Arrow Winter Finale Recap: Matters Of Love and Death

Arrow Oliver Dies

Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim can add psychic to his resume, because, as he predicted for TVLine, viewers everywhere will be saying, “What the f–k?” after Wednesday night’s winter finale.

As we knew, the catalyst for the episode was the deadline-slash-death warrant issued by Ra’s al Ghul: Find the killer of Ta-er al-Sahfer (that’s Sara to you and me) or the League of Assassins will begin slaughtering the good people of Starling City.

But what followed was a compelling, twisty melange of sleuthing, discovery, uncanny fan speculation and… well, those final few minutes.

Newly “incentivized” to track Sara’s killer, Felicity finds that 12 of the 13 DNA markers on the arrow Caitlin tested point to Oliver. Queen. Yeah, that guy. Oliver surmises that Malcolm Merlyn is behind this bit of misdirection, and has Felicity check into his whereabouts the night of Sara’s death — and in fact, a private plane did travel (in a circuitous way) from Corto Maltese to Starling City just before that tragic night. On board: Malcolm… and Thea.

When Thea insists to Oliver that she never returned to Starling before her recent homecoming, he returns to grill her further, about Malcolm’s whereabouts, but this time as the Arrow. Thea puts up an OK-enough fight, then escapes over the railing (!) of her posh loft while warning the vigilante to stay away from “me and my father.”

Once Malcolm gets wind of this confrontation, he visits Oliver with a damning video of Thea, in archer mode, murdering Sara on the rooftop. Malcolm speaks of a Votura plant/drug than can compel people to do one’s bidding, with no recollection afterward. Thus, Ra’s al Ghul is after Thea, which Oliver obviously can’t allow. Instead, Malcolm suggests that Oliver take the rap for Sara’s murder and face a “trial by combat,” against the Demon’s Head himself. Kill him and all blood debts are forgotten — the hit on Malcolm himself included. But really this is about Thea.

Seeing no alternative, Oliver requests his trial. But before he makes tracks for the “consecrated” neutral fight site, Felicity asks one thing of him: Kill Ra’s al Ghul. It’s not that she thinks he can’t, but fears that he won’t. Oliver asserts that he knows exactly two things about himself: He will do whatever takes to save his sister. “And the other?” Felicity asks. “I love you,” he says.

Climbing arduously to a distant mountain top, Oliver strips his shirt off and chooses two mighty sharp-looking blades, while Ra’s… opts to go without, taunting that he will use Oliver’s weapons once he’s done with them. As cool as a cucumber, Ra’s enters into the skirmish with Oliver, fending off most every parry and never seeming to break a sweat (if such is possible on a snowy, high mountain). Oliver sure enough loses one sword, then moments later cedes the other. Ra’s forces Oliver to the edge of the ridge, where Oliver briefly reclaims the upper hand. But only briefly. Ra’s smacks him, does one of those throat-poke things, and then cuts into his challenger’s left side. After whispering some mystical words about wishing that Oliver “avoids the grave” and what not, Ra’s delivers a final, brutal strike, running his saber through  Oliver’s rib cage. Then, for good measure, he shoves his opponent over the cliff with the heel of his boot.

To reiterate: WTF?!

Elsewhere in the episode:

* Laurel admitted to Thea that Sara had died (which of course later became wholly ironic), but she couldn’t bring herself to reveal the same to her visiting Mom — but never underestimate a mother’s intuition. Dinah deduces that Sara has died, and learns that Quentin does not yet know. Upon hearing Laurel express her fervent desire for justice, Dinah echoes: Make them pay, and make them suffer.

* Ray (who does his “stalker” rep in some Internet circles no favors) opened up to Felicity about Anna, a woman he loved who was killed during the Mirakuru men’s assault on the city. When asked to share his obvious other “secret,” he showed her the latest schematic for the A.T.O.M. (Advanced Technology Operation Mechanism) suit — and he wants Felicity to help him save the city with it. (“Why does this keep happening to me?”)

* In flashbacks, we saw that while Oliver and Maseo were out interrogating one of Chien Na Wei’s lackeys, China White herself stormed Maseo’s house and got into it with Tatsu. By the time the boys got back, Maseo’s wife was gone. (In the current day, Oliver discovers that Maseo joined the League after some ominous “thing” happened during their shared past.)

What did you think of Arrow‘s midseason finale?


 

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379 Comments
  1. paris says:

    “Oliver with a damning video of Thea, in archer mode, murdering Thea on the rooftop.”

    * Felicity admitted to Thea that Sara had died (which of course later became wholly ironic)

    I see some errors ;)

    And also Team Laurel :)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Fixed.

    • GUSTAVO ALCALA says:

      OLIVER QUEEN IS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY THEORIES. 1. OLIVER DREAMED THE FIGHT AND IS ALIVE. 2. BEFORE THE FIGHT OLIVER TOOK MURAQURU SUPER DRUG TO MAKE HIM STRONGER AND HEAL FASTER. 3. OLIVER FAKED HIS DEATH BY FIGHTING WEAK MAKING RAS THINK HE KILLED OLIVER . WITH RAS OFF GUARD OLIVER KILLS RAS LATER IN SEASON. 4. RAS KILLED IMPOSTOR WEARING OLIVER MASK. 5. STEPHEN AMELL QUIT ARROW AND BRANDON ROUTH AKA SUPERMAN 2006 NOW RAY PALMER ON ARROW REPLACES AMELL AS NEW ARROW!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • whiteshampaine says:

        noooo… don’t replace Stephen Amell in your theory..though u have a point

      • asdasd says:

        lol your last theory is absolutely ridiculous. why would the atom become green arrow that has never happened in the dc universe.

        • Fred says:

          only his last theory? lol. 1. Dreamed the fight? Yeah no, that’s the weakest thing writers can do. 2. Oliver obviously didn’t take Mirakuru. 3. This is the only one that has any validity whatsoever. 4. An Oliver Mask? Really? Just, really? 5. Atom is a completely different character.

      • Anton says:

        This show was never approved for season 4. Season 3 has 5 episodes left. Perfect for a funeral and grieving time, showing how the city acts in the absence of arrow, Arsenal taking over as lead vigilante, wrap up Oliver’s back-story, and (last but not least) the set up the new Hero spinoff – “Atom.” On the bright side, Felicity Smoak may convince Atom to take down Ra’s al Ghul in Season 1.

        • Shelley says:

          I won’t accept that theory. I love Arrow the way it is.

          • DIYA says:

            Also wasn’t season 3 given a full season order…and in TV Line’s renewal scorecard, season 4 is “a sure thing”.

          • Shelley says:

            I feel the writers have something big in store for us in the back half of this season. It quite possibly be forever change some of the characters. This season has been about finding their identities. Personally, I think that Merlyn has an alternate plan with many ruses to manipulate people. Some are false. As for his reasons for Oliver to face Ra’s we’ll have to wait and see. But, Oliver will return with a new realization of what he is and a zest for life like he has never had. I think he will still have many challenges ahead of him. But, he will eventually emerge as the Green Arrow. If we look at what Ra’s was saying as he was in his final part of the duel, Ra’s was forgiving Oliver and blessing him for his bravery. I think that Ra’s will make the decision to have Oliver bathed in the Lazaurus Pit. He will recoup and learn many things about fighting during that time from the League of Assasins. I think that the Atom, Black Canary, Arsenal, Diggle will keep Starling City safe in Arrow’s absence. They will find they have the ability as a group to take on the bad guys. But need the confidence to make their way as a team. So when Arrow returns their ultra fighter newly enhanced with abilities will take the helm as their leader. This will be where, Merlyn might be part of this team. With lots of reluctance from the others. But, his abilities and Thea’s will be needed to face an ultimate foe at season’s end. I have an idea, but, it would be a guess. But, IMO, the show has been revealing this person along the way so far this season. I think this episode is where Oliver, insecure and unwilling to kill and indentity starved, will be propelled into his future place of ability and purpose. For me, Laurel is not a favorite especially to be the Black Canary. But, the writers have a plan that is big for her in episodes 10 thru 13. Stephen Amell said that Oliver may not be in the next 3 episodes, but, he will be in flashbacks. This will be a great way for the other team members to come into their own. I still think that Thea is NOT Sara’s killer. I think Sara knew her assailant. And, we will be surprised who it really is.

      • Amy says:

        I seriously doubt that Stephen Amell would quit Arrow!

      • Colin Brian says:

        Mmmm. No. Obviously you aren’t into the DC universe outside of this TV show. There are only two real options here: 1) Ra’s didn’t deliver a killing blow since he put his sword through Ollie’s side. Ra’s would have the technique to be able to avoid major internal organs. As to who finds Ollie in time to save him from bleeding out remains to be seen. OR IF THAT ISN’T WHAT HAPPENS IT WILL BE 2) Ra’s in the DC comics has something called the Lazerus Pit. Ra’s in the comics is over 500 years old thanks to his Lazerus PIt. Every time Ra’s dies he is taken to this pit that resurrects him and makes him younger. The pit however exacts a toll in that for a brief period right after resurrection it causes Ra’s to go completely insane. Batman believes that each time Ra’s uses it that it takes a little bit more of his rational mind from him which is why Ra’s is bent on cleansing the earth of a majority of mankind in his attempt to reboot the world so to speak.

