Arrow returns this week after the events of “The Climb.” Here’s a quick refresher on the midseason finale:
- Mind control is a thing, and it’s a weapon in Merlyn’s arsenal (arrow in his quiver?).
- Thea killed Sarah (CALLED IT!).
- Dinah Lance learns the truth about Sara, and encourages Laurel to seek vengeance.
- Maseo is now a member of the League of Assassins, and goes by a name that means “Phantom.”
- Ra’s killed Oliver.
- RA’S KILLED OLIVER!
“I’m just gonna toss this out here: I think Thea killed Sarah.”
At the time, it seemed like a long shot that Thea was the culprit. However, as I noted, it is fitting of Merlyn’s character. Which leads me to the second part of the quote:
“It seems that there is a showdown on the horizon between Malcolm and Ra’s [Al Ghul].”
We’ve already seen glimpses of Merlyn positioning himself against Ra’s in the trailer for this week’s episode. At this point is there anyone who doubts that Merlyn is out for himself? There is no way that he’s approaching Team Arrow with news of Oliver’s demise simply because he cares about their wellbeing. I don’t think it’s too much of a reach to say that this is a power play. Merlyn is setting up the chessboard, with the League on one side, Team Arrow on the other, and him in control. Which, leaves the city to fend for itself, which brings in a very unprepared Laurel and a very determined Ray Palmer (both of whom we see in the trailer).
I my review for The Magician I tried to map this out a bit:
“Merlyn’s return and Ra’s involvement is setting the stage for perhaps the biggest battle we’ve seen on this show. It would be an epic battle if it were just Ollie, Merlyn and Ra’s, but when you include [the League], Diggle, Felicity, Roy, Laurel, Quentin, and Thea, it grows exponentially in importance and difficulty. […]
Laurel also hasn’t told her father about Sara, which is clearly going to put her at odds with Quentin at some point, which in turn will put Quentin at odds with Oliver. Thea’s allegiance to Merlyn, Roy’s feelings for Thea and Diggle’s association with ARGUS only makes things that much more complicated. Seeds of a civil war being sown, and Oliver is at the center being pulled by all sides. The hero’s journey doesn’t end, it only escalates.”
Team Arrow is rapidly disintegrating, Felicity has been moving closer and closer to Ray and Dig has been stepping into his role as a father and, soon to be, husband. Roy will step up in Oliver’s absence, which makes the “Speedy vs. Arsenal” showdown almost a certainty (although I think it’s going to require more of Merlyn’s mind-control). Ray, in spite of his intentions, hardly seems prepared to take on the task of becoming Star City’s protector.
I short, Merlyn’s actions have sown almost immeasurable amounts of discord among those who are best equipped to stop him. He’s obviously learned from his previous failures, and he’s significantly upped his game.
Which brings us back to Oliver and his journey. If The Magician signaled the call to adventure, then “The Climb” is the ordeal, where the hero descends into death. If the storyline sticks to the pattern, then resurrection is on the horizon. As an aside, Stephen Amell has said that the Lazarus Pit will not factor into Oliver’s return. I call shenanigans, but I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
My favorite theory is that the Lazarus Pits are somehow tied to Mirakuru. Perhaps the Japanese found a pit during WWII and attempted to synthesize its properties? Resurrection via Lazarus Pit is known to cause temporary madness, so it seems logical that some sort of incomplete synthetic copy would do the same, albeit with the madness being more permanent? It would be a logical way to bridge Ra’s, Slade and Oliver’s triumph over death in a, mostly, cohesive fashion. At least, it’s logical based on the rules and science as they exist on the show. Therefore, even if Amell isn’t entirely misdirecting the audience, it’s still possible that the Lazarus Pit plays a role in his return. But perhaps it’s more indirect than anyone assumes.
Regardless of how he returns, the fact is, he will return. It’s highly unlikely that the writers would kill off the namesake of the show (although, I would applaud their audacity if they did!). I predict that we’ll see Oliver return when Star City is at its darkest moment. A hero finds a way to bring healing when it is most needed.
To put it plainly, shit’s about to get real!
- My theory regarding Thea killing Sara seems to have been correct (although, it’s Merlyn, so there’s still room for a misdirect).
- Alex Kingston is fantastic. Can we have more of her please??
- The final fight between Ra’s and Oliver was spectacular. Some of the action and angles were a bit wonky, but I’ll be damned if Matt Nable (Ra’s) and Amell didn’t give it their all.
- The ending of the episode left my jaw on the floor. It was fantastic.
The Might Be Good:
- Alex Kingston’s Dinah seems to have just a bit of bloodlust in her eyes. I think there’s more to her than we realize. Perhaps Sara wasn’t the first Lance woman to be a member of the League?
- There’s a whole bunch of ugly on the horizon for Star City. I can’t wait to see how Team Arrow and Ray Palmer step up. But, at the same time, without Oliver their missions could all go sideways very quickly.
- Some of the dialogue in this episode was just At times it was like listening to something written as part of a high school drama club. This show has historically struggled with the “touching” moments, and this was certainly one of those times.
- Continuing from the previous point, Alex Kingston seemed to be saddled with the worst dialogue. Some of her scenes would have been downright unwatchable had it been any other actor.
- Rounding out the Doing Wrong By Kingston trio, who the hell decided to flatten that poor woman’s hair?