Last night’s Arrow was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. That’s saying something, considering the fact that I’ve seen every single previous episode of Arrow. But none of the previous episodes forced me re-think the very title of the show like the season 3 finale just did.
Let’s clear up the detritus of the flashback before going to town on the rest of this show. General Shrieve’s brilliant plan of being in a room with three righteously pissed-off martial artists with nothing left to lose does not work out for him. Oliver and Maseo kill every one of his men in about 30 seconds, and Oliver (I swear to god, Ollie, you will push me into a stroke if you don’t stop doing this) leaves him alive. Fortunately, Maseo finishes him off. I would say losing a loved one gets your priorities in order but this show proves that’s not true.
The three divide up Akio’s ashes in little pots, and go their separate ways. I feel like we’re going through the motions on this one. The storyline was wrapped up last week, so now I’m focusing on the odd little details, like the fact that the guy who cremated Akio brought out his ashes in three pots, like a waiter bringing forks for the entire table at a restaurant when only one of the customers ordered a slice of cake for dessert. “You’ll probably all want to share this.” And to give him credit, he was right.
With that done, let us get into it!
Oliver had planned to destroy the virus by crashing the plane that he, Ra’s, and Nyssa were all flying in. (Because, as we’ll see, Nyssa never stops getting the shit end of the stick on this show.) He fails, thanks to Ra’s doing some spectacular fighting with what look like oxygen tanks, and then jumping out of the plane with the only parachute. Against all odds, Oliver and Nyssa manage to make it to the ground.
Oliver then plans to trade Damien Darhk, who was staying in Starling City, for the virus. He fails, because Damien Darhk has already left the city, and because Ra’s isn’t in the mood for deals. Ra’s has already dispersed the virus via four carriers.
Oliver plans to take out the carriers before they can open the vials of virus. He fails because the carriers are already infected with the virus. He is helped in his failure by his sister, who clearly didn’t get her father’s luck. Thea shoots arrows into the first carrier, shedding his blood and beginning the dispersal of the virus.
And Oliver plans to fight Ra’s al Ghul on top of a dam, and manages to stab Ra’s to death using the moves Ra’s used on him. He fails because Starling City police then pump him full of bullets.
So although Oliver constructed an elaborate plan, he only succeeds because Ray Palmer has nanotechnology which can inject a vaccine into people on the street (that’s terrifying, by the way), and because Felicity Smoak can fly over like she’s freaking Iron Man with less stubble, and save Ollie from his fall.
I have to say, that’s excellent symbolism. The repeated fight, the repeated fall, and the personification of Oliver’s humanity saving him from the same fate. Good stuff.
Then Oliver and Felicity go off in a convertible to find themselves, or something. Wow. I did not see that coming.
But you know what I really didn’t see coming? The actual Arrow in Arrow. Malcolm Merlyn has been working on the plan with Oliver this entire time, and when Ollie kills Ra’s, it’s agreed that Malcolm gets to be the new Ra’s al Ghul. Meanwhile, Thea has come to terms with him being her father and murder puppeteer and thanks him for making her stronger. And Nyssa, freaking Nyssa, accepts her lover’s murderer as the head of her order.
First of all, Merlyn does all of this with a bitchy imperiousness that is unmatched. You think I’m snarky and nasty. That’s nothing compared to Merlyn inoculating the Arrow team, letting them think they were all dying, and when they awake saying, “The words you’re looking for are ‘Thank’ and ‘you.’” Or when they all get back to Starling City, he starts giving orders, and they don’t respond, he says, “I’m sorry, did I mumble?” It’s like the writers of this show saw my mean-spirited recaps and were like, “You think that’s uncalled for? We’ll give you uncalled-for.” And they did. I am like Salieri listening to Mozart right now. I am simply outclassed.
More importantly, Malcolm Merlyn killed Ollie’s father, terrorized his mother (although not before giving her a really good time. I’m just saying. You can’t argue with that face and clearly he has a work ethic), forced his sister to kill someone, orchestrated a terror attack against a city, forced him into a duel to the death, and not only did Malcolm get away with everything but now he’s the head of an ancient order of assassins and he’s immortal.
Is anyone else getting the feeling that the title of Arrow doesn’t refer to Ollie at all? I think we’ve been watching the wrong guy for three years.