In last week’s review of the Arrow episode “Al Sah-him”, my fellow Geekiary writer Undie Girl said, “Words cannot express the depths of which I do not care about the Ra’s al Ghul storyline. It’s almost as much as I don’t care about the Hong Kong flashbacks.” I honestly couldn’t have agreed more. In fact, I didn’t think it was possible to care any less than I already did…but after this week’s episode, I’ve learned I was wrong about that.
I was a bit intrigued when the episode opened with Oliver stating that his name was Oliver Queen, but then they immediately jumped into a Hong Kong flashback and almost lost me entirely. Regardless of their later “explanation” that the virus outbreak was explained away as a toxic waste spill or some such nonsense, I still can’t come to grips with the fact that not a single member of Team Arrow had ever heard of the incident at all. To me that just screams that at a certain point the writers no longer knew where they were going to go with Oliver’s backstory, which is more than a little frustrating considering how good of a job they did with it in seasons one and two.
Additionally, the moment Ra’s started really pushing Oliver to essentially destroy Starling City (and all of the people in it), in my mind the idea that Oliver was actually under Ra’s’ power went from being possibly possible to being an obvious ploy…which, it turns out, it was! I can’t pretend that I wasn’t surprised when Malcolm Merlyn of all people popped up to have a secret meeting with Oliver, but the small amount of interest garnered by that interaction quickly dissipated.
Why? Well, the amount of infighting – between Malcolm and Oliver, Malcolm and Thea, Diggle and Laurel and Felicity and Malcolm – felt like nothing more than really annoying back-and-forth filler. And it all culminated in a trip to Nanda Parbat, where (not surprisingly) Team Arrow failed to stop Ra’s’ evil plan to release the virus in Starling City. In the process Oliver was still forced to marry Nissa, while his [supposedly former] friends ended up in a cell, where they were supposedly left to die…something that could have been a cliffhanger if it weren’t for the previews for next week’s episode, which showed most of them alive and well.
Maseo, on the other hand, is not alive and well. I feel like they’ve foreshadowed – and outright threatened – his death so many times this season that it really took away from the actual event, though having him die at Tatsu’s hands was at least a bit more moving than Ra’s being the one to off him.
Finally, it seems that Roy Harper is destined to disappear entirely, and yet again I don’t think this was handled very well. Why have Thea go visit him at all? Just so they could have a steamy interaction? Because that’s all their scenes seemed to accomplish – Roy could (and probably should) have simply left Thea his Arsenal jacket along with a note saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m still alive, I love you but you deserve better than a life on the run. I’m leaving this with you because red looks better on you anyway.” Then we could have avoided what seemed like yet another story line inserted just to fill up run time. I love the idea of Thea officially joining Team Arrow – I think she could be seriously badass if they do it right – but at this point it’s hard to get my hopes up when it comes to this show.
I know I’ve complained a lot in this review, but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who feels like Arrow has lost its way. The question is, will it ever get back on track? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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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