      • arrow fan says:

        I think that theories 1,2 and 5 could be correct…

  2. Ashley says:

    Not gonna lie I was impressed with Ra’s al Ghul’s style, at least he’s really poetic about killing his enemies.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Right? I wasn’t too impressed with his swagger until the fight started and he began swatting Oliver away like a fly while all but checking text messages with his free hand.

      • Vanessa Perez says:

        This comment had me rolling. Love it.

        • haha exactly how the scene played out. lets double check some facts though,

          Ras said he has not been challenged in what 73 years and killed his first man at 11,… that would make him very old.

          we know that this universe contains ray palmer the flash and ras al ghul, so lets presume batman is kickin abiout somewhere, ras is batmans nemesis not arrows.

          ras stabbed a guy in the heart at the beginning but he stabs ollie in the left of chest away from heart this is suspect to me.

          i dont think its a dream i think ras was testing him to check his mettle, i dont think alot of people have lasted that long with him in single combat and i think he knows he didnt kill sara, hes doing an honour thing, ras respects that stuff.

          on a side note, iv not seen it mentioned anywhere before, but Rays ATOM suit was a queen consolidated product called O M A C – ALARM Bells went off for me on this…. anyone else?

          • Anton says:

            OMAC THE CYBORG?!!! OHMANOHMANOHMAN

          • Teresa Rhoda says:

            Pablo Nescobar said “ras stabbed a guy in the heart at the beginning but he stabs ollie in the left of chest away from heart this is suspect to me”. I think you are correct and the scene where he stabbed the guy in the heart was done specifically to show that he purposely did not kill Oliver in the fight scene. Also, we do not know how far Oliver fell. the cold would have slowed Oliver’s heart so he did not bleed out as quickly as he would have otherwise. You guys will find out before me as the second half of Arrow is only starting at the end of March 2015 where I live in Africa.

      • John NYC says:

        Totally.

        There used to be a bumpersticker popular up around San Clemente near Camp Pendleton: “It’s Hard to be Humble When You’re the Best”, in Marine Corps Red and Gold.

        Sort of fit’s Ra’s al Ghul as it turns out… Oliver was incredibly out matched.

    • Data1001 says:

      Would’ve liked to see Ra’s take on The Mountain from GoT. Might’ve been a slightly more fair fight than the one we got. ;-)

      • Oliver Stark says:

        haha Ra’s vs Gregor would be epic…. actually, prince Obreyn would have been victorious, but he waited for the mountain to confess, and missed… Honestly, Prince Obreyn vs Ra’s would have been an even more better battle

      • More fair? The Viper of Dorne had to work, but he won, hands down until he (very uncharacteristically and just to keep one of Martin’s plots going and keep everything bad) let his guard down. The Mountain was on the ground waiting for a death blow that could easily be given at range with the chosen weapon.

        More to the point: I have been to war, and there nothing poetic about war, and there is no such thing as a warrior poet. Sir Philip Sidney was the greatest and most famous, and put his money where his mouth was, dying in war in his early thirties. But he is unremembered outside the class ( wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Sidney)

        Dumas the elder fought in wars with idealism, but that idealism faded. His books are very good, but they only USE war (and even sometimes in a very escapist way i.e. The Three Musketeers and the lunch out between enemy lines) and are not about the subject.

  3. Cat says:

    Really great recap, Matt! I loved the episode. I think it was the best of the series. One little thing, there are two name mix ups: “murdering *Sarah* on the rooftop” & “*Laurel* admitted to Thea that Sara had died (which of course later became wholly ironic)”

  4. Kavanaugh says:

    Weeeeell… we all knew Oliver was gonna die, right? I mean, it was pretty foreshadowed in the previous episodes. Obviously he’s not gonna die for real *Lazarus Pit coff coff* but it was still heartbreaking to see Ollie going down like that.
    Anyway, great finale! I’m really curious to see what’s next. Laurel’s arc as Black Canary is coming, hope it will be good!

    • B says:

      Yeah, no dying allowed for Oliver. I didn’t even get *that* upset because no way that happens.

      I know they can go the Lazarus put route. But I’m hoping that Maseo is sent to confirm his death and he helps Oliver instead.

      • Kavanaugh says:

        Oliver is definitely plot armored… come on, the show has his name! He’s probably still alive, or they’ll find a way to bring him back. We’ll have some drama in January, they’ll try to make us believe Oliver is dead, and then he’ll come back.
        I hope that too, the Pit would be a real cliché.

        • Riley says:

          Bringing supernatural stuff into the show is a seriously bad idea, and I hope they don’t go any further down that route.

          • Travis says:

            Why? The Lazarus pit was in the comic books… It had to make an appearance at some point in time.

          • websnap says:

            Why not, the door has already been opened when Ra’s said he hasn’t been challenged to combat for 62 years. He neither looks in his 60’s nor do I think he was challenged as a 1 year old so Lazarus Pit is in play.

          • aplwrites says:

            Ra’s already stated that he had not been challenged in 67 years. Meaning he has been the leader of the league longer than that and there is no way he is a natural 70-80 years old (at least). The Pit already exists in this universe, sorry you don’t like it.

          • Nat says:

            oh come on…. the door is already open :/ mirakuru? metahumans? votura? super virus drug thing…? it’s inevitable. … he was stabbed through and thrown off a cliff .. even if he made it through the fall with broken bones.. the blood loss n the cold would have killed him… there is no scientific way to go about it. The pit contains a chemical that heals or revives a person only once. That could be the only thing to save Oliver. .. plus Ra’s Al Guhl’s line about not being in trail by combat in 67 years…. the door is wide open and was kicked open by the demon’s head himself like he kicked Oliver off that cliff ;)

      • Shelley says:

        That would be a great way to explain Oliver’s being alive. But, LP seems will be the only way to resurrect him. I wonder what he will be like after his transformation, if that’s how it would work? After all, Ra’s al Ghul changed didn’t he after his times going into the LP?

    • W0lf says:

      While the Lazarus pit brings back the dead, it makes that person lose their mind, right?

      • dave says:

        it would be fun if oliver lost his damn mind , hes been acting too nuch like the dark knight, im wishing for a wise cracking green arrow next time around

  5. Laurel admitted to Thea that Sara was dead. Not felicity.
    Wow, January feels so far away! Almost screamed at the tv when Oliver said “I love you” and Felicity couldn’t say anything in return.

  6. CM says:

    The level of “wrong” in this one episode of Arrow is astounding.

    Oh, and by the way, no matter what the showrunners are trying to sell – Ray Palmer is a very creepy / stalkery dude.

  7. Alichat says:

    Someone was typey to fasty! Laurel admitted to Thea. Merlyn had the damning video.

    Was I the only one who found the episode to be a little disappointing? Seriously, no one recorded Merlyn’s “confession” to Oliver about Thea? Felicity has cameras everywhere and no one got that? She can’t hack his phone and get the damning video? And speaking of Felicity, was anyone else expecting her to stomp over to Thea’s and tell her all about the sacrifice her brother was making on her behalf? Was anyone else expecting the fight between Ra’s and Oliver to be a bit longer? A tad more epic?

    • Sara K says:

      its hard to cram a lot of things in to 42 mins. I believe the fight was just perfect. I think Felicity and Thea will have more scenes together and Felicity might reveal that her brother went off to protect her.
      No one expected Malcom to storm in Verdant so no one was setting up a trap for him. But I am sure they will be dealing with the fallout of this when it returns in Jan.

    • Rob Watkins says:

      Malcolm has contingencies, do you really think he wouldn’t back up that video? The fight between Ra’s and Oliver was quick but intense. It’s not the finale, and Ra’s is one of the world’s best fighters who only the elite can outfight (eg, Batman and Lady Shiva). It lasted as long as it should have, but more importantly it was a good fight.

    • I think the argument Malcolm made was that as long as Thea fired the arrows, by League rules she was dead no matter what made her do it. If Oliver had brought them the confession, Malcolm would have died too, but it wouldn’t have saved Thea. The League has like the world’s most intense “No Tolerance” policy.

    • John NYC says:

      Having Malcom on tape admitting what he did would be of help with Oliver getting Thea more distanced from Malcom, but that would be sort of moot when Ra’s al Ghul killed her anyway as having killed Sara, under a control drug or not, she wielded the bow and he’s just that sort of black and white kind of guy from all accounts.

      The fight probably lasted longer than it should have with a 67 plus years master of killing versus a 5 year newbie. Had Ra’s al Ghul chosen to hold a weapon? Under five seconds if that long, in many systems the first strike is the kill stroke. look at how long it took him to down every opponent in that other scene: and every one of them had a live blade. (I presume he brings them back after that sort of training session? Otherwise that’s an expensive consumption of trained personnel…)

    • tvaditmom says:

      yes to all

    • lila775 says:

      Yeah I kind of as expecting felicity to go over to thea or maybe she or someone else would do it next year

    • Fran says:

      I totally agree on all counts! I actually did not like this episode at all and the way they’re going right now. Ugh!

  8. Sparky77 says:

    Loved tonights episode…not a filler moment except for the commercials. Was it just me or were there more than usual??!! Brilliant episode. We all know Oliver isn’t dead but how does he make it back – the Lazarus Pit or just some good old fashioned TLC?? Malcolm is one sick psycho…love him!! We knew he was up to something but to get Thea to kill Sara so that Oliver would go up against Ra’s to clear his debts!! Hope he is used more in the new episodes!! And ahh the feels…too old to be using that word but ahhhhh……stay away Ray!!! Is it Jan 21 yet!!???

