Well. That happened. This week’s Arrow threatens to turn the show in a whole new direction. I can’t even begin to guess where they take things next.

Getting to the episode itself, after watching it, I (and trusty Flarrow sidekick Christelle) went back to see a Facebook post Stephen Amell put up earlier in the week to describe the episode.

With this template, let’s break down the episode using the Captain’s own words.

Wait… What?

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First off, IS THAT A LAZARUS PIT I SEE? Or some version of it?! R’as is just taking a casual soak when Nyssa comes barging in furious that Oliver is still alive. I guess Nanda Parbat gets Starling City local news. R’as is pretty chill about it, but Nyssa isn’t having it.

Back in Starling, Oliver, Malcolm, and Thea are having an AWESOME triple fight.

Reasons Diggle is The Best #1:

“My friends call me Dig. You shouldn’t even speak to me.”

Thea is still furious with Malcolm and refuses to listen to him more than Oliver says she should. But even that bond is fraying. Thea is having trouble looking Laurel in the eye now that she knows she killed Sara. Roy tries to help, telling her about the cop he killed and the guilt he endures.

Ray Palmer ATOM Tech
People like the scruff.

Over at Palmer Tech, Ray Palmer seems to have gone missing! Felicity comes to find him in his amazingly spacious billionaire apartment. He’s been holed up working on the ATOM suit, but something’s just not right yet. He hasn’t slept, showered, or eaten in days. He dismisses Felicity, saying he needs to focus on getting the suit to work. She leaves, shaking her head. Once again, people don’t listen to Felicity.

Laurel tries to call her dad, but he’s (RIGHTFULLY) dodging her calls. Thea comes by and proves that broodily keeping secrets doesn’t run in the family. She actually tells Laurel that she killed Sara! Wait… What!?

Laurel is actually pretty understanding about it. She recognizes that Thea wasn’t herself, but rages at the fact that they still choose to work with Malcolm, knowing what he did! Laurel’s words make Thea consider another way.

The Table Setter*

*I have the least idea of what this one meant. I’m thinking the literal definition of this act preparing the table that is the rest of the episode, but could it be this obscure (to me, as I know nothing about it) baseball definition: “an unexpected event early in a ball game, such as a defensive error or a hit batsmen, can be called a “tablesetter” for the outcome of the game.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_baseball_(T)

Laurel confronts Oliver about what she just learned. Oliver once again lies to her face about it and now she sees how much he does it. Oliver continues to lose the support of the people around him as Laurel declares:

“You know it’s hard to remember a time when I was actually in love with you.”

Unlike Laurel forgetting Sara’s smile, she doesn’t remember this feeling by the end of the episode. While the anti-Oliver/Laurel shipper in me rejoiced at the finality of this moment, it must sting for Oliver considering his heart is still shredded from the similar statement Felicity made a few weeks ago. He’s losing his grasp on all his friends and those who love him. While I don’t think Laurel loves him in that way presently, and I doubt Oliver believes that she does either, she is burning away the time when she did. With Sara also gone, the three biggest loves of his life have all removed their love from his life. Hard to go on like that. (The shot of Oliver reacting as they spin around to the suit is great. Because that suit is the reason why people keep stomping on his heart.)

Meanwhile, Thea has made a decision. She’s called the League and they come calling. But first, Laurel proves why no one tells her things.

I try to root for her, especially this season, I do. She’s on a journey and is still learning, but man are her mistakes STUPID! She tries to go after Malcolm, ALONE, and is getting trounced before the League of Assassins arrive and show her how it’s done.

Sounds Sorta Interesting

Oliver and Laurel make angry faces at each other for about two minutes while Oliver makes the team prep to rescue Malcolm from the League. Felicity tries to reason with Oliver, but he continues being an idiot. We see what THAT sets in motion. Oliver claims that he needs to rescue Malcolm so that Thea doesn’t face guilt down the road for having her own father killed. Oliver tries to stop the League from escaping with Malcolm, but he just ends up with Nyssa in a Box.

The team is worried Oliver is going to torture Nyssa to get the information he needs. Interestingly, no one seems to stop him. I guess they just figure, nothing we’ve said to dissuade him from another so far has gotten through, why try now?

Reasons Diggle is the Best #2:

“You can’t save Thea’s soul at the cost of your own.”

