The Demon’s Head
The episode picks up right where ‘Nanda Parbat’ left off three weeks ago with Ra’s al Ghul extending an offer for Oliver to take his place as head of the League of Assassins. Ra’s gives Oliver a tour of the League headquarters to show him what things will be like for him should he choose to accept. He also warns Oliver that if he continues down his path as the Arrow that it will only be a matter of time before his friends and Starling City turn against him (I’m pretty sure the Green Goblin gave this same speech in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film but for the sake of the narrative I’ll let that go.)
Ra’s sweetens the pot for Oliver by showing him the Lazarus Pits. Ra’s tells Oliver that while the Lazarus Pits have allowed him to stay alive for quite some time, they are beginning to lose their effect on him so it’s only a matter of time before he dies and someone has to take his place to continue his legacy. When Oliver asks what happens if he says no, Ra’s tells him that he’s free to go. As a peace offering, he even releases Diggle and Merlyn to Oliver and says that all blood debts between them are waived (which presumably includes Merlyn’s death warrant).
Back at Arrow HQ, the situation between Thea and Nyssa also picks up where it left off with Thea confessing to Sara’s murder and letting Nyssa out of her cell. Nyssa is skeptical of this at first until Thea presses on by telling her of the drugging by Merlyn and that she put three arrows in Sara’s chest. At this point the guilt has consumed Thea so much she all but begs Nyssa to kill her but Nyssa is having none of it, saying that she is only interested in killing Merlyn. Before the matter can be discussed further, Laurel and Roy walk in and thinking Nyssa has escaped, start fighting her. Laurel once again proves to be useless in the fight but luckily Roy is able to hit her with a tranquilizer dart. Thea plays things off like Nyssa did indeed make a brief escape and leaves before Laurel and Roy start asking questions.
Once Oliver, Diggle and Merlyn return to Starling City, Oliver pays a quick visit to Thea’s loft. She’s initially relieved to see that Oliver is okay but is less than thrilled to see Merlyn sleeping on her couch. Oliver understands her anger but tells her that Merlyn needs a place to heal for a few days and she reluctantly agrees. Once that’s out of the way, Oliver and Diggle make their way back to Arrow HQ but not before Diggle tries asking Oliver why Ra’s let them go. Oliver claims that Ra’s had a change of heart and even though Diggle isn’t buying it, Oliver orders him to drop it.
Back at Arrow HQ, Oliver unceremoniously releases Nyssa from her cell and tells her she’s free to go. Much like Diggle, Nyssa wants to know how and why Oliver and Merlyn are still alive but Oliver is no mood to discuss it and tells her to go home. With that bit of awkwardness out of the way, Oliver tries to get the team to go back to business as usual, prompting Felicity to inform them of a robbery in progress, so Oliver orders Laurel and Roy to suit up.
A group of armed thugs, being lead by a guy with his mouth sewn shut (don’t worry it doesn’t look nearly as dumb as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine), looking for something called the “Cotoca shipment.” The robbery is interrupted by Oliver, Laurel and Roy and while they manage to subdue a few goons, the guy in charge manages to get away with what he came for, which turns out to be several crates filled with diamonds.
Very Hush Hush
Oliver pays a visit to Felicity at her job where he sees her and Ray Palmer being more than a little friendly with each other (I should also note that Palmer insists that Oliver call him Ray so to be fair I will probably be doing the same thing from now on). Oliver asks to talk to Felicity alone for a few minutes and Ray makes an all too quick exit. Oliver asks Felicity to look into the identity of the man with his mouth sewn shut and she quickly identifies him as an ex-convict named Michael Amar who goes by the street name Murmur for rather obvious reasons.
Back at Nanda Parbat, Nyssa makes her return and demands to know from her father why Merlyn is still alive. When Ra’s tells her of the offer he made to Oliver she is understandably not happy to hear she is being passed over as her father’s heir in favor of an outsider. She accuses Ra’s of punishing her for loving Sara, which he all but confirms. She says that she will not stand by while he hands over her legacy to a stranger to which he replies “Then don’t”, prompting her to walk away in anger.
Back at Arrow HQ, Oliver fills Diggle and Roy in on Murmur, who as it turns out was released from prison two months ago after it was revealed he was serving a prison sentence based on a bogus confession that was beaten out of him by the cops. Roy then reveals that the diamonds Murmur stole were relatively worthless industrial grade diamonds, despite the fact the shipment also contained some more high end gems that went untouched by Murmur’s crew. Roy offers to check around with some fences he knows and Oliver agrees.