  9. Jordan says:

    I really can’t take this show seriously. I really do try, you guys. I’m not here to upset anyone, so feel free to tell me to shut up if you disagree. I guess I just feel like the ending seems almost melodramatic given that we all know Oliver isn’t going to die (or stay dead, since I’m guessing they’ll bring in the Lazarus pit as a deus ex machina).

    The overly serious, melodramatic tone, coupled with a lot of bad acting (there are exceptions of course) and the need to reveal twists that strain credulity almost every episode just makes it hard for me to enjoy it at a basic level. I actually have some similar criticisms of Flash, but the lighter tone and lovable goofiness makes it much more palatable. The more I watch Flash, the more tiring I find Arrow. I suppose this is just me though and I’ll wait to be told I’m a moron in three…two…one…

    • Lauren says:

      I hear good things about Mysteries Of Laura, let us know!

    • Ben says:

      Then stop watching Arrow maybe? It’s okay to like The Flash and not Arrow.

      • Jordan says:

        Yeah, I’m really considering it. I guess part of the reason I commented is because I feel like there’s something wrong with me. EVERYONE else seems to love this show. I don’t know why it just doesn’t do it for me. Flash is like a guilty pleasure where Arrow is a show I just feel obligated to watch because I love comics. I guess that’s silly of me.

        • herman1959 says:

          I’m a diehard Flash fan, but a part-time Arrow viewer and I don’t feel bad, neither should you. Why should you feel OBLIGATED to watch any one particular show when there are so many shows to choose from. Of course most people on this site will have loved the episode, this is a recap site for fans, but there is a wider world out there. Please, watch what you want and enjoy with no guilt.

        • S. says:

          Not silly. I hate Parks and Rec, absolutely can not stand it. If you don’t like Arrow, do what I do about Parks and Rec and Two Broke Girls and others and don’t watch it.

        • I dislike Arrow sometimes — Flash sometimes, too. I’ll probably be done with Arrow once Katie Anorexia becomes the Faux Canary, but … there are a lot of likeable characters and interesting storylines the Arrow people can still tell.

          There was a lot going on of interest in this episode, beyond just the lead-up to the inevitable loss by Ollie. But as someone who shares your level of cynicism in TV writing today, I still have to ask: why does it matter if we all know Oliver is not really dead? There was tons more to this episode.

          I know the guy who plays the Arrow — in a TV show entitled Arrow — is NOT actually going to be dead. It’s still gonna be interesting to see how it is explained away.

          • Shelley says:

            i absolutely love Arrow and Flash too. but, there are sometimes when a character is written not to what I would like them to be. Laurel is one of them. I have conflicted feelings of her being the Black Canary. it might be really good, but, I have reservations about her whole story. I would love for Arrow to center around Diggle, Oliver, Felicity, Merlyn. Roy is simplified to a background character. No lines. Not a Thea fan much. so this entire arc for her is flat to me. But, I’m excited for Oliver to go through trials and changes to make him find his true identity. Arrow has always been a darker show with some fun and humor mixed in. The Flash is a new concept with fun and humor abound. And it has different bad guys than what The Arrow has had to face. IMO, they are 2 different types of shows. I will be a follower of Arrow this season, even though Black Canary is not a favorite of mine. they still service a purpose in the stories.

        • Ty says:

          Jordan, your suspicions are correct, you have terrible, TERRIBLE tastes. But do not let your heart be troubled, the only person in the entire world I’ve met that has perfect taste is myself, and all of you here fall short of my divinely inspired taste palate. There is nothing wrong or shameful about having terrible taste, just consider it no different than being the type of person that sees a lime green suit and says to themselves, that’s not tacky at all.

    • John NYC says:

      Theres a reason they’re called “comic books”.

      • Jordan says:

        That’s actually very fair. It’s a medium for escapism and the vast majority of viewers seem to be able to really get into it, so it’s doing its job quite well.

        • John NYC says:

          And while the overall genre can be appealing there’s bound to be varying executions which means amongst the comic book based some will connect and others won’t, or won’t as much. The darkness of Arrow versus Flash leans me more toward Flash most days but, oddly, overall I find the characters on Arrow more compelling.

          • kath says:

            The Flash is lighter and more fun but my heart belongs to Arrow and I think it’s because of Stephen Amell and how he plays Oliver’s relationships to the people he cares about the most — Moira, Thea, Diggle, Felicity, Sara, Slade and this season Roy.
            Also for the charactors and actors of Diggle (David Ramsey), Felicity (Emily Bett Richards) and Moira (Susanna Thompson) RIP.
            They grab me in and even when the writing is bad, they won’t let me go..

    • Shelley says:

      I love the episode. I love Flash too. I don’t agree with you. I thought the writing was great, the actors were wonderful. The fight scene was short because Ra’s just treated Oliver like a fly, swatting him around with ease. As he should. The kill shot was simple and complete. I thought this was a great way for a winter finale. Now, we have food for thought from here on.

    • JAB says:

      I agree with you.
      Almost every serious (or meant to be serious) line in this ep comes off as melodramatic, which let’s face it, it is.
      It’s like the actors couldn’t believe they had to speak the words.
      Arrow S3 has not been stellar, but this episode was particularly cringe-worthy.

    • Rob Watkins says:

      How is the Lazarus Pit “deus ex machina”?

      • Jordan says:

        Well, it’s the intervention of an object that has not previously factored into the story in a major way that can suddenly and abruptly solve a seemingly unsolvable problem. In this case, the Lazarus pit is basically the definition of a deus ex machina.

        • Rob Watkins says:

          I know what it is, but they also usually lack ramifications which isn’t the case with the Lazarus Pits. And just because something wasn’t in the story before doesn’t make it deus ex machina.

          • Jordan says:

            I’m confused by what you’re saying. One of the most important characteristics of a deus ex machina is that it does have ramifications. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a useful plot device. You’re right that something not being previously mentioned doesn’t automatically qualify it as a deus ex machina, but that coupled with its singular ability to solve an otherwise unsolvable problem does make it one.
            I don’t mean to suggest that they shouldn’t be allowed to use the pit, even if it is a deus ex machina. I just mean that they could have partially avoided it being one by 1) laying groundwork for its role in the story, and 2) not selecting a storyline for dramatic effect (Oliver being killed) that would never have been considered if a plot device could not be used to reverse it.

          • Jordan says:

            Oh, I think I understand what you’re saying, Rob. You mean that it often doesn’t have ramifications in the story beyond solving the problem and since the Lazarus pit often involves post-exposure psychosis that the show might intend to use as a storyline for a while that this doesn’t fit that characteristic. I see your point, but you were also right in your use of the word “usually.” That isn’t one of the defining characteristics of a deus ex machina, so it isn’t disqualified based on that.
            My original point was not to criticize the use of the Lazarus pit and I wasn’t calling it a deus ex machina just to devalue it. It was rather to highlight the fact that the dramatic value of killing Oliver is tempered by our knowledge that the show only chose that storytelling route because they had a fix waiting in the wings. Using a deus ex machina is sometimes acceptable in the middle of a story (as it is being used here), so I wasn’t necessarily arguing it should be off limits to the show. It’s the execution that I find more problematic.

        • herman1959 says:

          OK, so school me, what exactly does the Lazarus pit mean. I’ll save you some time and tell you that I do know that in the Bible Lazarus rose from the dead.

          • Rob Watkins says:

            The Lazarus Pits, at least in the comics, have regenerative powers and in some cases can bring people back from the death. However, a big draw back is that it causes psychosis, the degree to which depends on who’s writing the story. It has nothing to do with the Bible.

          • Trenton says:

            Ras said he hadn’t been challenged for 67 years. He uses the laz pits to slow down his aging to who knows. Typically he is many centuries old.

          • Riley says:

            “It has nothing to do with the Bible.”

            Yes it does, that’s where the name comes from.

        • Rob Watkins says:

          LP’s do have ramifications, which is why they don’t qualify as DEM. that coupled with its singular ability to solve an otherwise unsolvable problem does make it one. No, DEM means it’s something that comes completely out of left field and contrived. The fact that it’s singular is irrelevant. Take Coulson’s revival on Agents of Shield. The means of his resurrection wasn’t set up before hand, but it was the only way he could return. However, because it had consequences (dangerous ones at that) it wasn’t DEM. DEM typically means the resolution doesn’t mesh with the rest of the story. Superman suddenly having the ability to turn the world around and save the day is an example. If Oliver experiences dangerous side effects, it’s good storytelling. Also, Ra’s says the last fight he has was 67 years ago, so unless he’s just immortal, he has some means of being that physically fit in spite of his age. We just don’t know what his means are yet.

          • Jordan says:

            Again, having ramifications is not a disqualification. That isn’t a necessary criterion of a deus ex machina. There are three: 1) it must involve a solution to a problem, 2) that problem must be otherwise unsolvable, and 3) the plot device must be either sudden or unexpected. This fills all three criteria, regardless of whether it satisfies every common characteristic of the term. Those things are common, but not essential.
            I think there could be a healthy debate over whether Coulson’s revival qualifies as a deus ex machina, mostly dependent on whether you view his revival as the start of a story or a continuation of one. But if we agree on the latter, it too is a deus ex machina. Good storytelling after the use of deus ex machina can serve as a means of justifying its use (as has occurred over 1.5 seasons on AoS), but that has nothing to do with whether it was a deus ex machina in the first place or not.

        • Rob Watkins says:

          But it’s not DEM because it fits within the world and the set up was subtle, if in fact it was a set up. We don’t know how this will play out so I think it’s best to wait and see before anyone makes a judgment about the quality of the storytelling.

