Arrow ‘Al Sah-him’ Recap- Episode 03.21

Arrow
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My Name Was Oliver Queen

It’s been three weeks since Oliver turned himself over to the League of Assassins and it appears he’s spent that time training with Ra’s al Ghul and being objected to a heavy amount of brainwashing.  Ra’s is pleased by Oliver’s physical and mental progress but he puts his loyalty to the ultimate test by ordering him to execute a newly captured Diggle.  Oliver gives Diggle a sword so they can duel to the death and it doesn’t take long for Oliver to come out on top.  He then shows his loyalty to Ra’s and the League by unceremoniously stabbing Diggle through the heart.  Of course, it turns out that Oliver was under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug and that the whole thing was merely an elaborate ruse orchestrated by Ra’s.  Sure it’s nice to know Diggle isn’t really dead and all but the scene still speaks volumes about how ruthless Oliver has become as Al Sah-him.

Ra’s then takes Oliver to a place where according to him is “now home only the dead.”  Once there, he gives Oliver some more of his back story.  During his time as Heir to the Demon, there was another League member named Damien Darhk who became disgruntled over being passed over as the Heir and because of this, Ra’s was forced to kill him.  Unfortunately, Ra’s hesitated to to finish Damien off and because of that he was able to escape, taking some loyalists and some Lazarus Pit water with him.  It turns out, Damien is still alive and kicking even today using a “hive” of agents for his own agenda and last year even tried to buy Merlyn’s earthquake machine (The use of the word “hive” tells me that Damien will make an appearance in the future and may even serve as the Big Bad for season 4).  Not wanting Oliver to be haunted by the same mistake he made, he says that it’s now time for him to eliminate his own rival, Nyssa al Ghul.

Meanwhile in Starling City, Laurel continues her training with Nyssa.  The training doesn’t seem to be going very well though, since Laurel still needs Nyssa to save her from a two bit mugger.  Laurel, apparently wanting to take a break from getting her ass kicked, convinces Nyssa to go with her and have some milkshakes.  We get to see a rare moment of levity from usually super serious Nyssa but that gets put to a swift end when Laurel takes this moment to drop on her the bombshell that Oliver finally accepted Ra’s offer and is currently transitioning to become Ra’s al Ghul.  Knowing the implications of Oliver joining the League (mainly her being marked for death), she understandably doesn’t take this very well.  Man, Laurel is just terrible at giving bad news (and why exactly did she wait three weeks to tell it anyway?).

Back at Diggle’s apartment, the rest of Team Arrow are still trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of Oliver’s departure.  Much like back in January, their not really sure how to keep things going without him and it doesn’t help that Roy isn’t around anymore either.  As for Thea, she seems to have recovered well enough from her trip in the Lazarus Pits but still feels guilty about what Oliver had to give up to bring her back.

Nyssa tells Laurel that it’s likely only a matter of time before Oliver and the League come for her (and she’s proven right in the next scene when Oliver, Maseo, and several other League members zip line themselves into Starling City).  When Laurel informs the rest of the team of Nyssa’s situation and Oliver’s apparent drinking of the League kool-aid, they are unsurprisingly skeptical.  At first, Diggle and Felicify are content to let Nyssa fend for herself until Laurel reminds them that she saved Sara’s life.  Personally, I didn’t find this argument to be that persuasive but it’s enough to convince Diggle and Felicity to change their minds and try to save Nyssa from the League.

Nyssa goes to meet with Oliver atop the same building where Sara was killed and the two immediately start fighting each other.  Naturally, Oliver wins the fight but just as he is about to kill Nyssa, Diggle and Laurel show up at the last second to scare him off.  This run-in with Oliver leaves the team pretty shaken up since they are now forced to consider the possibility that Oliver has truly turned over to the dark side.  Diggle is still finding it hard to believe that Oliver could be brainwashed while Felicity laments that Oliver may have very well given up his soul to the League.              

