TV Review: Arrow - Season 3 Episode 15 "Nanda Parbat"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 15: "Nanda Parbat"
Synopsis: Malcolm is captured by Ra's al Ghul and taken to Nanda Parbat. Because of his love for Thea, Oliver considers saving Merlyn. Ray is obsessed with finishing his Atom suit so he can save the city but Felicity fears he is heading down the same path as Oliver and tries to pull him out of the lab.
In Starling City: As tensions rise between the League of Assassins and Oliver Queen and Malcolm Merlyn, this week's episode opens with Nyssa Al Ghul discussing the fate of her beloved Sara with her father, R'as, who says Merlyn must die for defying him. Back in the Arrow cave, Oliver trains with Merlyn to prepare to face The League. Thea and Diggle are not optimistic about Merlyn's involvement but Oliver trudges through. They question Merlyn's motives but all accept what needs to be done.
Thea is tenuous after learning she killed Sara and shares what she knows with Roy. Roy admits he already knew and shares how he reacted under the influence of the Mirakuru. This lessens Thea's stress but reinforces the duplicitious nature of the Arrow team. Felicity meanwhile tracks down Ray Palmer who has been sequestered as he builds his A.T.O.M. suit. She questions the sanity of his project but Ray says he must keep working.
Laurel tries to call her father who has not spoken to her in a week since learning of Sara's death. Thea arrives at Laurel's office where she admits to murdering Sara. Laurel questions why she is still willing to work with Merlyn and Thea says she has to. But, Laurel offers an alternative. Oliver continues to train and Laurel arrives and asks how Oliver can lie to her face about Thea killing Sara. Oliver says Merlyn is the only hope to save Thea and apologizes for working with him. Laurel in return says it is hard to remember a time she was in love with him. Oliver then chastises Thea for telling Laurel the truth but she tells Oliver that they are no longer in danger.
Laurel attacks Merlyn in her Cananry guise for killing her sister but before she can shoot him, Nyssa arrives and captures him and takes him back to Nanda Parbat and says Sara's murder is avenged. At the cave, Oliver tells Laurel this is why he keeps secrets from them. He knows the League has Merlyn and doesn't believe they will give up Thea which angers Laurel and Felicity. Oliver pleads with them to help find Merlyn to save Thea's soul but Laurel refuses.
At an airfield in Starling, Nyssa tells Malcolm to say goodbye while Merlyn says her relationship with Sara has doomed any chance of her taking the place of R'as at the head of the League of Assassins. Oliver arrives and duels with Nyssa for taking revenge versus justice. As they fight, the helicopter with Merlyn takes off and Oliver is unable to shoot it down. Nyssa tells Oliver he will never see Malcolm Merlyn again.
Jailed in the Arrow cave, Oliver realizes R'as will not trade Nyssa for Merlyn and asks for the room to be cleared so he can torture her to find the location of Nanda Parbat. Diggle warns he cannot save Thea's soul at the cost of his own before leaving them alone. Nyssa offers to give the location, knowing it will be the place he dies. She reveals where it is and he tells the team who feel it is another suicide mission like the last time he faced R'as. Diggle warns Oliver there is more at play but Oliver says it is only Thea.
Back at Palmer's, Felicity arrives as Ray is locked out of his own servers. Felicity gives him two options: one is to decrypt her code which could take weeks or he can shower and eat after which she will give him the password. Palmer agrees to option two. At the Diggle residence, Diggle talks to Lyla and tells her he will accompany Oliver to Nanda Parbat. At Verdant, Thea confronts Oliver for what he is about to do and he says she will lose a piece of herself she can never get back. Oliver tells her both of their parents are dead because of him and he doesn't want that for her. She pleads with him not to go, but he says he will be back as soon as he can.
In Nanda Parbat, Merlyn is brought before R'as Al Ghul who relates a story about meeting a magician in the 19th century and meeting him again a century later. Merlyn pleads for his life and wants to serve as horseman for R'as who says he must face his crimes with dignity as they are measured in pain and blood. Oliver and Diggle locate Nanda Parbat but are quickly spotted as flaming arrows descend on them. Oliver has Diggle cover him and returns fire.