          • Russ says:

            You can’t say for sure anything about the show. Sure we all know that Oliver will be fine and the surprise league of assassin guy will probably help him, but you can’t call this a DEM because this show has a very consistent streak of going back and explaining things. My bet is that Oliver has encountered whatever ends up saving him. Granted I guess that in itself could be classified as a DEM. All in all great episode can’t wait for it to come back after Christmas. Only one issue there are starting to become way too many vigilantes. And if Oliver and the flash are all buddy buddy now you would think that Oliver would use that connection a little more. Well that’s my 2 cents

    • Rachel Scott says:

      I’ve never watched an episode of Arrow, it just didn’t seem to interest me when it started. I love The Flash though, even after I learned that it was a spin-off of Arrow I still was not tempted to watch. The only time I’ll see Oliver Queen is in Smallville repeats are Arrow/The Flash crossovers.

    • Lizzie says:

      Oh Jordan I would love love to believe this post. But you my friend are troll. You watch this show in a critical way. No way are you trying to watch this show as a fellow fan of any kind of comics or superhero genre. The fact that you keep commenting and rebuffing people’s comment makes me think you want a backlash against you. Look no one is looking for you to like the show. Flash and Arrow are two completely opposite shows in tone. If you watched the crossover then you would have seen that. But even if your watching Flash in a tolerable way your obviously not enjoying the show like they are meant to be. Melodramatic…of course it’s a drama. Your watching a show on The CW they have to put some of that angst in there. Like I said I could care less about your opinion but I hate it that your obviously watching the show to just simply find everything that YOU think is wrong.

      • Sheldon W. says:

        Sorry, Lizzie, but Jordan is definitely not a troll. Trolls post only to get people’s dander up. They don’t as a rule present reasonable arguments for their position because they don’t have one – other than to make fans (of wherever they’re posting) angry; to get a rise out of them.

        Trolls aren’t critical – they are mean-spirited jerks who insult to provoke but are rarely able to back up their venom with reason (and wouldn’t bother even if they were – they’re working for an emotional response, not a thoughtful one).

        Jordan, on the other hand, has specific reasons, well argued, for his position vis-à-vis the show and last night’s episode in particular. He is critical in the genuine sense – like a TV critic, or movie critic – making observations based on careful thinking.

        Unlike him, I quite enjoy Arrow – but I understand where he’s coming from. He makes clear, concise points and backs them up in a way that might be contrary to what you think and feel, but he is certainly not trolling.

    • tabularasalocke says:

      Watch Flash if that’s what you like. Flash is light hearted specifically to be a different tone for Arrow. I love both as the best of both worlds, but there’s nothing wrong with getting tired of Arrow being so serious. Personally, I think Flash shares the bad acting and melodrama but I mean, they’re a comic book show.

    • cmmorgan32 says:

      How is the Lazarus Pit a deus ex machina? If this were an original show and not something derived from comic books, I could see your point. However, the Lazarus Pit is not something that’s unexpected (or contrived) within the realm of the show (when considering the source material). I think the problem lies in the fact that we don’t know much about the world outside of Starling City and Central City. It’s clear that Ra’s and perhaps the entire League have access to something with restorative properties (if not the actual pit) based on the fact that they established that Ra’s is much older than he appears.The Lazarus Pit is a natural phenomenon in the DC universe. If Oliver’s fall off the cliff leads to him landing in the Lazarus Pit, then there’s a deus ex machina. As far as the rest of your grievances go, it’s a CW show. What do you expect? They’re not exactly known for shows with amazing acting, writing, etc.

      • kath says:

        The EPs did say that Arrow would be more reality-based and The Flash more superhero impossible stuff based. Mirakuru was bad enough but with Ray actually building an Atom suit and now the Lazarus Pits, it seems unreality has got into Arrow too.

        The problem with that is that if Oliver Queen doesn’t have superpowers himself, it makes it harder for him to defeat the bad guys that do.

        • cmmorgan32 says:

          “Unreality” got into Arrow the minute they introduced the Mirakuru serum (arguably) and definitely once they made The Flash a part of the TV universe. The EPs have also said that they weren’t ruling out the possibility of including the Lazarus Pits on the show (whether it’s the actual Pit or a made for TV equivalent).

    • Sometimes Arrow tries too hard to do too much and falls on its face a little. This episode for me was one of those times. But S3 is when shows try to swing for the fences and maybe realize a reliable double or triple will get it done just as well.

    • Kathleen says:

      I really like both shows but Barry is just a tad annoying. And what’s his face in the chair is such a bad actor. No worse than laurel though I guess. Each to their own. Personally I’m struggling with Gotham but then that’s because there isn’t any batman lol! Comics have taken over the world!!

      • herman1959 says:

        Laurel is by far the worst, but to tell the truth, a lot of the acting in Arrow is less than stellar (except for Felicity). Thank goodness for John Barrowman and for Alex Kingston’s occasional work – they bring some class to the proceedings.

    • Maryann says:

      Couldn’t disagree with you more. Right now I find Arrow the most enjoyable and anticipated show on tv — total immersion, total suspension of disbelief. For me, it works. But I do realize we each watch thru our own lens, and our gut level reactions are our own.

    • oragne says:

      Thank you for saying this!! I feel the same way. It was during a snow storm after a long semester that I sat in the living room for hours watching all of season 1 of Arrow, but once I had a chance to digest it, I realized how poor the acting is, how dumb the plot twists are, etc. I still read recaps just to see what’s going on, but I only made it a couple of episodes into season 2 before I quit. The whole Felicity-Oliver relationship is so ridiculously forced and manipulative. The acting and chemistry of those 2 is just so bad that I honestly cannot understand why almost every single commenter is so infatuated with them. And the writers know how much people are obsessed with them, so adding in these stupid forced romantic lines and interactions is just to satisfy the crazy Olicity shippers rather than have it make sense in the story.
      Anyway. You’re not alone. So glad there are others who acknowledge the melodramatic silliness that is Arrow.

    • Leslie says:

      Jelous?

  10. John NYC says:

    I’m sensing some tough sledding for Stephen’s contract negotiations. His reps get too feisty and well, he’s already dead.

    • Briggs says:

      Uh, where have you heard anything about Stephen’s contract? He’s nothing if not loyal to the show. In every interview I’ve ever seen, he’s eager for us to see the second half of the season. Just because they ‘killed’ Oliver doesn’t mean anything is wrong with his contract.

  11. Sara K says:

    WOW this episode was superb, I loved everything about it….the only complaint I had was that the Arabic sounded horrible, as an Arabic speaker it was hard to understand Matt Nable, thank god for the subtitles of course.

    • Leah says:

      The same goes for pretty much every foreign language on English language television, so rarely do they land a native speaker of whatever language they’re trying to incorporate.

    • Mubasher chaudhary says:

      yes that was horrible but why does R’as Al-Ghul and his teammates speak arabic language

      • anthazaibai says:

        judging by his name (Ra’s al Ghul literally means head of the demon in Arabic), I would presume that his ancestry is Arab

  12. Drew says:

    Really good episode. Felicity’s like (“Why does this keep happening to me?”) was the best of the night, obviously. I liked how they pieced together the mystery. I had suspected Thea at one point, but was glad to learn that at least she didn’t know that she did it. I hope she kills Malcolm by the end of the year… and does a better job of it than her brother did.
    I really enjoyed Laurel’s storyline. She has one of the stronger arcs this season, which is a nice change of pace.
    All this said, there are some things that I didn’t like. Sorry to all of the shippers out there, but I’m ready for Oliver and Felicity to go back to friends/sidekick status. All of the relationship drama has ruined the tone of their scenes together (Felicity was always there to lighten the mood, not make it more dramatic) and the group chemistry as a whole. Now it’s not Oliver, Felicity and Diggle. It’s Oliver and Felicity… and Diggle.
    I also wasn’t as impressed with Ra’s as I was unimpressed with Oliver during the fight. Oliver attacked him like a hyper four year old would attack the fortress that their uncle just spent twenty minutes building out of blocks. He was sloppy and uncoordinated. I’m pretty sure that I could have taken him down in that fight. I would have LOVED if that battle was truly epic and Oliver’s death surprised me. As it stands, I was only surprised because the show is about him and they need him back. I am curious to see how he returns (Lazarus pit?).
    I’m also still not clear on how Oliver lost his shares of the company. He owned 50% last year. Where’d they go?
    I did like seeing Thea’s fight with Oliver, and his “WTF?!” reaction to it, though I probably would have at least tried to stop my sister from hopping off a ledge, regardless of her new self defense skills. However, this opens up a TV trope that always bothers me… when characters should have an open conversation, but don’t just because the writers want to drag out the secrets and drama for a while longer. There were a few times when Oliver could have just said “I saw footage of you flying into town” or raise any number of other issues, but he didn’t. I think that it’s time to end Thea’s time in the dark, because it doesn’t make sense anymore.
    So, lots of things to love about the episode. A few things to like less. Still a good episode.

    • Alichat says:

      “I also wasn’t as impressed with Ra’s as I was unimpressed with Oliver during the fight. Oliver attacked him like a hyper four year old would attack the fortress that their uncle just spent twenty minutes building out of blocks. He was sloppy and uncoordinated. I’m pretty sure that I could have taken him down in that fight. I would have LOVED if that battle was truly epic and Oliver’s death surprised me.”