Thankfully, Oliver didn’t plan on torturing her. (I loved her line, “your every action has been aimed towards the frustration of justice” so much that i used it for the subtitle.) She offers the location of Nanda Parbat pretty immediately, basically hoping Oliver will die there because of how much he’s been annoying her and not letting her get justice. No one wants Oliver to go, but he really doesn’t listen (Malcolm is right about a few things: #1 being that he’s STUBBORN). Dig tries to make Oliver see that he’s not just doing this for Thea, but he takes offense anytime someone suggests different.

Felicity checks on Ray again. Since Oliver “has his head shoved so far up his colon, that… he’s literally going to get himself killed,” Felicity takes it upon herself to save someone who will actually listen to her. She locks Ray out of the ATOM mainframe (or something techy like that) and makes him eat, take a shower, and head straight to bed. Himself. Alone. Not her TAKING him to bed. Although… maybe?

The best moment of this episode for me?

DIGLETTE!!

Baby Sara and Lyla make an appearance! Lyla gives Diggle advice so he can give better advice to Oliver. Or something like that. Lyla speaks for us all when she encourages John to get back in the field and really help Oliver like he should be. She and we the audience know he should be out there. So Go!

Reasons Diggle is the Best #3:

“You think we could borrow the ARGUS jet?”

Leading us to:

That Coulda Gone WAY WORSE

WOW is this symbolic! With Oliver being the one who will "be with Me in paradise?' hmm
WOW is this symbolic! With Oliver being the one who will “be with Me in paradise?” hmm

Oliver and Diggle infiltrate League grounds, while Ray infiltrates… something else. (Too much?) While Oliver and Diggle get themselves caught, knocked out, and chained together, Ray and Felicity connect in a whole new way.

I don’t like Raylicity, but I can’t even be mad. (I loved how she literally couldn’t look at him shirtless, she kept turning around when he faced her.) Well, I’m a little concerned, but more on that later. After Felicity opens up with brainwaves (there are too many innuendos to go with here, choose your own), Ray UNLOCKS THE SECRET TO COMPLETING THE ATOM SUIT.

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He flies around Starling City, leaving a thoroughly knocked out Felicity snuggled in a billion dollar apartment.

Over in Nanda Parbat, Oliver seems to have belatedly realized that he’s not after R’as just for Thea. He can’t live knowing someone out there beat him. (He has no problem with Malcolm running around, someone who beat him TWICE, but okay buddy). He actually acknowledges this is “egotistical and insane.” The first step is recognizing you have a problem, right? Diggle and Oliver pretend like they aren’t about to die and Diggle asks Oliver a favor. In a moment that is no surprise, but was still AAAAAWWWWWWWWWW worthy, Diggle asks Oliver to be his best man.

Reasons Diggle is The Best #974:

“When I lost my brother, I never thought I’d get another one.”

Yeah, I definitely teared up a little a lot at that line. Oliver accepts, making me wonder what kind of bachelor parties Arrow!Ollie throws these days.

Huh.

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“No, Mr. Queen. I don’t want to kill you. I want you to take my place. I want you to become the next Ra’s al Ghul.”

That’s what TV Tropes would call a Wham Line!

When Stephen said the last moment would be a “huh” moment — not a question, but a slow nod — he really meant it. While it wasn’t hard to see Oliver becoming a pupil of Ra’s in the future (they’re so alike, as I think I mentioned in the midseason finale), I never imagined Ra’s  would offer the position itself to Oliver.

I have so many questions and so few theories as to where the writers are going to take things. I know only one sure thing about the rest of this season: There will be a wedding (if behind the scenes vids of the cast in formal wear is any indication).

Oliver can’t (maybe more like shouldn’t?) actually become Ra’s al Ghul. There are SO many reasons why, you don’t need me to explicate them, but here are a few things that immediately come to mind

  • Uhm, what about Starling City? Does he not care about those people anymore? Or would he leave it to the rest of Team Arrow?
  • He’d be officially saying goodbye to any chances with Felicity.
  • NO WAY any current League members would ever listen to him.
  • Oliver should be focused on getting back the pieces of his soul, not losing it all together.
  • And on and on and on.