Back at Palmer's apartment, he thanks Felicity for the advice. Noticeably taken by the semi-nude Palmer, Felicity kisses him and the two, well, go to town. Laurel guards Nyssa who says Merlyn will die pleading for mercy but it doesn't sit as well with Laurel as she thought it would. Nyssa recalls when Sara was brought before her father with a test which was the moment she fell in love with her. Back at Nanda Parbat, Oliver and Diggle enter the League temple, taking out soldiers as they search for Merlyn using the tracker Oliver tagged him with. They find him hanging with his feet above fire, beaten within an inch of his life. Merlyn whispers that it is a trap as bars descend, trapping them in the room.
Shackled, Oliver and Diggle discuss what comes next. Oliver says he cannot stop seeing his fall from his last battle with R'as Al Ghul and Diggle says he needs to face his fear. Oliver asks Diggle what it was he wanted to ask but Diggle says it is not the right time. Oliver asks again and Diggle asks if he will be the best man at Diggle's wedding to Lyla. At that moment, Mateo arrives and says it is time. Back in Starling, Roy shows Thea the family of the police officer he killed under the influence of Mirakuru and says helping them anonymously helps with the guilt. Thea says it is not the same for her and asks Roy to drive her home.
After making love, Ray Palmer awakens with an idea. He quickly jots it down on a notepad and gets back to work. With the suit now functinal, Palmer dons the A.T.O.M. and shoots off into the Starling City skyline. At the Arrow cave, Thea arrives to meet Nyssa and says she must reveal the truth to her and that she lied about Malcolm and admits it was her who actually shot Sara. Thea opens the lock and urges Nyssa to take her revenge.
In Nanda Parbat, brought before R'as, Oliver is told everything must come to an end as the League's leader draws his sword. Oliver tells him to hill him but spare Diggle's life and he is willing to beg for it. R'as says he does not want Oliver to die but rather take his place as the next R'as Al Ghul.
Flashbacks: In pursuit of China White, Oliver discusses with the General (Marc Singer) we met last week. The General says Waller is out of the pictue as the U.S. Army has taken over the hunt for Omega which Oliver gladly accepts. The next day, Oliver gets to say goodbye to Tatsu and Mateo who are prepared to go their separate ways when thugs open fire on them. As they cower, Oliver spots a truck they can get away in and sends Mateo and his family towards it while he covers them. Oliver counts three shooters and sends Mateo and Tatsu towarss the truck but they are separated from their son and Oliver. Mateo begs Oliver to protect his son as they run in opposite directions.
Review: As we enter the home stretch of ARROW's third season, the menacing spectre of R'as Al Ghul hangs over each episode and yet very little progress has been made. We had Oliver die and return. We had Thea learn she killed Sara and we had Merlyn captured. We have seen every bait and switch possible on this season and yet nothing has felt consistent in building up to the spoiler reveal that Oliver may be the next head of the League of Assassins. Whether this comes to fruition or not, I just ask that we get some consistency on this show. I have complained all season that the Hong Kong era flashbacks feel forced and fully undermine the idea that Oliver learned his skills as the Arrow while stuck on Lian Yu. Now, we have this building menace of R'as Al Ghul that was totally underwhelming with tonight's big reveal. With a half dozen episodes left, hopefully ARROW finds a consistent plot that has been lacking in the last few up and down episodes of the show. Plus, what the hell is the reason for including A.T.O.M. if not just to tease a potential spin-off?
Next on ARROW: "The Offer" airs March 18th, 2015: Still weighed down by his last meeting with Ra’s al Ghul (guest star Matt Nable), Oliver (Stephen Amell) returns home to find a new villain and his crew have started terrorizing Starling City – Michael Amar AKA Murmur (guest star Adrian Glynn McMorran), a man whose mouth has been sewn shut. Meanwhile, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Nyssa (guest star Katrina Law) bond over their issues with their fathers and Nyssa makes Laurel an offer. Thea (Willa Holland) is forced to come to terms with her father after Oliver brings Malcom (John Barrowman) to the loft to recover, and Lance (Paul Blackthorne) shuts out both Laurel and the Arrow.