Bride of the Demon

Meanwhile, Oliver regroups with Maseo and the other League members to come up with a new plan to draw Nyssa out.  He decides to kidnap Lyla and ransom her in exchange for Nyssa.  Lyla rightfully chastises Oliver for his betrayal of Team Arrow and especially Diggle which is understandable considering he was the best man at their wedding just a few months ago.  Team Arrow shows up to the exchange and once Lyla is turned back over to them they immediately start shooting.  Despite Team Arrow’s best efforts (and a pretty awesome sword fight between Oliver and Diggle), the League proves to be too much for them.  Oliver is about to finish Diggle off for real this time until Thea makes a surprise appearance and shoots Oliver through the arm with an arrow.  Oliver treats this like a mild annoyance but nevertheless leaves Diggle and the rest of Team Arrow with their lives and takes Nyssa with him back to Nanda Parbat to meet her fate.

Once they make it back Nanda Parbat, Ra’s searches Nyssa’s weapons to look for something that she had apparently stolen from Ra’s when she left the League.  While it’s not yet made clear what it is, Ra’s seems to have found what he was looking for hidden inside the hilt of her sword.  Oliver is about to execute Nyssa when Ra’s suddenly decides on a new plan for her instead.  He decides the best way for Oliver and Nyssa to end their rivalry is by having the two marry each other.  Considering that Oliver has been completely stone faced for most of the episode, the look on his face when he realizes that he’s going to be subjected to the League equivalent of a shotgun wedding is actually pretty funny.  Needless to say, Nyssa isn’t too thrilled about the idea either.  Can’t wait to tune in next week for what will surely be the most awkward honeymoon ever.

Back in Starling City, Felicity and Thea once again lament the loss of Oliver which has now become more real now that it appears Oliver has completely given himself over to the League.  Felicity takes this opportunity to reveal to Thea that Roy is still alive and gives her a piece of paper that presumably contains his contact info.      

Flashback Time

In the aftermath of the Omega virus being unleashed upon Hong Kong (yes my assumption that the vial was fake turned out to be wrong), the city has descended into chaos.  People everywhere are becoming infected leaving Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu desperate to find Akio and get out of the city.  That plan is interrupted when they witness some of Shrieve’s men distributing more of the virus by fooling the locals into thinking it’s a vaccine.  The three waste no time taking out Shrieve’s men and destroying the virus (courtesy of a nice big explosion).

Oliver, Maseo, and Tatsu finally arrive at the apartment where they left Akio and while he appears relatively unharmed, they find his caretaker dead on the floor.  With no other reason to stay in Hong Kong, Oliver rightfully suggests that they get out of dodge.  Just as looks like everyone is about the leave the city safe and sound, Akio begins to bleed out of his mouth.

Cliffhanger

Ra’s reveals to Oliver that the item Nyssa had stolen is going to be used for Oliver’s transition to the Demon’s Head.  As part of the transition, the heir is obligated to unleash death upon his old home and now it’s Oliver’s turn to the same.  As it turns out, Ra’s plans to accomplish this by releasing the Omega virus upon Starling City.

Analysis

While I thought three weeks was a little too quick for Oliver to go off the deep end, it was actually interesting to see our hero go “Darth Oliver” as Felicity put it.  Sure, we don’t really believe this dark side of Oliver will stick for much longer (episode and a half max) but it was still interesting to see him at odds with his former teammates.

As for Ra’s al Ghul, this was not his best episode.  He was fine for the first half but in the second I saw some real flaws in logic, even by Arrow’s standards.  Let’s start with the forced wedding between Oliver and Nyssa.  I can see Oliver maybe going along with this but I don’t really see how he expects Nyssa to do so.  Even if we were to believe she would, I still don’t see why this would be a good idea.  If anything marrying Nyssa off to Oliver would only make it easier for one of the them to kill the other.