Once Roy has left, Oliver finally fesses up to Diggle about the offer made to him by Ra’s. Diggle is surprised to hear this and is even more surprised to hear that Oliver is actually considering it. The talk with Ra’s has forced Oliver to question what Team Arrow has actually accomplished and why he continues to work as the Arrow. He later has a similar conversation with Felicity, who admits that during Oliver’s disappearance the rest of the team were forced to ask themselves the same question and it now appears to be Oliver’s turn to figure it out. While this week, Felicity has continued to lecture Oliver like she has ever since he came back, I’ll give the writers some credit for this particular lecture actually having a point and also for considerably dialing the shrew-like nature in which Felicity gives her lectures.
Back at Thea’s loft, he goes to check on Merlyn, who while still bruised, now has the strength to walk around. Merlyn, like everyone else knows better than to think Ra’s just let him and Oliver leave scot-free prompting Oliver to once more admit to the offer. Merlyn isn’t surprised to hear this because there’s a prophecy among the League that whoever doesn’t perish at the blade of Ra’s al Ghul will become Ra’s al Ghul. He also warns Oliver that Ra’s gives orders not offers and that he shouldn’t delude himself into thinking he has a choice in the matter.
Back at HQ, Diggle and Roy think they have figured out why Murmur was so interested in the diamonds. They found out the diamonds are also the same kind used to make diamond tipped bullets which are strong enough to go through body armor like tissue paper. This brings the team to the conclusion that Murmur will use said bullets to get his revenge on the cops. Oliver and Roy make their way to the station to help out the police along with Laurel who happens to already be there visiting her dad. Some cops get killed in the attack but Team Arrow, along with some unexpected backup from Nyssa (do the League members have some mysterious teleporting ability I don’t know about?), keep things from being an outright massacre and Murmur is taken into custody.
In the aftermath of the police station attack, Oliver finally realizes that he has continued his work as the Arrow not to strike down criminals but serve as the city’s protector and that he doesn’t need to be the new Ra’s al Ghul to do so. He informs a visiting Maseo of his intention to turn down Ra’s offer. Sadly, Maseo basically gives Oliver the same warning made by Merlyn earlier and promises him that he hasn’t heard the end of this.
Laurel isn’t given a whole to do this week but her character arc takes an admittedly interesting turn towards the end of the episode. After the smoke clears at the station, Laurel and Nyssa start bonding over their shared grief of Sara’s death as well as their strained relationships with their respective fathers. Nyssa also offers to give Laurel some additional training presumably so Laurel can finally become a more consistently competent fighter.
Like Laurel, Thea isn’t given much to do after her initial encounter with Nyssa and continues to feel guilty over Sara and seems more angry at Merlyn than ever (if that was possible). Merlyn offers to let her kill him but after giving it some thought she refuses. Finally, she seeks comfort in the arms of Roy which isn’t entirely surprising considering the two’s history and it’s also been hinted at pretty much since Thea’s return from Corto Maltese.
Captain Lance is still pretty angry at Laurel for keeping Sara’s death a secret from him and now he has extended that anger towards the Arrow. When the Arrow tries getting Lance’s help in taking down Murmur, Lance makes it clear that their partnership is done and he will no longer be helping him. Even when Team Arrow manages to save the day at the police station, Lance is still pretty angry at them (and by Oliver’s own admission he has every right to be) and he’s not sure he can ever forgive Laurel much less the Arrow.
Those feelings are unlikely to change any time soon once we get to the cliffhanger but more on that in a minute.
In the aftermath of the attack from A.R.G.U.S. and the separation from Maseo and Tatsu, Oliver and Akio are wondering around Hong Kong. Akio tells Oliver his parents said for him to go to the botanical garden in case they ever got separated. They make their way to the garden but before long Oliver notices several men in suits (presumably more A.R.G.U.S. goons) waiting for them. They attempt to flee but they are stopped by Oliver’s old (and supposedly dead for the last year) ally Shado.
What’s left of Murmur’s crew begin planning their next move when an archer in a green hood begins killing them. One goon has been left alive and the hooded man orders him to tell anybody who will listen what he has just witnessed. Once the thug has left, the man in the hood is revealed to be none other than Ra’s al Ghul.
The run-in with Murmur wasn’t especially eventful but he was certainly creepy enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing him again. Since there was so much focus an Oliver’s offer, there wasn’t much chance for the rest of the character to develop but on the plus there were certainly some seeds planted for character growth in the not to distant future. Between Laurel’s training by Nyssa, Thea and Roy presumably getting back together, and Captain Lance giving the Arrow the cold shoulder which probably won’t be helped by the execution made by Ra’s at the end, things are shaping up to be pretty eventful with the season’s last seven episodes. And that’s all without taking into account the main plot with Ra’s al Ghul.
All in all, this wasn’t the most action packed episode but this episode more than other this season, feels very much like a calm before the storm.
Next week comes the episode I’ve been waiting for all season as Diggle and Lyla’s honeymoon is interrupted when they are forced to once again return to the Suicide Squad.