle having to put on some kind of costume.

Commentary

A big theme of this season has been Oliver struggling with the duality of his identity. From the very first episode where he went out with Felicity, he’s been pondering whether or not he could be the Arrow and Oliver Queen. Most of the show’s villains have responded to that question with a unanimous “No”. Oliver’s spent so much time brooding over that question on his own. Now, that decision seems to have been made for him. Ra’s has taken away Oliver Queen and left the Arrow as his heir. This episode deals a lot with how his friends are reacting to this decision being made. To be fair, they’re also dealing with the fact that he was brainwashed instead of making that decision on his own. Even Lyla, who’s really only tangential to this entire operation is struggling with how the man who saved her husband could become the man who kidnapped her. If Oliver had made this decision on his own that would be one thing, but I think having Ra’s make the decision for him is going to cause him to rebel against it and realize that he has to be more than just the Arrow. For now though, this episode was more like

Outside of all the mourning about Oliver stuff, there were some kind of fun/awesome/notable things that happened in this episode:

  • We got to see the Canary Cry that Cisco made for Laurel.
  • Thea appears in a hood for the first time.
  • Oliver and Diggle had a sword fight.
  • Oliver has started killing again. I can’t remember if this is the first time since Tommy died, but he’s definitely not hung up on the no killing thing right now.
  • I’m pretty sure that Ra’s name dropped the leader of HIVE when he mentioned his former rival, Damian Darhk. In the comics Dahrk is a one off character from the original Teen Titans comics, but his brief comic book background did have him being involved with HIVE and makes the Lazarus Pit connection plausible.
  • “Darth Oliver” as Felicity has named him, had some nice fight scenes overall in this episode.

Ra’s just continues to test Oliver and part of me wonders if Diggle was right about Oliver not breaking. It could be that this whole thing is Oliver’s attempt to play along with Ra’s to prevent more collateral damage. Now that he’s being forced to marry Nyssa and to kill everyone in Starling, Oliver’s not going to have much chance to come back if he doesn’t do it soon. Even if he does, I’m not sure how he could avoid getting killed by Ra’s (or other people getting killed by him). Then again, he did just hand Oliver a bio-weapon.

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