Malcolm Merlyn is Alive
This week’s episode picks up right where the last one left off with Nyssa pointing an arrow at Oliver’s head demanding to know where Sara is. She says that Sara had been sent to Starling City by The League of Assassins a couple of weeks ago and hasn’t been heard from since. Oliver tries to find a way to tell her the bad news but with the look on his face she’s able to put the pieces together herself and leaves. Oliver thinks she knows more than she’s letting on and has Roy follow her.
When Nyssa makes it to Sara’s grave she finds Laurel there to visit as well. Nyssa offers her condolences but Laurel isn’t interested. She figures that Sara would still be alive if she had never associated herself with Nyssa or The League (to be fair she’s might not be completely wrong there). Nyssa, unlike Team Arrow, isn’t taking Laurel’s crap and reminds her that she’s grieving too. She also notices that Laurel is wearing Sara’s old jacket and tells her she isn’t fit to wear it.
Roy follows Nyssa to what he figures to be a League safe house and gives Oliver the address. Once he’s there he’s able to persuade Nyssa to form a temporary alliance with Team Arrow. They both agree that since Sara was in town for League business that Sara’s target was also most likely her killer. Nyssa reveals to Oliver that Sara’s target was none other than Malcolm Merlyn who is alive and back in Starling City.
Back at Team Arrow headquarters, Nysaa tells the team (minus Felicity who’s been away at Central City), that when Merlyn executed his Undertaking plot he committed a huge violation against League principles. Like the rest of the world they believed Merlyn to be dead so The League thought the issue was settled until being tipped off by the late Moira Queen that Merlyn faked his death. While that alone doesn’t really prove anything, Oliver then shows the team a set of pictures found at The League safe house that Sara took a couple of weeks back proving Merlyn to be alive and well.
With Nyssa’s help they are able to read one of Sara’s notes and find a couple of clues to Merlyn’s whereabouts. The first is the name Jansen though they quickly become more interested in the second clue that shows she contacted her dad for some help shortly before her death. When Laurel asks him about it he admits that he gave her the last known address for the mysterious Jansen in Sara’s note. He apologizes to Laurel for keeping it a secret from her which naturally makes Laurel feel guilty about her own secret. With Jansen’s address they go to confront him but he’s shown to be long dead and find Merlyn there instead. Merlyn makes his escape but not before Oliver nicks him with one of his arrows.
Return of the Dark Archer
Back at headquarters, Oliver brings Laurel up to speed about Merlyn and reveals that he hit him with a tracer arrow and begins using it to find Merlyn again. Not surprisingly, Laurel is furious at Oliver for not killing Merlyn when he had the chance. She leaves the headquarters in anger and Nyssa follows after her. Nyssa catches up with Laurel and tells her that she wants Merlyn dead just as much as her. Laurel, knowing that Oliver will never kill Merlyn tells Nyssa to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Unfortunately, when Oliver tries to track Merlyn with his tracer arrow, Merlyn proves to be one step ahead and leaves Oliver’s tracer at an empty air conditioner factory. Merlyn instructs Oliver to meet with him in a crowded place and to come alone. When the two meet up, Merlyn insists he didn’t kill Sara and that doing so would’ve been a dumb move on his part since The League already wants him dead and killing the girlfriend of Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter would probably only make things worse for him. Oliver isn’t convinced but Merlyn swears on Thea’s life that he didn’t kill Sara.
While Oliver ultimately believes Merlyn, Nyssa is much harder to convince. After Oliver tells her that Thea is Merlyn’s daughter she decides to abduct Thea to lure Merlyn out of hiding. Oliver quickly saves Thea and once his sister has left the building, he gets into an intense fight against Nyssa. Not long after, Merlyn gets in on the action as the Dark Archer. Merlyn is able to incapacitate Nyssa leaving it up to Oliver to kill him. Oliver of course doesn’t do it (John Barrowman’s a series regular now after all, they won’t kill him this early in the season) and let’s Merlyn go. Back at Arrow HQ, Oliver tells Nyssa that not only will he not kill Merlyn but that as long as he remains in Starling City, he will be under Oliver’s protection even if it means angering The League. Naturally, Nyssa is livid and leaves telling him that he has made a powerful enemy.
Even without her abduction from Nyssa, Thea has proven to be quite busy since her return to Starling City. She has been working to reopen The Foundry and even tells Oliver that she has some investors helping her buy the club back from Queen Consolidated (my guess is Malcolm Merlyn). Also, she and Roy finally start talking again and since Roy knows the club almost as well as she does offers to make him the club’s assistant manager.
Also when Oliver finds out Merlyn is alive he immediately tells her about it, not knowing that Thea is already well aware of this. She does a pretty good job at pretending to be surprised about it and later has a phone call with Merlyn and assures him that Oliver knows nothing about them.
Meanwhile during Oliver’s time at Hong Kong, he is given his next target by his handler. Oliver is reluctant to kill the guy since he doesn’t even why he’s been ordered to kill him. He eventually agrees to follow orders but not before stealing a USB drive from the target. Back at his handler’s apartment,(after some bargaining with the handler’s son) he uses a computer to investigate the contents of the USB drive. Oliver has quickly seen enough on it to demand a meeting with Amanda Waller.
Oliver tells a none too happy Waller that the drive contained information of a flight from a couple of years ago and that if anything happens to his handler’s family he’ll have the information leaked to the press. Waller tells him that it was actually the same flight he prevented from being shot down during his time at the island and it turns out Waller wanted the plane shot down to take out a specific target who is now in Hong Kong.
League of Assassins
Nyssa returns to The League of Assassins to report her findings to her father. She reveals to him that Merlyn is indeed still alive and that Sara is dead. Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) isn’t particularly concerned about Sara’s death reasoning that she was never really one of them. However, when Nyssa informs him of Oliver’s intentions to protect Merlyn, he says if that’s true then he has declared war with The League.
While most of this was another episode filled with story arc set-up, there’s at least some pay off to be had this time. John Barrowman is finally given something interesting to do this season and he’s proves to Team Arrow to be just as cunning and manipulative as ever and as Dark Archer just as bad-ass. Also, finally seeing Ra’s ah Ghul in the flesh for the first time was a real treat.
If the preview after the episode is any indication, then next week will likely be a Felicity focused episode as Team Arrow deals with some clever computer hackers.