With this being the first of season 3’s last five episodes, Arrow kicked things into high gear and it was definitely worth it. The entire Team Arrow got some sort of development throughout this episode and it never really felt forced – though Ray Palmer’s story did feel a tad detached from the bigger issue.
Thea finding out that she was the one to have murdered Sarah set all of those developments into motion, unlike Oliver, she’s not too well-versed in the art of keeping secrets (you know other than the ones she kept about Malcolm earlier in the season) and found herself confessing to no less than three others this episode (Roy, Laurel and Nyssa). Though she first lied to the league that Malcolm was the one to kill Sarah, causing Laurel into attempting to get vengeance on Merlyn, while she failed the league didn’t. We got an interesting Thea arc with her having to deal with the guilt of sending Malcolm to his death and in turn Oliver, as well as finally deciding to tell Nyssa that she was the one responsible (however much responsibility she actually has on the matter). We didn’t go back to Thea and Nyssa to see the consequences of her actions but after Laurel’s earlier discussion with her, I see Nyssa taking the higher road, and should Thea survives, she’s got a long way towards making more rational decisions.
We also got a glimpse of how Roy dealt with an issue brought up a few episodes ago when he remembered he killed a cop under the influence of the mirakuru. It was great to see that internal turmoil resolved though Thea felt too much guilt to truly appreciate the effort and it felt insensitive of her to dismiss what he dealt with though at least we’re seeing Thea and Roy progressively repair their friendship.
As mentioned earlier Laurel tried to get revenge for Sarah’s death but stood no chance against Malcolm, and Malcolm’s thoughts on her act mirrored mine. I’m not a big fan of Katie Cassidy or Laurel (and was extremely disappointed to see not only Sarah die but Laurel pick up the mantel) but slowly – not surely – I’m starting to tolerate her part in the show, I’m still opposed to a reunion with Oliver. At the very least, it seems like she’s moving away from her vengeful desires, and she’s in a position to focus on mending fences with her father.
There’s an interesting dynamic going on with Team Arrow where Oliver often finds his authority intruded upon by everyon else but Diggle’s words seem undisputed. When he tells everyone to leave, they don’t object. He seems to command respect from everyone else on the team. This show also provided us with some nice Diggle/Oliver moments with Diggle seeing Oliver as a younger brother and knowing him more than anyone else on the team to figure out when something’s wrong.
The flashbacks this episode mainly saw Oliver and the Yamashiro’s hopes at freedom dashed, and with the son still not prevalent in the present, everyone’s holding their breath to see what’s going to happen to him, I was half expecting him a stray bullet to find its way but it hasn’t happened yet and as with the earlier Nyssa/Thea confrontation and the bigger story, it ended on a cliff hanger. I doubt Waller’s the one responsible (Oliver probably wouldn’t be so willing to associate himself with A.R.G.U.S. in the present if she was), and can see the recently introduced General being behind the attack.
The last story before the really big one was Felicity and Palmer’s developing relationship. I know there’s a big Olicity fan base running around, but you get the feeling that Palmer might be the one for Felicity. I mean she said it best – and I’m paraphrasing here -, Palmer is Barry Allen in Oliver’s body, he seems like the perfect match for Felicity, and if the writers intend on remaining faithful to the comics, it seems inevitable that we’ll get an Oliver/Laurel reunion (one I’m not looking forward to). The big reveal however was the debut of the Atom, I’ll echo what everyone’s thinking, he looks like a low budget Iron Man but seeing him soaring through the sky was great. I’m assuming he won’t play a major role till season 4 but I’m pretty excited to see him in action.
Oliver going to Nanda Parbat to rescue Malcolm Merlyn provided the most intrigue. Diggle hinted at there being more in play here and we discovered after they were captured that Oliver wanted a rematch. Oliver’s rarely put his own desires before that of everyone else (see every relationship he’s had ever) so to see him do so this time felt strange. It doesn’t seem like he’ll get his rematch after Ra’s took most off guard by declaring his desire to see Oliver take his spot as the head of the League of Assassins. I’m not sure how I feel about it, I mean, you’d expect Ra’s to elect for someone who’s actually a member, not an outsider, and it brings Batman to mind a bit too much, something I would have preferred seeing Arrow distance itself from (with all the similarities the two first drew in season 1). Nevertheless, Arrow gave us plenty to look forward to with the aftermath of Ra’s/Oliver, Thea/Nyssa, and the flashbacks.