This week on The CW’s Arrow, Nyssa al Ghul aimed to exact justice in the murder of the woman she loved, but Oliver kept getting in her (and Laurel’s) way. Meanwhile, Malcolm apparently also gave Thea acting lessons, because she very ably played the role of the mild-mannered bar boss.
In short, I will say that I wasn’t wild about this episode, and I suspect it’s because the “murder mystery” surrounding Sara’s death isn’t a terribly compelling one. Sure, it returned Nyssa to the canvas and has lit a fire under Laurel (pushing her along on her greater journey), but having Oliver spare Malcolm repeated times — be it because of a code, or his belief that Sara’s true killer is still out there — dinged our hero some, even if to act otherwise would have run counter to his no-kill vow.
This episode also was a bit talky for Arrow — not that we need an all-out fight sequence in every act, but there was a stretch about midway through where I found myself craving some butt-kicking. Perhaps that was only conspicuous because Oliver, Laurel and Nyssa seemed to have the same debate multiple times.
More interesting here was Thea’s ability to lie to everyone’s face about where she’d been and what all she knows/knew about Malcolm’s “resurrection,” right down to claiming a “cop” saved her the night of the siege. So convincing was Thea in her tale-telling that I at one point had to ask myself, “Matt, did you remember Season 2 wrong?” Now with that said, and especially in light of the episode-ending phone call she took from dear ol’ Dad, we could wonder if this is too stark a reversal for the character , for this stone-cold persona to have gelled over so short a period of time off the grid?
Plotwise, we learned (or were told to believe) that Malcolm had no role in Sara’s death; rather, he posited, Ra’s al Ghul doubted Sara’s loyalties and wouldn’t hesitate to kill “the degenerate who would steal his daughter’s heart.” Pointing another finger at Ra’s was the episode’s tag, in which Nyssa reported back to her father on Malcolm’s confirmed return and Sara’s death — the latter of which he shrugged off, since he never counted Sara among their own. But what would drive him to kill her? Framing Malcolm makes no sense, since as they all know “no prison” can hold a League disciple. Or could Ra’s have been looking for an excuse to bring a fight to Starling City, seeing as Oliver is now basically taunting the League by declaring himself Merlyn’s protector?
Regardless of his (possible) motivation, Ra’s is very ready to rumble in Starling City, noting in the closing seconds that by guarding “the Magician,” Oliver Queen “courts us to war.”
Elsewhere in the (sigh) virtually Felicity-free hour:
* We were reminded of Laurel’s resolve to become stronger, physically; hell, she even got a training tip from Nyssa! (That’ll be $75, please.)
* Thea and Roy reconnected, platonically, even if she was mighty impressed with the moves he pulled in trying to thwart her kidnapping. (Meanwhile, Thea herself was poised to get into a scrape with Nyssa; would have been curious to see how long she’d last.)
* Quentin seems to be inching closer to discovering/being told the truth about Sara, especially if she continues to never return his heartfelt phone messages.
* Hong Kong flashbacks established that it was Waller who duped Fyers into (almost) shooting down that Ferris Air flight over Lian Yu, not to destabilize the Chinese economy (as he’d been told) but kill one passenger, Chien Na Wei. Now that China White in Hong Kong, Waller wants Oliver — the one who thwarted Fyers’ assignment — to find out why.
* “Follow orders and eliminate your target — or is this one your ‘best friend,’ too?”
* “She told me an idiot could run it.” “I will try very hard not to take that personally.”
* Nifty Tracer Arrow, we hardly knew ye.
* So, Malcolm knows about Oliver’s super-max prison on Lian Yu….
What did you think of “The Magician”?