TV Review: Arrow - Season 3 Episode 20 "The Fallen"
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 20: "The Fallen"
Synopsis: Ra's al Ghul finally makes Oliver an offer he can't refuse. The team joins Oliver on his journey to Nanda Parbat where a heartbroken Felicity decides to take matters into her own hands.
In Starling City: You never can trust a R'as. Arriving at Thea's apartment after the events from the conclusion of last week's episode, Oliver finds Thea near death thanks to R'as Al Ghul's sword through her chest. He rushes her to the hospital where they barely succeed in saving her. The doctor's prognosis is not good and tells Oliver he should consider letting her go. Seeing smoke, Oliver rushes to find Maseo who tells his former friend that there is still one way to save Thea.
That's right, the Lazarus Pit. After maintaining a level of realism for over two seasons, Arrow cannot combat the meta-human fantasy aspect of the DC Universe and is taking things back to the comic book roots. Oliver knows the only way he can save his sister is with the magical powers of the pits in Nanda Parbast. Malcolm Merlyn warns Oliver that whoever uses the pit is changed down to their soul and he doesn't want that for his daughter. But, Oliver has his mind set and is willing to concede to R'as Al Ghul's offer.
In a ceremony that feels like a cross between BATMAN BEGINS and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, Oliver and Diggle lower Thea into the Lazarus Pit while the League of Assassins chants and watches. After a moment, Thea comes shooting out of the pit, snarling like a feral animal. When she awakens again, she has no memory of Oliver and wants to know where her mother is. Malcolm chastizes Oliver for what he has done to Thea, but Oliver is content that they will return to Starling with her while he stays in Nanda Parbat.
As it has been since it was introduced last season, the love story between Oliver and Felicity has felt like the weakest sub-plot Arrow has ever had. The relationship between Ray Palmer and Felicity seemingly comes to an end in this episode to make way for The A.T.O.M. to get his own series. It also means Felicity gets a very awkward sequence where she confronts R'as Al Ghul and threatens war against him if he doesn't let Oliver go. R'as challenges her posturing and tells a story about how he had to leave his family and never got to say goodbye and that she should take that opportunity before it is too late. So, she does and we get the single cheesiest sex scene I have seen in a long time. I mean, there are candles, scarves, and I am pretty sure the music was Enya. Lame.
After their rigourous fornication, Felicity pours Oliver a drink to toast to their love but it is instead a trick. Oliver collapses as Felicity reveals she drugged him to prevent him from becoming the next R'as. She gets Diggle and Malcolm for help getting Oliver out of Nanda Parbat but they question if there is any way of doing it without being killed. Malcolm reveals there is a passage through the catacombs and they make a break for it. They battle the guards and are assisted by Maseo who guides them but they are surrounded by members of the League. Oliver comes to and thanks his friends for trying to save him but sends them off as he accepts his fate. He bids farewell to Thea, Diggle, and Felicity and tells them all how much they mean to him.
Back in Starling, Thea awakens in her apartment and is seemingly back to herself. Malcolm explains to Thea that Oliver accepted his role in the League. Thea is dumbfounded but Malcolm says now that he is free he wants to be the father he never could have before. Felicity visits Laurel and tells her about Oliver and the two comfort each other. In Nanda Parbat, R'as demands blood for his dead assassins but Oliver says because he stayed, none of his friends or family will be hurt. R'as demands to know who helped them escape and Maseo admits his role and offers his life. R'as says it was a lapse and allows him to live since Oliver will need him during his transformation for which he says every trace of his former life must be extinguished. The first step begins with Oliver being branded with the symbol of the League: an arrowhead. Oliver then dons his new League uniform and his new title of Al Sah-him, Heir to the Demon.
Flashbacks: In Hong Kong, Oliver and Maseo find the Omega is being moved by the military and decide they need to stop it by any means necessary. They attack the convoy but find the Omega is not in the case as they thought. They threaten a soldier and learn the weapon is hidden in a food cart. They open fire with some agents in the street ad engage in a fight with the food cart vendor over the vial of the bioweapon. During the tussle, the vil breaks, releasing Omega.
Review: With a cheesy sex scene withstanding, this was a pretty good hour of television. But, I am not sure it was a good episode of Arrow. The majority of this episode takes place in Nanda Parbat with Oliver weighing the decision to join the League or not. Gone completely are the plot arcs involving Captain Lance not trusting Queen, the hunt for the Arrow, or anything else built up over the last few episodes. Instead, we get Oliver's departure from his previous life in a setup that leaves me wondering how the show can continue with the changes we are seeing. Honestly, I liked this hour but I really am unsure how it jives with the rest of the season. With three episodes to go, I hope this all comes into focus and makes it worth our time as an audience.
Next on ARROW: ""Al Sah-him" airs April 29th: Oliver goes through a rigorous transformation. The League of Assassins sets their sites on Nyssa, who is back in Starling City training Laurel. When Nyssa realizes they are coming, she arms up to face them alone but Laurel asks Felicity and Diggle to help protect her new friend.