My other problem is Ra’s planning to unleash the Omega virus.  This is a nice way to tie the flashback to the main plot in theory but if he really wants to destroy Starling City, it seems like there would be easier ways to accomplish this.  There’s no conceivable for me to believe that Oliver and Maseo would be okay with using the Omega virus after what we saw happen in the flashback and the fact that Ra’s doesn’t seem to realize this is face palmingly stupid.  What exactly is the point is using a weapon that could so easily alienate his two best assassins exactly?  Wouldn’t be easier to just nuke the place and blame it on A.R.G.U.S.?  Considering Waller’s trigger happy history and her track record of killing innocent bystanders without a second thought, I doubt that would’ve been very hard.  There’s also the fact that she almost nuked Starling City less than a year as a half baked solution for Slade Wilson.

Admittedly though, much of this is probably nitpicking on my part and still an enjoyable watch for me especially now that there are some real stakes to the next tow episodes.  Tune in next time for season 3’s penultimate episode ‘This Is Your Sword.’

My Name Was Oliver Queen It's been three weeks since Oliver turned himself over to the League of Assassins and it appears he's spent that time training with Ra's al Ghul and being objected to a heavy amount of brainwashing.  Ra's is pleased by Oliver's physical and mental progress but he puts his loyalty to the ultimate test by ordering him to execute a newly captured Diggle.  Oliver gives Diggle a sword so they can duel to the death and it doesn't take long for Oliver to come out on top.  He then shows his loyalty to Ra's and the League by unceremoniously stabbing Diggle through the heart.  Of course, it turns out that Oliver was under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug and that the whole thing was merely an elaborate ruse orchestrated by Ra's.  Sure it's nice to know Diggle isn't really dead and all but the scene still speaks volumes about how ruthless Oliver has become as Al Sah-him. Ra's then takes Oliver to a place where according to him is "now home only the dead."  Once there, he gives Oliver some more of his back story.  During his time as Heir to the Demon, there was another League member named Damien Darhk who became disgruntled over being passed over as the Heir and because of this, Ra's was forced to kill him.  Unfortunately, Ra's hesitated to to finish Damien off and because of that he was able to escape, taking some loyalists and some Lazarus Pit water with him.  It turns out, Damien is still alive and kicking even today using a "hive" of agents for his own agenda and last year even tried to buy Merlyn's earthquake machine (The use of the word "hive" tells me that Damien will make an appearance in the future and may even serve as the Big Bad for season 4).  Not wanting Oliver to be haunted by the same mistake he made, he says that it's now time for him to eliminate his own rival, Nyssa al Ghul. Meanwhile in Starling City, Laurel continues her training with Nyssa.  The training doesn't seem to be going very well though, since Laurel still needs Nyssa to save her from a two bit mugger.  Laurel, apparently wanting to take a break from getting her ass kicked, convinces Nyssa to go with her and have some milkshakes.  We get to see a rare moment of levity from usually super serious Nyssa but that gets put to a swift end when Laurel takes this moment to drop on her the bombshell that Oliver finally accepted Ra's offer and is currently transitioning to become Ra's al Ghul.  Knowing the implications of Oliver joining the League (mainly her being marked for death), she understandably doesn't take this very well.  Man, Laurel is just terrible at giving bad news (and why exactly did she wait three weeks to tell it anyway?). Back at Diggle's apartment, the rest of Team Arrow are still trying to pick up the…
Episode Score - 8

8

'Al Sah-him' proves to be an entertaining though far from perfect episode.

User Rating: Be the first one !
8
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About the Author

Derek Johns
is a native Texan who has had a love and fascination with movies as long as he can remember. He attended Sam Houston State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Broadcast Journalism. His love of film only grew during his college days, with seldom an hour going by without him making some kind of movie reference. He has since gone on a seemingly never-ending quest to see as many movies (old and new) that he possibly can, a task made possible by his Netflix subscription. Besides movies he enjoys television, reading, writing, video editing, listening to music, and watching Doctor Who.
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