      Yes…..this…exactly. I understand that Ra’s is supposed to be the stronger and more experienced fighter, but you can’t have Oliver monologuing the 10 minutes before the fight about how he will do anything and everything to protect his family, and then have him go down in 45 seconds. At least let him get a few cuts in, or fight until he could barely stand.

      • Rob Watkins says:

        Are you guys fighting experts or something, Oliver lasted as long as he could have against Ra’s. It doesn’t matter how much Oliver thinks he will do anything when he’s up against a better and more experienced fighter. Oliver has less than a decade of experience against Ra’s al Ghul’s at least 60+ years or 600+ if we go by the comics, and Oliver isn’t Batman.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          Seriously. I’m rather glad Oliver got whooped. It’s Ra’s al Ghul.

          • Brandon says:

            Matt, I appreciate your common sense. It is refreshing. Ra’s al Ghul is Ra’s al Ghul. There is a reason Merlyn is scared of the League. You don’t get to equally duel him (at least not in the MID-SEASON finale).

          • The Kaibosh says:

            You’re absolutely right! Oliver may be the hero of this particular show but there is only ONE billionaire super-hero vigilante that can take on and defeat the Demon’s Head, and he lives in Gotham City.

          • Luis says:

            Of course it’s Ra’a Al Ghul!!! I can’t see anyone expecting that fight to go any other way.

        • Drew says:

          No, I’m totally cool with Oliver getting his ass handed to him. That’s the way it had to end. But we’ve seen Oliver fight before and he’s usually pretty calculating, smooth, and capable. In this fight, he didn’t exhibit any of his normal skills. He just started chopping away like one of those people chopping lettuce at the beginning of an infomercial. So it seemed more like they dumbed Oliver down rather than make Ra’s an even more impressive and capable fighter. For a scene like this, Oliver *had* the be amazing, just to highlight the fact that Ra’s is even more amazing.

          • Rob Watkins says:

            He was fighting with a sword which he’s not accustomed to fighting with. I’m not a sword fighting expert, but he wasn’t clumsy, just out of his depths against Ra’s.

          • Drew says:

            Apparently Oliver forgot what Slade taught him.

            It’s not a matter of whether Oliver is great with swords. It’s not a matter of whether Oliver should have won. It’s a matter of Oliver displaying none of his normal traits in a fight. He charged in when he should have pulled back. That’s basic. He didn’t watch his opponent. He didn’t think about his next move. He just kept swinging like a mad man. Since when does Oliver fight like this?

          • Rob Watkins says:

            It does matter if you are good with the weapon you are using. “He charged in when he should have pulled back. That’s basic.” Are you a swordsman or a martial artist? How do you know that’s basic?. The fight was pretty quick, and it’s hard to tell how much Oliver was watching Ra’s. What did you picture in your head regarding how it would go down?

          • Drew says:

            I don’t have to be a martial arts expert to remember the things that they’ve said a hundred times on this series alone. Anyone who has played a video game knows that you don’t just run under the giant smashy boulders. You wait for them to pull back before you make your move. Mario taught me that when I was six.

          • Rob Watkins says:

            Are you really using video games as a rationale? Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Granted it wasn’t a great offense, but there’s no rule that says you can’t make the first move. If you can use video games, I’ll use chess. The times I do the best is when I’m the aggressor.

          • Drew says:

            Yeah, but constantly moving your pieces directly in the path of your opponent because you’re not paying attention to the game is sloppy and not something that most people would do, even if they’re not great chess players.
            Or we can go with golf… running at the ball and wildly swinging the club will take out a chunk of grass, but won’t get the ball very far.
            Or we can go with driving… flooring the gas will be super fun until you run into an intersection and smash into another car.
            Or we can go with darts… randomly throwing without aiming will rarely lead to hitting the target.
            In all of these cases, we’re talking about being reckless and sloppy. Which is what Oliver displayed in the fight. It isn’t even about being a master with a sword, it’s about common sense. You’re going up against a master. You should probably feel him out a little and not charge at him like women fighting over a wedding dress during one of those clearance sales (it is not a sexist comment if it is factually true!).

          • Rob Watkins says:

            He wasn’t flailing his sword wildly. He was being aggressive and I doubt his technique was great but you’re analogies feel off the mark. At worst, he’s green using a sword against a far more experienced fighter, not to mention exhausted from the climb. You make it sound like he was thrashing his arms like when a bigger kid holds you back by the head so you can’t move. He was clearly aiming at Ra’s, so the dart example is weak. Yes he made some rookie mistakes, but even a good player has a bad day.

          • Drew says:

            But he’s not a rookie. Swords aren’t his thing, just like guns aren’t his thing… but he is still trained in how to use them. And despite all of this, he is a very skilled fighter. He is the one who was just telling Barry to assess situations before charging into battle.

          • Drew says:

            Am I the only one who thinks that we’ve pretty much said all that we have to say?
            Agree to disagree?

          • Rob Watkins says:

            He’s not a trained sword fighter. At most we’ve seen him shown a few things by Slade, but he’s not The Dread Pirate Wesley. I don’t see how assessing the situation is relevant. In the context of what he taught Barry, he was saying to be aware of the physical space and his opponents. Ra’s was several feet in front of him. There wasn’t much to assess. And he didn’t forget what Slade taught him in the clip you linked to. He had no fighting skills then, whereas against Ra’s he was much better, but just up against a far better opponent intent on killing him.

            “Agree to disagree?”
            Principal Skinner: I don’t agree to that. :)

          • Kathleen says:

            these comments are all awesome but he fought how he did because it was in the script lol

        • Trenton says:

          They showed Ras take on like 10 assassins and he killed them all. Oliver was outmatched but still held his own. But he wasn’t going to win in a fight like this. Its like deciding your gonna battle aquaman in the Atlantic.

        • Alichat says:

          No…..but we are viewers. We are entitled to our opinion. I thought the fight should have been longer, and I agree with Drew that the choreography given to Amell made him look like hyper child swinging away during a tantrum. I expected cleaner moves from Oliver, even if Ra’s could swiftly avoid them.

          • Rob Watkins says:

            You are entitled, that’s not in question, just that you make it sound like you know a bit about sword fighting. No, Oliver didn’t come off as an expert swordsman, but I think that’s the point. Add that to his exhaustion and a superior fighter, it’s not a pretty picture, but I disagree that he looked like a child, just green.

          • Oliver had just climbed up a mountain. He was bound to be exhausted. I think his fighting style showed desperation.

          • Drew says:

            Which again leads to being unimpressed by Ra’s. Does he really have to weaken his opponent before fighting them?

    • aunni says:

      for a DUDE who doesn’t care who oliver ends with romantically, u r wose than some teen olicity shippers.

      • Drew says:

        It’s not a matter of caring who Oliver ends up with. I don’t. I’m not a teenage girl who thinks that he “totes” belongs with someone else and makes up fun name mashups. I’m saying that it slows down scenes when every time Oliver and Felicity are in a room together we have to get an update on their romantic status. There’s an old saying… “Sh– or get off the pot.” Stop wasting time with it. This is an action series where a dude beats the crap out of people. Felicity was the breath of fresh air in a grim world. At some point she stopped serving that purpose because she can’t be in a scene with Oliver anymore without dramatic music playing in the background. I liked it better when it wasn’t all about their relationship, which is why Felicity seemed so much more fun on The Flash. They got it out of the way, decided that it didn’t work, and now they’re free to have good chemistry without drama.

        • Rob Watkins says:

          I think the romantic chemistry between Barry and Felicity works fine, but she belongs on Arrow. I do agree though, I prefer to keep it an action show instead of putting so much emphasis on another will they won’t they. That said, it was kept to a minimum this episode and what we got was fine. The “I love you” felt like Oliver telling her how he felt because he knew he would lose.

          • Drew says:

            I love her dynamic with Barry. They have romantic chemistry, so they can openly joke about it, but they’re settled on not going there. It’s what I wish they’d do with Oliver. Address it. Get it out of the way. Move on.

        • Briggs says:

          Except that Stephen has said Oliver’s romantic focus for seaason 3 is Felicity. So it’s not quite over. Especially since they keep showing us she’s not quite over him, per the convo with Barry.

          • Drew says:

            I know. That’s the point. They’re just treading water, making it all dramatic and drawn out instead of doing something with it one way or the other. Early on in the series, Oliver went back to Laurel. They got it out of the way and they decided that they were better as friends. They should do the same with Felicity. I’m just growing tired of them professing their undying love while declaring that they can never be together so they have to move on, but not move on because their love is so undying.

          • Briggs says:

            I understand where you’re coming from, but every superhero has a love interest. Or in Batman’s case, several. Can’t get away from them, and considering that they just keep building on Oliver/Felicity, they are going to pay it off at some point, and I just don’t think it’ll be because they decide it won’t work. They’ve already decided that at least once, and they still need their moment along with each other, at the end. Clearly, that’s not the answer,

          • Drew says:

            Superman had a fun flirty relationship with Lois before they got together. The Oliver/Felicity thing isn’t fun or romantic anymore. The longer they draw out the drama of it, the more it becomes one of those relationships that is completely unhealthy but people keep going back to anyway. When they were flirting here and there, it was fun. But this year, it has been nothing but drama and moping. What does a relationship between them actually look like? Right now, it doesn’t seem worth fighting for.
            It’s like the Community Christmas musical episode, when Annie was trying to sing a sexy song and Jeff tells her that eventually she reached a point of diminishing returns. There’s a point when pushing too hard becomes uncomfortable and wrong.

