This week on Arrow, Nyssa has come for the Malcolm Merlyn’s head and the mantle of Ra’s al Ghul, using a cure for Thea as leverage to try to get Arrow on her side.
We open up where we left off last week as Nyssa offers up Oliver the Lotus to save Thea’s life in return for Oliver killing Malcolm. Felicity meets with her father where he reveals his identity as the Calculator (just stop it) and his knowledge of her as Overwatch. He gives her information about his past that she can verify what he’s saying is true as he tries to win her over. Laurel and Diggle side with Nyssa but Oliver still seems stuck on the fact that Malcolm is Thea’s father. So, that means he won’t kill him apparently. He wants to broker a treaty between the two sides and get everyone what they want.
Malcolom is, obviously, skeptical about the Lotus and won’t believe Nyssa. Laurel approaches Nyssa and argues on behalf of Thea’s life, offering Nyssa Malcolm’s seat of power in exchange for the Lotus. Nyssa agrees but threatens to unleash her army if things go awry. Meanwhile, Felicity tries to steer the conversation away from her own problems but her wanting to test her father’s loyalty sparks an idea for Oliver as well. Oliver procures a sample of the Lotus from Nyssa to prove to Malcolm it’s real. When they all see it to be real, Malcolm agrees to meet with Nyssa to discuss her terms. Felicity’s mother tells her that she needs to stay far away from her father due to him being a manipulative liar.
Oliver, Diggle and Laurel broker the talks between the two sides but just when it looks like Malcolm will hand over the ring, he turns on everyone and attacks Nyssa. She beats a hasty retreat, but Star City has just become the battleground of a civil war in the League of Assassins. The teams decides to focus on Nyssa and Malcolm, knowing that the battle will end if they stop them. Diggle now encourages Oliver to give into his old instincts and kill Merlyn, because that’s what makes sense but Oliver is still hesitant. Felicity reaches out to her father and brings him into Palmer Tech and shows him what she’s been working on and they’re relationship appears to be on the mend.
Laurel finds Nyssa but before she can stop her, Malcolm’s men show up and a battle ensues. Arrow and Diggle show up to help and once they’ve disbanded the other assassins, they stun Nyssa and take her into their custody. Laurel tries to appeal to Nyssa while Felicity and Oliver convene on their differing problems. Felicity has uncovered that her father was trying to steal secrets from her R&D lab and the realization of his true intentions weighs heavy on her. She helps Oliver weigh his decision on whether or not to kill Malcolm and then they discover that Malcolm is in the basement watching over Thea. Malcolm tells Oliver the first time he saw Thea as a baby and his reasons for not turning over the League. With their status as a shaper of global events, Malcolm sees their role as too important. Oliver appeals to Malcolm’s ego and gets to agree to challenge Nyssa to a trial by combat and to get the Lotus, keep his ring and end the fighting once and for all.
They give Thea the cure and she finally pulls out of it, healing up and her bloodlust is gone. Felicity’s father comes to meet her and she confronts him about his plans to steal from her. Despite his protests, she has called the police and they arrest him on his outstanding warrants, removing him from her life by her choice this time. Nyssa calls everyone together, including the maimed Malcolm, and drops a bombshell. She has disbanded the League of Assassins and the shadowy organization is no more. Malcolm swears his vengeance against Oliver, a cost he demands to be the highest imaginable.
In the flashbacks, Tiana tries to turn Oliver in, handing over the stone to Reiter. Reiter forces her to care for the injured Oliver as his plans are tied to him. Oliver manages to get through to Tiana and they plot to escape from Reiter’s clutches. Now that Reiter has the final piece to his map, he’s finally discovered the location of what he’s been looking for and Oliver is about to begin digging for it.
This episode was a DRAMATIC increase in quality from the previous episode, but that’s not really saying much. But let’s not undersell this episode as it featured a bunch of set pieces and some League in fighting that had a huge shift in the power dynamics of the show. Namely, Malcolm is back to being a stooge and the League is no more. This is as big a shake up as putting Malcolm in charge at the end of last season, so it looks like they were looking for a big splash in order to try to move the season forward. Mainly because any and all momentum on the season arc had ground to horrible, disjointed halt.
The stinger scene kind of indicates that they’re trying to get that back up and running and are still trying to limp respectably to the end of the season. However, now it’s starting to look like it’s going to be William, the twice mentioned son of Oliver’s that’s going to be in that grave they’ve been teasing us with all season and that, well, that is very disappointing. There are literally zero stakes in that death for us as an audience since we have no investment in this character. To make a bigger point of it, when Malcolm first brought William up to Oliver, I genuinely had to look up who they were talking about. Him being the one in the grave is a meaningless death in hopes of the audience believing the drama the writers are going to try to introduce without losing any of the principal cast. It’s a trick that rarely works and it really doesn’t look like this is going to be the exception to the rule.
This Arrow episode was definitely a return to a higher standard of quality than what’s been happening the past couple of weeks. However, the attempts to up the stakes for the home stretch of the season are still falling woefully short, in my opinion. I really want the remaining episodes to be good and the storyline to unfold as dramatically as say, the Deathstroke storyline did. From what I’ve seen though, it sounds like Speed Weed is slowly strangling the life out of Arrow, one poorly presented plot point at a time.