You would think that an episode called "Heir of the Demon" would be crammed full of fight scenes — and there are some sweet ones in there. But mostly last night's Arrow fed off its audience's tears. Here are the absolute saddest scenes from the latest Arrow.
Nyssa Al Ghul touches down in Starling City, and after taking out an entire airport arrivals terminal, she goes after the audience. This episode leaves us wringing out hankies and splashing water on our over-heated faces. You wouldn't have thought a woman who just last week had Laurel poisoned with Tibetan pit viper venom (yep, turns out she wasn't that drunk), would be this sympathetic. And for a while, it doesn't look like she'll pull it off.
Nyssa confronts Sarah — who is home keeping a covert eye on Laurel — and instead of stabbing her, kisses her. This surprises a snooping Ollie, and leaves the audience worried because tv shows have a tendency to turn female characters surprise gay for a salacious scene and a plot twist. But Nyssa really seems to love Sarah, and when Sarah says, "I loved you," Nyssa takes in the past-tense verb with real pain. Sure, she kidnaps Sarah's mother, Dinah, in retaliation, but the emotion is there.
Tear Factor: The Sniffles
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Elsewhere in Starling City, Moira's campaign is paying off just as much as I hoped it would. Sebastian seems surprisingly cool for a supervillain, and tells Ollie on the phone not to worry about switching his allegiance to his mother. Walter is flirting shamelessly with Moira. The voters seem to be taking it well. Moira and Sebastian have a low-voiced supervillain smooth-talk-off where they tell each other about how badass they are.
And then there's Felicity. Felicity kept tabs on Moira's illegal accounts last season and finds that one of them has been tapped to pay off her obstetrician and keep Thea's paternity under wraps. Felicity decides that other people deserve to know this one woman's personal information, and tells Moira that she has to tell Ollie. Not Thea. Ollie. Moira says she won't tell Ollie, and neither will Felicity, because she knows that Felicity is in love with Ollie. If Felicity spills the beans, Ollie's opinion of her will forever be tainted with the shock of really, really bad news.
Felicity tells Ollie anyway. She tells him at Moira's announcement rally, mere moments before Ollie is set to introduce Moira. This makes for fantastic television. Throughout Ollie's speech, I was leaning in to the screen like he was announcing lotto numbers and I needed the money for a kidney operation. He stumbles through the speech, getting the room down to absolute silence as he says, "I can promise you. You don't know my mother. You don't know her like I do. You don't know what she's capable of . . . when it comes to helping Starling City!" Nice save, Oliver.
Now, I happen to think that Felicity is absolutely in the moral wrong here. However, she leads in to her revelation to Ollie by talking about how terrified she is of abandonment, and that really sells the fear. Also, given what happens at the end of this episode, it looks like Moira called Ollie's reaction exactly right, so I'll upgrade the tear factor here.
Tear Factor: The Single Glycerine Movie-Star Tear
Quentin has been having quite a difficult episode. He's been trying to get a belligerent Laurel into rehab. He's been trying to get Sarah to admit she's still alive to the rest of the family — and lying to Laurel, who thinks she hallucinated Sarah. He's been dealing with the fact that his estranged wife has been kidnapped. He's been trying to go head-to-head with highly trained assassins to find out the location of his kidnapped wife, only to have the captured assassin drink snake venom and die on him. And then he gets hit in the face with the fact that all this is happening not because his daughter was in the League of Assassins, but because his daughter was lovers with the head assassin's daughter. And that daughter is still obsessed with her.
Sarah has an awkward but low-key coming-out scene with Quentin, but later, when they get a moment, she says, "I loved her, Dad. Are you upset?" He looks at her and says, "In the end I'm just happy you had someone to care for you." You know how there are times when noble and sweet scenes make you cry harder than sad scenes? This would be one of those times.
Tear Factor: The Ugly Cry
All this ends in a confrontation between Sarah and Nyssa, with Ollie and Quentin periodically joining in the fight. Let me say, there is a sue-wheat fight sequence in which Ollie shoots at Nyssa and Nyssa flips backwards onto her back on a table, grabs her bow, and then flips forward to fight him. But the tear factor on this? Through the roof.
Sarah turns herself in to Nyssa to save her mother, which means Dinah sees that her daughter is alive, beams with joy, and then gets told Sarah is leaving and is dragged away screaming. Ollie notices that Sarah took the snake venom and thinks she's about to kill Nyssa, but in fact Sarah has poisoned herself. Dinah and Quentin reenter the room to see their daughter die again. Oh my god.
Finally, there's a big battle between Nyssa and Ollie, that's only resolved when Ollie gets a reprieve to bring Sarah back to life, at which point Nyssa realizes that Sarah would rather die than come back to her. With tears in her eyes, she releases Sarah and leaves.
Tear Factor: The Group Sob
There are a few more sad scenes. Throughout this episode there is a flashback to the Lance's idyllic home life pre-shipwreck, and how horrible it was to find out first that Ollie was dead and then that Sarah had died with him. Sadly, the scenes are a bit rushed and neither of the Lance daughters were at their best at the time.
Only one Lance daughter improved since then. Laurel doesn't take Sarah's reappearance well. You can tell she's going to be entertaining when, while Quentin and Dinah coo over Sarah, she comes staggering into her living room, takes a baleful look at the trio, and matter-of-factly grabs a bottle of wine, shaking it to see how much wine is left in there. She then tells Sarah how she's not surprised about Sarah leaving with her boyfriend or Sarah refusing to tell her family that she's alive for six agony-filled years because, "It's Sarah." She tells Sarah to get out, and I'm disappointed when what I know should happen doesn't happen for a few moments. But, no, Arrow would never disappoint me that way. I just had to be patient. Sarah lingers and Laurel screams, "I said get out!" And she throws the glass at the door as Sarah leaves.
Tear Factor: The Lip Quiver (And mostly for the parents' sake.)
Now that I'm all cried out, here comes the rage. Towards the end of the episode, Moira is watching footage of her rally. Ollie comes in, dressed all in black, and tells her that Felicity told him everything, and Moira is nothing but lies. Lies! He will put up a charade for Thea, and he will support Moira in public, but as far as he's concerned they are no longer family.
If I were Moira, I would torment the hell out of him with this. I would schedule nonstop campaign appearances. I would be taking him and Thea out to family picnics and having them stay in to movie nights. And when he calls me on it I would say this:
"Okay, when I was a young wife, I found out my husband cheated on me every chance he could. Lonely and hurt, I had one discreet affair with a family friend who, in those days, showed no signs of bad character. Perhaps, morally, I was wrong not to inform the friend that he was the father of my child, but seeing as he went psycho-killer and tormented his own son in later years, I think we should agree that practically it turned out to be the right idea. I can understand my family being upset, but I'm not going to put up — two decades later — with my son, who has cheated on one sister with the other, who has been lying to his whole family for years, who, let's face it, eagerly hops on whatever current supervillainess is willing to give him a ride, coming at me with this 'YOU ARE THA MOTHAH OF LIIIIIEEEEES' shit. It's not your business, kid. Get over it."
Tear Factor: Dry-Eyed Righteous Wrath
And the end scene! Ollie and Sarah hook up in the Arrow cave! First of all, Sarah accepts Laurel's drunken anger with a resigned humor that makes me like her even more. Second, I love those salmon ladders she was doing earlier in the episode, and clearly they paid off once the shirts came off in this scene. Third, I am as staunch a Laurel-defender as you'll find anywhere on the internet, but I have to say this: Ollie? You picked the right sister.