          • Briggs says:

            We’re obviously not going to convert one another to our POV, so I respectfully ask that we agree to disagree.

        • Rob Watkins says:

          The reason they don’t go there is because she isn’t a Flash character, plus EBR has great romantic chemistry with Stephen Amell. I wish it took a little less focus or was a bit lighter in tone like Tony and Pepper.

          • I completely disagree i find them really hard to watch they don’t have any romantic chemistry and as Drew said its now Oliver,Felicity and Diggle part of the reason team arrow hasn’t worked this year imo

        • aunni says:

          then iris n barry sd put into coma with their romance, right?? or its canon, so its ok.

          • Drew says:

            Whether or not I think Oliver will ultimately end up with Felicity is beside the point. It’s draining the series. Barry and Iris had one emotional scene, and one somewhat awkward scene. If every scene with them becomes more trouble than it’s worth, why would we want them to be together? Like with Oliver and Laurel… they tried it. It wasn’t worth the drama. It ended. Now they can have scenes together that aren’t about whether or not they’re going to start making out.

        • Rose says:

          You are right that their dynamic has grown more serious and less fun, and I agree that it is a sad turn of events. However, for me there is a fix that I would find a lot more interesting and enjoying to watch than ending the relationship, and that would be for them to actually HAVE a relationship. The old superhero song and dance of “I can’t be with you because I love you too much to put you in harms way” is something I am really tired of. The girls are always in harms way anyways! But if Oliver and Felicity actually got together and made a real go of it, we could see things like the cute flirting back between them. We could see her funny accidental innuendos, but he could flirt back this time, and smile more! I think there is potential for fun and lightness between them if they were actually together. All the seriousness is coming from the fact that they AREN’T together. I’m sure it will eventually end anyways, since happiness is the enemy on shows like this (which I hate), but it would be nice to have an interval of sweetness and fun and lightheartedness for their romance. And I think it would be an interesting character development for Oliver to see him in that kind of relationship. Anyways, that’s just my opinion.

          • Sil says:

            Have to mention that the show has several types of viewers. 1 are the viewers who loved reading the comics and who would rather the show stick with that. 2 are the viewers who love all the action and fight scenes. 3 are the viewers who are more liking the relationships on the show. 4 are those who like to a combination these. I love the fight scenes but love the friendships and relationships on Arrow. I don’t care for Laurel or care to watch any story line for that character. My favorites are Team Arrow. I love their comradory. Oliver, Diggle, Felicity, Det Łance, Tommy, Walter Steele, Sara, Malcolm and Slade Wilson have made the show for me. I wouldn’t mind that Oliver and Felicity get together. Flirt, fun, Felicity’s innuendoes, inappropriate comments make this dark śhow have some light moments. The I can’t be with anyone to protect them idea or story arc is getting old. I hope they have Oliver find himself soon. This entire season has been rather dry and uneventful. Not a fan of Sara being killed off. Not a fan of Thea’s need to lie to others, especially Oliver about Malcolm and his training her financing her. For me she is a hypocrit and then judge Oliver for his lying to her. I once was a Thea fan but not now. I realize they have a purpose for all characters to seek out their identities giving room for Laurel to become the Black Canary and Ray to be the Atom. Starting the Justice League. I really like Diggle with Oliver as a guy friendship. Oliver has really changed, less brooding and less solemn, since Team Arrow started. And IMO, since Oliver’s had interactions with Felicity. I, personally, love her character.

          • kath says:

            You’re absolutely right. The only way to keep the Oliver/Felicity relationship from messing up the show is to put them together, making it fun again, and don’t turn it into a soap opera of “star-crossed lovers “(per Marc Guggenheim) or “will they/won’t they”.

  13. robinepowell says:

    My only question is how will they bring Oliver back after he “died”?

    Obviously he’s coming back since the show had not been canceled.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Bold speculation!

      • John NYC says:

        Aren’t initial contracts often for three years? [joke] So I’m still going to hold out for the contract negotiations outcome: He’s already dead, that’s gotta put his agents back on their heels a bit…. like on soaps when they put an actor in a coma: they get too feisty and that brain monitor starts to flatten out… and Thea wields a mean bow [joke]

        • kath says:

          Stephen Amell’s initial contract was for 6 years; other actors’ were for 3.

          Doesn’t mean they can’t cut it short though.

          • Briggs says:

            For what reason? From all accounts, everyone loves working with him. Just because the character is flirting with death doesn’t mean that he’s getting fired. He’s the show lead. Geez, it hasn’t been a full day and already people are freaking out over his job despite the fact that he’s said he’s only out of *present day* footage for *three episodes*. He’s still doing flashbacks, and he’s back in present day in episode 14. Calm yourself. Besides, John NYC was joking. Reread his post.

          • John NYC says:

            The six year contract span is an interesting piece of information. Thanks.

            Anybody? Is that more or less standard for show leads?

    • bj says:

      Well there was a figure walking towards him as he lay on the edge of the cliff.

  14. Trenton says:

    Quite literal about a cliffhanger

  15. Bender says:

    Ok this ra’s al ghul sounds straight out of the comic books with the age. Is he 600 years old we don’t know. Do we see the Lazarus pit or will it be some other mystical thing

  16. I never thought Oliver had a chance to beat Ra’s, but I didn’t think he would receive such an ass whipping. When we saw Thea practicing with Merlyn in earlier episodes she looked good, but she was a little stiff in her fight against Oliver.

    Her move throwing the glass at him and jumping off the balcony was cool though.

  17. I’m super confused. There’s still half a season left, right? Has it gotten picked up for another season yet? He’s not dead, but that was probably the most fatal fight I’ve seen and I’m not sure how he comes back from that… and I’m naming my second born after Oliver Queen, so c’mon now.

    But really. Can I get a Q&A with a producer, please? I’m not going to be able to function for a month.

  18. Trenton says:

    Why wouldn’t Oliver show thea the video? If only to prove to her Malcolm cares more about himself.

    • Because he wasn’t trying to take away her father. He wanted her to make her mind up for herself. She’s already lost everything, and might lose her brother. As much as Oliver hates Malcolm, he could be all that Thea had left after that fight. Plus, then Thea would know that Oliver was going to go die for her. And it wasn’t about recognition.

    • Drew says:

      Also, so she wouldn’t let Malcolm mind control her into being his murder slave in the future. Why would he allow her to want to go back to him after that sort of violation? As if killing her brother that she had a crush on wasn’t bad enough.

    • Luis says:

      He’s not going to let Thea see herself as a killer

  19. James D says:

    That was freaking awesome! I never expected Thea (probably should have) great reveal Arrow writers kudos to you. that ending was the biggest WTF moment of the year for sure but I’m so glad they did it that way. In no conceivable universe could Oliver Queen ever beat Ra’s-Al-Ghul (BTW Matt Noble was a great casting choice) one on one it would be hard enough for the Justice league to do it let alone Green Arrow. I’m racking my brain though as to how in the name of Superman’s red underoos will they get Oliver out of this predicament it’s not like he can just reach out and grab a ledge as he plummets off a freaking mountain, as Matt emphasized WTF. Can’t wait till it returns.

    • Trenton says:

      Superman alone could so could green lantern the flash Martian manhunter. Anyone with powers could. Ras is semi immortal but no real powers. They stayed true that beating Ras one on one would work out for Oliver. He is an archer more than a fighter at least a fighter of Ras’ caliber.

      • James D says:

        Yeah I got a little ahead of myself there, you are very right that anyone with powers could beat Ra’s but i stand by the Green Arrow vs Ra’s I agree in terms of Archery Ollie is superior I just have a hard time believing even with his archery skills he could beat Ra’s one on one in open combat. I could be completely wrong it’s been a while since I’ve read GA comics maybe he would win, it just seems a supervillain of Ra’s caliber would get the upper hand.

  20. Batman could have beaten Ra’s…

  21. stephanie says:

    Awesome episode! Yeah Oliver got his ass handed to him by Ra’s al Ghul! However, I think that done purposefully by the writers to highlight how, when he does eventually kill Ra, it’s because he’s finally reconciled all of the pieces of his psyche – Oliver Queen and The Arrow. Which I’m guessing will happen right around Season Finale time. Can’t wait!

    • Erin2 says:

      There is no way in hell that DC is going to let Arrow kill Ra’s al Ghul! The show is great but they won’t let them mess around with the DC mythology like that!