Just like Oliver actually dying would never actually happen, Oliver becoming Ra’s would of course negate the title and premise, but the offer itself is interesting. Will Oliver seriously consider it? (I’m sure he’s realized by now that Ra’s is like 100 years old — does Ollie want long life like that?) Is it just a way to learn from the master and then beat him? This definitely will make Oliver consider who he wants to be, since apparently death did little to make him self-evaluate.

Also a “Huh” moment? Thea offering Nyssa the chance to kill her for her role in Sara’s death. WATER YOU THINKING THEA? Not that I think Nyssa will kill her. I think she will appreciate the honesty and maybe give a half-hearted fight, but what will this moment do for the relationship between the two? But Thea is bold. She may not be a killer (well, she’s got it in her, remember what I said last week about her shooting Malcolm at the train station, then Slade on Lian Yu), but she’s earnest in her desire for transparency. We’ll see how her method, so very different from Oliver’s, will treat her going forward.

Quick Flashback Recap: ARGUS lied to Ollie and Maseo’s family about letting them go home. The end. Okay, but actually we need to talk about the kid, because we assume he’s dead in the present since he is with neither of his parents and their grief seems to have separated them, but what is about to happen to him while in Oliver’s care? I doubt that Maseo and Tatsu would come to his aid the way they did if he died under Oliver’s protection (unless it wasn’t his fault), so what happened? That’s the one thing at all interesting me about the flashbacks these days.

Flechettes:

  • On the Felicity/Ray front. Okay. I don’t like Ray. Longtime NOC recap readers from this season know this. He was less creepily stalkerish in this episode and I am glad for that (but don’t I’ve forgotten!). I am fine with him and Felicity, uhm, something about stars and making supernovae explode? It’s temporary of course. He’s a rebound off of Oliver’s dismissals and she deserves the world and to not wait around for stubborn superheroes, but Ray’s focus on his mission rivals Oliver’s and I fear she’s jumping in to this alternative situation too fast with someone who has the same problem! (Though, notice the similar lens flare as they kiss like the Olicity kiss from 3×01. Felicity, does this happen EVERY TIME you kiss a guy? What is this magic power you possess?) This is, of course, a real flaw that real people have (being chronically attracted to the same type), but this is just going to lead to heartbreak on so many fronts (Felicity, Oliver, Ray, the Diggle/Roy Olicity fanclub they’ve formed down in the Foundry). But Felicity has every right to get it on. They both very clearly enjoyed it. We’ll see where their relationship goes from here.
  • While of course the show is more than the ships that sail (and fire cannons at each other on the Fandom Seas), it seems like this season is pushing Oliver away from sailing with anyone. The tension between Olicity is so thick even a flaming arrow can’t break it, but even those few remaining die hard Lauriver — nope, Oliver/Laurel has a better ring to it — fans aren’t getting any give in their direction either. Laurel’s words to Oliver are meant to be more than about shipping — as I mentioned earlier, it’s about Oliver losing the support of those around him, pushing him closer to possibly choosing to become the new Ra’s — but the sting of it must still hurt fans who want The Arrow to be with Black Canary in the future (even if it’s Laurel under the mask).
  • Both for shipping and Foundry sanity purposes, Oliver REALLY needs to stop snapping at Felicity. Just for simple friendship/coworker/work proximity associate reasons.
  • I said the same thing:

  • Who was the magician Ra’s saw in 1854?
  • “I don’t want to go out like Butch and Sundance, so what’s the plan?” “Shoot straighter than they do.”

No new Arrow until mid-March…! How will we cope?!

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3 thoughts on “NOC Recaps Arrow: The Frustration of Justice

  1. Hilarious recap this week. I found the episode to be kind of a mixed bag full of interesting things, boring things and really odd things.

    I was really impressed by both Roy and Thea. They are both trying to take responsibility for their actions (so the opposite of Malcolm Merlyn) in their own ways. Roy is quietly getting more awesome and Thea was really amazing for the third week in a row. A LOT of stuff has been thrown at her in a very short time and she is dealing with it admirably. She doesn’t really spend time in denial but takes some serious action. I admired her coming clean with Nyssa (and Laurel) and I think Nyssa herself will end up being impressed too.

