The One Ring
So when we last left off, Nyssa offered Oliver the chance to cure Thea if he killed Malcolm Merlyn for her. Oliver is less than happy with Nyssa for putting him in this position since while Merlyn has earned himself a death sentence several times over, Oliver doesn’t want to have to kill Thea’s father. Nyssa rightfully reminds him however, that Thea is only on the brink of death in the first place because of Merlyn’s actions and she leaves to give him some time to think about it.
When Oliver tells Diggle and Laurel about Nyssa’s proposal they are both in big favor of giving Merlyn some long delayed and well deserved retribution. Oliver suggests instead that they take a more diplomatic approach and try to convince Merlyn to willingly give up control of the League to Nyssa in exchange for the Lotus.
Nyssa is willing to agree to Oliver’s terms but Merlyn is considerably harder to convince mostly because he finds it hard to believe that Nyssa just happens to have a deus ex machina cure for Thea (I hate to admit it but he has a point). With that in mind Oliver asks Nyssa for some proof that the Lotus elixir actually works. Nyssa can tell Oliver is doing this to stall but she nevertheless gives him a small sample that will extend Thea’s life for a couple days. Oliver and Merlyn test it out and Nyssa proves to be true to her word.
Merlyn agrees to meet with Oliver and Nyssa and he seems to be prepared to hand over his Ra’s al Ghul ring to Nyssa. Instead, Merlyn and his loyal League members start attacking Nyssa and her cohorts causing all hell to break loose to the surprise of no one except Oliver apparently.
Merlyn and Nyssa’s armies have now declared war on each other and once again Star City is caught in the League’s crossfire. Once the dead bodies of both League members and civilians start piling up around the city (seriously how is there anybody left in Star City at this point?), Diggle suggests that the best thing Oliver can do is finally kill Merlyn once and for all. However, since Oliver is still feeling conflicted about it since he’s still Thea’s father, he hits Nyssa with a tranquilizer and holds her in what I assume to be Andy’s old jail cell.
Laurel tries to get Nyssa to tell her the location of the Lotus and says that using Thea’s life as a bargaining chip isn’t helping anybody. Laurel also says that this also seems to prove that even in death, Nyssa is letting her father hold power over her actions and that she still has the opportunity to take control of her own life.
Merlyn shows up once again to visit Thea at her bedside and Oliver goes to confront him over refusing to help her. Merlyn insists however that the League is bigger than one person and that it would be dangerous and irresponsible to hand it over to Nyssa (yeah sorry Merlyn not buying it) and that Oliver would do the same thing if he were in his position. He also tells Oliver that he knows about his secret son William. Oliver then suggests that they could get the Lotus by having Merlyn challenge Nyssa to a trial by combat.
Team Arrow meets with Merlyn and Nyssa on a random rooftop (naturally) but before Merlyn and Nyssa start their dual, Oliver announces a slight change of plans. He uses his role as Nyssa’s husband to fight Merlyn in her place. Once the fight has officially started, despite a pretty intense sword fight, Oliver basically wipes the floor with Merlyn and it isn’t long before Merlyn is on his knees waiting for Oliver to finish him off. Rather than do that though, Oliver chops off Merlyn’s ring hand and gives it to Nyssa effectively making her the new Ra’s al Ghul and she it turn gives Oliver the Lotus.
Thea wakes up shortly afterward and has apparently been cured of her bloodlust, though Oliver makes it a point of leaving out how she got cured.
Oliver, Laurel and Merlyn go to meet with Nyssa one more time so she can make an admittedly pretty surprising announcement. Nyssa removes her newly acquired Ra’s al Ghul ring and throws it into a fire and tells them that she has disbanded the League of Assassins and leaves. This turn of events now has Merlyn even more pissed at Oliver. He says that he won’t kill Oliver because he now plans to make him suffer (well that and he wasn’t exactly in a position to kill Oliver with two hands much less one).
Back at Felicity’s apartment, Oliver suggests that since things have calmed down for the most part that now might be the best time for them get married and Felicity happily agrees.
Felicity is having coffee with her estranged father Noah/The Calculator. The meeting is pretty strained since Noah apparently left her when she was 7 to avoid being arrested for an unspecified crime, naturally leaving Felicity with some serious abandonment issues. This certainly isn’t helped when he lets her in on the fact he knows she’s Overwatch and that he was the mysterious hacker she went up against last week. He tries reasoning that what he was doing was merely hacktivism similar to what Felicity did at MIT and what she does for Team Arrow now and gives a flash drive full of published accounts of his hacks over the years to prove to her he’s not a bad guy.
Felicity goes home to tell Donna about Noah’s visit, prompting Donna to turn surprisingly serious. Felicity asks if there’s the slightest chance that maybe Noah isn’t as bad they think but Donna answers that with a resounding no and urges her daughter not to trust him.
Despite Donna’s warnings, Felicity invites Noah on a tour inside Palmer Tech to test him (somehow I see this coming back to bite Felicity in the ass in a future episode). Shortly afterward Felicity discovers that her dad left something behind meant to steal data from Palmer Tech and in retaliation she turns him to the police.
Oliver’s confession to Taiana seems to have done more harm than good since she’s now so angry at him that when he shows her the weird looking stone, she immediately hands it over to Reiter hoping to bargain for her freedom. This plan doesn’t go very well though since Reiter just takes it from her and orders her to continue treating Oliver.
Oliver tries explaining to Taiana that he knows how she feels. She doesn’t believe him at first until he tells her about how his dad killed himself right in front of him so that Oliver could survive. This story makes her more sympathetic towards Oliver and says that he can still save them both but first he needs to heal from his injuries.
Reiter returns to tell Oliver and Taiana that the stone they gave him was the final piece of the puzzle to find what he has been looking for and that starting the next day Oliver will help him in digging it up.
Merlyn meets with Damien to make good on his threat against Oliver. He reveals to Damien that the person Oliver cares about most in the world isn’t Felicity but secret son William (personally the most surprising part to me is that Damien didn’t already know about William).
The first thing that warrants talking about is Malcolm Merlyn. For the last season and a half he has gone on and on about how he supposedly cares for Thea and has more than once used it as a weapon to wag his finger at Oliver, usually to accuse him of not doing enough to protect her. However, this episode was a great reminder that despite Team Arrow’s uneasy alliance with him since the beginning of season 3, that at his core he is first and foremost a self serving bastard. Once again the daughter he claims to love has been put in harm’s way another in attempt to save his own ass and he also conveniently glosses over the little fact that this only happened in the first place because he used Thea to do his dirty work. So with all that said, watching him get his hand chopped off might’ve been the most satisfying moment of season 4 for me so far.
Meanwhile, the Felicity subplot didn’t really feel as interesting as it should’ve. The last episode’s villain of the week has returned for another episode but they don’t even really do anything with it. Even Felicity admits to Oliver that it’s barely worth mentioning compared to the main plot. Like I said before I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Noah since having him quietly arrested by the authorities seems to be a pretty underwhelming way to end things with his character.
Tune in next week as Oliver’s conflict with Damien heats up once again in ‘Code of Silence.’