  22. Jose says:

    Some people complaining about how short the fight was….. I think it was the proper length …. Ra`s was toying with Oliver and after having the advantage for a second, Ra defeated him decisively. Ra could have killed him multiple times and it shows how a potentially hundreds of years old warrior beat a guy who started his training 8 years ago

  23. Alyssa P says:

    My friends and I were discussing-can’t Ra’s bring people back from the dead? Wasn’t that his thing? Or someone else’s? I thought that was something mentioned to the side in an earlier episode, but I’m not sure…

  24. Briggs says:

    Okay, as promised, I come to admit that I was wrong. But also kinda right.
    .
    It was Thea.
    .
    But not for the reason I was given.
    .
    Personally, it sounded to me like Malcolm used her as a human weapon. So it’s still means, in a roundabout way, that Malcolm killed her, depending on how you look at it. But her hands were the ones on the arrows in question.
    .
    Once again, poor Thea. Poor, poor Thea. I used to think Roy was the whipping boy of Arrow, but maybe it’s Thea instead. I can’t wait to see how she reacts when she finds out what her father did. He *recorded* the kill. That’s sick.
    .
    Meanwhile, that fight was awesome. And I hope that Maseo winds up killing Ra’s in a way that won’t come back to bite him. I want to see that. He deserves to be his own man, not the League’s lapdog.
    .
    The fact that Dinah knew makes sense, even if her rage seemed a little out of place… until I remembered that she’d been a little unhinged by the photo purportedly of Sara in… Hong Kong? China? In season one. Then it makes total sense. But really? Poor Lance. Quentin needs to find out sometime this season, or I’ll be so angry.
    .
    The scene with Felicity was so emotional. That forehead kiss was definitely not one you give to your sister. :) The parting ‘I love you’ was satisfying, but at the same time, I yelled at my TV, “Dang it, Oliver!” My mother was in the room, and commiserated. I love my mother. :)
    .
    Roy was great, however long he was in the ep. But of course those minutes count. His promise to look after Thea I felt down to my bones. Good Roy.
    .
    Dig had very little to do in the ep… except for act as Oliver’s conscience and common sense. Which is a tough job, when you consider that it’s Oliver. :) He had the job of trying to get Oliver to see what was right in front of him, and as we all know, that’s hard to do.
    .
    Well, let’s add in a poor Felicity. Again finding herself working for a multibillionaire. Again, the man in question wants her help to vigilante around the city. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Poor, poor, Felicity. Though I do feel badly for Ray, and understand his reasons, I still feel just as sorry for Felicity. At least he wasn’t bleeding in the back of her car. I wonder how everyone else is going to feel about it.
    .
    6 weeks, people. 6 weeks. I can’t wait. Tonight was awesome.

    • herman1959 says:

      Felicity must be the most unlucky girl on the planet. She’s a magnet for Billionaire, would-be superheroes with dead girlfriend issues…wow.

      • Briggs says:

        What are the odds she runs across one, let alone two? I’d say she needs therapy after this, but… that would require one hefty confidentiality agreement…

  25. Trenton says:

    If they were gonna off Oliver Ras would have beheaded him. They can still save him but the how is the fun part. Mirakuru would do it and they still have antidotes. Maybe Ras did not intend Oliver to die… he said the thing about avoiding the grave. The pacing worked bc they made it such a quick intense fight. Sequencing each stage of climbing the mountain was smart… built up tension. I think with how the fight went down wasn’t to make Oliver look foolish just that so much footwork and positioning and balance goes in to fighting and Oliver was up against a master who outclassed him.

  26. ? says:

    If Oliver can come back from this, Sara can come back . . . right? Right? Please? (No, I’m not giving up.)

  27. Rob Watkins says:

    I’m just putting this out there, given that we don’t see a body, I doubt Katana/Tatsu is dead. Some think she’s the one who finds Oliver on the cliff and saves him. I don’t know but I think she will come into play later in the season in the present day.

    I really dug Nable as the Demon’s Head. No, he’s not what I picture when I think of Ra’s, but neither was Liam Neeson. However, I think Nable is good in the role and has a presence. I only wish he had been a bigger part of the first half of the season. January can’t come quick enough.

  28. TheaQueen says:

    Oh god i know Oliver is alive but i’m still actually cryng

  29. Kris Anderson says:

    Ok am I the only one who is looking on through this and already awaiting episode 1 where slade returns?

    • kath says:

      I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when Oliver returns. The four Canary episodes, not so much.

      I was looking forward to Malcolm’s storyline but I’m too disgusted with him now to care.

      • Rob Watkins says:

        Malcolm’s a bad guy, you’re supposed to dislike him. And those four episodes aren’t all about Laurel. At least it’s not four episodes of “will they won’t they”.

      • 4 episodes!? Oh good god … surely you jest.

      • I am dreading the 4 Canary episodes too! I can not stand the Laurel storyline, I don’t think she is ever going to be able to fill Sara’s shoes and the fact that they are letting her try is laughable. I’m really looking forward to Oliver’s return, I’m praying they don’t make us go through the Canary storyline arc before we find out if he’s ok or not. Having to wait till January is long enough, I don’t want them to drag it out even more.

  30. Jenay says:

    SPOILERS:

    I think I read to many spoilers and watched way to many trailers and hyped myself up for this episode that it was lackluster for me. I already knew Thea was the killer didn’t know about the plant but I suspect the spoiled selfish brat would have killed Sara anyway because she’s just to ditzy to believe anything bad about Malcolm and would want to protect him.

    Oliver was running back and forth between the arrow cave and Thea and why didn’t he just show her the evidence or at least tell her what Malcolm said ect.. Really by trying to protect her he is only hurting her in the end especially if he lost the fight with Ras and he did.

    Olicity I have to say that was probably the biggest let down of all for Olicity shippers. Felicity spent way to much time with Palmer when she should have been with Oliver and could the writers have done any better of course they could have. Oliver tells her he loves her and all she can do is stand there and watch him leave. Seriously it almost makes me mad for the shippers. Far better dialogue and chemistry between her and Ray tonight then there has been for Olicity since episode 2..

    The fight I knew Oliver would lose and they would introduce the Lazarus Pit and I figure it will be Maseo that will save him. Since this episode is suppose to make the second half of the season change in a big way. I think we will see a very different Oliver return to Starling City. However I hated the fight really bad fighting and why did they make Oliver look so bad. He was just swinging wide like Laurel in the boxing ring. I knew he couldn’t win but he just looked like an amateur. ARGH on this episode I loved this show once upon a time and now I just don’t know anymore.

    • John NYC says:

      Hence the usual label: “Spoilers”.

      When I’m in it for the surprises I’ve learned to just stay away from the usual suspect webpages and NEVER let the video run into the promos: the idiots who put those teasers together know no bounds. And these days I really wish I could toggle some Twitter accounts on and off since with live Tweeting there are entire nights I can’t go there as even averting my eyes doesn’t guarantee not glimpsing something I’d prefer to discover and not be spoiled on.

  31. Azerty says:

    I don’t know why my first comment doesn’t appear…anyway I was saying they didn’t take any risks in this episode specially with Thea and the mind control drug, Malcolm’s motiv make no sense at all and Oliver’s death was very predictable as soon as they confirmed that Ra’s last duel was 67 years ago (Lazarus pit). Very disappointed by this final.

    • Rob Watkins says:

      But do you really get points for predicting something five minutes from the end?

      What about Malcolm’s motive doesn’t make any sense?

      • Azerty says:

        The thing is not about getting points five minutes before the end but being left with many unanswered questions, making theories about what is next and being excited about it. Right now the only solution to get Oliver back is the Lazarus Pit, which is a very easy path…If Oliver had been captured or had left with the LoA on purpose, I would have been more surprised and left with really no idea what they will do next. Malcolm doesn’t make sense because if he wanted Ra’s dead why would he trick Oliver? He knows Ra’s, he has been trained by Ra’s and he has always claimed to be a better killer than Oliver, so why does he suddenly think that Oliver has a better chance than him to kill Ra’s?

        • Rob Watkins says:

          You think it will be the Lazarus Pit, but maybe not, and there are still repercussions from immersion in the pits.

          We don’t know what Malcolm’s motives are. For all we know he wanted Oliver dead, and played him. He plays his cards close to the vest and manipulates people. Yes, he knows Ra’s, and he knows Oliver, so he’d likely know Oliver was bound to die in a fight with him.

  32. sladewilson says:

    Can anyone say, “Lazarus Pit”? Because a show called “Arrow” ain’t worth much without the guy shooting said arrows, right? Or did Roy just get a major upgrade? I think not. I saw it coming – I hate to tell all you non-comic-book fans this but some things are canon – only person who can beat Ra’s hand to hand is not named Oliver Queen. His name is Bruce Wayne. But I see that Lazarus Pit in Ollie’s immediate future. I just hope he doesn’t go bats**t crazy and lose his memories (oh yeah, the pit can do that to you – no one told y’all this? You’ve been warned…)… Awesome cliffhanger….

  33. tyranthraxus says:

    I think Ras will condition Oliver to join the League. Repair him both in mind and body and take him back more to being the Hood than being the Arrow.

  34. Amber says:

    Yeah I thought it was strange that the fight started a couple of minutes before the end of the episode. There wasn’t enough time for the usual ‘big bad guy wins initially and then underdog good guy finds his strength in memories of loved ones and gets up and kicks ass’. Sigh… Oliver queen is just everything I want in a guy. I’m totally in a virtual relationship with this guy. He so pretty.

    • John NYC says:

      But in the context of “5 or so years of on and off training of a spoiled rich boy versus six hundred years of dedicated killing” the time it took was plausible, and then only since Ra’s al Ghul started out without a blade. We saw how ten trained assassins of the league went down in a few short moments when he HAD a blade….

  35. yuouy says:

    Ray Stalker, sorry I mean Palmer is really creepy. Memes like this one “tell a sob story about ur dead girlfriend to get ur victim to forget ur stalking her” are on the internet.

  36. Winona Kraus says:

    NO!!!! I was crying when Oliver was killed!

