Arrow – Al Sah-Him (Review)

We’re literally down to the wire on Season 3 of Arrow. With only two more episodes left after this one, the finale is not far off and yet it doesn’t look like we’re any closer to seeing one.

Last week Oliver agreed to become the new Ra’s al Ghul in order to save Thea’s life. This week sees his transformation taking him to new, scary levels. The once driven, spirited Oliver Queen is apparently gone, replaced by the Arrow, and soon, he won’t even be that anymore.

Having started on that particularly grim note, it’s not long before Oliver’s back in Starling City. His task is to find Nyssa. From the off it appears to be that he’s to eliminate any competition faced in his ascension to head of the League of Assassins. Conflict comes when Laurel insists that Team Arrow not willingly give up Nyssa, and this is where the problems begin.

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Nyssa has a nice little scene with Laurel where she acts like a regular person, period. It would help if in the past few weeks we’d seen more of her and Laurel’s interactions, considering that she is meant to be training her and such. Here, Laurel’s protection of Nyssa comes across as rash, though I suppose with them both having Sara in common, allowances must be made.

Diggle finds himself conflicted too. When Team Arrow denies Oliver Nyssa, Oliver switches to a plan B and kidnaps Layla. Immediately Diggle is all for giving up Nyssa, though the rest of the group treat this like some sort of line being crossed.

So let’s talk about Oliver. It’s a little difficult to follow a story line wherein which the main protagonist has seemingly lost himself entirely and become cold-blooded and merciless. What makes it more difficult, and baffling, is that this change has apparently occurred after only a few weeks. When we think back to everything that both past and present Oliver have been through, something doesn’t add up.

We finally get an idea of Ra’s’ end-game plan at least. With a proposed marriage between Oliver and Nyssa (that neither looks happy about) on the horizon. Ultimately it boils down to the fact that to fully become the next Ra’s, Oliver will have to destroy the thing he was trying to protect: Starling City.

Flashbacks bring us ever closer to seeing what happened to Maseo and Tatsu’s son, though at this crucial story point they’re doing little more than setting up Oliver’s existing knowledge of the virus, as it’s the same one Ra’s wants him to use to kill everyone in Starling. This brings us back to Oliver. Obviously he agreed to become head of the league, but I find it very unlikely that he will destroy Starling City. He had ample opportunity to kill most of his friends this week and declined to do so.

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Team Arrow, I feel, give up on Oliver too quickly here. Obviously having someone change so dramatically into something they aren’t good drama, but here it feels strained. Whereas before when they believed him to be dead, they carried on without him. Now it looks like the wind is out of their sails completely.

Oliver and Nyssa are likely getting married next week, so whatever anyone’s hiding will have to crop up in the next two episodes or we may end up with a season finale cliff-hanger on our hands. There’s a marked tension, but at the same time the yo-yoing plot we’ve been seeing this season doesn’t quite lend itself to the level of desperation the show-runners are going for. Perhaps the season will look better when binge-viewed after the DVD?

Do you think Oliver’s gone native? Will he or Nyssa actually go through with the wedding? Let us know what you think in the comments below…

Nick Matthews

About the Author

Nicholas Matthews is a 25 year old author (within reason). He can't wait to see the new Avengers movie, and was once ruler of Westeros for a minute or so.