Arrow 3×04 Review: The Magician

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Last week’s episode of Arrow ended with Nyssa al Ghul showing up at headquarters demanding to know Sara’s whereabouts, and “The Magician” opened right where “Corto Maltese” left off. Now that we’re four episodes into season three and the mystery of Sara’s death has been the major plot line, I’m beginning to wonder how much longer they’re going to drag this out.

The answer? Well, through next week at least, though I have a feeling it’s going to go much longer than that if Malcolm Merlyn is in fact telling the truth and didn’t murder her. (And to be fair, as much as I distrust Merlyn, his passionate insistence that he didn’t do so was seriously believable.)arrow 3x4 1

“The Magician” was filled to the brim with one-on-one conversations, to the point that they were a bit frustrating at times – particularly the interactions between Laurel and Nyssa. And although the Arrow group finally knows that Malcolm Merlyn is in fact alive, Detective Lance is still in the dark about Sara’s death… not to mention the fact that Oliver and Thea are promising to be honest with each other while still keeping almost everything about anything to themselves.

Although I’ve never been a big fan of Laurel or Thea, the one thing I liked about them is that they were generally regular people. Laurel was smart and kind of a do-gooder, sure; Thea was rich and she did well running Verdant… and maybe most importantly, both of them had their flaws.arrow 3x4 3 Now it seems that Laurel is doing more than just learning to protect herself while Thea has been trained by the Black Arrow himself. Is Felicity destined to be the last remaining female character on this show who isn’t running around kicking ass (literally)?

Speaking of kicking ass, the Hong Kong flashbacks still haven’t involved much of that. While it was interesting to finally know that Amanda Waller was behind some of what happened on the island, the flashback scenes in this episode were still weak as compared to those from seasons one and two. How many times did Oliver try – and fail – to best Amanda and A.R.G.U.S.? I’m hoping that he’s finally learned his lesson and that future Hong Kong scenes will be a bit less repetitive and frustrating.

After a lot of back and forth between Laurel and Nyssa, Laurel and her father, Oliver and Nyssa, Oliver and Thea, Thea and Roy (etc. etc. etc.), the fight scene that ensued after Nyssa capturing Thea was quite refreshing… even if it’s outcome wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped. For not only is Merlyn still alive, but now Oliver is hellbent on protecting him from the League of Assassins. I know that Oliver isn’t all that fond of the League, but even for him, this is a rash decision… and as it turns out, his insistence that Malcolm should live seems likely to lead to a ‘war’ between the Arrow group and the League.

Of course, the new question is what side Nyssa will be on. It looked to me like she understood that at the very least, her father had something to do with Sara’s death. Earlier in the episode Nyssa insisted that her own father, Ra’s al Guhl, was just a demon, while Thea’s father – Malcolm Merlyn – was the devil. Does she still think that’s the case? Will she fight with her father, against Oliver, or will she turn her cloak? Something tells me it will be a while before these questions are answered, but hopefully we won’t have to wait all season to find out.

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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