  37. Wayne Norman says:

    this ones easy, Atom saves him end of story :) in the next one Felicity will tell him what arrows going to do and ask for his help then youll see atom catch him and fly him away where he will repair his body, if iam wrong and arrow survives the fall gets up and heals himself then iam never gonna watch it again lol

    • angus says:

      It is also possible that to change things up maseo could have had a change of heart and the place he told oliver to go to when he gave him the piece of paper was directions for the Lazarus pit so he was already “invincible” per se and now he will recover from the fall having extra strength etc… Just a thought

  38. pat says:

    Am very disappointed in the arrow fighting skill  whit all that training that all he could come up whit the 2 kris sword are from the Moro a 1000 years old sultan mix whit Filipino native martial art 
    I did over 14 years of kali pikiti tirsia and he train in the same style of Filipino  escrima ‎
    Witch is a mix of old Moro style whit Spanish rapier mix call espada y daga 
    So for hem to take the kris blade was stupid way to heavy good for jungle warfare
    Just a Lil knife would of done the job at close quarter 
    It the only thing that give me a bad taste from the arrow 
    I wish I could teach them proper fight scene whit sword because it certainly Suck  ‎

    • Drew says:

      See? I said the same type of thing up above and people kept asking if I had any training that made me an expert. You’re so much cooler than me right now because you can say that you do have training. :-)

    • John NYC says:

      They resembled a bit what he’d been introduced to back on the island, and while I don’t recall his island training scenes Slade did carry a paired set on his back so I’ll assume the style used two blades: better the inadequate “known” than something like one of those katana’s he’d never ever handled before. Facing the Demon’s Head isn’t when you try out something new. And he remarked in surprise Ra’s al Ghul hadn’t chosen a weapon at the start, so his decision on weapon choice was based on his assumption Ra’s would be weilding a long blade, and for that a “lil knife” would have been even swifter suicide.

  39. Rick Katze says:

    t this point, Thea and Ray are odd-man out in not knowing what is going on. I’m guessing that Thea will find out about Arrow somewhere in the back-half of the season. And while Malcolm will survive, I’m not sure if Thea will still be with him. Ray’s situation is a lot less clear.
    Like the way Flash and Arrow shows overlap.
    We’ve already seen Oliver fake his death once in season 1. Does it make sense that Ra’s al Ghul has some ulterior motive in the way he “killed” Oliver and the specific location? The last time Oliver also fell off a cliff.
    It was good to see John Barrowman finally show up even if it was just for a fleeting moment.
    6 long weeks before Arrow returns.

  40. Lauren says:

    That was boring. Too much soap opera. Oliver dying had me rolling my eyes. He’s the titular guy, he can’t die. Except, maybe, if they sack Amell for his crappy acting.

    • You figured out the titular character is not dead? Hmm … I smell wood burning. Just how much IQ power of yours did THAT take to figure out?

      Wow us with your brilliance, why don’t you…

      • Lauren says:

        Bringing up the IQ. Did you pick that up from your mom? Must have been hell living with her, that is, if you aren’t still living in her house.

        Love it when people ask for the IQ, shows you how low the IQ of the one who asked, how low they look at themselves and the crappiness of their mom’s parenting.

        • Briggs says:

          We can leave family members out of things like this. We really can. Their rudeness doesn’t excuse yours. This person could be this rude despite their mother’s good parenting.

    • Briggs says:

      If you decide to leave over it, we won’t miss you. Just so you know. The rest of us will continue to enjoy a show that you obviously enjoy trolling the fans of.

  41. jim says:

    Great episode. Did anyone notice ray’s suit was designated OMAC? So I would assume that in the future his suit design will be used to create androids that attack the city? The fight scene was poor. As if both people had a couple of hours to train with swords. Arrow is a grappler and would have gone fist to fist if needed.
    He’s beaten strong opponents in the comics. He choose to lose. Why are people talking about Lazarus pit? Did no on notice arrow still has the formula in his body? He’ll heal. Oliver queen is dead a new ARROW figure will emerge. Arsenal will help first few episodes with oliver slow getting back to health and creating a new persona. Maybe setting up merlin too.

  42. Robert says:

    Of course Oliver wasn’t going to win. First of all climbing up that huge mountain must’ve been a huge energy drainer. Second ras all ghul is about 600 years oldand has been in battle many times and has killed a 1000 men as he said. He has 600 years of experience with probably all sorts of weaponry Third

  43. Ashley says:

    I’m… what… how… WHAT? This is like, SEASON FINALE level stuff. Not mid-season. What just happened? I mean, I wasn’t expecting Oliver to win. That would just be too much for his first outing against someone touted as the most dangerous man in the world. I was trying to figure out if there’d be some sort of helicopter catch scene or something after getting the stuffing beat out of him, but… WHAT? I can’t survive a six week hiatus with that cliffhanger. I just really hope he’s not legitimately dead. It would definitely be a twist if someone new picked up the Arrow hood, but… I don’t want that to happen. Oliver tucked that pouch of mystical herbs in his sack before he left. Hopefully it’s in his pocket and it’s Maseo in the previews going up to save his old friend.

    • scope says:

      totally agree. Season finale appropriate! My money is on the lazurus pit over the herbs. Only because I’m curious as to how herbs are going to heal what I can only imagine are a ton of broken bones.

  44. jim says:

    Forgot to mention that katana is part of the outsiders in batman and the outsiders. So look for her to help arrow in the future. Expect the outsiders to be part of the arrow in the future. So we now have lots of teams set up for the future.

  45. Tom Hunter says:

    For those that know the lore of Ras, this has Lazarus Pit written all over it, for sure!!

    But then the question becomes, how will the Pit affect Oliver? And will Oliver or Laurel decide to get the body of Sarah and drop it in the same pit to see what happens?????

  46. ace says:

    Who thanks batman saves olyiver and Trains him ? They do both have the same enemy!

  47. Troia Titan says:

    My fave part of the episode was seeing Tatsu finally wield the Soultaker in her fight with China White. And now that Maseo is back in the picture that should mean Tatsu/Katana shouldn’t be far behind…so for that i’m super psyched!!

    • John NYC says:

      The puzzle there is we saw his son had survived so with Tatsu/Katana alive what would the incident have been that Oliver understood would have driven Maseo to The League?

      Oh and yes, that fight scene with her wielding her blade was the better fight of the episode. They were more evenly matched, Ra’s al ghoul just had Oliver way over matched (understandably) and to use a sports metaphor, blowouts just never flow all that well.

  48. Linda P says:

    So, was Oliver’s “death” so that Laurel can be showcased in the next 3 episodes? Then Oliver will return in “the return”? Just asking.

  49. derek117 says:

    While I really liked tonight’s episode (especially since I had picked Thea as the Killer almost from episode 2), I was under-whelmed by the Oliver vs. Ra’s fight. That lasted all of 3 minutes.

    I’m not sure what I was expecting–though I assume the writers’ purpose was to kill Oliver–so he could be resurrected…and possibly (like Sara before him) become a Member of the League. As the price for being brought back to life.

    But still, Oliver has over three seasons defeated other opponents that are more skilled than him. Usually because Oliver is determined–and outsmarts them. Examples: both Slade and Brother Blood, in season 2, had clearly beat Olivier–until he dug down deep and found a way to beat them.

    Yet, he was completely ineffective against Ra’s. It’s almost like the writers were recreating the battle between Achilles and Hector from the Iliad–with Hector so intimidated by Achilles’ reputation to fight effectively. IMO, it the Ra’s vs. Olivier showdown wasn’t an “epic” battle.

    The Good News is Oliver gone (and presumed dead) opens a lot of storytelling around a leaderless Team Arrow–at least for a short time. Plus, it throws a wrinkle into Malcolm’s plan to have the League’s death warrant against him cancelled. Assuming, of course, that really was the outcome Malcolm wanted. By setting up a fight between Oliver and Ra’s, Malcolm was assured of eliminating an enemy no matter who won.

    • John NYC says:

      Six hundred years facing and killing untold thousands of lethal opponents versus 5 or so years of dabbling by an initially spoiled richie player. 3 minutes was dragging it out, made slightly plausible by Ra’s al Ghul starting out weaponless. Versus when he DID have a blade and ten lifetime trained assassins of The League of Assassins went down in one fluid moment. A nicely placed foreshadowing scene IMHO.

  50. Rick says:

    Awesome ep. was more like a season closer than mid-season (imo).
    I see Oliver being helped (sorry, no pit) by Maseo.
    Ray filling Oliver’s void (the rest of the season?) via ATOM.
    Felicity and Ray hooking up (her feeling lost without Oliver maybe?).
    Towards the end of the season, Thea finding out Olivers “secret” (Oliver has dissapeared, and Arrow has vanished, how much more Supe’s/Clark can you get??).
    Slades return, and (maybe?) helping against Ras/LoS.
    All, in all, the latter 1/2 of the series is set for some interesting times.

    My 3 favourite shows off for a break (Arrow, SHIELD and Flash)….. glad i got GoT to watch (from the start lol).

    • Luis says:

      While I do agree with your idea about Maseo being the agent of Oliver’s salvation, I feel like Oliver not being stone dead when he’s found will be a cheat on the producers’s part. The trial is supposed to be to the death, and Ra’s did not look like he was interested in changing the rules (the old sword through the chest is usually pretty final!)
      As far as Thea finding out Ollie’s secret, willful blindness is the trope that has made comics possible. Really, how has Quentin Lance not done this math yet?
      These events have certainly made the idea of Slade’s reappearance a lot more interesting.

      • redjane12 says:

        Yep – I would find Oliver eventual recovery from a non-life threatening injury more believable if had made some off-screen deal with Ras to trap Merlyn… That would also help explain why he’d leave Thea behind in spite of the threat that damning video poses to her esp in Merlyn’s hands…