Same Geek Channel: ‘Arrow’ Episode 321 “Al Sah-him”

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Source: CW.
“Remember, thou art mortal. Remember, thou art..” Source: CW.

Corrina: Last week, I suggested (jokingly) that Arrow‘s Ra’s Al Ghul wasn’t the real Ra’s Al Ghul because this one is a poor excuse for a villain with a random plan. This week, Arrow’s Ra’s claimed that there’s a pretender to the Ra’s mantle out there. This Ra’s says that’s because he showed mercy to a pretender.

My new headcanon is that this Ra’s is the fake Ra’s and, at a certain point, the actual Ra’s, played by Liam Neesom will show up.

“I have a particular set of skills, which you obviously don’t possess. I have found you. And now, I will kill you.”

Yes, I’m ignoring that this other Ra’s supposedly started HIVE.

Mordechai: Yep. It’s another example of the show re-purposing a villain from another franchise. For those unfamiliar,Damien Darhk (who I originally thought was Decon Dark, an alien foe of Captain Comet) was a Titans villain from the early 2000s. Arrow has previously used Titans characters for bad guys (Slade, Brother Blood), with much origin tweaking.In Dahrk’s case, they’re working with essentially a blank slate. Should be fun.

Oh, and to be fair? Kinda hated Liam’s Ra’s too.

Stop giving me that look! Source: CW.
Stop giving me that look!
Source: CW.

Corrina: But Liam’s Ra’s at least oozed menace.

Too bad Liam couldn’t show up in this episode and save us from this silly plotline. The saving grace of it all, however, was Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law) who carries around her pathos like armor. I loved Law in Spartacus and I love her here and if the show kills Nyssa off, we’re done. (Okay, I’m done after the season finale but still…) Someone, cast Law in a Marvel movie, please. Now. Right away. Or, at least, get her in a show where her character isn’t so badly misused.

Nyssa is so awesome that she makes the scene with Laurel in the greasy spoon wonderful. Laurel! In one of the best scenes of the season.

Also? I seriously need to try this. Source: CW.
Also? I seriously need to try this. (You mean you haven’t? Gee thee to a Dairy Queen, now, Mordechai!) 
Source: CW.

And excuse me for this fangirl squee:

CANARY CRY!!!

Aside: why doesn’t Cisco outfit everyone, including himself, with awesome gadgets like this?

Laurel FTW. And yes, I really just typed that. Source: CW.
Laurel FTW. And yes, I really just typed that.
Source: CW.

Mordechai: Nyssa was golden. Indeed, this may have been the most femme-positive episode of Arrow to date. We have multiple Bechdel Aversions, fight scenes featuring five women, including a quite dandy scene with Lyla, which takes the show’s sad damseling of her and redeems it with interest.

Corrina: I wouldn’t say “redeems” but at least gives her some screen time.

When Nyssa went to the rooftop where Sara died for a confrontation that would probably result in her death, she absolutely sold her grief, far more than anyone else on this show. She sold it so much that I decided Nyssa had a death wish and that’s why Ollie, with only eight years of training, was able to defeat someone with a lifetime of assassin training.

She makes everything better, even losing. Source: CW.
She makes everything better, even losing.
Source: CW.

I suppose it’s bad I wanted her to kill Ollie and become this show’s main character? I’m supposed to be worried about Ollie, yes? But I’m not because I know he’ll be back anyway, which is why Team Arrow’s grief about Ollie’s symbolic death via brainwashing rings false for me. Of course, Ollie’s still in there somewhere.

I’m not totally convinced he’s even been brainwashed. Batman’s plan would have been to carry the role as far as he could to find out Ra’s ultimate plan to bring plague to the city, then act.

I suspect Ollie has no plan.

Heck, in the comics and in Nolan’s movies, Ra’s wants to depopulate Gotham so it can be cleansed and move forward. But in this show, murdering an entire city’s populace is just a gang initiation test.

Mordechai: Yeah, about that… the heck?

You have to love how Ra’s was trying to sell the League of Assassins as misunderstood last episode, and then drops this little bomb. Seriously? More like League of Mass Murderers.

Of course, the poison just happens to be the same one from the flashbacks. Gotta love how circular Olliver’s life is; he’s just the most important person in the world, isn’t he? If only we cared.

Oh, and about those flashbacks… still over the top melodrama, but at least we got to see Katana kick butt.

Oh, and one more thing: never thought Laurel would have the line of the episode.

"It's not my first day". Source: CW.
“It’s not my first day”.
Source: CW.

Corrina: Of course, the flashbacks feature the child beginning to die. :sigh:

Another lousy plot idea: forcing your lesbian daughter to marry a guy.

Maybe Arrow will surprise me. I doubt the marriage to Nyssa will be consummated. But I also doubt anything clever will come of this.

Aww..lookit the happy couple! Source: CW.
Aww..lookit the happy couple!
Source: CW.

Mordechai: Yeah, offensive much? It’s an “interesting” switch from the Talia al Ghul/Bruce Wayne dynamic, where she wanted him for a husband and he did not, but this is much ickier because of the whole “Pft, who cares if you’re gay–have his babies!” aspect.

And hey, who knew Joe West and Ra’s al Gul had so much in common?

Can we talk about Thea? After two seasons of being annoying, Thea has come into her own in a big way.

Do it. Doooo ittttt. Source: CW.
Do it. Doooo ittttt.
Source: CW.

Corrina: We can absolutely talk about Thea. I believed she might actually shoot Ollie. I suppose the show is at least redeemed for her damsel in distress moment.

Mordechai: I could have done without her going to Merlyn for help (I love John Barrowman, but why is this man walking free?!), but the scene with her on the roof was letter perfect. Finally, we have Thea having had enough and taking control… right up until Felicity tells her Roy is alive. I mean good, and messed up that it took them that long, but how, exactly, does that help her find direction? And after her early comment about being done with being handled, I wish she’d blown up at Felicity a little.

 

Seriously guys, stop doing that. It NEVER WORKS. Source: CW.
Seriously guys, stop doing that. It NEVER WORKS.
Source: CW.

Corrina: I was too busy thinking “wait, she doesn’t know Roy is alive YET?” How was that not the first thing someone mentioned to her on the flight back? I guess that means she can build a new life with someone who learned never to lie to her. He was even careful not to lie to her about faking his death to keep that promise.

The end result is that Thea is gone just as she became interesting, like Roy.

Mordechai: Lyla, Nyssa, Thea, Katana, heck, even Laurel was enjoyable this episode. I hope the showrunners keep going in this direction with their female characters, and give them more and more agency.

Corrina: I would guess that depends on what happens with Nyssa because her being around certainly has a great effect on Canary.

Mordechai: Who knows, maybe they can even pull off an Oliver Queen we don’t find annoying.

Doubtful archer is doubtful. Source: CW.
Doubtful archer is doubtful.
Source: CW.

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