During the flashback in last night’s episode, “The Fallen,” a deadly bioweapon is released because of Ollie’s butterfingers and no one cares. No one cares, because the A-plot gives us something we’ve been waiting for. Hell, we’ve been dying for it. But never in a million years did we think it would happen like this.
I looked up the director for this episode, because he deserves kudos. Antonio Negret clearly knows that there is no possible way to make the stuff happening here look like a gritty urban superhero drama, and he doesn’t try. Instead, he goes straight for the Indiana Jones trilogy.
When Ollie goes to Nanda Parbat to get Thea into the Lazarus Pit, the way that the League is lined up to greet him, the torches, and the coloration on the banners all look exactly like the soon-to-be-face-melted Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The chanting while Thea gets lowered on a platform into the Lazarus Pit, and the plush interiors of all the bed chambers in the palace are straight out of Temple of Doom. And the castle built into the side of the mountain is exactly like the repository of the holy grail in The Last Crusade.
Plus there’s people running around catacombs and ninjas fighting in flowing silks and that one weird, severe-looking lady in a headdress and heavy eye-liner who’s just there during ceremonial scenes without any explanation. For one precious episode, the show fully embraced the pulp sensibilities of classic adventure movies.
I’ll be honest. For a long time, I thought the show wasn’t going to do it. I thought we would be put in a headlock and forced to watch Ollie and Laurel mate out of obligation like a couple of zoo pandas. I thought the show would just keep trying to delay and defuse the Ollie and Felicity situation. A few episodes ago I started to have hope. The show made it clear that Ray and Felicity weren’t working, and that Ollie and Felicity really did love each other, and knew it, and wanted to act on it.
Never did I dream that Ra’s al Ghul would be the matchmaker to get them together. Oh it’s glorious. The scene that kicks it all off starts with Felicity storming in to see Ra’s and cussing him out. It’s not as pathetic as it seems, because she gets in some good shots. He talks about how he was forced away from his family without a goodbye and she replies, “It sounds like you gave up too easily.” Mean, but effective.
Ra’s turns a conversational corner, and tells her that she’s posturing because she’s not willing to be honest with Oliver during their goodbye. And okay, he doesn’t precisely say, “Bang him like a screen door, Felicity,” but that’s just semantics. He tells her that she needs to get out, “Whatever your heart needs to express. And do it now.”
And she does. Because say what you like about the League of Assassins, they do what needs to be done, and that needed to be done.
The hook-up scene is well done. It’s still steeped in pulp aesthetics, which might not be for everyone (although it sure as hell is for me). The bed that Oliver and Felicity stretch out on (still with their pants on), has a chandelier under a canopy under another canopy and what looks like at least two sets of curtains. And is it red? You know it is. Also I don’t think I’ve seen a camera end a love scene by panning to candles since the regency stuff they used to film in the ‘60s.
It’s a good scene, though. Despite the over-the-top setting and circumstances it doesn’t succumb to the old “we cannot hold back our burning passion” cliche. It’s friendly and just slightly awkward, which is perfect for the two people involved.
Then Felicity drugs Oliver’s drink and tries to smuggle him out of the castle. Because haaaaaaaa!
Dig hauls Ollie’s body around like a sack of potatoes, Thea is a Lazarus-addled nut, and Malcolm is the dogsbody, helping as much as he can under orders from Felicity. I like this turn for Malcolm. I still think that John Barrowman’s features have been gently patted into place by God himself, but I love how everyone is simply done with Malcolm’s nonsense.
Of course it all goes wrong and Ollie — after an epic facepalm — has to stay in Nanda Parbat and be heir to the demon while his friends sadly go home, but it’s a great sequence.