    Diggle was on point and kicking butt every which way! He slams Malcolm hard, has a healthy discussion with his Lyla, is patiently both supportive of Oliver and calls him on his crap. That scene between him and Oliver in the dungeon was amazing (both Amell and Ramsey were wonderful) so I overlooked the fact that Oliver once again had No Effective Plan and still didn’t think he was going to die in Nanda Parbat… Silly silly Oliver.

    I liked how the subject of focus came up again with Ray Palmer. Once again the parallels between him and Oliver were all over the place. There is focus and there is narrow-minded obsession and he and Oliver both tend to the obsession side. I also am not a fan of Ray Palmer for many of the same reasons that you have stated this whole season. Sad too because I wanted to like him when the season started but the character has been disappointingly written. I think Felicity’s attraction to him is understandable, she kissed him when he told her that when he is with her he doesn’t think about work or the mission. If anything would convince her to try a romantic relationship at this point in her life it would be that sentiment. But I think you’re right. In the long run she will not find that she can fix him or do things over nor is trying to re-do things with a pseudo-Oliver a good basis for a lasting relationship. And that is how Palmer has been presented to us, a pseudo-Oliver which isn’t much of a character really.

    The “twist” at the end wasn’t much of a shocker was it? I mean, I have no idea where they are going but I wasn’t surprised by R’as offering him his position. I felt that was pretty solidly hinted at in ep 9 and haven’t loads of people been theorizing that for weeks if not months? What I found more interesting was that R’as is passing over his daughter for Oliver. Malcolm told Nyssa she had forfeited her inheritance because of her relationship with Sara. Huh? Why would that be? (Not that anything that Malcolm says can be taken as true.) I want to see R’as explain why and I want to see how Nyssa reacts to the news.

    The most puzzling and irritating thing was the flashback (not unusual). Can someone please explain to me how ARGUS would want to kill them all instead of letting them go? What exactly would Waller be trying to accomplish by that? She has struck me as someone who does things only for strategic reasons. That made no sense to me and it might continue to bug although I will try not to think about it.

    In spite of the weaknesses this episode gives no major indication of where the writers are headed which I think is interesting. Add in what we’ve seen in the trailer for the Offer and I am truly puzzled. Oliver looked truly tempted by that offer and that doesn’t bode well for his humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, definitely props to Thea and Roy for their, as you said, quiet development.
      Diggle is the best this week. I hope we can get as much and more of him in the episodes to come (I CANT WAIT FOR HIS WEDDING!!)
      ” And that is how Palmer has been presented to us, a pseudo-Oliver which isn’t much of a character really.” Hmm, yeah. And this character’s home city doesn’t seem to be Starling City, he’s his own hero with is own comics, so will they just keep him around (even if he and Felicity break up or whatever happens with that) or will he feel like he’s gotten justice at some point and head off to live in another city (perhaps new Palmer Tech HQ, perhaps a Brandon Routh led-spin off, who knows)? While I don’t mind more members of Team Arrow (Trio plus Roy plus Laurel plus Thea maybe?), heroes outside of the group is definitely a crowded. I hope they let us know where they’re taking him soon. Not necessarily explicitly, but just hints as to what his end game this season might be.

      “What I found more interesting was that R’as is passing over his daughter for Oliver. Malcolm told Nyssa she had forfeited her inheritance because of her relationship with Sara.” Yeah. I think that’s why Stephen was like “nodding slowly” because it’s not truly a surprise. But its definitely interesting that he skipped over Nyssa. She definitely will not like that! That is certainly going to be an aspect of Oliver’s decision, whatever obstacles Nyssa puts in his way. I wonder how far they will take his consideration of the offer. I can see him looking for a way to deal with the increasing lack of humanity he feels he has and to cloud the pain of all the people in his life yelling at him and removing their love from his life (certainly Diggle’s words helped heal the tears both Felicity and Laurel caused) but also hopefully he realizes that they’ll stop yelling when he stops being stupid. LIke I said, hopefully acknowledging how egotistical and insane he’s been is the first step in fixing the problem. LOL

      Yeah, they really stretched out the flashback this episode. There are certain episodes where it’s definitely not necessary, but they’ve expressed that writing the show feels weird when there aren’t any flashbacks. But I am worried for that kid. Seems assured that he dies, but what’s Oliver’s role in his fate? But yeah, definitely the flashbacks were filler this week, more than usual.

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